The Dim-Post

April 24, 2015

Good grief

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 7:12 am

And now I find myself feeling sorry for John Key. The pony-tail thing is odd and inappropriate, and it’s gendered in the sense that he doesn’t do it to men, but that doesn’t make it a sexual fetish. Key is also a dad and I really feel like he’s interacting with these girls and women on that level, not as the bizarre fledgling pedophile serial killer he’s now regarded as on twitter and the left-wing blogosphere. It’s wrong of him to run around infantilising adult strangers, and he’s paying a huge humiliating political price for that behavior. Anything beyond that – like McCready’s lawsuits – seems absurd, and likely to win Key sympathy with the wider public.

Update: Lots of comments in the comments, so I thought I’d comment further:

One of the reasons this is such a big story is that Key’s behaviour is mysterious. It creates a negative space for people to try and fill with their own explanations, and then debate them with others who have differing theories. So that’s happening.

A popular explanation is that Key’s harassment is sexual. He’s a man touching a young woman. Case closed. Now, maybe I’m doing it wrong, but approaching someone while singing the Jaws theme music and tugging their hair, while Key’s wife and a cafe filled with people look on just doesn’t seem that sexual to me. Like I said above, it seems like the kind of physical contact fathers have with their daughters. Dad stuff.

That doesn’t excuse Key’s behaviour. And it doesn’t mean it isn’t gendered, or an abuse of power. Treating an adult woman as if she’s a child for him to play with is totally unacceptable, and maybe it reveals something ugly about the way Key perceives women. It’s not trivial, but it is less serious than all the ugly rhetoric about sexual assault that people are throwing around.

96 Comments »

  1. Dirty, isn’t it?

    Comment by Lee Clark — April 24, 2015 @ 7:15 am

  2. Margaret Thatcher said she thought she had been very lucky to have the opponents she did. John Key must think the same. Very soon he will look like the victim here.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — April 24, 2015 @ 7:22 am

  3. Nice of you to fell sorry for John Key, Danyl. For a while there he was looking lonely and isolated with just Mike Hosking, Paul Henry, the entire National Party and most of the corporate shock jocks supporting him. Gotta get the back of the little guy, right?

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 24, 2015 @ 7:25 am

  4. McCready has sued – or threatened to, then withdrawn – everyone from Banks to Mallard to Len Brown to any political figure who made a headline. It’s what he does.

    So I wouldn’t waste any sympathy on Key for that.

    FWIW, I don’t see it as “sexual”, but that’s just the nature of titilating gossip masquerading as news, isn’t it? So in a world of Henry and Glucina, a world where Campbell Live isn’t needed because trivia beats thought, that’s what we get. Key has been a huge proponent – and beneficiary – of “explaining is losing”, and now he’s finding out what happens when the shit you swim in drags you down too.

    If he wants Lincoln-Douglas debates instead, he could lead from the top. A bit late now.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — April 24, 2015 @ 7:27 am

  5. I agree that it’s not in itself a creepy act, but it’s the fact he continued to do it when she was clearly uncomfortable. It’s not about sexual deviancy, it’s about abuse of power and a lack of self-awareness

    Comment by Mandy Hager — April 24, 2015 @ 7:35 am

  6. But I have to make this observation a curious double standard features in some peoples’ mentalities about Key. People who frothed about ‘Rape culture’ were curiously silent about a rap record whch openly sexually objectified his daughter. People who watch out for violence and mysogyny o.k. with describing others as c**ts. Some, are cool witth “F**k John Key”. Yesterday, Danyl you described him as ‘Creepy man-child” , and I’m sure that was just the tamest of inferences. Seriously, a published author who isn’t aware of the import of how he uses adjectives?
    Just as Helen Clark had to wade through opponents’ puerile references to her sexuality, some think it’s ok to use this kind of personal character assassination for political gain. So otherwise rational people line up to ‘F**k John Key”. My point is, that debasing sexualised language and inferences have been stock-in-trade of certain attack strategies against Key and his family. A court case with Key and his wife brought in as witnesses for this? Ooh goody!
    Looks like being a “creepy man child” is not so unusual, but ok if it is to villify John Key.

    Comment by Lee Clark — April 24, 2015 @ 7:41 am

  7. Lee, spare us the Sunday sermon please.

    People in a crowd said “F*ck” LBJ, Nixon, Bush, Thatcher, Blair, Abbott … anyone in power, ever. It’s no more “sexualized language” than calling him a dick.

