Thursday, March 23, 2023

That dull, clunking sound you just heard

The Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges memorably described the Falklands War as two bald men fighting over a comb.

The parallels may not be immediately obvious, but the same phrase could be applied to the confected outrage over the speaking tour of Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, aka Posie Parker.

Okay, we’re not talking about war here. Nonetheless, Borges’ description fits a situation where a rational person can only wonder what all the fuss is about.

It should have been simple, straightforward and wholly uncontroversial. A woman virtually no one in New Zealand had heard of a few days ago intends to hold a couple of public meetings where she will make what should be an utterly unremarkable assertion: namely, that a man cannot be a woman.

It seems to me that the most damning thing that can be said about Parker (and I’m using her gimmicky pseudonym here only because it’s quicker to type than her real name) is that she’s an accomplished self-promoter who appears to revel in her notoriety. But that doesn’t negate her basic premise – nor, crucially, her right to freedom of speech. As far as I’m aware she’s not advocating violence or persecution.

But Parker’s rally in Melbourne was gate-crashed by publicity-seeking neo-Nazis and noisy trans-gender advocates (pardon the oxymoron) who demand that society accept, contrary to biological reality and all human understanding, that men can be women.

Stir in some hysterical and brazenly misleading media coverage, add a liberal sprinkling of political opportunism and cowardice, and presto! What should have been a one-day wonder – and a minor one at that – has blown up into a full-on moral panic.

Parker has rightly been allowed to proceed with her visit. That should never have been in doubt in a country that professes to be a liberal democracy.

The other side of the same coin is that LGBTQI+ activists are entitled to stage protest rallies (as are any local neo-Nazis, as long as they keep it peaceful). But the trans-gender advocates should realise that by drawing attention to Parker’s visit, they are giving oxygen to someone they despise.

They probably do realise that, of course, but it’s outweighed by their desire to parade their outrage. To ignore Parker would be to pass up an opportunity to engage in what they do best: exhibitionism.

The most depressing aspect of this three-ringed circus was the haste with which politicians rushed to denounce Parker for expressing an opinion shared by all but a tiny, ideologically deranged segment of the population.

Chris Hipkins, Grant Robertson and Michael Wood, anxious to demonstrate their woke credentials, all wanted to let us know how much they detest Parker, even as they grudgingly acknowledged her right to speak. It would have been better all round if they had kept out of it, but of course that would have deprived them of a chance to signal their solidarity with the legions of oppressed trans-gender people being callously trampled underfoot by mainstream society.

Even Christopher Luxon apparently felt obliged to distance himself from Parker’s views, obviously regarding the radical idea that only women can be women as altogether too subversive to contemplate.

What sort of Alice in Wonderland world have we ended up in? Is the leader of the National Party so intimidated by the wokesters that he has to show he’s onside with them? Is it possible he thinks his craven equivocation might convince them to vote for him? 

It’s far more likely that he will drive more disillusioned National voters into the welcoming arms of ACT. That dull clunking sound you just heard was Luxon’s popularity rating dropping by another couple of points.  



Max Ritchie said...

Luxon may be a lot of things eg successful business leader, but he’s no politician. This woman is actually mainstream (men competing as women etc) but no, he can’t differentiate his views or articulate him. He’s a disaster for the National Party which should be coasting to victory. Under Simon Bridges.

David McLoughlin said...

I've watched the video of the black-suited, masked "nazis" marching and sieg-heiling in Melbourne a dozen times and it has a whiff about it that worries me. Two dozen folk in black, masked, all arriving in unison and performing acts designed to make the speaker look bad -- so bad, TV in NZ keeps playing it along with demands the speaker be banned from coming here. It's almost too good to be true.

Hopefully, some journalist in Melbourne will be looking into whether it was staged by a group like GetUp!, or whether there actually are two dozen actual nazis in Melbourne.

LNF said...

Saw a poster today
Put 100 females and 10 males on an island and in 100 years you will have hundreds of male and female adults and children
Put 100 trans females and 10 males on an island and in 100 years you will have 110 male skeletons

Paul Corrigan said...

