It looks like everyone on Tumblr’s support staff failed basic Civics and Economics, so let me tell you how freedom of speech works. Your freedoms end where mine begin. You may have the right to blog all you want about…
Today Winston Peters made a public statement that NZ First would not be voting in support of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill. This was not because the NZ First necessarily opposes the Bill, but because, to quote Peters:
“NZ First… wants a public referendum to decide the issue. We believe issues such as this should be decided by trusting the people of NZ to decide rather than to leave it to temporarily empowered MPs.”
I understand that when you belong to NZ First, being only “temporarily empowered” must always be at the forefront of your mind. But it is clear that MPs abusing their power as democratically elected leaders is not NZ First’s motivation for demanding a referendum. Instead, it is painfully clear the real reason behind this stance: cowardice.
Let’s start off with the obvious: representative democracy. The basic premise of representative democracy is that it is unworkable for decision-makers to consult with the wider public on every issue so we elect a smaller number of people to represent our views and make decisions on our behalf. A system in which decision-makers go back to the public on every issue is known as direct democracy. New Zealand does not have this system. Instead, every three years we elect 120 MPs to act on our behalf, spend some of our money, and make decisions that promote the rights and well-being of all citizens. We do this in the belief that this model is more desirable than requiring them to consult on every issue that comes before Parliament. In this system, temporary empowerment and accountability through elections are generally seen as good things. Dictatorships are not.
While this is the basic premise of representative democracy, it does not mean once MPs are elected they have a free reign to do as they wish until the next election. They should be regularly gauging public opinion and ensuring they are acting in the interests of the people. However, referenda are often a bad way to go about this, and referenda are especially bad ways to go about this when the issue in question is of some importance to all New Zealanders but of heighted importance to a minority of New Zealanders. In other words, a referendum should be a last resort and should almost never be resorted to when we are looking at a minority issue.
There are many reasons I believe referenda are an undesirable way of gauging public opinion. They are blunt: they over-simplify often complex questions and insist that we provide a yes-or-no answer. The “anti-smacking” referendum showed – if nothing else – the futility in asking a question to the whole nation if it is a poorly-worded question. Referenda are hideously expensive – even if done with an election. And, most importantly in my opinion, they no longer provide a useful voice of the nation. One only needs look back to last year’s election to see the traditional methods of voting are not working. The trip-down-to-election-booth model does not reflect modern life. It’s probably the only time in three years I actually use a pen to write something important. Referenda are no different – if you are only able to mobilise 68% of the population on what is effectively a vote on every issue for the next three years, good luck mobilising them to vote on just one issue. Until the process around referenda – including the way in which citizens initiated referenda signatures are collected – reflects the realities of modern life (read: computers) they will generally not be a useful way to gauge public opinion.
I qualify that with the word ‘generally’ because I believe referenda still play an important ‘last resort’ function. It is for this reason that I support the asset sales referendum. It’s clear that Labour and the Greens did not see a referendum as their preferred option. There has been a long and hard campaign against asset sales going for some time now. I have no doubt that if Labour had been in a stronger position on other fronts (namely, popularity in terms of leadership and wider policy), asset sales could have easily taken them to victory in the 2011 election. However, that was not to be, and as a last resort to protect what essentially is the future wealth of all New Zealanders I support the efforts to stop asset sales.
Which brings me to the major difference between the asset sales referendum, which I accept has merit as a last resort, and NZ First’s call for a petition on marriage equality. Asset sales affect all New Zealanders. Currently, we all own those assets and they are about to be sold back to us and eventually sold to whoever can afford them. It affects us, our children and our grandchildren. However, marriage equality is different. It affects us all, yes. One does not need to be in a same-sex relationship to support basic human rights. However, the difference with marriage equality is that is has a large impact on the lives and rights of a minority of New Zealanders – 10 per cent if you accept conventional statistics. This is not to say I think anyone who heterosexual should not get a say on marriage equality. It’s simply a fact that it affects some people – namely those who are currently deprived of rights afforded to all other citizens – far more. It is for this reason I believe a referendum would be the worst possible way to go about changing the law in this area. MPs need to be mindful when they vote on this Bill that public opinion is important, but that as a minority issue public opinion is just one consideration, and that protecting the rights of minorities should be a greater consideration. I strongly believe public opinion is in favour of marriage equality, but really that’s just a bonus.