    PS He’s a dick.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — April 24, 2015 @ 7:46 am

  8. “some think it’s ok to use this kind of personal character assassination for political gain.” – he who sets the bar still has to limbo under it though. The nats created this (or at least amplified) this rubbish – and now the environment they have fostered has enough steam to run on its own with whatever meat it can find.

    and now the media cycle has gone round to the all too usual players conducting a hit job on the victim. Its not all a one sided witch hunt out to sink key. Sure theres some who have that in mind – but the whole media white noise is running in both directions – which is kind of part of the purpose of dirty politics in the first place – media saturation = public disinterest

    I dont feel sorry for key here in the slightest – they leveraged exactly this kind of crap for years to an all time new low in behaviour – and now its biting them back solely because the PM thinks its normal human behaviour to go round touching womens hair

    Comment by framu — April 24, 2015 @ 7:53 am

  9. ” People who frothed about ‘Rape culture’ were curiously silent about a rap record whch openly sexually objectified his daughter. ”

    Which people, please? In my circles at least, what you described isn’t true.

    Comment by Stephen J — April 24, 2015 @ 7:55 am

  10. does “curiously silent” mean “didnt generate the same level of media focus?”

    Comment by framu — April 24, 2015 @ 7:58 am

  11. @ 6.But I have to make this observation ….

    Why?

    Comment by paritutu — April 24, 2015 @ 7:59 am

  12. I dont feel sorry for key here in the slightest – they leveraged exactly this kind of crap for years to an all time new low in behaviour

    That’s true.

    Comment by danylmc — April 24, 2015 @ 8:08 am

  13. I pretty much agree with this, without the “feeling sorry for Key” bit. Imagine what Slater and assorted fellow travellers would do with this if it were (say) Kevin Hague who had done it. And as a key enabler (heh!) of that cesspool, what goes around comes around.

    For all that, the general point is right. Trying to crucify Key for this will turn him into a martyr. Far better to let it stand for what it is – he’s a flawed human being that makes mistakes and his strength is also his weakness.

    Comment by Flashing Light — April 24, 2015 @ 8:14 am

  14. How can one feel sorry for a charlatan full of hubris? And by the way, my 11-year-old daughter asks me how he can get away with it once even

    Comment by bragan@xtra.co.nz — April 24, 2015 @ 8:17 am

  15. ” Trying to crucify Key for this will turn him into a martyr. ”

    that is equally true.

    for me its more of a “now you see the other key – the one from parliament TV”.

    Definately a window into how his mind works, but theres vastly bigger issues we face – unfortunately much of the outcomes of those issues depend on the actions of a man with an odd relationship with normal human interaction

    Comment by framu — April 24, 2015 @ 8:25 am

  16. Here’s Key, speaking this morning.

    “That’s been one of my strengths that I’m pretty casual and laid back and good for a laugh a lot of times, but that’s also led to a situation where I’ve been too casual – having too much fun if you like in a situation, playing along a little bit and that’s been very silly on my part. …

    “There were clearly a few hijinks and a bit of horsing around. I think in hindsight and on reflection, I should not have been as casual as that.”

    It’s really hard to believe it’s not an episode of The Office. Did he bring his guitar?

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — April 24, 2015 @ 8:28 am

  17. The divide in our office is fairly clear. If you’re a Key supporter “pulling a pony tail” is no big deal and the media is making a mountain out of a mole hill. But if you’re not a Key supporter then this arrogant disregard for the feeling of another is typical of Key, National and conservatives generally.

    I think there is something in this. Lack of respect for the feelings of others seems to be a conservative pre-req. You can’t explain it to them in a month of Sundays. They think it’s “PC nonsesne”.

    How does one deal with that? I tend to just avoid such people. They can’t be trusted to respect boundaries. They are the solo BMW drivers in the T3 lane on their cell phones who think anyone who objects is a dork.

    Comment by SteveW — April 24, 2015 @ 8:31 am

  18. I don’t feel sorry for him at all. I also don’t revel in his discomfort because the whole thing is so unseemly. To take joy in it taints us.

    But as per the general theme here, lie with dogs and you’ll wake with fleas.

    I feel embarrassed for his wife and sympathetic for the object of his attention, and what she is in for by merely interacting with our Prime Minister in a way she found distressing.

    Key can take his lumps. There is only one victim here and it’s not him.

    Comment by Gregor W — April 24, 2015 @ 8:38 am

  19. How does one deal with that?

    Banter! Horse play! Pull their hair, fondle them where and when you like, say it’s all cool on Planet You, they’ll love it. Possibly.

    (Disclaimer: Not an employment lawyer …)

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — April 24, 2015 @ 8:44 am

  20. sammy: “FWIW, I don’t see it as “sexual”, but that’s just the nature of titilating gossip masquerading as news, isn’t it?”

