Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Planet Tiso (continued)

Today I revisited Giovanni Tiso's series of  tweets last week about Jane Clifton's Listener column on Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics. Here are some of the words he used: "turgid", "shit", "supercilious", "cynical".

Clifton is a hugely experienced and well-informed observer of New Zealand politics. She's also astute, even-handed, eloquent and funny, which explains why tens of thousands of Listener readers turn to her every week to make sense of events that would otherwise leave them scratching their heads. I thought her column on the Dirty Politics furore was one of her best. But such judgments are subjective and Tiso is entitled to disagree, even if his language is intemperate.

Could his manic attack on Clifton (I counted 35 tweets over a short period, which sounds dangerously close to obsessional) be upheld as fair comment, then? Well, perhaps it could have been, except for a couple of things.

One is that he implies she's a sociopath. Tiso quotes a line from her column - "They are both advancing a political cause" (a reference to Hager and Cameron Slater) - and then adds: "And if you think that, you're a sociopath". I've read this several times and don't see how it can be construed as meaning anything other than that Clifton is a sociopath, which my dictionary defines as "someone affected by any of various personality disorders characterised by asocial or antisocial behaviour".

Okay, you could argue that in the Wild West of the twittersphere, even insults like "sociopath" are acceptable. I'm sure Tiso didn't mean it literally; he was indulging in hyperbole for rhetorical impact.

But hang on. What happened when I took a poke at Tiso in this blog, using a similar rhetorical device against him? (I said he shouldn't be allowed out in public without a minder, and suggested someone should adjust his medication.) He howled that I was being cruel - "vile" was his exact word - because he had a daughter with an intellectual disability, which he claimed (wrongly) I was aware of. Then he had the gall to whimper about people being unpleasant and indulging in ad hominem arguments.  Well, hello.

Let's get this straight then: it's okay for Tiso to call a respected columnist a sociopath because he doesn't like her take on the Dirty Politics affair, but it's mean and horrid to suggest that he might be a bit doolally himself. That's taking unfair advantage.

There's a term in boxing for people who love to throw punches but crumple when anyone hits back. They're called crystal chins. Tiso is a crystal chin.

But here's the other thing about him. It obviously eats him up that people like Clifton are allowed to express opinions that don't conform with his. The same zealous intolerance drove his successful campaign to have two RadioLive hosts taken off the air because they asked questions Tiso didn't like.

He was pleased with himself over that one. What could be more satisfying to a Marxist than having weak-kneed capitalists capitulate at the expense of free speech?

Perhaps he thought  he could pull it off again, because he was clearly pushing on Twitter at the weekend for the Listener - one of my sources of income as a freelance journalist - to punish me for hurting his feelings. It doesn't seem to have occurred to him that I'm a free agent, and that this blog  has nothing to do with the work I do for the Listener

Keep it up, Gio. If you carry on like this I really will wonder whether you've got some sort of personality disorder.


Giovanni Tiso said...

I counted 3 blog posts in five days, which sounds dangerously close to obsessional.

Giovanni Tiso said...

(Also, you do realise you've written a lot more words in these three posts than me in all those tweets, right? And that you blog a lot more often than I do? So who's the guy with no job who spends too long at his keyboard again?)

Philip Matthews said...

Knock it off, Karl, you're making a fool of yourself.

Paul said...

I think Karl has a point. There is something quite sinister and obsessive about Tiso's attempts to demand the Listener punish Karl, a tactic Tiso has used against several writers who have offended him. Fortunately, he always is ignored.

On Twitter, Tiso and Matthew Dentith have been trying to figure out whether I am the Paul who posted comments on the earlier post. After deciding it was not me, they now have concluded I am the offender. The phrase "creepy and weird" springs to mind.

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Karl

Proverbs 29:9 says

"If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet."

They are just not worth it.


Giovanni Tiso said...

I am not demanding that the Listener punish Karl. What a bizarre notion. I am asking if they have a public position to take on one of their senior writers attacking a critic of the magazine using mental health slurs. It doesn't seem unreasonable.

Paul said...

"I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."

Giovanni Tiso said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Giovanni Tiso said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen said...

What could be more satisfying to a Marxist than having weak-kneed capitalists capitulate at the expense of free speech?

More to the point, what could have been more disheartening to capitalists than realising it was capitalism itself that had failed them?

Mark Hubbard said...

Tiso, Karl's 'are you taking your meds' was a figure of speech we all use. Through your umbrage taking - born of unparalleled arrogance - you turned that to a slur on mental health: bullshit, get some perspective. Karl was right regarding your character assassination of Clifton. And you certainly are trying to lose Karl income now, your slippery comment above verifies that: for every thought that is un-Tiso you go for the shut down and boycott. You are the vicious embodiment of your bullying ideology.

Incidentally, you feature in my last blog post; pity you only read Tiso.


Stephen said...

If Karl loses income because of Giovanni's criticism (which is *ridiculously* unlikely), again, it will be capitalism working as designed. Karl can hardly complain if the invisible hand picks his pocket.

Giovanni Tiso said...

The only person whose prospect of employment diminish when I criticise our media industry is one G Tiso of Wellington, formerly of Milan. I think that should be fairly obvious to anyone.

Paul said...

Posted but then deleted by Giovanni:
(As for your online stalking of Matthew and me, Paul, it would be great if it ceased at some stage. I blocked you on Twitter over a year ago, but you always seem to know exactly what I'm writing there all the time, and whenever someone is attacking me, you're somehow always on the scene. It's beyond creepy. Please stop.)

After this comment was deleted, the following was posted, but then also deleted:

Deleted the last comment. Possibly more of a matter for the police.

Unknown said...

Petulant, and self indulged, I wonder if he speaks every word he types and whacks send with a flourish.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

Randy Vagbotherer - What a wanker
! Your comment was so unnecessary and cruel

Philip Matthews said...

I read your column about Dirty Politics and Slater's cruel and gratuitous attacks on the West Coast family. In that spirit, shouldn't you delete that cruel and gratuitous comment from "Randy Vagbotherer"?

Paul said...

Randy Vagbotherer's comment is cruel and should have no place in any discussion.