Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Toe-to-toe celeb action

Firstly, let me direct your attention to this article from the front page of today's Herald: "Celebs go toe-to-toe on smacks". It's such an astoundingly poor article that I have to resort to bullet point form to get my points across.
  • First there's the vexing question of why we should care about celebrities' opinions on smacking. In fact, don't people hate it when Nanny Celebs tell them what to think? And for God's sake - Simon Barnett? The man whose explanation for going on Celebrity Treasure Island was that God, having originally advised Barnett against it, changed His mind (as He is wont to do - cf. the Flood) and told him to go ahead? The man whose late-night Face The Music repeats got many a stoner through wee-hours boredom?
  • Just how are they - Barnett and actor Robyn Malcolm - going "toe-to-toe"? Oh, they're not. What they have done is "lined up as rival celebrities" for next month's smacking referendum. You remember the one - the waste of time with a ridiculous question that the Prime Minister has already said he will ignore. The very wording of the article makes it sound like 'Rival Celebrity' is some sort of official position, like being Official Photocopying Supplier of the All Blacks. Perhaps they will in fact go toe-to-toe in some sort of gladiatorial combat, although should that happen I fear for Malcolm's chances; Barnett has shown that he is not afraid to use violence in the name of discipline, and Malcolm's strategy, however honourable, of "hanging out the washing" when faced with youthful intransigence will be no match for a brutal Barnett beating.
  • Attn: social issues reporter Simon Collins. Firstly, it's more of an entertainment story than a social issues story. More importantly, although I'm proud that you've stopped referring to the section 59 amendment as the anti-smacking law, calling it the "anti-smacking" law is only a marginal improvement - cf. ear-flick father and "ear-flick" father.
  • Well done to the Herald online team, who have successfully turned a story about nothing into a 'vote for your fave celeb' on Your Views: "Who is right in the child discipline debate? Robyn Malcolm or Simon Barnett?" Current highlight:
    paul (Auckland Central): In the wild lets say a mother wolf, gives its young a nip when they get out of line, this is how the young learn. I dont see why things should be any different in our society.



  1. But they both make such great cases based on their own personal, limited experience!

    And they have roughly the same level of legal knowledge of potential consequences as I do!

    I feel safe and unthreatened listening to their arguments.

    Thank God the media chooses to focus on celebrities rather than elitist experts who'll just talk big difficult words at us and who haven't even starred in their own TV show.

    Then I might waste my time making an informed decision.

  2. ^Bitterly sarcastic EtH comment of the week?

  3. Well, I think it is good to have two people expressing fairly reasoned cases for each side. Barnett provides exactly the sort of argument you would hope that those who smack their children would be offering. And Malcolm provides the correct one!

  4. However, Barnetts comment about his daughter running across the road, is allowed.

    Smacking your daughter for climbing a tree = not allowed (unless the tree in question happens to be on the side of a cliff)

  5. Er, smacking his daughter for running across a road...

  6. Aside from concerns relating to the article's appropriateness as front page material. It astounds me that Simon, as both a strident opponent of the section 59 amendment and the 'Vote No' campaign front person, can possesses such a woeful grasp of the reasons for the amendment in the first place

    "Kiwi parents know the difference between a light smack and child abuse" - Really Simon? Well, if that was the case there would not be any incidents of child abuse, would there!

    Who exactly does Simon believe are perpetrating these crimes - immigrants from Lapland? Notwithstanding that one person's "light smack" may, in reality, be another's savage beating - just as ones ear flick is another's punch in the face!

    "It might not be a smack. It might be timeout. It might be missing out on the $1 bag of lollies..." - I would argue that if timeout and restriction of privileges, etc were utilised correctly then smacking would not be necessary. How does he decide when a smack is justified? By what criteria are "offences" by the child considered 'smackable' and others not? Would this not be a confusing set of message for a child where consistency in disciple would be a far easier approach?

    And does Simon not realise that he actions in providing a light smack to prevent his child crossing the road (I presume that he was advocating this as a means to prevent harm to his child) is not unlawful and therefore a redundant example. Has he even bothered to learn about the repal of section 59 or is his opposition just a continued short sighted knee-jerk ignorance to something that threatens his little square boxed world?

  7. ""Kiwi parents know the difference between a light smack and child abuse" - Really Simon? Well, if that was the case there would not be any incidents of child abuse, would there!"

    But you see, when Simon imagines "Kiwi parents" he imagines white, middle class (and preferably God loving) people.

    For NICE people like Simon and his "Kiwi parents" the law clearly only applys to other, lesser beings - white middle class people don't even like it when they get a parking ticket.

    They hate the idea of a law that might impose on them, and that is the nub of the reaction to the S59 amendment.

  8. I'm voting yes because I like Outrageous Fortune.

  9. I agree with Anonymous and Tom above - Simon is privileging white middle-class parents as a distinct entity from parents of other ethnic/class/belief groups in NZ. However, by extension then he is also asserting that child abuse is not a white middle class problem and or concern.

  10. Its about time we had a celebrity "smackdown".

    While we're at it, maybe we should be consulting celebrities on all important political and social issues. I'm sure the likes of Jason Gunn and Mark Ellis have a lot to say about fiscal policy, reforming the criminal justice system and treaty settlements.

    In this case the prissy god-bothering Barnett will be no match for feisty Robyn Malcolm.

    Anyway, home now to bite the kids, now that Paul of Central Auckland says its okay.

  11. I'm voting "Banana" because I think the whole thing is a pile of shit.

  12. I want to know Suzanne Paul's take on the issue

  13. Gah indeed.

    Maybe they should ask a kid what they think of the ammendment?

  14. "toe to toe". A phrase usually used when two people stand, um, toe-to-toe, and smack seven bells out of each other.

    A debate on smacking which will be decided by smacking. Good work, auntie Harold.