Think!

I was over at Kiwiblog for the first time today, looking to see what stokes the fire of Kiwis these days, or at least the political-minded among us. I tend to shy away from political discussion because I find it so regressive and banal, personal principles bastardized in order to join and support a team (“right”, “left”, “National”, “Labour” etc), with most energy spent wildly insulting anything that is produced by the opposition “team”, trading ad hominem attacks, indulging in et tu quoque festivals, and arguing generalities when specifics are what matter. Case in point: Tony Ryall cancels the health conference; you’d think most people would be interested in knowing what happens in these conferences, how successful they are, and how vital they are for the improvement of the health industry before attempting to even have an opinion on it – I certainly don’t, because no-one seems particulary interested in giving me any information about the situation. But no, instead we have the usual totally made-up assumptions to shore up the talking points for your side. From the Your Say link:

“Yes Tony Ryall did the right thing in cancelling the conference. After what has been going on in our hospitals it is very obvious that the previous two conferences in the past five years have achieved very little.” (Lesley, North Shore)

Quick question: how the hell do you know, Lesley?

“This is just posturing and won’t achieve anything of significance. Does the Minister have nothing better to do?”  Aqua (Waitoa)

Quick question #2: how the hell do you know, Aqua?

(I can see this becoming my fall back question when reading any political blog in New Zealand. It’ll save me valuable thinking time that I can spend in trying to figure out why Liverpool can’t stop drawing games at the moment.)

Political debate in a nutshell
Political debate in a nutshell

This post was spurred by my stumble across to Not PC, a right-wing blog with nothing of interest whatsoever, seeing as it completely toes the line of what you’d assume a blowhard right-winger would think about everything in the first place. The left gets to experience dodgy editing, staged “confrontations” and silly animation skits from Michael Moore when being spoon-fed platitudes they already hold dear. On Not PC, they get endless links to people saying the exact same things and some truly terrible right-wing humor (not their strength; just as you wouldn’t bother asking a left-winger to mind your ranch, you’re never going to specifically ask for a conservative stand-up comic.)

Thankfully, Kiwiblog appears to be a little more balanced, a little more nuanced, even if the comments section I happened to scan involved a tete-a-tete about global warming, both sides simply parroting the figures of pre-approved sources, followed by someone demanding to know why there are gaps in the fossil record if evolution really exists, and how we can be descended from apes if they are still around with us today. (!)

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6 thoughts on “Think!

  1. Welcome to the ‘sphere. I hope you don’t expect rational discussions from kiwiblog. Best of luck in your studies.

  2. A Teacher says:

    Cheers. No expectations, just an interest in the mood of the nation after a while away. More militant than I remember 🙂

  3. Ah well, that makes sense. I remain interested in the mood of the nation, and kiwiblog gives you a perspective albeit skewed, but I’m still away. I find publicaddress.net is a good community, FWIW.

  4. StephenR says:

    Teach,

    Well I came to this blog through your comments at KB – wahey, sanity – I remember when I first visited Kiwiblog I wanted to go round correcting and confronting every nutter in a rational and measured way, but it gets old after a while. I am now reduced to short comments and jibes, however I get more work done that way! Quite efficient really. Plenty of nutters, but I’ve learned to just skip over some of them. Since it’s the most popular blog in NZ, there tends to be some intelligent conversation amongst the chaff, but like Paul said, Public Address is quite good, and VERY consistent, though could be described as a very civilised left wing an echo-chamber. It’s just barely moderated. Sites like Public Address, or Kiwipolitico.com are very good for ‘proper’ political discussion (doesn’t look like the moderation would bother you).

    Not PC is not exactly right-wing, they’re Libertarian. The guy who writes it is quite articulate (a Libertarian party member), and is actually readable because he will quite merrily bash National as much as Labour. Quite principled, except for their/his strange embrace of anyone who thinks climate change is a marxist plot.

    My 2 cents!

    Anyway, good luck with the training, I had a friend who gave it a go, didn’t particularly enjoy it, aaaand found it very hard to find a maths teacher job in Wellington due to very low demand for teachers without ‘proper’ experience.

  5. StephenR says:

    Well, I see in one of your other posts that you’ve been a teacher before, that may help!

  6. A Teacher says:

    Yeah, we’ll see where the teaching takes me; certainly not to a pot of gold, but it’s something I enjoy, so that counts for something.

    Kiwiblog is interesting, I’ve already learnt to ignore the foaming rants and just comment on the stuff that interests me. It’s easier that way.

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