Friday, April 24, 2015

Dear Mr Prime Minister - An open letter to an abusive leader of this great country of ours

Dear Mr Prime Minister,

We deserve better.

On the 22nd of April, a blog post revealing months of bullying and harassing behaviour exhibited by you, toward a waitress, was posted on a blog. And public opinion erupted.


But let's be really clear here. What you did, is abuse someone. You used your position of power to continually, over a number of months, abuse and harass someone. Even upon learning that she didn't like it, you continued to do it, despite your statements after the facts of the behaviour came out.

I draw you attention to this passage from the original blog post:
As he approached me he thought it would be fitting to raise his hands high and make scary, suspense sound effects, like the music from the movie Jaws that we all know so well, and still gestured as if to reach behind me. As he towered overhead I slunk down, cringing, whilst Bronagh told him to “leave the poor girl alone”. I looked him in the eye and asked “is it self defence, with your security here, if I have to physically stop you from touching me?” and he countered, with a smile, “defence against what?.
That would seem to me that you've been caught out in a lie. You claim that when you realised, you apologised... immediately. That it was all in banter... You continued the behaviour, continued to make light of it, after you knew she viewed you as predatory. Why else the Jaws reference?

Your lack of remorse is concerning. You did not just over step the mark or cross the line. You left the line/mark well in the distance. What you did was not just weird. It was an abuse of power. You are not just exhibiting some child-like quality. You are displaying predatory behaviour. It was not just creepy. It was abusive and bullying.

2 bottles of wine, and a quick apology while running out the door followed by media statements telling us that it was little more than banter is not an apology. It does not begin to  make up for what you did to that poor girl or how you made her feel.

I've been finding this whole sordid affair somewhat depressing. It almost seems like we as a nation do not understand what abuse and bullying looks like. It looks like what you did and what you're continuing to do. The media does not change that. And if they did, can you imagine the consequences to our nation? A huge step backwards in terms of equality as more and more people feel justified in their abusive and bullying behaviour because... it was just banter (The Prime Minister said so).

How about you show some real remorse? And perhaps a public apology to go with it? How about you show us that you can be a leader as opposed to an Alzheimers riddled bully and abuser?

Regards,
Nevyn Hira
(A concerned, proud, though now embarrassed, citizen of New Zealand).

As he approached me he thought it would be fitting to raise his hands high and make scary, suspense sound effects, like the music from the movie Jaws that we all know so well, and still gestured as if to reach behind me. As he towered overhead I slunk down, cringing, whilst Bronagh told him to “leave the poor girl alone”. I looked him in the eye and asked “is it self defence, with your security here, if I have to physically stop you from touching me?” and he countered, with a smile, “defence against what?” - See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/04/22/exclusive-the-prime-minister-and-the-waitress/#sthash.tF2lYMmm.dpuf

Monday, April 6, 2015

When Is Helping Not Helping?

I've been known to occasionally curse nerds. It's not that I don't like nerds, but often I come across what I would describe as "fucktardary". Basically, don't kick someone then tell everyone that you're helping them. This has come up a couple of times over the last few weeks on Facebook.

In one I was expressing a disgust for Let Me Google That For You and I was shocked and stunned that someone was not only defending it's use, but also stating that he saw it as empowering people i.e. "Give a man a fish".

This isn't helping. It's patronizing. If someone is asking for help, and you want to help, help them. Don't be patronizing. Be patient and actually help them. Perhaps give them a search term they could use or link them to a Google search result. More likely than not, they're going to get angry at you if you're patronizing. You don't get to be a patronizing prat and feel proud of yourself for doing it.

The next occurrence was a conversation about needing to do something and the only way that works, apparently requires a certain environment (Windows). To which I got a response asking "Why aren't you using Linux?". Because the requirement is to do it in Windows... Which had been stated. That's not helping. It's not even close to a helpful suggestion.

So let's get this clear. If you want to help someone:
  • It shouldn't be patronizing.
  • It should involve talking about the problem rather than preference.
  • It should be patient.
If you can't manage these things, then don't chime in. It's not that hard really. Alpha geeks are probably the worst at getting this right. I was surprised when I found someone who I helped on a daily basis say to me that she appreciated that I never made her feel stupid like others. I was surprised by this. It doesn't take much to be helpful. To empower. To add value. I tend to find myself chastising myself if I get it wrong. What could I have done better? Where did the conflict stem from? How can I approach it differently next time?

Alpha nerds are the worst! And I've even found myself leaving online communities for this reason. It just seems that bad behaviour is somehow normalised and the steaming heap of excrement is hidden under the guise of "help".