One Question Quiz
A member of Christchurch’s Muslim community stands across the road from the Dean Street mosque. (Photo: MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of Christchurch’s Muslim community stands across the road from the Dean Street mosque. (Photo: MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)

MediaMarch 17, 2019

The best of The Spinoff this week

A member of Christchurch’s Muslim community stands across the road from the Dean Street mosque. (Photo: MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of Christchurch’s Muslim community stands across the road from the Dean Street mosque. (Photo: MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)

Rose Hanley-Nickols: I survived a mass shooting 23 years ago. Here’s how to help survivors today

“Don’t play audio or video from the event. Ever. Last year I was woken up by gunfire from the Parkland shooting. Thanks for that, RNZ National.

Don’t fixate on the numbers of dead and injured. It dehumanises the victims and promotes a ghoulish fascination with higher and higher death tolls. While it’s important to quantify things, don’t fixate.

Instead, focus on the victims as complete humans with lives before they became a statistic. Everyone in those buildings is a victim. Talk about their community, and if they immigrated here, about their lives before and after they came to New Zealand. Ask eyewitnesses how they are feeling, not how many bodies they saw lying around them.

Stop profiling the offenders in detail. Stop it, stop it, stop it. Don’t repeatedly use their names, don’t dig forensically into their background, don’t give them the profile they so dearly crave. For them, it validates their reasoning and promotes their ideology to others in their fringe.

Act with kindness and respect for those hurting, and put their experience first: a rule to live by, not just for mass shootings.”

Duncan Greive: The atrocity profits

“During the attack the terrorist streamed footage of it in realtime on Facebook, and its reproduction was accessible through Google parent company Alphabet’s YouTube platform immediately afterwards. As long as eight hours after the incident, the video was still being successfully uploaded to YouTube.

It’s far from the first time this has happened: in 2017 a 74 year old Cleveland man was murdered live on the internet. A Facebook spokesperson said afterwards “this is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook.”

That same year though, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said “we don’t check what people say before they say it, and frankly, I don’t think society should want us to.” It reflects his and his company’s fundamental worldview: that information wants to be free, and the benefits outweigh the costs.

Nearly two years have passed since Cleveland, and whatever steps Facebook may have taken to prevent such an incident from occuring again, they didn’t stop this. As the Human Rights Commission’s Ryan Mearns pointed out, publication of the video for news organisations may well be illegal. Yet no statute I am aware of will impact either of the tech giants.”

Susan Devoy: Hatred lives in New Zealand

“The fact that so many of yesterday’s victims survived ISIS, long treks to safety, and subsistence living in refugee camps only to die at the hands of a terrorist here in Aotearoa should shame us all. So do not tell me that March 15 was a surprise. Because hatred lives in New Zealand. And yesterday it walked around the streets of Christchurch with an automatic weapon.

I am devastated and broken for my good friends in the Muslim community. People who feed the homeless. Who raise money for cyclone victims. Who would get in touch with me if there was a terror attack overseas and say: let’s have a peace vigil. We will host it. Let’s gather together in peace.

When people ask what can we do today, the answer is the same as it was yesterday, last year and the year before that: we must never, ever let hatred and racism go unchallenged when we see it in our communities – on a bus, on Facebook, on the street.”

This is Joe Rogan now – but where did he come from?

Laura Vincent: Remembering the cute, podcast-less Joe Rogan

“I’m an expert on Joe Rogan. You know the guy, right? If not from yelling enthusiastically at UFC cards you’ve surely heard of his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, where he talks about smoking weed or the benefits of sensory deprivation and meditation while riffing with comedians, actors and public figures.

Doesn’t ring a bell? Lately, he’s been hosting prominent alt-right figures in his unchallenging, friendly space. He claims no political affiliation but his ability to placidly agree with almost anything his guests say is getting increasingly weirder to behold. Yes, that guy! You know him! He conveys a kind of ‘whoopee cushion straining at the join’ vibe. He smoked weed with Elon Musk and his opening serve to this billionaire – who called one of the rescue divers of the kids in the Thai cave a “pedo” – was to skittishly ask how someone “constantly innovating” finds time to make a flamethrower.

He brought on Jordan Peterson and they merrily talked smack about gender pronouns, diversity, and income equality. His name comes up more and more as his podcast grows in popularity. Its clips go viral, reddit analyses them, and your not-yet-radicalised cousin on Facebook clicks on them out of idle curiosity.

Yes, I’m an expert on Joe Rogan.”

Katie Meadows: How do we reckon with Michael Jackson in the wake of Leaving Neverland?

“While the sexual abuse detailed by Robson and Safechuck is extremely graphic – allegations of molestation, mutual masturbation, oral sex and penetrative sex between Jackson and each boy – Leaving Neverland exists as a thorough exploration and explanation of how the more covert grooming of child abuse victims functions, and the insidiousness of the seduction that takes place.

When we think of child sexual abuse we think of the physical violence. But in cases where the abuser is well known to the victim, abusers often employ behaviour similar to a romantic courtship, making their victims feel special and loved while convincing them that the sexual abuse is a part of that. Both men admit to feeling in love with Jackson, to a point that even now they feel like they’re betraying him by speaking out.

The brazenness of Jackson’s inappropriate relationships with the young boys is so apparent it seems beyond hiding in plain sight. Both describe the betrayal when Jackson prioritised spending time with other young boys as they grew older, akin to being suddenly dumped by a long-term partner and lover.”

Amanda Thompson: It took Michael Jackson’s victims 20 years. It took me 20 years, too

“I like to imagine people’s opinions about this doco on a kind of bell curve of vehemence, with the Y axis measuring the amount of people, and the x axis measuring how certain we are in what we “know”. The graph will have a small, flat lump of people at one end vehemently believing that MJ was a philanthropist, musical genius and all-round good guy who has been unfairly maligned. Right up at the other skinny end another tiny amount of people are just as sure that he was a psychopathic paedophile who ruined the lives of James Safechuck and Wade Robson, and had enough money and influence to cover it up. The large majority though, are milling around in the big bulgy bit in the centre, confused and ambivalent, perhaps thinking Jackson was “a bit troubled” and maybe did some weird stuff? Or are those two guys are just “a bit troubled” and maybe imagined some weird stuff? But, also, they think, who cares any more? Why kick a man when he is – well, down – six feet down to be exact – and coincidentally dead? Why deny it then but drag it all up again now, 20 years later?

I can’t tell you who to believe, but I can answer the last question for you.”

Keep going!