It is clear that Winston Peters likes to fancy himself as the cunning maverick of New Zealand politics. No doubt he is very aware that there is no way National will initiate a referendum on marriage equality. They have repeatedly said it’s not a priority for them. Further, there is no citizens-initiated referendum in the pipeline, and of course no one is going to collect 200’000 signatures when the issue is already before the House. Instead, Winston thinks he has found his party a way to take no stance at all and allowed NZ First to do what it does best – sit on the fence. Essentially, NZ First has shown itself too coward to take a clear stance – ironically, in a situation it as a party did not need to even take a stance, given that it will be a conscience vote.
Perhaps, though, Winston has for once positioned himself on a barbed wire fence. What this stance shows is a party battling with its identity. It is a party that fears sitting too close to the left and too close to the right so positions itself nowhere. It is no secret that NZ First has taken a number of left-leaning positions lately, including opposition to asset sales and support for extending paid parental leave. Perhaps Winston is scared that NZ First appears too left-leaning and he felt the need to throw a line to conservatives. However, this is not an issue to assert political identity or to try and grab a few cheap votes. This is an issue that allows New Zealand to finally afford all citizens the same rights under the law. It allows New Zealand to remove what is currently a massive black mark on our human rights record. When you have a suicide rate among young queer people as high as it is, you have an opportunity to tell them they are not second-class citizens that deserve to be discriminated against by their own country. NZ First can claim that they do not necessarily oppose marriage equality. However, to take no stance as they have effectively opted to do is essentially the same as taking a stance against marriage equality. In the words of Desmond Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”.
when older men are like “yeah baby, I love teaching new girls about submission” and they talk about “true subs” and “true doms” and try to corner you into a full-time power-exchange dynamic off the bat?
run. I am not even kidding. don’t do it, those men are dangerous.
a responsible dom/domme will talk a lot about limits and boundaries with anyone, especially someone who says they’re new to bdsm. they won’t try to get you into a 24/7 thing right off the bat (even if that’s something you both want eventually). and ANYONE who defines “true sub” or “true dom” as ANYTHING other than “someone who identifies themselves a sub or dom” is unreservedly full of shit. people use “oh, you’re not a true sub” ALL THE TIME to disrespect kinky women’s boundaries. be aware of this. “a true sub would let me push her hard limits” — NO. that is not and never will be true.
I have seen, at least in new england, some burgeoning efforts to weed out abusers and foster consent culture in the bdsm community, which is fantastic. but it’s still important to know some of the bullshit that abusers will pull. because it is bullshit.
“One of the worst ways to stop someone from telling sexist jokes is to tell him the joke isn’t funny. He’ll assume that you’re humorless and that he needs to save the good stuff for the right audience. If you really want someone to stop telling sexist jokes, you need to tell him, “I don’t get it” and then step back as he tries not to say, “It’s funny because women are stupid.”—
If This Isn’t From a Book, It Should Be (via gaircyrch)
I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.
I tell him again and again:
I’m not your type.
You don’t understand, I don’t want to talk about it.
Yes, I like you, but I’m trying to get away from things that are complicated.
You wouldn’t really like me if you really knew me.
I’ve been here before.
I like the way things are now, why ruin it?
I’ll tell you after this weekend, over the phone.
We will have a conversation then. After tomorrow.
No, I don’t believe you when you say I can tell you anything.
But I promise I will tell you eventually but not right now. Hooking up with me is a bad idea, you really don’t want to be hitting on me.
