The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

blog spots

Alliance comrade Len Richards has started posting his thoughts over at newsoc and the lovely Maia, who is one of my top ten favourite women, has launched Capitalism Bad; Tree Pretty, which should be a good antidote to all that sexist crap sloshing around in the kiwi blogosphere lately.

Plus Jeremy Greenbrook has started up Aucklander at Large, in anticipation of no longer being The Commander in Chief, (ie VUWSA President).


Anonymous said...

hope this doesn't sound weird, but is this maia a 'famous' person? I'm doing some reviews of local blogs for a magazine and hers looks interesting enough to include, but i guess i should know if she's a public identity, thanks, Richard.

Maria von Trapp said...

hey Span, thanks for linking to Maia's blog. It was refreshing!

Let's just hope AJ doesn't discover it and vomit all over it.

Maia said...

Thanks for the link (and the compliment) span. This blogging thing is addictive.

I'm not famous I promise, Richard, I just want to be semi-anonymous for work reasons.

span said...

no problem Maia :-)

I know Maia in real life, that's how I know she's fabulous

Little Girl in a Black Apron said...

if you're not into sexist crap dont go anywhere near a.j chesswas' blog, its actually so offensive, it made me SO mad

span said...

to be honest AJ is one of the reasons i haven't blogged for a while - i find his uninformed prejudicies so depressing in the modern world. i guess i live a sheltered life where those kinds of views are rightfully scorned by friends and family, even though my family in particular are not left-wing. AJ makes me very sad indeed.

pink panda said...

hey span, i added you as a link on my site hope that's ok... yeah that aj is a real meat head. he infuriates me, and gives all christians a bad name. i'm not christian myself, but it's sad for the people who are!

Maria von Trapp said...

Hey Span, don't let him get you down!

Little Girl in a Black Apron said...

i cant stand him either! he actually is a full fledged misogynist! im sure one day he will call us all dirty heathens and hack the passwords to our blogs just so he can put jesus html and the lords word on them.

The Doorman said...

He could be 'taken care of' for a price

span said...

violence is not the solution, tempting as it is.

thanks for your comments though guys - it's nice to know there are more of "us" than there are of him! and that there are bloggers out there who recognise AJ for what he really is.

A. J. Chesswas said...

You guys are losing it. It is official, the radical feminist left are in fact more sheltered than fundamentalist Christians. To think you'd get that offended I have a different view to you, and that I think it applies to you, is absurd!

span said...

if by sheltered you mean that i generally interact with people who actually respect women and treat them as fellow human beings instead of trying to proscribe their movements according to some outdated Victorian model of what women are, then yes i guess i am.

i'm not offended that you have a different view AJ. i have managed to get on reasonably courteously with fellow nz bloggers from across the political spectrum for over a year now, including a number that i have had less than friendly relationships with in real life in the past.

but you are something else - an unrepentant misogynist who blames feminists you've never met for your personal problems in finding a wife, rather than examining your own approach to the women you encounter.

you claim that you don't think your opinion applies to me - but i'm a woman and the views you put forward seem obsessed with how you think women should live their lives - what we should wear, the jobs we should do, whether we should swear or not, etc. i'm not just offended for myself however - actually i'm thinking a lot about my nieces when i react to what you write - little girls who i want to see grow up into strong capable women who never have to doubt themselves or feel bad about being female because they encounter a head-in-the-sand chauvinist like you.

A. J. Chesswas said...

You said

"you claim that you don't think your opinion applies to me "

I said

"To think you'd get that offended I have a different view to you, and that I think it applies to you, is absurd!"

Read more carefully. What I said is I'm suprised you're offended that I think my views apply to you. If you try and shelter yourself from people who challenge your views and identity it will only increase your capacity to doubt, and make you more averse to listening to different views.