Until a week ago I'd never heard of Posie Parker (yes, simpler to type), either, Karl.

If I may clear a deck or two. I have some sympathy for some transgender people.

Two years ago I was introduced to a new nephew who the last time I'd seen him was a niece.

He was 16, and after years of fighting himself he had accepted he was a boy but in the wrong body. Even his mother said at his birth that she thought he should have been a boy.

For him it's that simple. Trans activists tried to inveigle him into the cause. He said, 'no, thanks, this about me and my life.'

As an uncle I had a few moments to choose: would I respect his choice to be whom he truly believed himself to be?

Or would I be a bigot and pretend he was the person he was leaving behind?

I don't know why people get so bent out of shape over someone else's decisions for themselves.

Having said all that doesn't make me want to join the ritual stoning of Posie Parker.

As an ex-journalist I deplore the media one-sidedness when these things come up - how they're so willing to adopt the trans activists' positions. How they so willingly throw aside any notion of editorial impartiality.

It saddens me so much that I could almost weep the credibility they've lost and they don't seem to realise it or even care.

A friend told me recently how much he enjoys watching TV news with Kiwis doing the reporting. 'They're on Al Jazeera.'

I deplore and resist the trans activists' attempts world-wide to corral us into their versions of approved speech and threaten people. Who may say what.

I look askance at their hyping up of 'harm' to try to silence other people.

I look askance, too, at their efforts to whip up fear and hatred and victimhood to get their way.

It is manipulative.

Manipulation is always dishonest and, I would suggest, it's evil because it's so deliberate.

As for the Falklands/Malvinas war: I thought it was about a country using its armed forces to take over a territory that didn't belong to them and lived in by people who didn't want them there.

The country that owned the territory, quite reasonably, I think, booted them out and bloodily.

The British were very lucky that the uniformly excellent Argentinian Skyhawk pilots dropped so many improperly fused bombs.

Anyway ...

- Paul Corrigan

Odysseus said...

With due respect Karl, the right to self determination of the people of the Falklands was in no way analogous to a bald man's comb. It's a foundational principle of international law.

While on the subject of bald men I share your assessment that Luxon is seriously miscast. He seems to want to hitch a ride on every passing woke bandwagon, from the eco-fascist clown-car of the climate-catastrophists to this latest dystopian old dunga pedaled by men who purport to be women. Speaking of fascists, what are the odds that the Melbourne Nazi side-show was actually Antifa in drag? It's the same uniform and their masks were very convenient. Stick that in your pipe Byron C. Clark, official witchfinder of the Labour Inquisition.

Karl du Fresne said...

With all due respect, Odysseus, I wasn't endorsing Borges' description of the Falklands War. I was merely suggesting that the phrase is applicable.

Anonymous said...

Luxon needs to realise that he cannot out-woke Labour. They are the masters of woke. He and National are not going to win the election by trying to be Labour-lite. What we need is a principled leader who is prepared to take on the woke merchants with some genuinely new and potentially controversial new policies (I think he could be calling for debate on our nuclear-free policy for instance, or calling for a significant rethink on defence).

Luxon needs to realise that a controversial policy may well lead to him being denounced by at least a portion of the electorate, but he needs to put on his big boy pants and realise that’s only inevitable. He seems to think he can please everyone all of the time. He can’t - and nor should he have to.

Jade Warrior

Eamon Sloan said...

What gets me about the entire Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull saga is the way Labour politicians have poured out their volumes of bile on her. In the hurly-burly of gender politics she seems just a little amateurish. However I fully understand the message she is trying to get across. It is that the whole idea of, and status of the genuine, emphasise genuine, woman, is under attack on countless fronts. We have a small army of misogynists in the Labour and Green parties.

I followed the issue on Sky News Australia and have gained a totally different picture to the twisted editing presented by NZ Media. The local media have swallowed and regurgitated the radical trans agenda in full.

Karl, I don’t want to take up acres of your space so I have made my own post here:

Any friends of Michael Wood are welcome to comment.

