Thursday, November 14, 2013

NZ Herald letter of the month

In which CK Stead comments on “this embarrassing delirium” about the Roastbusters. His first paragraph refers, I think, to the Mazengarb Report of 1954. I cannot claim to have read all of that report,  but am pretty sure it didn’t cover 16-year-old boys getting 13-year-old girls drunk so they could rape them.
Roast Busters delirium
I have arrived back after two months overseas to find New Zealand in a state of collective hysteria similar to a time I remember in the 1950s when the nation discovered that teenagers at Hutt Valley High were engaging in sex in their lunch breaks – with the difference, however, that it is now more or less universally accepted that if sex occurs between minors and there is anything unlawful, immoral or otherwise distasteful about it, the male is entirely to blame, and the female a victim.  
The police are being harried and bullied to press charges they do not believe they have sufficient evidence to sustain; and in the nation’s present state of mind, it is hard to see how any young person brought to trial could get a fair hearing or a just outcome. The press, radio and television should stop encouraging this embarrassing delirium. 
We should all step back, cool down, and stop sounding off as if the bad behaviour of the young has come upon us like the revelation of something new. It is time to change the subject. 
C.K. Stead 
Parnell
UPDATE
Eleanor Catton comments on Twitter:
Rape culture is: people who want to shut down conversations about rape. From a NZ writer, this is disgusting. 
UPDATE 2
Charlotte Grimshaw writes in the Comments below:
CK Steads letter sets out an incorrect definition of the issue and then calls for the argument to be closed down. The issue is not, as he describes it, a moral panic about teenagers having sex. Everyone knows teenagers have sex. It is legitimate public revulsion to men bragging on line about having sex with drunk young women without their consent. The issue is consent. Sex without consent is not simply bad teenage behaviour, it is rape.  

7 comments:

Ray said...

"It is a bugger getting old"
Have to say I sort of agree with him except for the last line

It is not time to change the subject rather it is time to relearn our responses to men attacking women or rather the damage of relationships between unequals
Rich men. stronger men, men with "mana", sober men who use that to have sex with women

RJH said...

It is indeed a "bugger getting old". That said, I'm not so old that I can let Ray's comments about relationships between unequals go without further discussion.

People are attracted to each other for a whole host of reasons - most of which I've never managed to figure out. Is it more reasonable to be attracted to someone that popular culture characterises as beautiful than to someone who is rich, and therefore a good provider? Should a Hillary Clinton spurn the attention of a potential lover because they fall lower on the mana scale?

One of the things that most worries me about this is that debate has been stifled by the very people who protest that others are shutting down the discussion. Go online and try to find a verbatim transcription of the comments from these stupid and vain young men (and, yes, possibly criminal). You can't.

My guess is that very few people are commenting on more than the comments of other commentators.

As to C K Steads final line, it seems to me that the discussion he is asking for, the one we should change to, is similar to the one you propose. A rational, calm reappraisal of our attitudes to each other.

Charlotte Grimshaw said...

CK Stead's letter sets out an incorrect definition of the issue and then calls for the argument to be closed down. The issue is not, as he describes it, a moral panic about teenagers having sex. Everyone knows teenagers have sex. It is legitimate public revulsion to men bragging on line about having sex with drunk young women without their consent. The issue is consent. Sex without consent is not simply bad teenage behaviour, it is rape.
Charlotte Grimshaw

Anonymous said...

When I was a boy it was "every male is a rapist" and then "every male is a potential rapist" and then it was "marital rape" and then "date rape" and on an on, as each feminist strategy was debunked (often by other women) they simply shifted the goal posts and invented another rape pandemic. Now they've gone the whole hog, and chucked away even the pretense at being a simple copy of Marxist class war theory, where men are the oppressive class ("patriachy" and replaced it with the most hysterical nonsense yet "rape culture"...in this age when a man can be ruined by a false accusation of rape and the woman never held accountable, an exact inversion of reality...we live in a "rape accusation culture". This too will pass, and then the haters will dream up some new rape demon. Well, at least it isn't as bad as the "ritual abuse" witch hunt we've had in the past...small mercy.

Anonymous said...

What some of your defensive commentators seem unable to grasp is that these young men boasted about their conquests, and because the police didn't follow up immediately they felt they were invincible. Grow up please, and look at the real issues here.

Dave Hillier said...

As Charlotte Grimshaw is CK Stead's daughter, this is a clear case of parental correction.

Aaron Hopkins said...

I agree with C.K. Stead's comments about this current outrage delirium being over the top.

Recently in the media Kim.com said New Zealand was mediocre? I'll tell you what's been mediocre...
(In this country recently it's been totally SUB-mediocre -embarrassing to be here right now.)
I mean the fearful, rabid, unbridled, sanctimonious clamour over the Facebook bragging of the 'Roast Busters' boys.

I thought the airwave/online lynch Mob was bad with Aaron Gilmore's head-in-stocks case - but an ugly new level of Media-fuelled hysteria has been reached this month.

And clearly the over-the-top scapegoating of afternoon talk-radio hosts Willie Jackson and John Tamihere amounts to a shafting by a blind public lynch-mob blind with pound-of-flesh - hungry outrage. They need their pound of flesh, right or wrong - "Just let me hit it!"-type thing.

Stoked by a busy keyboard-fingers happy bedroom blogger cold-calling advertisers - a completely unfair, perverse if you will, outcome is landed on.

I still don't have a clear picture of the nature of these dodgy booze-fuelled parties the oversexed boasting Facebook braggers spoke of.
All the sexting, Facebooking, snapchatting and whatever else. - I don't engage in that online activity. Like the two radio hosts concerned, I don't have a Facebook account or go to similar parties...

I'm none the wiser about the environment these date-rapes and group-sex gatherings occurred. A radio interview on the subject was hysterically shunned out of PC fear. And ever since, if anyone else ventures any questions on both sets of partying teenage protagonists in the scandal, they're shot down instantly as promoting "Rape Culture"..?! It's just not true.

Clearly date-rape is illegal - as goes underage sex. Drink spiking also wrong and web-shaming equally reprehensible. The alleged offences may well be not just alleged. I hope we can actually find out. But the Mediocre media-fuelled NZ public reaction to this teenage party chaos we've been hearing about on Facebook by these young so-called 'Roast Busters' is a depressing soul-deflating shock.

Just too much.