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The problem with keyboard warriors and media commentators

Written By: - Date published: 8:29 am, May 29th, 2022 - 178 comments
Categories: internet, jacinda ardern, Media - Tags:

photo Kris Snibbe/Harvard Gazette

Internationally Jacinda Ardern’s speech to the Harvard graduating class has been well received.

The Guardian has said this:

Jacinda Ardern has spoken out against the online “scourge of disinformation” in an address at Harvard University, in which she also won standing ovations for her government’s gun control laws, diversity and decriminalisation of abortion.

“The New Zealand prime minister was honoured by the American university , making the annual commencement addressto more than a thousand students on Thursday from the same stage as figures such as Winston Churchill, Angela Merkel, Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey.

Ardern’s addresswas built around the need for democratic systems and informed debate, invoking the same plea from the late Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who underscored the “fragility” of democracy in her own address to the university in 1989.

But, with the United States reeling from the Texas school massacre and paralysed over how to stop the violence, she won loud cheers and a standing ovation when she spoke about how her government cracked down on gun ownership in the wake of the 2019 Christchurch mosque attacks.

“We knew we needed significant gun reform, and so that is what we did,” she said. “But we also knew that if we wanted genuine solutions to the issue of violent extremism online, it would take government, civil society and the tech companies themselves to change the landscape.””

The Harvard Gazette drew comparisons between her speech and earlier speeches by Benjamin Franklin and Benazir Bhutto:

After the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked whether the U.S. would be a monarchy or a republic. “A republic, if you can keep it,” was his response. Two centuries later, at Harvard’s 1989 Commencement, Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto echoed Franklin’s warning: “We must realize that democracy … can be fragile.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered a similar reminder at Commencement on Thursday, updating the theme for our times. When facts and fiction have become a matter of opinion and the trust that underlies democracies is being eroded, blind faith in the resilience of democratic governance is shortsighted, she said.

The subject is vitally important for the future of the world’s democracies and the topic demands further discussion.

How was the local media cover?

Not so good.

Newstalk ZB described Ardern as having a swift at keyboard warriors.

And on Newshub they interviewed the self appointed spokesperson for the left Josie Pagani who came up with this baffling take:

Political commentator Josie Pagani noticed a ‘jarring’ description of keyboard warriors in the Prime Minister’s speech and questioned whether it is time for the “be kind” message to run its course.

Ardern said: “In my mind, when I read something especially horrific on my feed, I imagine it’s written by a lone person unacquainted with personal hygiene practices, dressed in a poorly fitted superhero costume – one that is baggy in all the wrong places.”

Pagani said she thought “this is not very kind.”

“She attacked the keyboard warrior in a slightly sneering way,” Pagani said.

Pagani is used regularly and was nominally described as a left wing commentator. I am not sure why. I cannot think of anything she has said over a number of years where I agreed with her.

Her particular form of contrarianism always irks.  She seems to be brought out so that a supposedly supportive left wing voice criticizes the left.  On the right Matthew Hooton, while occasionally critical of his party, nevertheless manages to manufacture an anti Labour message out of the most benign of events.  I cannot recall Pagani ever getting stuck into National.

As for Pagani criticizing Ardern for not being very kind I don’t know where she has been for the past five years but Ardern has been subject to the most appalling attacks on social media that I have ever seen.  Her criticisms of the people who spew hate at her daily was pretty gentle and when you consider what she has to put up with they were remarkably restrained.

The media should be concentrating on the issues raised in the speech like this passage which I thought was outstanding:

Social media platforms were born offering the promise of connection and reconnection. We logged on in our billions, forming tribes and sub tribes. We published our thoughts, feelings and ideas freely. We found a place to share information, facts, fiction dressed up as facts, memes, and more cat videos than you ever thought possible.

We found a place to experience new ways of thinking and to celebrate our difference.

But increasingly, we use it to do neither of those things.

I doubt anyone has ever created a group titled “political views I disagree with, but choose to enter into respectful dialogue with to better understand alternative perspectives.”

As humans, we are naturally predisposed to reinforce our own views, to gather with people like us and avoid the dreaded sense of cognitive dissonance.  We seek validation, confirmation, reinforcement. And increasingly with the help of algorithms, what we seek, we are served, sometimes before we even know we’re looking.

Now I am not here to argue that social media is good, nor bad. It’s a tool. And as with anything, it’s the rules of the game and the way we engage with it that matters.

But social media matters a lot. And perhaps, much more than we thought.

The destabilizing effect that social media has had on various democracies has been well documented.  Just read about Donald Trump’s election or how the Australian Liberal Government somehow with the help of the Murdoch Press survived.  Or how Boris Johnson prevails in the UK.

The hyper parochialism engendered by social media is a problem especially for the ultra right who have used it to radicalize Murdoch reading Fox News watching conservatives.  And the disruption caused by the anti vaccination movement is evident.

This is a significant issue faced by all democracies.  It needs unpicking so that the quality of our democracies can approve.  It is a shame that the media and in particular media commentator Josie Pagani are not able to contribute to what is a vitally important discussion.

178 comments on “The problem with keyboard warriors and media commentators ”

  1. weka 1

    It was an outstanding, moving, very well written speech.

    the keyboard warriors bit was the only bum mote, and it jarred. I don’t know what the point of the loner slob description was, but it was a free pass to the right. No politician should be using language like that about citizens.

    • SPC 1.1

      Pagani was not wrong, it was akin to the deplorables line used by Clinton.

      And given the red MAGA cap fits almost anyone who regards Trump as a super hero …

      The reason that line is used is of course because it portrays critics as the unwashed at home in comfortable clothes without any status in public society. Yet when the right calls the underclass bottom feeders (the narrative of those of white race and identity prosperity religion about those the secular left champion) ….

      It just creates the impression of a lack of respect among neo-liberals for the common folk.

      • Ross 1.1.1

        It begs the question as to whether the PM wrote her speech or whether it was written by Andrew Campbell or perhaps a combination of writers.

      • weka 1.1.2

        she got 1/4 of a sentence right (to her the problem with the slob bit is that it's empty, not that it slurs citizens) but she is wholly wrong in what she is intending to convey: that 'kindness' is a political tool whose time has passed.

        At least Shub didn't call her a left wing political commentator.

        The dude she is talking to was more interesting, esp where he talks about Ardern's charm, and how it would go down to a NZ audience made at home. He also 'primed' Pagani, lol. (tbf, she did name the problem, which is that kindness hasn't translated at home, but she gives the experience of returning Kiwis at the border, not people living in poverty. Ever the centrist, BAU middle class)

      • weka 1.1.3

        Re the problem with the slob paragraph, I agree. It reads like it was copy and pasted in as an after thought, or someone ran out of time to finesse it.

        Deplorables, painter on the roof, stream of filth, Chinese sounding names, loner slob memes… sometimes the parliamentary left just loses the plot entirely.

        Not that it's a surprise, Ardern made it very clear during the vax part of the pandemic that she believes in two New Zealands. The question becomes how far that extends into other areas.

        I don't think it denies how good the rest of the speech is, but I really wish at the least, for such a good comms team, they wouldn't drop these clangers. What was she even trying to say?

        • Populuxe1 1.1.3.1

          That is a particularly egregious bad faith reading. In context she's clearly making a tepid mum joke about the tsunami of rabid misogynistic bilge, deeply nasty ad hominem about her appearance and gender, and conspiracy nonsense she gets daily.

          • weka 1.1.3.1.1

            that's right, a tepid mum joke that jars because it demeans people. In context.

            She's trying to name a problem, it's how she did that's at issue. Or maybe not, maybe she really does believe that it's ok to marginalise citizens, in which case it's her politics that are the problem.

            • Populuxe1 1.1.3.1.1.1

              Those people demeaned themselves for all to see the moment their fingers hit the keyboard.

              • weka

                yes. You think the problem will somehow be solved by ostracising them (would love to know how that works). I think ostracising them will make them stronger and worse.

                To make it clear, I completely support going hard against people doing hard core online abuse. I’m talking strategy here. Many of those people can’t be called in. Their family and friends probably still can be.

                • Populuxe1

                  How exactly does one ostracise an anonymous troll account? Most of these people aren't thick enough to spew that kind of bile under their own name where their friends, family and employers can see it.

                  They're not looking for excuses, they already have them.

                  • weka

                    lol, looking at your comment you already now how.

                    I said,

                    Many of those people can’t be called in. Their family and friends probably still can be.

                    Maybe slow down and try and see what I am saying.

