Earlier this week, frequent contributor on this site, Stuart Nash, made what can only be described as an ill-timed and rash post on Twitter. I believe the common parlance for this is a SMOG, although I do prefer how one colleague termed it; a Tweetageddon (much better than my attempt – a “ClusterTweet”).
I understand why Stuart made the comment he made, he is a father and a passionate guy. I doubt he was/is the only person in New Zealand who feels this way about the JJ Lawrence case either.
Having said that, it doesn’t make it right, and certainly doesn’t excuse Stuart’s miscalculation of placing his thoughts on social media for the world to see, but, he is human, and we’re a race that often makes mistakes that we regret later and from which we can learn (shell-suits for example).
Stuart has since come out and said his comment was unwise. I applaud him for owning what he said and reflecting on it.
That should be an end to this post, but what annoyed me more about this issue was the post put up on the NoRightTurn blog by Idiot/Savant. This is a blog which its author describes as ‘New Zealands Liberal Blog’. Hmmm, perhaps not.
In that blog post, Idiot (as I am sure they are referred to by their friends), accused Stuart of being a ‘sadist arsehole’ and insinuated that he was against marriage equality.
Now, I have looked up the word sadist, and the OED defines it as a derivative of the noun ‘sadism’, which means; “the tendency to derive pleasure from inflicting pain others”. Perhaps if Stuart had suggested that the subject of his original tweet be forced to read NoRightTurn until his brain inevitably melted, that would count as sadism (it would certainly count as inflicting pain), but what Stuart actually said is, frankly, nowhere close to sadism.
As for the reference to marriage equality, I think we have covered that several times on this blog, and indeed, Idiot refers back to Stuart’s original post on the subject. At no point has Stuart ever said that he is against marriage equality, indeed, on several occasions he has said he is in support of it. What he said was that, as strategies go, Labour’s is in need of some serious fine tuning. He is not alone in that sentiment either.
And to think that someone once thought Idiot was one of NZ’s up and coming left thinkers – bring on the zombie apocalypse!
Annoying though these factual inaccuracies are, they pale into insignificance compared to the real issue with Idiot and their blog. Here is a person who brands themself as ‘irredeemably liberal’ and their blog as ‘NZ’s Liberal blog’, and yet they lack the compassion and empathy to understand someone else’s motivations when they disagree with them. Moreover, when someone makes a mistake, which Stuart most certainly did, rather than just point that out and correct them, they launch into a tirade of abuse and accusations.
That doesn’t sound very liberal to me. Actually, it’s exactly the sort of thing I would expect from the right wing blogs like WhaleOil. Compare Idiot’s litany of abuse with the more measured response at KeepingStock.
In truth, Idiot is even worse than WhaleOil. At least Cam Slater owns what he says. Idiot hides behind a pseudonym. There are good reasons why I blog under my own name here. Partly because it will temper me when I want to say outrageously stupid things, but also because I believe in owning what I say, saying what I mean, and either defending it, or admitting I was wrong (and it does happen every so often).
These values of honesty, integrity and empathy seem to fit perfectly with being a member of the Labour party, or being a liberal in NZ society, so I am not sure where Idiot is coming from, but it sure isn’t a liberal stance.
More importantly, if we don’t halt this tendency to turn on our own people, even when we disagree, then what chance do we have of winning in 2014. It’s time to start acting like a party and a philosophy that the NZ voters can take seriously!
I would like to think that Idiot, whoever they may be, will read this, consider what is said here and come to understand that, like Stuart, they wrote something ill judged, and maybe, just maybe, show some humility. Only time will tell.
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