So my interest about what David Farrar publishes on his site is legitimate.
So what’s got me wound up this time? This has.
I wrote an article a couple of weeks ago, comparing the two main political blogsites in New Zealand, Kiwiblog and The Standard. Both are prone to expressing extreme opinions. But in other respects they differ considerably in tone. I described the main differences between Kiwiblog and The Standard as follows:
…while I often shake my head at what I find, I don't tend to leave The Standard's website wanting to throw up.
I had another one of those almost-throw-up moments last night when I took a look at what was on Kiwiblog.
I disagree strongly with much of what Farrar writes. I don’t identify with his free market no-regulation libertarian views. That doesn’t make me a socialist. It just means I’m not a free market no-regulation libertarian. But I’m fine with that, really. The blogosphere would be a dull place if we all had the same views.
But because Farrar takes a laissez faire approach towards site moderation (his “points” system is about as random as the points awarded on Whose Line Is It Anyway? and seems to deliberately exclude the most obnoxious serial posters, such as the infamous potty-mouth Redbaiter), his comments sections would make Caligula blush.
I could almost tolerate that on the grounds of freedom of speech, if Farrar wasn’t so obviously trying to feed raw meat to his deranged audience. Which is why his post on Loudon v Trawick so annoys me.
I don’t know anything about the Massey academic Margaret Trawick, but clearly she has expressed some strong feminist opinions. Some of those opinions might even be objectionable. I really don't know, because I haven't investigated. She's not the subject of my post. However, when an academic says something crazy my preferred approach is to poke fun at them.
But crusading anti-communist and former Act Party Vice President Trevor Loudon decided to go to war against her, and Farrar has all the details. It might have been a legitimate story, but for the fact that Loudon is so right-wing he’d have locked General Pinochet away for being a soft pinko. Judging by Loudon's blogposts (find them yourselves - I won't give him traffic) and his general internet contributions, he appears convinced the Left are planning to incite bloody revolution and ravish all our women.
So Loudon's just another extremist blogger who doesn’t deserve the oxygen of publicity.
And when Farrar posted links to Loudon’s site attacking Trawick, and then offered his own opinions on Trawick's utterings, such as “but that to me sounds like you hate men (as a category of human beings), just not quite enough to advocate their extermination”, he was clearly dog-whistling.
I’ve mentioned before there’s a particularly vicious misogynist element that regularly posts comments on Kiwiblog.
Most of these posters remain anonymous, for obvious reasons, but not all do. They include the infamous Chuck Bird. He is the guy who “outed” Helen Clark’s husband to Investigate magazine. So that gives you an idea about the sort of people I'm talking about.
These misogynists still passionately hate Helen Clark, and attack anything that empowers women or promotes equality for women. You can’t engage sensibly with them – I tried a couple of times but gave up in disgust.
On one such occasion several of them made claims that women were as responsible for domestic violence as men were. Their tenuous arguments relied on a couple of flaky bits of research that had come out to support their odd view. They of course ignored the mass of evidence to the contrary, such as figures on police callouts, restraining orders and hospital admissions.
But did my calm reasoned approach in pointing these matters out work? Hardly. It was like being in a zombie film, where the hero tries to fight off the ravening hordes. He hacks away at arms, legs, even heads, and still the brainless mass attacks.
So I’ll stand outside and have my say. I accept this is rather like throwing a pebble at the Sky Tower and expecting it to fall over. After all, Farrar’s site probably gets more hits per day than my shabby little blog has got in its entire history.
Actually, I don’t even want the Tower to fall over. Kiwiblog serves a purpose, and can be a good antidote to the sometimes silly extremism on the other side of the spectrum. But I just wish the misogynists would move on, and that Farrar would put his whistle away.