          • weka 1.1.3.1.2

            tell me, what did you think of Clinton's deplorables comment?

            • Populuxe1 1.1.3.1.2.1

              If you think that's the main thing that lost her the election I have a bridge in Auckland Harbour to sell you as scrap. Given the storming of the Capitol and the attempt to overthrow the last election it was prophetic and polite.

              • weka

                I don't think that, that's something you just made up in your head. Does tell me you don't understand my argument though.

                • Populuxe1

                  Then why bring it up in this context?

                  • weka

                    Because it's an example of the (centre) left using pejoratives that create divisive narratives. I gave other examples. It's a strategic mistake as well as being naff politically and socially.

    • Kiwijoker 1.2

      Good on her! The comments she made were in the context of her speech and when you consider the unmitigated crap, vile comments, lies and misogyny directed at her from the unhinged, a tongue in cheek rebuke is understandable. Besides, the PMs mental imagery seems to describe someone who has made a career out of being a keyboard ass. Her kindness was shown in calling he, she, it a warrior.

    • Frank 1.3

      Her speech was nonsense. The NZ government gave out misinformation in the 2 Covid years and the 'Fact Checkers' were so often proven wrong. What Ardern does not like is open debate and any challenges to her. She is after all in her own words 'the only source of information people need'. Interestingly,the know-it-all has never asked where Covid came from, surely the biggest question of all, and who has patents on the virus

  2. mac1 2

    "In my mind, when I read something especially horrific on my feed, I imagine it’s written by a lone person unacquainted with personal hygiene practices, dressed in a poorly fitted superhero costume – one that is baggy in all the wrong places.”

    Better to do this than to do the other thing we are advised when being berated by somebody- to imagine them naked…… then we'd see the cause of the bagginess in all the wrong places!

  3. Jenny how to get there 3

    When it comes to Keyboard Warriors and Ukraine. My advice to them. Forgo the virtual for the real, at least for one day. Get up from your couch, leave your device at home, or in your pocket, and go and hear what the Ukrainian ex-pats. here are saying. Listen to their account of what is happening in their country.
    Engage is some honest face to face dialogue. Ask questions.

    Will any of our resident Keyboard Warriors have the courage to do that?

    Now's their chance.

    Maybe they could report back to us on how it went?

  4. Ross 4

    I cannot recall Pagani ever getting stuck into National.

    Your memory ain’t what it used to be. She criticised National two months ago. Admittedly it was a hamfisted attempt, saying that tax cuts should be focused on those who need them. She was ignorant of the fact National’s policy of adjusting tax brackets would give everyone earning more than $14,000 more disposable income.

    https://i.stuff.co.nz/opinion/128004033/dont-give-tax-cuts-to-those-who-dont-need-them

    • Bearded Git 4.1

      Ross-that is pretty hamfisted….as you well know the rich will benefit far more than the less well off from the tax changes 7-houses is proposing.

      • Ross 4.1.1

        If you meant to say that those on the Minimum wage won’t be pushed into a higher tax bracket, you are correct. In percentage terms, those benefitting the most will be those earning $60/70k. That’s not the rich.

        [Fix those 2 typos in your e-mail address in your next comment – Incognito]

        • Incognito 4.1.1.1

          Mod note

        • KJT 4.1.1.2

          Good bit of obfuscation there. Congratulations.

          "On percentage terms".

          In actual money terms, $115 a year to lower income earners. About $800 for middle incomes. Vs tens of thousands for high income earners..

          Of course that will rapidly disappear, as National cuts wages, and adds a whole lot more expenses, as they cut services and import another million people.

          • Belladonna 4.1.1.2.1

            Of course that will rapidly disappear, as National cuts wages, and adds a whole lot more expenses as they cut services and import another million people.

            Is that just a piece of hyperbole? Or can you link to National and/or ACT policy to cut wages, increase expenses and import another million people?

            • KJT 4.1.1.2.1.1

              Already announced.

              On their policy website

              Also. If you think they can cut Government income by billions, without corresponding cuts.

              I have a Bridge to sell you!

              • Belladonna

                Umm. No still not seeing it.
                Specific links to specific policies please.

                For example on the National site, their immigration policy refers to 3 specifics:

                * Deal with the residency backlog: Note, this doesn't mean that they all get residency, just that the applications are dealt with in a timely fashion.

                * Pathway to residency for skilled migrants already in NZ.

                *Decouple visas to a specific employer to prevent exploitation.

                Not seeing anything here about opening the floodgates and/or importing another million people.

                https://www.national.org.nz/nationals-plan-to-fix-the-immigration-crisis

              • Belladonna

                This is not to say that I support the National programme. But I do think they are right about the tax bracket creep.
                It needs to be addressed.

                And, to avoid politicising this in the future, it should be indexed to the national average wage (just as super is).

                • KJT

                  am in agreement with getting rid of bracket creep, at the bottom end!. Said that many times on here.

                  We should also remove the downward creep of tax paid, at the top end.

                  In fact we should get rid of National's paperboy tax and have a tax free threshold, and remove the the extremely regressive GST. Increasing that and borrowing to pay for for tax cuts at the top, was one of the Key Governments "highlights" along with their other sneaky taxes, sorry charges, on lower income earners.

                  That is not what National propose however.

                  Have no issue with indexing. Need a discussion on what to index it to.

                  I understand there is momentum to address this by both Labour and Greens.
                  National doing what they excel at? Pretending what is likely to happen anyway, is their idea.

          • Bearded Git 4.1.1.2.2

            Nice one KJT….Ross and his friends in ACT/Nats will keep up the ridiculous pretence that their proposed tax cuts are fair.

            This needs to be called out at the election as you have done.

  5. mac1 5

    There's another view of this characterisation by the PM. That is, pity is a human emotion that often precedes kindness.

    I can also detect the use of 'personification' in this as well, where the nature of the material is given a human form.

    Better than the form of personification more often used by commenters here- "What a piece of shit you write"- and far more literary.

  6. Ad 6

    Well I've just sent you an alternative view.

  7. Anne 7

    Ardern said: “In my mind, when I read something especially horrific on my feed, I imagine it’s written by a lone person unacquainted with personal hygiene practices, dressed in a poorly fitted superhero costume – one that is baggy in all the wrong places.”

    Jacinda's Keyboard Warrior comment was aimed at online extremists and had nothing to do with the vast majority of people who use the internet for legitimate purposes. After all, the basis of most of her speech was the world-wide phenomenon of online disinformation and radicalisation by extreme right wing keyboard warriors.

    J Pagani is being mischievous. Bear in mind she was dumped by the Labour Party around 10 years ago. She's been conducting a campaign of revenge pretty much since. Her "left wing" credentials are largely fake, but it suits some news outlets to go along with it.

    • SPC 7.1

      Some if not most of the online extremists who attack the PM on her feeds are probably married family men (and women) who are self employed/own their businesses (thus not beholden to anyone for their social media activity).

      • Anne 7.1.1

        Anyone who indulges in hate speech, disinformation designed to radicalise and cause outbreaks of extreme violence is beholden to the rest of society regardless of their personal status. That they do it online and often anonymously is extremely concerning and requires strong responses from government and civic agencies.

        • SPC 7.1.1.1

          And yet this is exactly the response they want from government – so they can claim a threat to free speech.

        • weka 7.1.1.2

          yes it does. Which is why making a lazy slur in a major speech that is seen internationally was a such a stupid thing to do. Address the behaviour instead.

          • Anne 7.1.1.2.1

            Describing it as a "lazy slur" is imo a wrong interpretation of her intention. Indeed I would claim it is playing into the hands of the very people who spread misinformation and disinformation online and elsewhere.

            It was clearly a 'tongue in cheek' observation introducing humour into an otherwise deeply profound problem. And it was much appreciated by audience. When you consider the majority of people, including me, have thought and vocalised similar observations (if they are being honest) then the so-called misdemeanour can be placed well down the scale of importance with the over-all speech.

            • weka 7.1.1.2.1.1

              I don't know what she meant. I understood everything else she said, but that bit was just weird. Maybe she meant it to be humorous, maybe she meant it to be an explanation of how she manages the intense online abuse she gets (given she does her own social media), or maybe she meant something else. Who knows? (and let's bear in mind that the teleprompter was malfunctioning so maybe what she said isn't exactly what was written)

              It doesn't matter though, what you and I think she intended. People will interpret speeches (and posts, and comments) in lots of different ways. And this was the Prime Minister standing up on an international stage slurring keyboard warriors as grubby loners. It's not a misdemeanour, it's another in a line of faux pas, or maybe it's actually intentional othering, that adds to the division and muddies the kindness messaging. Let's be kind, but not you filthy people over there, you are to be condemned.

