While others step back, new faces will step forward.
I’m Matthew Whitehead, and have been contributing guest posts for a while courtesy of our friend Weka, and was recently extended an invitation to contribute more directly here at the Standard, and I thought it would be appropriate to introduce myself briefly before blasting anything else in front of your eyeballs. I normally talk as little about myself as possible when writing, because between an almost pathologically humble father and inherently introverted nature, too many I-or-me-statements feel like either bragging or self-obsessed, but I’ll try to push through that discomfort so I can give you a sense of who I am.
Like everyone who’s politically active, I have my pet issues, ranging from the direly important like climate change, to the relatively non-urgent but still impactful, like electoral reform. I’m a current member of the Green Party, a blogger twice-over, (I started out doing explanations of how feminism is necessary for and impacts men) writer of several unreleased fictional stories, and former insurance industry drone. In terms of my personal life, I’m also a millenial (I got told during the campaign it was great to see “young people” volunteering for politics while door-knocking, even though I’m over 30) and invisible. Sorry, I mean bisexual. It can be easy to confuse the two. As someone who’s had mental health issues, I also talk about that from time to time, although like a lot of people who have issues with their health, I struggle with feeling like my problems are “not so bad,” even when I’m completely unable to leave the house due to them.
I’ve been a long time on-and-off part of the Comments section here at the Standard, since before the beginning of the last National government, initially under my political pseudonym Ari, and later under my real name. For those familiar with another Whitehead formerly in public service, yes, that’s my family.
I’m also trained as a programmer, am an enthusiast on the subject of voting systems, no seriously ask me anything, a modeler of elections, (my twitter feed has a fair amount of graphs of election probabilities on it from 2017, which correctly called NZ First deciding the government even after wrongly assuming the Māori Party would stay in due to those favourable electorate polls) science fiction enthusiast, (aren’t we all nowadays?) a liberal whose social opinions have been grounded in intersectional feminism, and on the economic end of the political spectrum, a not-entirely-ironic supporter of luxury gay space communism, no seriously, ask me about how we could make a dyson swarm to provide ridiculous quantities of energy in the long term. I constantly read books on my phone, and am descriptivist linguist and German-speaker. And yes, understanding German culture and history does inform my opinion on what’s going on in the USA right now. I don’t mind being contrary, (I may have claimed the new 2017 bird of the year was the “National Party of the bird world” on Twitter, for example) but think the label “contrarian” is for old white men trapped in the body of younger white men who never listen to anyone.
Feel free to say hi, or ask me further questions, especially on things I haven’t covered, and expect my first serious posts soon.