Taniwha are scary, not in themselves but in the damage they do to the credibility of Maori consultation.Cripes, watch out for the thin ice. You don't want to be using words like primitive round these parts. Talk like that brings out the trolls, and they be worse than the taniwha. Someone's going to get offended tonight, mark my words.
No doubt to leaders such as Auckland Mayor Len Brown, a taniwha is interpreted as a concept, a symbol of something, perhaps the Maori reverence for the life force they see in all things.
But he would not relish the task of explaining that to his citizens.
He knows that many would think he is trying too hard to rationalise something they are inclined to regard as simply primitive, something no modern society should have to deal with.
You don't believe me? Well then, take a look at what happened over at the Hand Mirror. You know the Hand Mirror - nice people; feminists; fond of cupcakes. But look what happened when Julie posted an advertisement for an event called Queer the Night, a text written by the organisers. Here's what happened: the advertisement included the fateful words:
there are still dangers to those who are, or are perceived as being, outside heterosexual normsWell, you can guess what happened next; well, no you probably can't; because you, gentle reader, probably could not find any thing wrong with such a statement. But someone called Scar could:
That should be heterosexual and CISSEXIST norms.And then went the neigbourhood. The estimable Psycho Milt made a droll observation, for which he was called a privileged cis-man (yes, people really talk like this) by Hugh and then Scar condemned Milt and George as privileged cis guys and then George pointed out that he is a she and then they were joined by Acid Queen who made everything worser still and then others joined and then it went on and on until George said to Acid Queen:
I'll be contacting them about bringing their language up to date; especially since I'm a heterosexual trans woman.
No doubt you are probably some upper middle class woofter with a BA (hons)I like George.
Hey some people can't afford to go to Uni and do gender studies....
Of course, if that wasn't enough for you, there is still time to pop over to Ideologically Impure for the afterparty. You can't stop the music; it never ends. I feel George's pain when she says
I just get really frustrated in activist circles when people are suddenly ostracised for not saying things in exactly the "right" way, being told they are racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/fatphobic/whatever, when they blatantly are not;Why, only last week I was accused of "inherent racism" by Queen of Thorns on the Twitter for suggesting that perhaps pre-contact Maori society was not similar to Arcadia, that violence was not brought to these islands by the missionaries. But those are the breaks. George deserves better than I because she was one of the organisers of this event which apparently was very successful, and so should be applauded rather than abused by people who seem to be offended morning, noon and night.
But then, taking offence is the motive force of leftish trolls. If one were to attempt a taxonomy of trollery, one might observe that rightish trolls are angered: events in the modern world makes those veins on their foreheads throb. Leftish trolls are offended: things people say cause them harm. The political is the personal. It is not just that your opinions are wrong; you must be stopped from voicing them because the troll is deeply hurt by them. You will find that you are privileged; the troll is victimised by your very privilege, let alone by what you say. In fact, what you say is triggering. You must be preceded by a warning, if you are allowed to speak at all.
You might think you have a valid argument but you would be wrong. Your opinion reflects your ideology, which is informed by your privilege. Voicing your opinion in a public forum merely exposes your inherent racism, your bourgeois colonialism, your cissitude or whatever. The trigger troll comes brandishing papers in gender studies, post colonial theory, structuralism and post-structuralism, even in epistemology. You will find that there is evidence against your view, research has been done to prove your very point wrong, studies have been undertaken which show you to be in error. The details of this academic work will not be revealed to you; you will not be offered so much as a reference. But you must take it on trust; otherwise you will cause further offence. You probably would not understand it anyway.
Anyway, as things turned out, everyone but the trolls had a good time at Queer the Night, while the iwi rushed in to assure everyone that the taniwha was a metaphor, thus saving the trolls the discomfort and contortions of attacking pakeha media for mocking indigenous beliefs which the trolls themselves could not possibly hold, whilst at the same time trying to remember where the macrons go. But tomorrow is another day, with new opportunities to be offended on Internet.
Such is the life of the trigger troll, going from one outrage to the next, putting the I into every argument, never ceasing in the search for personal injustice.
Of course, the Cocteau Twins had something to say. Here they are, on The White Room from 1995, introduced by the estimable Mark Radcliffe: