Misconduct or madness?

Guest Post: By Brian Rogers

SunLive.co.nz

newsie.co.nz

Some articles are timeless and can be enjoyed even years after they were first published. With Brian’s blessing, we revisit, ‘Misconduct or madness?’


Kiwi male esteem reaches a new low point in history this week, with the resignation of Roger Sutton.

One of the most effective and charismatic leaders of our time is reduced to a grovelling, snivelling apologist.

The man, who has steered Christchurch through it darkest days in the rebuild after devastating earthquakes, has been himself reduced to a pile of emotional rubble, by PC ridiculousness that is way off the Richter Scale of common sense.

That is, if we are to believe his only indiscretions were hugging a workmate and calling someone sweetie and honey.

Still with the weasel words of Cunliffe reverberating in the back of our heads, reminding us that we should be ashamed to be men, Roger Sutton has quit, a quivering mess of confused manhood.

Worse, he publicly confesses it was wrong. Okay, so maybe the physical stuff crosses a line, but sweetie and honey?

How many of the tut-tut brigade have used the “sweetie” label themselves, as a term of endearment, such as directed to little children? Isn’t it discrimination to then try to suggest some people can use a word and not others?

There’s a saucy local barmaid who pushes a pint toward us and declares: “There you go sweetie” and it’s the highlight of our day. Can’t say I find that the slightest bit offensive.

Slap on bottom

This not to trivialise those harassments that are clearly inappropriate. There are some actions and words that we all accept cross the line, as many have found out, ranging from the President of the United States down to the man in the street.

I could understand if blokes were still slapping their secretaries on the bottom, making lewd comments to the high school work experience girls or singing: “I’ve got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” to the junior typing pool.

But really, the whole harassment thing has simmered down to rare incidences and the thinking and behaviour of society is vastly different to a few decades ago. Besides, we don’t have typing pools any more.

The cringe factor

We look back at shows that used to be considered mildly amusing, such as Benny Hill and Kenny Everitt – and just find much of it stupid and cringe-worthy.  The collective psyche of the nation has changed; but cases such as the Sutton Experience suggest the pendulum has swung well past change, and teeters on obsessive.

Mr Sutton declares that he was just being himself, which puzzles me as to why he needed to say sorry. It is enough that he’s decided it was unacceptable (to some) and quit as a result.

It’s about time Kiwi males took a stand against this OTT claptrap. Especially the most criticised, taxed, exploited, discriminated against group in our society: The caucasian, working, tax paying, middle class, married male parents.

At every turn, everything is blamed on this group. They are the target; the whipping boys of the rest of the twisted, racist, queer, heterophobic, tax-sucking critics that are turning the natural balance of our civilisation on its ear.

We are not all a bunch of leering, groping Rolf Harris types. I am sure Mr Sutton is an amazing man, husband and role model. Great to see notable television journalist and wife, Jo Malcolm, sticking by his side, resolute about this man’s moral fibre.

Zip it prize

The most infamous “sweetie” line of recent history is, of course, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett’s quip, aimed at Jacinda Ardern during question time in Parliament: “Zip it, Sweetie”.

Not only was it apparently acceptable, it topped the Massey University Quote of the Year awards for 2012.

Now if it’s okay for the leaders of the country to be calling others sweetie, how is it different for Roger Sutton? I am sure the Bennett usage was a lot more acerbic than any situation Mr Sutton may have used it.

Does it mean Paula Bennett should be resigning for calling Jacinda a sweetie? Not that we have any argument that Jacinda is a sweetie. Although hottie is probably more accurate, if it wasn’t clearly harassment.

Many of the PC howlers have stated some rules – which they apparently have made up – that says a man shouldn’t call a woman any name that he wouldn’t use on male work associates.

My question is: Does this mean we should be calling the wimminfolk by the same names as the blokes? Such as dork, dumb bastard, SFB, you great doofus and a variety of other niceties?

That’s all, possum

So from this week, to be on the safe side, I will no longer call anyone sweetie, darls, honey – or in the case of Hunter Wells in the newsroom, “possum.”

All in the workplace will hereby be referred to as “Person” unless they advise their desire to be addressed otherwise.

Must go now; it’s time for the newsroom group hug.


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If you agree with me that’s nice, but what I really want to achieve is to make you question the status quo, look between the lines and do your own research. Do not be a passive observer in this game we call life.

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