              Play the ball not the man. Point a finger at the behaviour and address that, don't marginalise citizens as you do that, not if you want social cohesion and to call in people who are being radicalised away from the left or even the centre.

              In case you think I'm concerned about the people online abusing others, I'm not. I'm concerned about society and the people on the fence being radicalised and how this is going to play out if we keep ostracising those people instead of calling them in.

              • Anne

                She was trying to give her audience something to laugh about. They were reeling from yet another terrible massacre brought on no doubt by yet another person who has been radicalised online by (unwashed) evil creeps who stalk the internet targeting vulnerable individuals.

                She has not marginalised citizens. Indeed she talks of being "inclusive" of those who have chosen to take a different viewpoint. As far as NZ is concerned, VFF is likely the movement she was referring to.

                • weka

                  Do you not think of VFF people as citizens Anne?

                  • Patricia Bremner

                    The question is "Do they want to be citizens?" No amount of calling in works with those determined to be obnoxious.

                    I personally see Hosking as one of those. If that is othering, and we are meant to continually be kind…sorry, Jacinda gave him a great deal of her time and he just became more rude. I stopped listening.

                    What was the intent of the comment? Being kind does not mean endlessly accepting rubbish or an ever changing point of view or cruel lies. So to protect her psyche she pictures a lone wolf try hard who has been there for too long and is nothing like the keyboard warrior they think they are.

                    Perhaps like many I am over stating it but that was my understanding. Protecting her psyche from the attacks. Just her method to cope.

                    • weka

                      I have no problem her protecting her psyche by imagining that. I have a big problem with her using the imagery in a major international speech.

                      No amount of calling in works with those determined to be obnoxious.

                      you're missing the point (so are many others). It's the people not yet radicalised or obnoxious or those willing to change that we need to call in. It's the family and friends. It's the people who get a sense of belonging from VFF or the parliament protests and who know that a large chunk of the left thinks they are deplorables so they're shifting away from the Labour government. The people I know aren't online abusers, they're the people we urgently need to build bridges with instead of writing them off.

                      I really don't know why this is not obvious. It's a similar dynamic as radicalisation of Muslims pre-9/11. We made that mistake and haven't seemed to learn from it. If you treat people like shit they will go where they get treated better, it's just basic human need.

                  • Anne

                    Now you're talking in riddles weka.

                    I don't like their messages which are based on mis and disinformation and I certainly don't approve of their modus operandi and am happy to say so. But I have never envisaged them as being anything other than NZ citizens like the rest of us.

                • weka

                  She was trying to give her audience something to laugh about. They were reeling from yet another terrible massacre brought on no doubt by yet another person who has been radicalised online by (unwashed) evil creeps who stalk the internet targeting vulnerable individuals.

                  Here's what you say then: mass shootings are a problem of male culture. the men who do them are almost always also men who abuse women in their lives. Men aren't evil or bad, they get socialised into appalling behaviours in many ways: poverty, racism, physical, mental and sexual abuse, capitalism telling them they are worthless unless they make lots of money, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, focus on individual attainment, the patriarchy telling them they are useless unless they are macho and aggressive, and now also a massive problematic technology that is being run by tech bros with no social conscience and/or little social intelligence and who allow the worst of our societies to silo themselves off and foment discord and violence.

                  But she's not going to say that is she, because that would open the door to poverty in NZ and how this perpetuates male violence.

                  You want 'them' to disappear Anne, but the evidence is clear that if you don't call people in, if you don't give them a place to belong, they will go somewhere else to get those things.

                  This is happening as we speak. Not just men, but men are the ones that end up doing the shooting and much of the online abuse that Ardern gets.

                  • Anne

                    Now you have gone completely over the top and totally off-topic too.

                    I'm not saying any of that rant at all. Perhaps you might like to apologise and I will forget it happened.

                    • weka

                      there's a lot of miscommunication today Anne. Please reread what I wrote and substitute "Here's what you say then" with "Here's what one says then". I wasn't meaning *you, I was meaning this is what could be said instead.

            • SPC 7.1.1.2.1.2

              The receptive audience for such comments represents the division in their neo-liberal ruled society. One side looks down on the red MAGA cap wearers and the other exploits them for votes.

          • mickysavage 7.1.1.2.2

            "lazy slur"

            I have to disagree with you Weka. From what I see day after day Ardern gets hounded by some pretty egregious stuff. The Herald and Kiwiblog have had to moderate pretty intensively to deal with it. Hoping there will be some sort of accommodation with these people is like thinking that talking to Trump will change his ways.

            • weka 7.1.1.2.2.1

              not sure what you mean micky. Obviously Ardern is subjected to heavy duty abuse and I'm sure we don't see the worst of it. This is bog standard stuff for high profile feminists online.

              The lazy slur isn't denying that, it's pointing out that how she talked about keyboard warriors including the stereotype of loner slob. I thought that stereotype was a lazy slur.

    • weka 7.2

      it was classic 'us vs them' narrative. Two New Zealands. Doesn't matter how you took it, or what Ardern meant (who knows?), what matters is the increasing number of people in NZ who will see that as a poke at them. Think the VFF crowd especially. The more we ostracise them the stronger they become.

      No politician should talk about citizens like this. She's an expert communicator and this was just stupid framing. She could easily have pointed to people using the internet to promote extremism (if that's what she meant) without resorting to lazy memes that are going to be misconstrued and that create more division.

      • Anne 7.2.1

        It was all about the vile, sinister creeps who wander the internet dispensing hatred and violent calls to arms – not a bunch of gullible fools like the VFF crowd.

        • weka 7.2.1.1

          Pity she didn't say that then, but even there play the ball not the man. You cannot in a few sentences convey that nuance and get people to understand it.

          How many of the filthy people do you think are Harvard grads? Quite a few I would guess.

      • Populuxe1 7.2.2

        I'm quite content for the wounded male egos who think horse jokes are funny to be a "them" rather than an "us". Ta.

        • weka 7.2.2.1

          fine. Just don't complain as this gets worse and those movements grow.

          I on the other hand, as a woman, don't want that stuff getting worse. I don't want more men in my community or online to think that treating people this way is ok, nor do I want more people in my community abandoning the left.

          • Populuxe1 7.2.2.1.1

            The PM is also a woman and you haven't once acknowledged how a good deal of the vitriol directed at her is largely motivated by that fact. If you don't want more men in your community or online to think that treating people this way is ok, don't white knight for them just because the PM made a weaksauce mum joke that you seem intent on spinning out of all proportion. And please, anyone carrying on like this abandoned the left long ago.

            • weka 7.2.2.1.1.1

              The PM is also a woman and you haven't once acknowledged how a good deal of the vitriol directed at her is largely motivated by that fact.

              Because it's such an obviousness it doesn't need explaining here. I've written posts about male violence, shooting, what gets directed at women, so please don't splain me.

              If you don't want more men in your community or online to think that treating people this way is ok, don't white knight for them just because the PM made a weaksauce mum joke that you seem intent on spinning out of all proportion.

              so now it's starting to piss me off, that you still don't get what I am saying. I'm not supporting online abusers, I'm pointing to the social dynamics about why they exist and what our options are for changing that behaviour. If you can 't be arsed getting my point, then at least please stop talking to me as if I mean something else.

              And please, anyone carrying on like this abandoned the left long ago.

              You really have no idea what is going on. I'm seeing people who voted left in 2020 now arguing against the Labour government.

              • Belladonna

                "You really have no idea what is going on. I'm seeing people who voted left in 2020 now arguing against the Labour government."

                Worse, I'm seeing/hearing people who voted Labour in 2017 (when it was almost a lost cause – no one thought they'd really get in), arguing against the Labour Government.

                2020 was almost entirely a referendum on Jacinda's leadership throughout Covid. Many centre and centrist, and even right of centre voters, voted 'Jacinda' – without buying into the Labour policy platform.

                But for the 2017 voters to be questioning the government, means that they're starting to lose some of their core support.

                • weka

                  that's concerning. Labour will be aware of this and it does explain some of what they do (including pandemic response).

              • Populuxe1

                Because it's such an obviousness it doesn't need explaining here. I've written posts about male violence, shooting, what gets directed at women, so please don't splain me.

