The Controversial Anti-Kid-Hitting Bill  

Posted by Ryan Sproull in

Repeal would simply mean that children and adults would be the same in the eyes of the law in regard to assault. If section 59 is eventually fully repealed children will no longer be the only group in society who can be legally assaulted. Mild assaults (so-called little smacks) will not result in complaints to the police or to prosecutions. However serious assaults, things like beatings with implements and objects causing injuries, would no longer be excused as discipline.
Beth Wood, UNICEF (Not pictured. That's Sue Bradford. Silly.)

The front page of the Herald tells us that a Research NZ poll found 73% of Kiwis disagreed with the repeal of section 59 and 72% believed it would be unenforceable. The journalist neglected to mention (or had no idea?) that 72% believing it's "unenforceable" means that 72% don't even know what the repeal will do. Awful close to the number of people opposed, isn't it?

Interestingly, they have a huge pull quote from Bradford: My bill does not deny good parents who may occasionally smack their children, nor is it a ban on smacking.

Eh? But, Sue, we've spent the last few months of talkback, print and television referring to the repeal as the Controversial Anti-Smacking Bill. Wasn't that what you titled it? I sure don't know it as anything else.

Is it any wonder that after this sustained display of impartial, non-sensationalist reporting, 72% of New Zealanders would think that the repeal is something to be "enforced"? Is it any surprise that the public are under the impression that if the Controversial Anti-Smacking Bill is made law, its "enforcement" would involve police kicking down doors and arresting anyone slapping their kids' hands out of the power socket?

Bev Adair, of the For the Sake of Our Children Trust (think of the children!), says that ordinary families are "aghast" that their MPs were ignoring polls showing the overwhelming ignorance of opposition to the bill. "We've had nice nanas out banging their petitions on posts because they feel powerless to make their feelings heard." Think of the nice nanas! Think of the nice nanas getting angry because they don't understand what the hell is going on.

Who's let them down? For a start, every editor or TV news producer who's allowed the phrase "controversial anti-smacking bill" to be used in reference to the repeal. The media is necessary for a functioning democracy. People can't support or oppose bills when the legislation is being spun at them, not to favour one side or another, but to sensationalise and profit from the kind of interest a controversial bill with a controversial name can evoke - real or imagined.

Show me a poll that asks people what the law change does and whether or not they support it. I'd bet good money that the people who oppose the bill are overwhelmingly the people who don't know what it does, and that the people who understand the bill are overwhelmingly the ones supporting it.

Whatever the result of the Parliamentary votes, there should be a goddam investigation of media coverage of this whole affair.

God Damn It  

Posted by Ryan Sproull

I just wrote a lot. A whole bunch. Then Blogger lost it.

The Rules  

Posted by Ryan Sproull in

Stella Artois has an interesting marketing campaign on at the moment. Normally I wouldn't encourage viral marketing and suchlike (I mean, what on earth does it have to do with the product's quality?), but...

Actually, I won't talk about it. In fact, that's one of the rules.

All I'll say is this.
Two words: stage make-up.

Two and a half words. You know what I mean.

The Rock Against War - in review  

Posted by Ryan Sproull in

It was a success. It wasn't a tremendous success, but it certainly wasn't a failure, despite some major hiccups along the way (three hours' delay due to unforeseeable technical difficulties). The point is: people there had a good time, the music was fucking excellent, the speakers were fucking excellent, nothing was damaged and there were enough donations to cover costs and leave about $250 for the charity.

The charity, by the way, is War Child. It took me a while to find one that was aimed at children and dealt with children in Iraq (fourth anniversary and all).

Nandor kicked things off with a greeting and a speech about the privilege of being born in New Zealand and the responsibilities that come with those privileges.

Cerveza opened, and they were the only band I hadn't heard live before. Most of the audience hadn't heard of them, let alone heard them, but everyone walked away impressed. The duty manager went out of his way to say how kickarse they were.

Bomber reminded me what a talented and passionate speaker he is when it comes to matters of social justice. I'd only heard him give a speech once before, at the '05 ASPA awards, when his well-worded criticism of mainstream media was lost on much of the drunken crowd.

Both Bomber and Nandor made a point of mentioning Helen Clark's lost opportunity to give Bush an earful over his administration's criminal actions - it's impolite to say bad things about friends, even if they're not allies.

Then Chris Knox demonstrated what an insane and brilliant showman he is, ad-libbing a song or two, playing songs written for the occasion, then throwing his guitar on the ground and stalking the audience with his wireless headset, ultimately removing a woman's shoe and licking her foot without missing a note.

After thanking various people...

The Bluestone Room
Auckland University Students Association
Area 51 (sound gear rental)
Jane McCowan, James Brown, Thom Forde, Dancing Dale, Mark from Body Corporate...

...I introduced my favourite Auckland band, The Dilettantes, under the guise of Captain Hammer & the Gold Stars, a bassist-less camo-wearing version of themselves. Having been bizarrely wooed by Chris Knox slow-thrusting his crotch in their faces, the young scallywags invited the old lunatic onstage to play their first song with them. Tragically, they couldn't play my favourite song (Novelty Hits) without a bassist, but both new and old were cool. They attracted more of a crowd at the stage than anyone else, probably due to frontman Hamish's devilish good looks and wild unpredictable sexiness.

And finally, long overdue, Body Corporate finished up, with what I can only assume is the perfect audience reaction: Chris Knox grabbing my arm and saying, "Jesus, these guys are great!" and one girl looking at me as if to say, "Why don't you just play static?"

And throughout the night, Killa Fire Burn (or "Mark") glued it all together by being a big lovely DJ, which it turns out is a very useful person to have.


Anyway. I learned a lot from putting this thing together. Made plenty of mistakes that I won't repeat in future, and received almost unlimited assistance from some of the most good-natured people around. Now I've got to pack the gear up and get it back.

Tomorrow's the seventh day.

I will rest.

The Great Firewall of China  

Posted by Ryan Sproull in ,

Reading this blog from China? No, you're not. And thanks to this site, you can find out if The People are censoring you too!