I thought we were living in postmodernity, where people value listening to different views and allowing them to challenge their lives. The irony is that while I'm a fundamentalist I'm probably better at practicing postmodernity than those asking me to join them in the 21st century!

span said...

so AJ when you raise your views on how women should act that doesn't apply to all women? please explain who is and isn't excluded from your world view. you have said that women who wear singlets are skanks (over on Maia's blog) so assumedly when i wear a singlet i am a skank in your view. anyone who knows me in real life, particularly from university or school, will probably fall about laughing at the very thought that anyone thinks me skanky.

in regard to me living a sheltered life, obviously my sarcasm went right over your head. within my family and friends there is quite a divergence of political viewpoints, including on the role of women in society, not to mention the people i have dealt with over the years who fall outside of this group. but i have very very rarely encountered a Kiwi male who holds your extreme views on women. i am in fact struggling to think of anyone quite as out-there as you who i actually know personally (as opposed to those i don't, eg Pat Robertson). this is not because i somehow shut myself away from people and only encounter those i agree with - far from it, my job thrusts me into dealing with strangers all the time.

besides which, if i actively avoided people who challenge my views why on earth would i have a political blog and engage in discussions here and elsewhere with you, amongst others that i disagree with?

the point is that i find your views on women stone age. i think they are based on ignorance and prejudice. you no doubt feel the same way about my responses, however i am not actually trying to proscribe the way you live. i have not even said that i don't think you should be able to write about your views. but you have said that you think that i, and other women, should dress in appropriate ways (as determined by you), be educated in certain settings (as determined by you), and be devoted to certain career paths (again as determined by you).

Can you not see the difference in what you are saying and what I am saying? Can you really not understand why I am offended that you are trying to dictate to me, and others, how to live?

A. J. Chesswas said...

Surely you have opinions about how to live that you think apply to everyone...? I view the world, and people, aesthetically. If something looks (physically, spiritually, socially, culturally) nice I encourage it, if it looks offensive I discourage it. It seems egotistical, but I've observed that my tastes are consistent with what appears to me to be natural, and what has been expressed in religion for centuries. More often than not the people I know who have strayed from this path of goodness have done so out of bitterness, hurt, and a lack of self-confidence. I simply don't trust that those averse to a more simple, natural and old-fashioned life are being honest with me, and even with themselves. I am thus claiming to know better than you how you should live, which goes against the paradigm of individualism and autonomy so apart of our culture. Because of it I commit the cardinal sin of being patronising.

Where these blog discussions are breaking down is in the fact that once people argue a certain way, and my words touch their heart, they're not exactly going to break down and say "yes yes that is what I'm looking for you're so right yardy yada... That is the only way people will change their mind, the blogosphere is not the place for that to happen, and thus, as Maria has always said, I have no right to say such things. The men who are actually important, and close to you, in your lives should be the ones who are honest with you, not I. A woman's heart is not the place for a stranger.

I just seriously can't believe that women have lost their capacity for romance, and their capacity for cluckiness. I believe it is there within every woman's heart, even if it is dormant. I hope that my words may help women to rediscover ther hearts, but I don't expect that to happen online.

What a big, messy topic.

Iain said...


"Surely you have opinions about how to live that you think apply to everyone"

No, that's the point! That's it right there.

There isn't just ONE right way to behave... not every decision is universal.

I, as a faithful Christian, believe that God is more loving, intelligent and adaptable than that.

Referring to the sentiment of your posts here and here...

You are allowed go live in the country.

I am allowed to live in the city.

You are allowed to work the land, agrarian style.

I am allowed to get a desk job.

You are allowed to have 16 children.

I am allowed to be celibate and single for the rest of my life.

You are allowed to treat the women around you by the ideals that you view as 'romantic' - loving them the best way you know how.

I am allowed to treat the women around me by the ideals that i view as 'egalitarian' - loving them the best way I know how.

God lets you choose your path, serving faithfully in the way that you have been created and raised. You take your best skills and abilites to bear and tackle life with all your strength.

God lets me choose my path, serving faithfully in the way that I have been created and raised. I take my best skills and abilities to bear and tackle life with all my strength.

You are right, you life is perfectly fine and God honouring.

I am right, my life is perfectly fine and God honouring.

You don't have to act like me.

I don't have to act like you.

Neither of us need to have opinions about the way that we each live that we feel applies to the other.

p.s. Allan, knowing only a very small amount of your background, I would still say that you aren't as objective and clear as you think. I think that you have chosen to 'withdraw' from average NZ society somewhat, building walls of black/white morality and universalising-decision-making to protect yourself and your emotions. I believe that you have done this out of a position of pain and negative past experience.