                Probably because it's completely baffling as to how you are able to be simultaneoulsy concerned about male violence and yet go in on the PM for sharing her strategy for coping with said male violence online.

                so now it's starting to piss me off, that you still don't get what I am saying. I'm not supporting online abusers, I'm pointing to the social dynamics about why they exist and what our options are for changing that behaviour. If you can 't be arsed getting my point, then at least please stop talking to me as if I mean something else.

                Sure. Multiple commentors don't get your point or don't agree with your point. It's my fault. Clearly. I don't think you are supporting online abusers, I think pearl-clutching because a PM draws attention to it, hamfistedly or not, regardless of how she phrases it, sends a shitty message about what we should or shouldn't tolerate in society, regardless of your reason.

                You really have no idea what is going on. I'm seeing people who voted left in 2020 now arguing against the Labour government.

                Aside from the fact a rump of people voted for Labour in 2020 because the idea of an imploding National party trying to pick up the reins in the middle of a global pandemic wasn't that appealing, some of Labour's recent proposed law changes are on the extreme side and unpalatable to a lot of us. We all know how you feel about self ID for example.

                • weka

                  Probably because it's completely baffling as to how you are able to be simultaneoulsy concerned about male violence and yet go in on the PM for sharing her strategy for coping with said male violence online.

                  Let me explain one more time then. It's how the Prime Minister described her coping strategy. By dehumanising citizens of the country she is governing. In the context of us having increasing polarisation and divisions and being on the cusp of alt right radicalisation and violence.

                  You think they're a bunch of fuckwits who deserve ostracisation. I think the people around them are moving away from our centre left government and I'm concerned about where that is going to end up.

                  Ardern could have talked about her personal coping in a way that didn't demean people.

                  Sure. Multiple commentors don't get your point or don't agree with your point. It's my fault. Clearly. I don't think you are supporting online abusers, I think pearl-clutching because a PM draws attention to it, hamfistedly or not, regardless of how she phrases it, sends a shitty message about what we should or shouldn't tolerate in society, regardless of your reason.

                  Nice deflection but it's actually you who is making shit up about what I am saying. You said,

                  don't white knight for them just because the PM made a weaksauce mum joke that you seem intent on spinning out of all proportion.

                  I've said more than once that it's not the people abusing PM I am concerned about, I'm not trying to save them. I'm pointing to dynamics that you refuse to recognise. I don't get the impression it's because you disagree so much as you don't get it.

                  Aside from the fact a rump of people voted for Labour in 2020 because the idea of an imploding National party trying to pick up the reins in the middle of a global pandemic wasn't that appealing, some of Labour's recent proposed law changes are on the extreme side and unpalatable to a lot of us. We all know how you feel about self ID for example.

                  Don't really know what you are getting at there, but I'm talking about people who have usually or always voted on the left, now politically homeless. From gender stuff or freedom stuff, it's a similar dynamic. So when I said people who voted left in 2020, it was in response to you saying they left the left a long time ago, and I'm pointing out that there are people you are apparently unaware of and in denial of.

                  I'm no saying this will affect the 2023 election. I'm saying that the left should be concerned about people ending up hating centre left governments when they used to support them.

    • Stuart Munro 7.3

      I wonder if she meant Rorschach.

  8. Agreed, Jacinda was referring to the fringe conspiracy element like Counterspin and VFF. The ones who desecrated the Parliament lawn and war memorial. The guys who follow her around the country and try to disrupt every press conference. The arseholes who attacked vaccination centres. The criminals who send her death threats.

    The rabble of Q-Anon MAGA nuts, heads full of disinformation and lies from Trump, Alex Jones or Tucker Carlson (or worse), who then go on to attempt to overthrow governments, and cause widespread social disruption by intimidation tactics with convoys of chaos.

    I really don't know the solution, but social media narratives are dividing us and making many go crazy, by manipulating human herd instincts

    • weka 8.1

      the people sitting on the VFF fence, do you think they will listen to that speech and hear Ardern's message about self responsibility online? Or do you think they will hear her poking at the people who take them seriously?

      If you think the latter and you think it doesn't matter that the PM is insulting NZ citizens, what do you think should happen to those people?

      • roblogic 8.1.1

        It is difficult to know how to respond to alt right insurrectionists. The paradox of tolerance

        • weka 8.1.1.1

          Clark is part of a sub culture that specialised in understanding extremism and looking at ways of addressing it. They're not generally very good at calling in the people on the fence or who are still able to be reached. Ostracisation is a primary tool.

          I'm thinking about the people I know (quite a lot of them) who are anti Labour because of the mandates. These are people who have historically voted on the left. We might get really lucky and they vote Green next election, or they don't bother voting. Some will waste votes or god forbid vote TOP.

          Some of them are people who have voted on the right, because that's the background they come out of, but in reality they're probably swing voters. The ones that decide elections in NZ.

          At the moment Labour can afford that. But the left cannot. We really cannot afford to ostracise progressives if in the long run we want to hold NZ on a course of transition to post-carbon, or avoid a RW backlash.

          It's pretty much the same dynamic happening to left GCFs who are now politically homeless and refuse to vote for Labour or the Greens.

          That the left considers itself so righteous that it can dispose of people that it doesn't agree with just blows my mind, again and again.

          Ardern was talking about people being abusive online. But the slur cast a wider net, because she's already established there are two NZs and here she is doing it again. Everyone I know of the above groups would condemn online abuse, but there would be a but. Yes it's wrong, but…

          In that space there is the opportunity to connect, be kind, call people in. Or push them away and tell them they're disposable, deplorable, whatever, because we think they are few in number. It's like we've learned nothing about radicalisation.

          The actual hard core alt right, throw everything we've got at the problem, address the behaviours and the way power is being accumulated and used. But that alone will not work because they are better resourced than us and better organised and they've been planning a long time. That we push people their way is just bizarre.

          • Kat 8.1.1.1.1

            The PM was describing what she 'imagined' a keyboard warrior who posts something "especially horrific" on her feed looks like. Her imagining is also a fairly common perception of internet bullies. The notion that this description of her imagining, in the context of her speech, is somehow harmful, draws a very long bow.

            In the next sentence of her speech she went on to say: "Keyboard warrior or not though, it’s still something that has been written by a human, and it’s something that has been read by one too……"

            Here the PM leaves it up to her audience to imagine for themselves. When I heard those words I imagined a pale person in a blue suit. Then a person in a yellow jacket. Then a person behind a news desk. Then a voice on the radio. Then a person out in the fields, on a boat, in a bus, in a ute, on a tractor, in a classroom……..

            Given her audience perhaps Jacinda wanted to channel Abraham Lincoln: "Better to remain silent and be thought a keyboard warrior than to type and to remove all doubt…."

            • weka 8.1.1.1.1.1

              as I said to Incognito below, the fact that we have to explain what we thought she meant suggests to me it was vague enough to be understood in multiple ways. When I first listened, I was enthralled, and I had a good grasp of what she was saying, the arguments she was making. But that bit didn't make as much sense. I won't be the only one.

              The PM was describing what she 'imagined' a keyboard warrior who posts something "especially horrific" on her feed looks like. Her imagining is also a fairly common perception of internet bullies. The notion that this description of her imagining, in the context of her speech, is somehow harmful, draws a very long bow.

              funny how you left out the bit I was pointing to. What you just said sounds reasonable. I was pointing to the labelling of those people as loner slobs. Of course Ardern supporters will hear what she says in a positive light. It's the people who don't that I'm talking about. She's the PM, it's just hugely problematic to talk about citizens in that way no matter how she copes with it personally (and all power to her coping).

              • Kat

                That is the point, I don't see the PM in the context of her speech truthfully describing her imaginings or common perceptions as being hugely problematic. On the contrary that is her signature cut through and continues to reflect the breath of fresh air label bestowed on her when she first became PM.

                • weka

                  here's how AB reframed it below,

                  "It is tempting to think of keyboard warriors as being like the guy in the baggy track pants with poor hygiene, but to do that is to reciprocate their hatred with derision".

                  To me this (or something similar) does the personal touch as well as avoiding the demeaning stuff. Followed up with the comment about both people being human would be ka pai.

                  I don't want to be nitpicking here, it was a great speech. Mostly I'm bothered by how many lefties think that demeaning people is justified.

                  • Kat

                    I do think some consideration of the demographic of the audience is important and that this speech took place in America not NZ.

                    We may have exhausted the topic now 🙂

            • Incognito 8.1.1.1.1.2

              Here the PM leaves it up to her audience to imagine for themselves.

              QFT, thank you.

            • Kiwijoker 8.1.1.1.1.3

              You’ve nailed it.

