Foreward: I don't usually go for "attack" blogging. I have a general belief that consensus is built on well reasoned argument and earnest discussion. Trying to hammer someones beliefs to mirror your own doesn't work and only inspires a more staunch position from your opponent. However, certain comments from other blogs have goaded me into coming off the sidelines. I don't feel good about it but I like the comments, tone and thoughtlessness even less.
I admire Chris Trotter. You only have to read his commentaries in a range of publications nation wide or his blog to understand that he is well educated, a historian and can argue his case really well. And he uses words that are really big. I mean, massive! When I put the words into the online dictionary, you can physically hear the internet groan with the effort of trying to remember what these words mean. So when Chris throws out an article entitled "Oh, for a Well Mannered Left", I take notice.
The essence of his article, if I understood the definitions of some of the heavier words correctly, is that the Right has the ability to be courteous, magnanimous and generous in places because the right has it all already. They are the ones who have the power, the money, the education and the wherewithal. The Left, by and large, is a product of it's history: aggressive, combative, sometimes rude and in your face and generally a great deal more unruly due to the proletariat nature of its uprising (I can use big words too). Chris and I have even debated the nature of this before here and here. Ah, the good times.
But sometimes the Left just pushes it too far.
I've been lucky enough to have been, by sheer coincidence, not among the rubble last Tuesday in Christchurch. The site that I was working on was shut down on the Monday due to concerns about it's stability. When I was in there on the Wednesday just after, the places was a mass of bricks and splintered wood about 2 feet high. I also choose to live on a farmlet just outside Christchurch that is solid, has it's own well and has missed the predication's of the Earthquake that has razed my city and left thousands displaced. For the immediate week afterward, I was working night shifts with Civil Defense shoring up buildings and removing hazards to allow the USAR teams to do their job. It's been rewarding to help with the skills I have available and awful in its scope to see first hand the results of the "Earth Fart". I've enjoyed blogging as a relief from that work but to see the medium twisted in such a way and when people start to use the the situation to further their own agenda, I get pretty steamed.
The Standard has led the way in this.Cactus Kate has called them on it here, Inventory 2 and David Farrar at Kiwiblog has similarly joined the fray. And they're right. Marty G has outdone himself in restraining the impulse to be quietly humanistic however the opportunity has got to him and his fellow commentators to put the boot in with no thought for whats happening on the ground. Normally this is the cry from the left - that the rich bastards in power with the neo-conservative agenda ignore the plight of the average man, woman and child on the street.
A great example of this was Marty's post Shock Doctrine. He can't resist the temptation to politicize the event to spew forth a bunch of assertions, guesses and plain fantasy based on no evidence whatsoever. They are the Ken Ring's of blogging - jumping around, arms waving, scaring people into agreeing with them (bully tactics when you think about it) with no evidence or logic to back it up at all! Christ, even the book from which his post is derived is not exactly known for its rationality, balance and well reasoned argument (MacDoctor takes the book to task in this piece).
Similarly, two days after the quake, the bully boys went to work with a post entitled "Rebuilding" that had no other purpose than to try and slay the bloke who has been gifted the lucky job of overseeing the work at a macro level. Well done, lads! What a way to get behind the guys on the ground. What a way to get behind the country.
And it's not just the Standard bloggers and commentators. The eponymous and unique Greenfly/Village Idiot/robertguyton can't resist a swipe from the sidelines either at Keeping Stock. His own brand of logic and reason is some of the best examples from the blogosphere as to why the left struggles to hard.
This country was built with egalitarianism as one of its core values. When push came to shove, you could depend on your worst enemy to drop tools and give you a hand when you really needed it! The stories that have come out of the city in the hours and days after the event, the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things has been amazing. It didn't matter what colour collar you wore. It didn't matter what ideology you follow. We were in the shit and we were just people helping other people. And thats a truer socialism that the gents over at the Standard don't seem to understand.
I am not saying that all are like this. I'm not saying it has been constantly like this. Many over at the Standard have been the most strident in gifting help, support and information. Likewise, some wacky Righties have been upholding their reputations as complete morons. And I do believe that it's right to talk about things like how we are going to respond, rebuild and how to pay for it.
But to lash out when there are people's bodies not yet cold, to bark from the soapbox when people are trying to get a handle on the situation, to lacerate the leaders when no one has had a chance to give it a go yet - well, thats just cold. And disrespectful. And Chris is right to apologise on your behalf.
Chris ends his piece with the following:
"I can’t help thinking that the revolution would come a lot sooner if the Left set about achieving its own radical objectives with its conservative opponents’ infinitely better manners."
I can't help but agree. If you've gotta problem with that boys, get down here, I'll put a shovel and a hammer in your hands and we'll have a yak about it.
Update: Now they've mad the Whale mad too.