Andy Espersen said...

Excellent take on this, Karl. That "dull, clunking sound" will be ever more overpowering as we move towards the October election - now only 7 months away. The rank and file National party supporters (as well as most of their sitting MPs, I am sure) have had enough of Luxon's unprincipled, cowardly fence-sitting. Then they will without a doubt vote for their local National party candidate - but their party-vote will go to ACT.

Precisely the way our MMP electoral system is meant to function.

CXH said...

Luxon needs to realize he has joined the wrong party.

Or he is running a deliberate Trojan horse demolition job on a party he despises.

Andy Espersen said...

I wish to respond to Max Richie's remarks above.

I wonder why we have not heard from Simon Bridges. He was, and without any doubt still is, a very ambitious person. He disappeared so suddenly from the limelight - but if you read his final statements he most certainly left the way open for a comeback to politics.

My secret hope is that he will join ACT a few months before the election I feel sure ACT will put him high up on their party list!!!

Anonymous said...

To be fair to Chris Luxon, like most of us he has never heard of this lady and only has the media view to go on. Per usual the media are trying to set him up to attack him. What bizarre times we now live.

Ben Thomas said...

It is a pity that Michael Wood, in his role as transport minister, does not address the Fred Carno's Circus that passes for communication between the two islands.

Hugh Jorgan said...

When Luxon was elevated to the leadership I made the comment (on another site) that National may have just handed the next election to Labour.
Having said that, with the economy collapsing at a rapid rate of knots, and Joe Public's propensity to blame the party in power for their financial/economic ills, losing this election might not be such a bad thing for National. If they manage to form a ruling coalition they could well be a one-term government. To quote James Carville: "It's the economy, stupid."
I'll leave you with a rhetorical question: "Isn't Luxon Catholic?"

Anonymous said...

Apparently if we believe a man cannot be a woman -ever - (it is just biologically impossible), then according to Michael Wood we are vile people. That toxic man (?) sums up everything wrong with NZ.
And Luxon.....o dear so pathetic. Another opportunity missed to make a stand for most clear-thinking NZ'ers.

Andy Espersen said...

Incredibly, it will take a High Court decision to decide whether or not to give Parker a visa. If our high court this afternoon says it is dangerous to public safety, I'll eat my hat.

And I hope the Greens will be forced to pay court costs to Free Speech Union.

Rob said...

My vote has already moved to ACT but Luxon would not have lost it on this one.

There are genuine issues here but I have no truck with Posey Parker. I hadn’t heard of Parker but her views sound like “I’m not anti-trans, but they can [expletive] off”. On the other hand, many of the pro-trans activists are also fundamentalists. The sort who would call Caitlyn Jenner transphobic for her views on women's sport. Many are not trans themselves.

On balance I think Posey Parker will be delighted (and also if she had been denied entry to NZ). She gets publicity and attention while the pro-trans activists (and the media and government) have demonstrated their intolerance toward free speech. They have helped turn Parker’s small gatherings into significant events.

Alex said...

There seems to be a number of people who, given an article with no headline and no author, and asked to summarise it and state their opinion of it, would break into a nervous sweat.

Putting an opinion of ones own for the judgement of the crowd is unthinkable.

People on both sides of current issues seem conditioned to give their support to one side or the other, at the soonest mere moments, after the direction of the weather vane of confidence settles.

Nearly everyone, including me, seems to do it.

This is why the media are so powerful .
They know we don't trust our own thoughts so they sell us theirs.

The poisonous power of ridicule.

The antidote is to not fear being wrong.

True freedom starts with saying what you think.

Anonymous said...

God forbid! Act is no friend of people with common sense and moral principles

Anonymous said...

No, lapsed Catholic and I think we can safely add now lapsed Christian.

Scott said...

It's actually an existential battle of world views and behind that is the religious battle. It's the attempt to drive out Christianity and bring back paganism. The priests of Ishtar used to dress in garments that were on one side male and the other side female. Trans and homosexuality are very old and very pagan. The old demon gods are back!