      • Populuxe1 8.1.2

        She could have sung "Somewhere over the Rainbow" and they'd still be accusing her of being a trans, horse-faced communist freemason injecting poison into the veins of the children for the NWO. What they think is largely irrelevant because they aren't listening anyway.

        • weka 8.1.2.1

          who is 'they'?

          • Populuxe1 8.1.2.1.1

            The people who make the comments that her deliberately cringe, very weak joke (which for some unfathomable reason you insist on comparing to Hillary Clinton calling MAGA types "deplorables" in serious earnestness) was aimed at.

            • roblogic 8.1.2.1.1.1

              Yeah I don’t see how Jacinda pandering to the lunatic fringe is going to help improve the political discourse in Aotearoa. The Government has shown a lot of patience with its pro-vaccine PR campaigns and attempts to be reasonable.

              This government is actually doing a hell of a lot to address the deep seated problems we face, more than any in history probably, but disinformation is pernicious and dangerous, a more extreme form of dirty politics that is poisoning the minds of our most vulnerable groups.

              Jacinda is recognised around the world as a different kind of politician, a stunning contrast to the negative politics of division that has blighted the world lately. I think it’s fair enough for her to name her foes, who have made themselves the enemies of democracy by their own admission and endless abuse of her personally. They are the tools of antidemocratic, regressive forces that prefer to stay anonymous.

              Tolerance of difference doesn’t mean staying silent or polite when they do something offensive or spew defamatory lies.

              • weka

                Yeah I don’t see how Jacinda pandering to the lunatic fringe is going to help improve the political discourse in Aotearoa

                Are you meaning that this is what I am suggesting?

                • Stuart Munro

                  Consider the context – the PM and many of her ministers receive abuse and threats daily, some of which result in legal action.

                  Her stereotype of the authors is pretty mild in the circumstances – an objective description would be less charitable.

                  • weka

                    even if you believe that describing people in negative stereotypes is ok, it's still a problem in that it reinforces division.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      The "gentleman" that has been threatening to kill the PM, and many of his fellow travelers, are far beyond redemption through simple politeness.

                      They have in fact reached the point where they need to be called out. That will increase division also, but outside their toxic echo chambers their narratives, like those of Amber Heard, tend to prove less popular than they assume.

                    • weka

                      what gentleman?

                      You seem to have missed my point Stuart. Maybe read my other comments. I'm not suggesting what you think I am.

                    • weka

                      obviously people issuing death threats need to be held accountable and I said as much during the parliament protests (which is the death threats I am aware of).

                      You should know me well enough to know that this isn't about politeness and honestly I'm sick of the binary thinking on display here.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      I'm sick of the binary thinking

                      Yes – I've had your version of 'nuance' pointed at me before.

                      Didn't buy it then, and don't buy it now.

                      The PM is grappling with the issue of dealing with what are in fact hostiles. Even if they are not a credible threat to the PM, they would certainly like to be – and they are a threat to our system of governance. It's important not to pander to or appease de facto hostiles – they will only take advantage.

                    • weka

                      It's important not to pander to or appease de factohostiles – they will only take advantage.

                      who are you talking about exactly? If you mean men online abusing Ardern, then I would agree, so please stop talking to me as if I am saying appease them.

                      Seriously, all day it's been like this. Read your last few comments and see how little clarity you are giving. Who are the gentlemen? Who are the hostiles? I'm sure you know who you mean, but I don't.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Somehow you leave squaring the circle between not employing negative stereotypes and calling a hostile a hostile in our court.

                      Among deepsea fishermen, we prefer to call a spade a fucking shovel.

                    • weka []

                      connect the replies so you see them (above) 🙂

                    • weka

                      It's pretty fucking simple.

                      People who abuse others online (the problem is the behaviour, go hard against that)

                      Loner slobs (let's focus on undermining them instead using stereotypes ('deplorables') which is also an inverse dog whistle to all the other people who feel undermined by JA/Labour)

                      It's obvious from a moderators pov.

                    • weka

                      and if Ardern was a deep sea fisherman, she could call them whatever she wants. But she's not, she's the Prime Minister of a country that has adopted kindness politics and she's speaking on a very public state to a large groups of privileged people.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      The PM is busy – it's unlikely she understands otakus (they kill gamified aliens, not politicians). No harm done though.

                      When you find yourself echoing Pagani, you've taken a wrong turn.

        • mickysavage 8.1.2.2

          Amen to that.

      • Patricia Bremner 8.1.3

        Personally I see Paganin's response as deliberate offence. A bit like the rapist’s "She shouldn't be out alone at night she asked for it.".

        It is as if the PM should accept that treatment and keep her kind mantra which Paganini then says has worn thin.

        Talk about contradictions and ridiculous long straws of offence. Give that Paganini woman the whole cake.

        Weka, I do understand the PM could have phrased it better, but perfection is of the Gods. PM did say "When I see something really vile"

  9. weka 9

    Don't know why this has to be explained in TS of all places, but play the ball not the man. Especially if you are the bloody Prime Minister.

  10. Johnny on the Spot 10

    You are so right about Pagani!

  11. DB Brown 11

    Edited version.

    Get a damn grip.

    She's explaining how she uses humor to get her through some of the dark nasty crap she has to deal with.

    The only victims here are self appointed.

    • weka 11.1

      river of filth.

      • DB Brown 11.1.1

        Pardon?

        I didn’t like that part of the speech for different reasons. She didn’t need to mansplain keyboard warrior to us.

        • weka 11.1.1.1

          this is the problem of sound bite comments.

          Get a damn grip.

          who?

          She's explaining how she uses humor to get her through some of the dark nasty crap she has to deal with.

          probably, but it wasn't apparent what she was doing, and some of us said it's still a problem and explained how.

          The only victims here are self appointed.

          who are the victims?

          • DB Brown 11.1.1.1.1

            You're right I could have done better. But it's all a bit daft. I don't get you on this and I know you're not (typically) prone to being daft… ? Not being patronising – Are you OK?

            For me – it annoys me this intensity of focus on soundbites. Smacks of cancel culture getting one thing to hold up and decry 'this is no good' when really it's F-all. So the speech gets an A instead of an A-plus. But that doesn't warrant an inquisition.

            The expectation of perfection stifles us to express ourselves honestly. It demands tiptoeing round while the world burns. Ardern bravely addressed many elephants in the room in her speech, and while in the USA in general.

            She's not over there cosying up to power and putting herself above the fray, she's somehow balancing the above with diplomacy and class.

            The mandates are largely over, why are the protestors still whining? Chips on shoulders?

            One thing I've noticed with a fair few of the protestor types I know, they had massive chips on their shoulders well before covid.

            The working class are not some political football to be coerced left and right. They can make their own minds up – if only they had a diet of facts. The PM has been trying to address that too.

            • weka 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Thanks DB. Some stuff happening locally that makes it more personal than usual. And I do have strong beliefs that we have to get past ostracising people we disagree with if we're going to do things like transition to low carbon in the time frame required. I see the whole system and how it interconnects and this issue, of how we treat opponents is very high on my list of things that scare me (after climate). I've been watching (and talking about it) for many years, mostly about what the right have been doing. Time we looked at our own nest as well.

              Agree about the perfection thing. For me it's less of an issue that Ardern had a bum note in an otherwise outstanding speech, than it is that so many lefties here don't get what the problem is. But fair dos, it's gotten us all a bit het up.

              The mandates are largely over, why are the protestors still whining? Chips on shoulders?

              They're not, they're organising. And the left is oblivious to this. The organising I see is good, but I worry about the stuff I don't see in the grimmer parts of the webs and society.

      • Jilly Bee 11.1.2

        'river of filth' – I immediately took Michael Wood's comment quite literally, as there was a substantial river of filth that had been excreted, peed and generally deposited by those who had taken up residence on the lawn flowing down the gutters. I thought of far worse words to describe those so called humans who had desecrated the Parliament lawn and war memorial. Some of the commenters on social media who let their over stimulated minds run riot also fit that description as well. I think the PM has described them very aptly.

        • weka 11.1.2.1

          I thought of far worse words to describe those so called humans who had desecrated the Parliament lawn and war memorial.

          and if you were PM or an MP you really shouldn't say them out loud.

          How do you see this going? Do you think VFF etc are just going to fade away? What happens if they grow into a political movement with power? You see what's happening in the US right? What Ardern was pointing to, in the US it's probably too late to change that, here we still have a choice. Do we want the kind of division in society that leads to men going into schools (or workplaces or parliament) and doing mass murder? Do you think the Chch shooter was an anomaly and that NZ is somehow immune to growing such people ourselves?