He starts to tell me about this ancient Hawaiian mantra, can’t remember the name, but you say
I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.
Again and again, it helps you heal from past harm ‘Cause Sometimes the please forgive me part is the hardest part to say.
And There he sits cross legged, this white surfer dude who’s into yoga and ancient Hawaiian spiritual practices, telling me how to loosen up and trust him with my secret. He tells me that it’s okay if I’ve been hurt by men before or been in an uncomfortable sexual situation.
I tell him, it’s not what you think.
It’s definitely not what you think.
No, I don’t want to talk about it, can’t we leave things the way they are, I’m having a good time already, but no we can’t hook up. Yes I do like you, but it just won’t happen.
But then inside of me, there’s that little bit of hope that maybe I am his type. Maybe this can all work out. Maybe I can trust him, maybe I should just give him a chance.
And I ask him, not to tell anyone. Please keep my secret, and please don’t be mad.
I tell him that I am transgender, and he asks what this means.
I tell him, people used to think I was a boy, before I started taking estrogen and testosterone blockers two years ago,
(I lied about an extra six months).
His eyebrows start to furl. His mind starts ticking.
I can see him start to wonder, and I tell him I’m not a guy. But he starts to scan up and down my body.
He tells me that I am a very feminine person and that’s what he was attracted to.
But I did have masculine hands…
He asks, what does that make him?
It doesn’t make you anything, this is not about you.
He starts to rationalize, but you’re so feminine, but it is kind of like you’re deceiving people isn’t it?
I tell him no, this is who I am.
He says I don’t look like a transsexual, if he had known sooner…
He starts to feel tricked, and I can see anger boiling beneath the surface. And yet he also feels trapped because he promised he wouldn’t be mad. That I could tell him anything. Now he’s not so sure. Perhaps he realizing that he’s not as open-minded as he pretends to be with his white new age philosophy appropriated from brown cultures.
I was once a sweet girl, but now my deep secret has been revealed. There’s a sharpness in my answer when he asks me if I have a vagina or a dick.
Yeah, I have a fucking dick.
I already know that this isn’t going to work out, so I might as well show him I’m annoyed.
He tells me he can’t do this.
I say I already know.
He says he feels like he should give me a hug, and it feels awkward and obligatory. and he mutters some kind of good bye and thank you. He walks away and I don’t see him again.
I walk away, not really pissed or even disappointed. I wonder why I bothered to tell him, when I already knew how it would go down. Perhaps I just wanted to test him, be a mirror of his own ignorance.
I remember the words he taught me to say.
I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.
I can’t even ragequit over this. I actually refuse to.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, Victoria Foyt decided to write a dystopian young adult series called Save the Pearls in which global warning has made dark skin and its supposed ability to withstand “The Heat” the most valuable genetic manifestation one can possess. This increases their “mate rate” in a world where people must mate at an early age for some reason or another. You can read more about the story’s premise here (from the author’s failure-ridden interview with the Huffington post) and here (which includes some amazing commentary from Tumblr users).
Let’s dissect this waste of monetary resources, paper, and cosmic existence.
Wasn’t that movie, in fact, EXPLICITLY an advertisement for toys?
No moreso than anything else Transformers at the time. At that point in the television show, they’d introduced nearly a hundred characters across fifty episodes. The only difference between the movie and the cartoon was that the movie started killing off the old ones to make room. It was already pretty friggin’ crowded.
Being so efficient in killing off the old guys in the first five minutes to make room for the New Lineup was just a symptom of how Hasbro saw Transformers back then. They were products, not characters, and they were legitimately surprised when kids were beside themselves with grief that Optimus Prime was gone. Didn’t they now have the new leader who was totally better? They’d forget about Optimus eventually and glomp onto the new guy eventually, right?
Ha ha ha, no. Now you get ten new Optimus Prime toys every year. He’ll never not be Autobot Leader ever again.