There may be an element to which you 'project' the shame-causing experiences from your own conscience and past onto others - thus wanting to correct and change how you see them living. You may also be reacting against the guilt that you may have felt from gaining pleasure doing what you believe are wrong activities and behaviours. You may be projecting this guilt onto others, secretly disgusted at your own self, and in turn being disgusted by what you project onto them (thereby not having to take a hard look at yourself).

That's my best shot. I know you like to feel that your head is clear and your thoughts are objective and philosophical... but none of us really are.

Paul said...

AJ, you say " I view the world, and people, aesthetically." Perhaps you should view the world and people ethically. If something disgusts you, or at least appears bad, it does not make that thing wrong. Some people find the sight of two people of the same sex kissing to be disgusting, as some do the sight of a woman breast-feeding in public. That reaction is not a basis for an ethical judgement. Similarly, that an action appears beautiful does not entail that it is good. It is a common problem: people should make judgements with their heads, not their stomachs.

You also assume to know people's motiviations for action: "the people I know who have strayed from this path of goodness have done so out of bitterness, hurt, and a lack of self-confidence." We cannot really know what are the motivations of others for their actions, so it would be unwise to make assumptions.

A. J. Chesswas said...

Iain, I'm familiar with the psychoanalytic type you are applying... the puritannical something-or-rather, a model which is often used to explain fundamentalists. Sometimes it appears to apply (a la Graham Capill) but for many, including myself, I know and trust it does not apply.

1. I am very much involved in average NZ society, in work, leisure and friendship.

2. I love myself (probably more part of the problem), yet am also openly and honestly disgusted at myself, but with no shame.

3. I don't see how black-and-white morality and
universalising-decision-making protects my emotions; in fact they make life very emotional because of their implications.

What I do share with the puritannical yadi yada personality type is the "need to be right". I am a perfectionist, I want to live life as well as I can live it. This means choosing the absolute best options in every area, which means black-and-white morality and

What I am very aware of, though, is the way that power structures influence the way we think, so that rather than looking within we are compelled by fear to toe the line of those with cultural hegemony, at least in part to feel validated. Look at the tactics people use to try and silence my opinion - generally the most common response is to label me with terms that people perceive as derogatory and degrading (ie Amish, Exclusive Brethren, Nazi, Volkish) without actually engaging with the ideas. People try to scare me out of my beliefs, and scare others away from me, rather than actually engage in the conversation.

A. J. Chesswas said...

The other thing is no-one can really know exactly what they should do in life. There's no way of being sure of whether you are to pursue a career or ambition etc. As I have said the only things you can be sure of are (theologically) partaking in and sharing the gospel and (biologically) reproduction. More than anything I am simply cynical of anyone who says "God has called me to **, especially if ** precludes child-raising, and especially when that is in the context of marriage.

My views are a convergence of Christian fundamentalism, agrarianism, naturalism and realism, all of which rely heavily upon each other.

span said...

sorry just a quick comment, as am on the run this morning - John from Home Throne and Altar has a very interesting post on all of this here, for those who have missed it:

Iain said...

So if the young Saul said to you,

"I've realised that Judaism isn't the shiznit anymore, that Christ bloke is where it's at. In fact, I'm thinking of giving up EVERYTHING for him and just trying to grow his Church."

Would you say, 'Now hold it a moment there, Saul, just make sure you hitch yourself to some fine filly and have a few sprogs before you do anything you might regret'?

Or what about,

"You know, AJ, I think I just might be the Son of God. I think I'll go suffer and die for the sins of the world."

'Now wait a moment, you're eating far too much fish and not enough permaculture vegetables, for one. How about you have a nice beer while my little missus makes us a marshmellow slice while we reconsider your lifestyle'

You see, not everything is as black and white as you are trying to make it.

Be happy with your life, but don't expect that yours is the only way.

A. J. Chesswas said...

Have you been reading Chris Grantham's Kiwi Bible Iain??! You illustrate your point well :)

Jesus & Paul were both obviously very sure of their callings. There have been many women through history who have been the same, and remained single. Obviously there will be exceptions, but that's what they are exceptions; and nothing I can say would stop such a person from acting on their conviction.

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