    • mac1 11.2

      And 'uses humour' to do it. Sometimes that is the best way to deal with bleakness- gallows humour.

      An earlier reaction I had to the criticism was to use the point of view of some from the right when challenged about something they said that was 'less than parliamentary'. They'd say, "It's a joke, geddit?"

      But as I wrote above, there is an element of pity in her imagings to me. Pity that transforms the attempt at hurt into a means of kindness, even understanding, and let the transformation allow her equanimity of mind. It's a way to avoid the rabbit hole of depression and a way to deal with hatred.

      She restyled the attack into something far less harmful.

      Decades ago, when I had lost an election, coming second, I was greeted by a former student who bellowed across the field at a festival, "Loser!"

      Technically he was right. But I rephrased his attack upon me, knowing him as I did, that he was the loser.Winners don't mock their opponents and still keep respect.

      Humour is a better reply to anonymous vitriol. If nothing else, it shows that such attacks are not finding a deep mark, and also that they demean the attacker.

      "Loser!"

      Who is the loser here? Who is the one to be pitied? I watched a movie last night, "Mona Lisa Smile", where the vitriolic writer of hateful articles in the 1953 fashionable (like Harvard) American university student newspaper, vituperative and manipulative, out to hurt and dismay, was overcome by her intended victim who showed her love and compassion, instead hugging this woman who was lacking love from family and trophy husband alike.

      Her intended victim instead saw the smelly, deformed Superwoman disguise, of the 1950s ideal of American womanhood, that she had been given. A remarkable moment in the film, and most unexpected, especially from the character who displayed her understanding and pity.

      • SPC 11.2.1

        Decades ago, when I had lost an election, coming second, I was greeted by a former student who bellowed across the field at a festival,

        I remember something … not that similar. It was Wellington on a Saturday in 1981 after a game of rugby which New Zealand's AB's lost – and someone shouted at me (and others) over and over that "you lost". I merely replied with words to the effect, tell us all how you feel (the marshalls did a good job of restraining the "mouth frothing redneck").

        But as I wrote above, there is an element of pity in her imagings to me. Pity that transforms the attempt at hurt into a means of kindness, even understanding, and let the transformation allow her equanimity of mind. It's a way to avoid the rabbit hole of depression and a way to deal with hatred

        Maybe Saint Jacinda just considers them to be orcs.

  12. Bazza64 12

    Ironic that Jacinda’s speech was about the need for democratic systems & informed debate. Perhaps she should have been more upfront with Harvard & explained that she was trying to move NZ away from a democratic state to something race based. And you don’t tell the electorate that you are going to do, you just quietly bring it in bit by bit. Her only response about co-governance was the she feared it was becoming politicised. Shit, if co-governance isn’t political then nothing is. No need for informed debate when the PM won’t even front the topic in detail.

    Threats against any politician (verbal or actual) are never acceptable. But I can understand why our PM seems to be the most hated in recent times & I hear this from many people who voted for her.

    Yes she looked & sounded impressive at Harvard, but dig a little under the shiny veneer & there is huge disappointment for many.

    • Populuxe1 12.1

      Demographically speaking it's been "race-based" for 182 years now. That's kind of the problem.

      • Bazza64 12.1.1

        It hasn't been race based for 182 years. In the early days maybe it was & that was clearly wrong. But it has been majority based for a long time (as every democracy is & has to be, otherwise it's not democratic). Maori seats were brought in to ensure Maori could aggregate their vote to get Maori representation in parliament, which has worked well for them . Look how much Maori representation we have in parliament under our pre-Jacinda democratic system – is that not a good thing ?

    • SPC 12.2

      The feared co-governance is merely

      1. partnership in management of public land and water assets (guardianship of the public estate – land seized off iwi)

      2. greater involvement of Maori in the delivery to Maori (Maori Health Authority in addition to whana ora – which was brought in under a National government).

    • Alan 12.3

      best comment today Bazza

    • Incognito 12.4

      Nothing in Ardern’s speech about co-governance!?

  13. Incognito 13

    It’s disappointing but not too surprising that a lazy commentator and media-shill such as Pagani had to zoom in on Ardern’s keyboard warrior comment and use it as a pivot to attack Ardern’s personality trait of kindness.

    Of course, the term keyboard warrior is a metaphor to start with.

    In this light, I read Ardern’s brief comment as a metaphor too. Metaphorically, she described an aggressive person who uses their device as a violent weapon to lash out and attack others in anger and in an irrational state of raw uncontrolled emotions. Their online persona at the time is of somebody who feels invincible, untouchable, all-powerful and protected from counter-attacks in the safety of their homes and shielded behind the anonymity of their made-up online usernames. They don’t think and consider the consequences and impact their actions may have on others – they act with the mental age of a small child. I’m with Ardern on this, if that’s what she meant by her words and if so, I’d have added “grow up”.

    The written version of the speech can be found here: https://www.beehive.govt.nz/speech/harvard-commencement-speech-democracy-disinformation-and-kindness

    • RedLogix 13.1

      Yeah – it reads as an excellent speech with just one teensy controversial point.

      Well I guess all the keyboard warriors needed something to scrap over.

      • SPC 13.1.1

        The use of the terms bottom feeders and deplorables …etc inform the public as to the nature of the neo-liberal ruling class.

        These can be quite revealing – the term secular left behind used by those of the rapture movement for example – it can be seen as expression of ambition for control of SCOTUS and return Jim Crow era voter suppression, ending the gains of the civil liberties era of the 60’s/70’s step by step).

      • Populuxe1 13.1.2

        Anyone want to borrow some pearls to clutch? Mine are cultured.

      • Incognito 13.1.3

        laugh good one!

        Ardern made it very clear whom she had in mind when she singled out the ones who write and post online something “especially horrific”. If anybody feels they qualify for this category (aka if the shoe fits) they may have some reason to feel offended by Ardern’s comment, but I reckon they’d exist in that state semi-permanently anyway, by personal choice and not because of Ardern personally. People who clearly not qualify have no reason to feel that Ardern’s comment was addressed to them.

        The group of keyboard warriors Ardern singled may actually (and hopefully) be a very select and small group of people, such as the Dirty Dozen at the Parliament grounds occupation, aided by a much larger group of unthinking followers, i.e., quite literally keystrokers who have the finger on Likes buttons. The unthinking followers by definition belong to the group of readers that Ardern also referred to.

      • Patricia Bremner 13.1.4

        smiley Yes I think so. They pounced!!

    • SPC 13.2

      Yet being anonymous is actually important to have and exercise free speech safely from ones home or personal device (note NSO will allow governments to spy on these).

      Few people, such as members of SCOTUS, get immediate help (GOP in Congress) when they come under threat.

    • weka 13.3

      That's maybe the fourth interpretation of her words that I've seen, which tells me more than anything that that paragraph was off linguistically and that the metaphor failed to land in the way intended.

      I was watching enthralled by the speech and when she said that bit, I was like whoa! did she actually say that, how weird. It did jar.

      It's also off politically, which is what I've been arguing today. I also think it's unfortunate that Pagani does this (really, she should just start a centrist party and get the legitimacy for her views that way).

      I like the explanation of metaphor, and I don't particularly disagree with your parsing of the metaphor. The problem I have is that she described the person in demeaning terms.

      It was interest that she both softened this and made it more pointed when she said,

      Keyboard warrior or not though, it’s still something that has been written by a human, and it’s something that has been read by one too.

      Not softening/making more pointed the demeaning, but the actual point she was trying to make: it's two sets of humans involved. Unfortunately some here want one of the humans to be dehumanised, and this never leads to anything good.

  14. Just Saying 14

    As one who was a leftwing (female) foot soldier, how I felt about Adern's swipe against deplorables like me for daring to criticise her government's divisive and dangerous policy:

    • The soldier came knocking upon the queen's door
      He said, "I am not fighting for you any more"
      The queen knew she'd seen his face someplace before
      And slowly she let him inside……………………

      ……….. But the crown, it had fallen, and she thought she would break
      And she stood there, ashamed of the way her heart ached
      And she took him to the doorstep and she asked him to wait
      She would only be a moment inside

      Out in the distance her order was heard
      And the soldier was killed, still waiting for her word
      And while the queen went on strangling in the solitude she preferred
      The battle continued on

      Songwriters: Suzanne Vega. For non-commercial use only.