This is a real problem, and I’m saying this as a fanboy for Optimus Prime. I hope that we get at least a few years in IDW without Orion Pax’s inevitable return to his former name and rank.
Politician at door:(blah blah blah)...and my strong commitment to traditional family values, as my wife of 28 years will attest.
Shade's mom:Sir, I don't care if you have orgies every Tuesday night so long as you get your job done.
Shade's mom:Also, if "traditional family values" is a sneaky way of saying "anti-gay marriage stance," you should know that my daughter is bisexual, and if I never get to cry at her wedding because some law you passed made her wedding illegal, I will personally see that your wife of 28 years has a lesbian awakening in time for you to discover the virtues of traditional divorce.
It took a moment as the screens flickered with the incoming transmission for everyone on the bridge to realise they were staring at a face, not someone’s emblem as they fumbled with a camera. Drift was abruptly nowhere to be seen and Ultra Magnus hissed softly.
“Greetings, Autobots,” Tarn said, cordial as could be. “I am Tarn, commander of the Decepticon Justice Division.”
“Pleasure to make your acquaintance,” Rodimus answered, arms crossed. “I’ve heard so much about you.”
“Have you now? How flattering.” Tarn even looked humble about it, or as humble as he could, one hand to his breastplate. Rodimus stifled the urge to tell him that what he’d heard wasn’t all that flattering unless gross atrocity was a compliment. Ultra Magnus kept surprisingly stone-faced.
“So,” Rodimus ventured, “to what do we owe this, er… unique occasion?” Tarn seemed to smile – Rodimus found he couldn’t quite tell with that face – and gestured with that same hand open and upturned, not quite shrugging. The air of magnanimity was almost palpable even over the comm-link.
“It has come to our attention that you’re harbouring Decepticon fugitives on board,” he said with careful enunciation, his speech almost rhythmic. “Ultra Magnus,” and he turned slightly to focus on the big officer, “as an enforcer of the Tyrest Accord and executor of the law, I trust you understand the situation we’re in.” Rodimus looked at his second-in-command, who grimaced slightly and power-cycled his vocal circuits.
“I do,” he declared, “which is why I’m sure you understand that according to Section Four, Clause Twelve of the Treaty of Tenevros, we can’t hand over our prisoners unless you have the proper writ of authorisation from Decepticon High Command.” Tarn very nearly laughed.
“You’re quite right,” he murmured. “Yes, Ultra Magnus, your knowledge of the law is as accurate as ever. However,” and though the humour remained in his tone, his optics turned cold and his posture steely, “I find your position dubious at best. After all, the war is over. The treaty’s authority is ended.”
“Now what gives you that idea?” Rodimus wondered. It was a bluff worth making; they kept running into bots who had no idea the war was over, after all. But Tarn made a quiet tsk-tsk sound and waved an admonishing finger at him.
“You’re aboard an unarmed ship with a mixed crew,” Tarn said, ticking off each hole in the story on his fingers, “with no support vessels and….” He paused, optics narrowing, and peered at something past Rodimus’ shoulder. Reflexively, Rodimus turned to look as well, so he missed the expression that flitted through Tarn’s gaze. Ultra Magnus saw it and quelled the sudden sick feeling it gave him. “…And you have non-combatants on the bridge!” exclaimed the Decepticon commander, all but cooing. He turned his cold smile on the theoretician, who looked around awkwardly. “Skids, was it?” he mused.
“Look,” Skids began slowly, “I have no idea who you are, pal.” Though he swore he could hear music as he stared back at that face. Vaguely familiar music. A low, eerie melody, not quite soothing. Unsettling more than anything else.
“A pity.” Tarn’s regret sounded genuine. “Because I know you. I must say, though, that I never expected to see you again.” Skids glared back, wondering why his limbs wouldn’t move, oblivious to the dumb look of horror on his face as Tarn wondered, “Tell me, Skids… do you still listen to music?”