Our top posts of 2016

Well that was a bastard of a year. Here’s the Boots Theory posts y’all enjoyed reading the most.

10. How we got here

A long time ago in New Zealand we all, through public services run by the government, ensured every family had enough money to feed their kids and a safe house to live in. We used to make people’s jobs secure and support people who weren’t able to work.

We knew some things were too important to leave in the hands of private companies whose first priority was profit. We knew together, as people who are part of a community, we could help each other. And the government, or the state, was the best instrument of that – because it wasn’t driven by making a quick buck, because it was accountable to the people.

We lost that. But we didn’t lose it by accident. It was by design.

9. There is no surplus

This surplus isn’t a success for our government. It is a sign of their failure. It shows they do not understand what their job is: to look after the people of this country. To govern us – not bean-count. It shows they do not understand what success looks like, because success should never be measured on a spreadsheet while children are dying of preventable diseases in mold-ridden houses.

8. Beware, creepy men of the Right: Rawshark returns (briefly)

Rawshark’s brief return sent a very powerful message to the Dirty Politics crew. I’m still here. I’m still watching. And there’s a lot I didn’t reveal, so don’t make me want to come back.

Good on ya, mate.

7. On Brexit

Rob’s response to the reasons for that result.

The danger is that by not taking this lesson on board, and instead dismissing the electorate as ignorant or racist, social democratic organisations in particular would move further away from their traditional base and cede even more ground to the right. Because people can sense when you don’t like them and they don’t support people who don’t like them.

6. Nicola Young’s scary “solution” to people begging in Wellington

In a year of tragedies, at least this woman didn’t become Mayor.

The kneejerk reaction is “wow, banning people who beg? Dickensian villain much?” but Young has responded to many critics asking that they understand it’s a broad policy and that exiling people to the outskirts of Panem is just “part” of the solution. Read the whole post, she says.

I did.

brody jaws zoom

5. 2016 local government endorsements

No surprise that in a local body election year (with typically sparse media analysis unless it involved John Palino’s book or the Wellington Tory meltdown), you were keen to check out our master list of different organisations’ endorsements.

4. Where those Kiwimeter questions came from

Many far more qualified people addressed the problems with TVNZ’s Kiwimeter survey (links in the post!) but Stephanie’s love of screencapping weird things allowed us to see how the sausage is made.

3. I say no to rape-promoting meetups in my city

This feels like an age ago.

6 February won’t just be Waitangi Day and Bob Marley’s birthday this year. It also sees – allegedly – a set of coordinated meetups for “neomasculinists” – adherents of the teachings/writings/bizarre YouTube videos of “Roosh V”, variously described as a “pick-up artist”, “relationship guru” and “incredibly creepy rape promoter”.

The Stuff article on the meetups planned in Australia/New Zealand provides a pretty good summary of the beliefs of Roosh and his fans. But it’s really easy to look at one paragraph with ridiculous concepts like “rape should be legal on private property” and shrug these guys off as a bunch of fringe weirdos.

It’s much worse.

2. When the creeper is your mate

When you know in your heart you’re A Good Dude, you can be oblivious to your friends’ creeping. You tell yourself you’ve called out Bad Guys on their creepiness, you look out for your women friends – therefore the way your mates behave isn’t the same. Because they’re your mates.

This is the danger. The creepy dudes who you think are charming and affable are using your status As A Good Dude to harass and abuse other women. You’re their meat shield. They’re your mate, so they must be safe, because you wouldn’t stand for creepiness.

Believing women can’t just be about believing them when their experience aligns with yours. It has to mean reflecting, checking your instinct to say “but he’s my mate”, when the creep in question is your good friend.

Given that this post was initially inspired by Alex Casey and Duncan Greive’s incredible coverage of allegations of persistent sexual harassment by Andrew Tidball of Cheese on Toast, and given that a major leftwing blogger has seen fit to label this “a modern day witch hunt” in the closing days of 2016, a corollary should perhaps be added to the above: If you dismiss women’s experiences because it allows you to attack a news site you don’t like, you’re not A Good Dude at all.

1. Massey Chancellor: women graduates only worth 40% of a real veterinarian

Absolutely no contest on this one, with over 10,000 pageviews – more for one post than literally any other calendar month in 2016.

Does this actually need unpacking? Are we actually on the cusp of 2017 and I have to spell out why it’s so insulting, small-minded and frankly bizarre to be write off women’s professional abilities and value because they might have babies?

What about women who don’t want to have kids? What about women who enjoy more practical study than theoretical? What about women who don’t just go into veterinary science because (as implied further on in that godawful article) they love puppies and kittens and ickle babby wabbits?

Please note: as Chris Kelly apologised, admitted his statements weren’t factual, and subsequently resigned after publicly trashing Massey’s reputation, any comments about “maybe he has a point” or “but it’s true, women just love having babies” will not be published.

So that was 2016! 2017 promises a NZ general election, the inauguration of the Donald …

At least we got a new RTJ album to carry us through.

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