  15. Reality 15

    Considering the wretched, vile, abusive, threatening stuff the PM is subjected to, I can well understand her giving her frank opinion on what she thinks. Turning the other cheek always is just beyond possible. Sometimes the blunt truth needs to be spoken.

    The tall poppy let's knock her down types, conservative often older males who cannot accept a young, vibrant, female PM, who basically are angry and jealous, lurk in the shadows in New Zealand. What is puzzling is that so-called left, centre- left commenters here criticise the PM a lot in comparison to the right who always support their politicians even when they have stepped out of line. Greater loyalty perhaps?

  16. AB 16

    It was a weak joke – but didn't detract greatly from an otherwise pretty good speech. An Ardern on top of her game would have inverted the joke and said: "It is tempting to think of keyboard warriors as being like the guy in the baggy track pants with poor hygiene, but to do that is to reciprocate their hatred with derision". Or something genuinely classy like that. Maybe she's tired (most of us would be dead with that workload), or maybe she needs a better speechwriter.

    But that's a bit of a sideshow. I was much more perturbed by how an audience made up of the financial/economic elite of Harvard, lapped up everything she said. If on the tech giants she had said – "it's unacceptable for this much power to ever be in unaccountable, private hands. The only legitimate power flows from democratic processes. Therefore these platforms need to be nationalised and turned into well-regulated public utilities and free to the public as part of an integrated system of Universal Basic Services and Income" – probably she would have been booed. Which would have been something to cheer about.

    • weka 16.1

      "It is tempting to think of keyboard warriors as being like the guy in the baggy track pants with poor hygiene, but to do that is to reciprocate their hatred with derision".

      omg, that is perfect. Thank-you.

      Fuck, when someone says something in twenty words that I couldn't get that clear in twenty comments.

      Or something genuinely classy like that. Maybe she's tired (most of us would be dead with that workload), or maybe she needs a better speechwriter.

      yep.

      • Robert Guyton 16.1.1

        I don't agree. Hers was a personal comment (I feel…imo…) this tiny expression, real expression of how Jacinda feels about people who have "keyboard-attacked" her, is genuine and justified. Measured too. She simply described how she classifies/envisages/contains what must be a sometimes appalling engagement from those "warriors" – it's a personal, humorous/realistic "release" into the world, of pressure that must be, in reality, intense and spiritually-damaging attacks from people plunked in front of their computers, keen to cause hurt. The advice to "picture your audience naked" is not an encouragement to demean those in front of you, it's meant as an equaliser – a method of reducing the perceived power a potentially-harmful crowd to something you can interact comfortably with. Jacinda has brought those corrosive agents down to something un-threatening, as she must, if she is to survive their attacks. Imagination is a powerful agency – controlling negative images requires the sort of approach that Jacinda has described. I support her action.

        • weka 16.1.1.1

          picture your audience naked is in fact neutral though.

          I hear what you are saying, and agree largely, I just think that AB's sentence (or similar) does this without the other problematic bits.

        • Anne 16.1.1.2

          Thank you Robert. Your description of Jacinda's motivation is so much better than my attempts earlier today.

          I have met Jacinda several times. I know she is the genuine article. Gentle, compassionate and kind. Many people try to portray her as false and putting on airs and graces. It is no surprise that most are right wing National and ACT supporters incapable of conceiving that a politician can actually have those admirable qualities in abundance.

          I think we would be flabbergasted if we knew the depth of filth and depravity in many of the comments/statements she has seen and personally received since she became PM. Yet she has not once revealed the actual nature of them or tried to use them to her advantage. She's strong and gutsy. We should all be celebrating how lucky we are – not trying to put her down.

        • Patricia Bremner 16.1.1.3

          I felt that Robert. She was describing a method of coping, not anyone person.

        • Just Saying 16.1.1.4

          Robert, who had the power here?

          There is an assumption Ardern was being victimised. She wasn't being victimised by the protestors. She abused her power and victimised those who didn't 'voluntarily' comply with the vaccine. Her government set up a nasty punishment system affecting almost every area of their lives, despite 98% vaccine compliance. It promoted hostile vigilantism against a tiny segment of the population. There was no health or safety issue involved beyond threatening the security of those targeted. I see this as unconscionable.

          This nasty, pointless, authoritarianism horrified and appalled me. And now from a grand platform Ardern chose to take another swipe. She could have chosen the opposite approach. Where there is care and respect we make the effort to repair.

          From rhetoric laden with terms of filth, scum and excrement, the Standard lost one of its authors. Did anyone stop to think how hurtful that would have been for that author? Who knows about the non-authors, whether visitors, readers or commenters that it also eliminated in the frenzy. And still so little reflection and no attempt at repair.

          • Anne 16.1.1.4.1

            What a sad and distorted diatribe from Just Saying.

          • Robert Guyton 16.1.1.4.2

            The protesters, Just Saying? Jacinda Ardern's comments were aimed at the "keyboard warriors" who have sent unpleasant messages in her direction. I didn't think she was referring only to the protesters et al, involved in the anti-mandate movement. Maybe I missed this. You seem to have laid your mandate-anxieties across this issue – have I read you wrong?

            • Just Saying 16.1.1.4.2.1

              I think it was pretty clear who she was taking a swipe at Robert. Even you say:

              I didn't think she was referring only to the protesters et al, involved in the anti-mandate movement. (emboldening mine).

              • weka

                she's clearly talking about keyboard warriors, so sure, to the extent that the anti-mandate movement accepted that into their culture, then it refers to them, but pretty obliquely. She clearly names people who are being abusive online, why are you assuming this is a reference to the anti-mandate protestors?

                There’s a term that gets thrown around a lot – keyboard warrior. It’s used to refer to someone who makes aggressive or abusive posts online, often anonymously. I like the name. In my mind, when I read something especially horrific on my feed, I imagine it’s written by a lone person unacquainted with personal hygiene practices, dressed in a poorly fitted super hero costume – one that is baggy in all the wrong places.

                • Just Saying

                  I'm going to try and do this really fast because I'm still having huge and time-consuming problems commenting here.

                  The gist was that there was more that I tried to add to the comment. It was about how I'd always appreciated hearing about the amazing things you are achieving not far from where I am. I don't know why the land always seems to tell me that all kinds of berries will be stupendous without any help from me and all other food will be lacklustre despite every bit of extra help I can think of.

                  I have often thought of what you are achieving where you are as I carry on trying. Today spreading spinach seedlings so far afield that there must be somewhere that one plant thrives, and it might tell me something about what is going wrong everywhere else.

                  And as an explanation for being so far off-topic, even though we disagree on this, I wanted you to know that I value your writings. Crop success and failure aside, we aren't really that far apart. Left wing gardeners, trying (and in your case succeeding in) growing food, and so many other points of commonality.

                  And that was why I responded to you, not to try and win a fight but because, I guess respect.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Oh, thanks, Just Saying. I understand. Big ups for your approach to growing. For us gardeners/growers, the division into pro and anti mandate (for example) has been very disturbing. My hope is that, as the tide resettles the sand as it rises again, our dismay at experiencing those divisions, will smooth over and we'll all settle back to our places. Our commonality of thought and ideology that has us interacting intimately with the soil, the garden and the environment is not affected by politics, popular uprisings or the news/fake news conflict 🙂

              • DB Brown

                Nah this is rubbish you are making up. You are assuming you're the victim here. There's nought but victimhood from the protestors, and they think EVERYTHING is about them.

                And now they all want an apology?!!! Fuck. No.

                No matter what is said or done, somehow, it is twisted into 'I'm not included' style nonsense yet simultaneously it is all about them.

                How could this be? Why should I, or anyone, listen to such nonsense? I know some of them, intellectual lightweights who attack you as soon as they are losing the argument. People I've known in real life using their online friends to group attack myself and others who disagree. One has been a pain in the ass since climate change, it's not the mandates that put a banner in that clowns hand.

                Hiding in shadows and mobs. Threats, coercion… fuck all those people, and the relative normies who think they've found their tribe because they were asked to do something once and they disagreed and made their entire life about being aggrieved… now they've found a stupid hill to die and ruin their lives on.

                They've earned no respect. But keep demanding it.

          • fender 16.1.1.4.3

            Oh really, lost as in gone missing, kicked off or perished from often deadly virus? I missed any official statement, please link.

            An author undermining public health via disinformation is no loss IMO. The majority of any ridicule bordering on abuse came from that infrequent author too , by the way.

            With 1200 deaths and more every day perhaps he's just too ashamed to return.

            • Just Saying 16.1.1.4.3.1

              Eradication is impossible. Seems like China would be something of an ideal for you, policy-wise.

              Bill was right. And surely if he should be hanging his head in shame, what should the government backing down from such ‘lifesaving’ policies be doing?

              Is this divisiveness ever going to stop?

              • joe90

                Eradication is impossible.

                Good thing there were no plans to eradicate covid in Aotearoa.

              • fender

                Seems you've posted this in the wrong location, it's of no relevance here. Nor was it a barrow pushed by the author in question so I'm guessing it was just some random attempt to denigrate.

                But since you've changed the subject, yes it does seem to be impossible to eradicate, and it looks like rain tomorrow fairweatherwise.
                I see you’ve edited initial reply…
                So , no Bill wasn’t right. Eradication wasn’t his thing, the controversy was over containment measures and severity from letting it rip.

            • PsyclingLeft.Always 16.1.1.4.3.2

              And hey absolutely. More than a few Good posters…who's opinion I valued. gone (Farmer guy from up North and that maybe rare breed, a LABOUR supporter) .

          • Patricia Bremner 16.1.1.4.4

            You did not see the posters with death threats and a wagon to take the PM away? She was a victim of lies and exaggeration. Bloomfield and the Health Team made the calls. The protest anger was directed by others and failed to address the source of those rules.

        • Incognito 16.1.1.5

          Yes, excellent, Robert, you’re only the second commenter here who seems to understand and appreciate the power and role of imagination in Ardern’s brief comment.

          We don’t need to explain what Ardern meant, unlike Pagani who decided to ‘interpret’ the words for us, so that she could push her own message & agenda forward. How kind of her.

          If people are offended by Ardern’s comment and feel personally demeaned or dehumanised by it, it is because they put on the shoe, without too much hesitation as if the words were addressed directly to them but not to others, not because it was Ardern’s message and intention, in my opinion. Such reaction is highly irrational, of course; why would the PM talk to me or about me directly and specifically in a speech at Harvard? Yet some people take these things extremely personally.

          Even Pagani called it “a slightly sneering way”; Ardern left a lot to the imagination and that’s exactly what she intended, I believe, other than to share her personal way of coping with vile comments online.

          Others are entitled to their interpretations as much as I am to mine. In the end, they’re all just opinions and we can agree to disagree.

    • weka 16.2

      But that's a bit of a sideshow. I was much more perturbed by how an audience made up of the financial/economic elite of Harvard, lapped up everything she said. If on the tech giants she had said – "it's unacceptable for this much power to ever be in unaccountable, private hands. The only legitimate power flows from democratic processes. Therefore these platforms need to be nationalised and turned into well-regulated public utilities and free to the public as part of an integrated system of Universal Basic Services and Income" – probably she would have been booed. Which would have been something to cheer about.

      and thank-you for dragging this leftwards again.

    • Incognito 16.3

      Why is it tempting to restrict this to “the guy”??

      • weka 16.3.1

        because that's the stereotype.

        • AB 16.3.1.1

          Yes – that's what I meaning. Set up the stereotype and then show yourself as trying to get beyond it, because you are a leader. It's good rhetoric and effective politics.

          • Incognito 16.3.1.1.1

            Not seeing that at all. Ardern did not intend to set up a stereotype in her speech, she actively avoided it, which is different from what you’re saying.

            • weka 16.3.1.1.1.1

              She used a stereotype causally (loner slobs). What AB is suggesting is to name a stereotype up front and then say let's not use that because it demeans. Which fits very well with her overall message about humans and the internet.

              • Incognito

                “the guy” = male

                “humans” = M/F = N

                “loner slobs” = ??

                • weka

                  don't know what you are saying, but there's been an unusually large amount of miscommunication today.

                  • Incognito

                    I’ve been trying to figure out that stereotype, is it a male stereotype? If yes, why? Nothing in Ardern’s speech hinted at this!?

                    • weka

                      yes, the people that abuse women online are usually male. It's the subtext. The people who are generally portrayed as keyboard warriors, unwashed and lone in front of their computers, are talked about as male. The first is statistically true, the latter is the stereotype.

                    • weka

                      Ardern isn't going to get up and say male violence in a speech like that, for a whole range of reasons.

                    • Incognito []

                      Thanks for clearing that up. Whether Ardern said or implied it is a moot point because she didn’t say it and we can only assume it. I’d be surprised if she intended to set up that male stereotype in our minds, rather I believe she was sharing her own projection of online abusers, which was that of child-like person and much more neutral than some seem to think.

                      It had not occurred to me that Ardern might have been referring to males. Half the time I have no idea what sex is associated with online profiles and it doesn’t matter to me because shit=shit and abuse=abuse; how one copes with it is clearly not the same as how one would try to address the underlying issues & causes, for example – there are multiple ways to tackle the problem. Ardern offered some thoughts on how and who/what could address online abuse and none of it implied it had anything to do with stereotypes of males and male violence, as far as I can tell from re-reading the speech. That’s why I struggled following the convo here. BTW, stereotypes can be just as misleading as heuristics when trying to gain a deep understanding of an issue and formulating a solution.

                      Wasn’t VFF founded and spearheaded by a bunch of women and wasn’t VFF responsible for a whole lot of stuff happening online? I have no idea if VFF was doing any online abuse itself or specifically targeting the PM, but what is online abuse is a grey area and stirring it up in others, knowingly and quite possibly deliberately, is being complicit, IMO.

  17. weka 17

    Venn diagram of people who thought Ardern's two NZs comment meant nothing and who think stereotyping keyboard warriors as loner slobs means nothing is close to being a circle.

  18. Just Saying 18

    The problem for the left is a festering sore.

    Instead of seeking repair Ardern chose her grand platform to open that sore even further. I don't think the writers included that smear. It was a personal swipe. And sure, she can hide behind pseudo-ambiguity. Except the context means everybody knows, and everyone was supposed to know.

    • Patricia Bremner 18.1

      Let's talk about festering sores. Almost all of them began with DP. from the Right.

      None of the perpetrators have been dismissed and only two have been publicly outed.

      The strong disinformation coming from 12 voices. Why are they not named and outed?

      Festering sores require the strong disinfectant of sunlight.

      • Peter 18.1.1

        So some are upset that the PM imagines that some of the stuff she sees is " written by a lone person unacquainted with personal said hygiene practices, dressed in a poorly fitted superhero costume – one that is baggy in all the wrong places.”

        Is she allowed to have such imaginings or allowed to have them but not say it?

        I wonder if she imagines such about all the patently weird stuff she obviously sees. Or she saves it for those in particular who are experts at sorting out gangs, poverty, housing, hospitals, shortage of workers, supermarket and petrol prices AND became overnight expert microbiologists, epidemiologists to the extent they could condemn anyone else in those fields for being dressed poorly and having uncommonly coloured hair.

        The 12 voices putting out strong disinformation? Why are they not named and outed?You would have thought the world would go crazy to have them known.

        Some person appears in a court for some incident impacting on a small number of people has their name suppressed after due legal consideration.

        The public cacophony in some cases is on-going. The various branches of the media seek reviews and mount appeals. The disinformation distributers poison the whole country and we don't know who they are. One name came up when David Fisher in the Herald named Chantelle Baker as a "super spreader."

  19. the media colludes with the right wing backers to run a "permanent campaign" with no let up and no tolerance of any opposition no matter how beneficial or inspirational any policy or speech may be. the meedja in nz will not give an inch.

  20. thebiggestfish7 20

    I thought it was a good speech. This whole online stuff is not just a symptom of the right, just a casual troll through Twitter can show how insane and polarised the split between left and right has become. You are living in a bubble of you think this is just a right wing thing. It’s crazy out there and the polarisation is getting worse and constructive debate is sadly continuing to decline.

    • Gosman 20.1

      I agree this issue is across the political spectrum. The amount of people who block me on Twitter simply because I share a different political view than them is astounding.

  21. Jackel 21

    You can speak lies, insults and platitudes and avoid the truth for a while, but eventually the truth will catch up with you.

  22. Gosman 22

    Matthew Hooton was pretty scathing of National and also of the right at times when they were in power. His view of John Key was that he really didn't do anything substantive and wasted most of the opportunities while he was in office.

  23. Maurice 23

    Oh Dear! I do see what she means …

    https://instapundit.com/522795/#respond

  24. remo 24

    Different people react differently to cant and artifice, I guess.
    Some people have allergic reactions to pretence being rewarded by pretence…
    Like peanuts.
    For most people, peanuts are ok., but…for others….they choke.

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