    I can see how JK and many other people wouldn’t see it as a sexual thing. But it’s presumptions to assume the subject of his actions wouldn’t see it that way, and be extremely uncomfortable as a consequence. As people have already made a point of, would he pull a man’s hair with the same enthusiasm? This stuff certainly isn’t excluded by the MoJ’s list of what sexual harassment can be.

    And this is one of the great problems around this type of thing. Perpetrators who react like JK see the whole thing as being about themselves instead of about the other person. (‘Oh, I’m just so casual and laid back and that’s what’s so great about me.’) They often don’t even understand how they’re doing anything wrong, and prefer to try and deflect responsibility onto a stranger if they’re offended by an action, instead of taking genuine responsibility for being offensive by doing something they never should have done. And right now in saving his political future, our Prime Minister’s up there reinforcing everyone else in New Zealand who wants to justify themselves the same way.

    Anyway, I’m not expecting anything to change. Anyone who’d have altered their vote over something like this specific issue probably changed it a long time ago.

    Comment by izogi — April 24, 2015 @ 8:52 am

  21. Key’s hair stroking habit may very well be a fetish, but that can only be speculation. Without doubt though, Key regularly abuses his position as a public figure to force an artificial intimacy he hopes to benefit from, in a manner which does not request permission or allow avoidance from his target. If other pollies were doing anything similar, I’m sure the phots would have appeared by now.

    Comment by minimalistmum — April 24, 2015 @ 8:53 am

  22. The lesson I think is if you want to hold politicians to account for bad behaviour don’t spend six years fulminating against faux bad behaviour.

    The campaign of personal attack against Key hasn’t been successful, was unpleasant and might just lead to a lot of eye-rolling in this instance.

    That said, I hope his wife has him sleeping on the couch for a while.

    Comment by NeilM — April 24, 2015 @ 8:56 am

  23. And so it begins: http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2015/04/a_new_low_for_key_derangement_syndrome.html

    Can’t we all just agree that Key is the real victim in all of this?

    Comment by Flashing Light — April 24, 2015 @ 8:57 am

  24. Whether the harassment was sexual would be up to the woman herself.

    The context suggests childish pranks. But it’s still a major lapse in judgement about personal space and power.

    Although I get Key likes to act the regular guy that’s just not possible as a PM.

    Comment by NeilM — April 24, 2015 @ 9:06 am

  25. Although I get Key likes to act the regular guy that’s just not what “regular guys do, because repeatedly touching a woman when she doesn’t want you to is wrong.

    Fixed it for you.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — April 24, 2015 @ 9:09 am

  26. Can’t we all just agree that Key is the real victim in all of this?

    Maybe he actually likes having his rectum employed as a pulpit.

    Comment by Joe W — April 24, 2015 @ 9:14 am

  27. Cunliffe must be face-palming – This would have been the perfect time to apologise for being a man, but unfortunately he did it about six months ago. I guess the first rule of comedy really is timing..

    Comment by Lee Clark — April 24, 2015 @ 9:16 am

  28. “Key is also a dad and I really feel like he’s interacting with these girls and women on that level”

    If I was his daughter he would have heard from me years ago about how much I hated him doing that…my guess is your commentors are men who have never had a pony tail do-up for their long hair. I have, and I can tell you after the second time some man or woman pulls it you do not like it under any circumstance. And you say so. One way or another. Do it again and I know you have some serious issues with the concept of personal space and it’s not a good one. It is never ‘fun’ or appropriate and hasn’t been for decades. No amount of ‘banter’ makes it right.

    Banter, in fact, is just another form of abuse. Do not feel sorry for this man. He deserves every insult thrown at him. By these actons we know him.

    Comment by Spitfire — April 24, 2015 @ 9:18 am

  29. Fixed it for you

    No you didn’t since I never said what you’re implying.

    Comment by NeilM — April 24, 2015 @ 9:24 am

  30. Key is also a dad and I really feel like he’s interacting with these girls and women on that level, not as the bizarre fledgling pedophile serial killer he’s now regarded as on twitter and the left-wing blogosphere.

    They are still in the accusatorial stage, whilst you have entered the high dudgeon stage of this political scandal.

    Comment by unaha-closp — April 24, 2015 @ 9:26 am

  31. “Although I get Key likes to act the regular guy”

    Except that he seems to enjoy acting like a dickish fourth former rather than an regular guy. Which is not a sacking offence (nor is it fit for a private prosecution, which would be stupid) but it doesn’t really engender a lot of faith in his judgment, nor does it make you like him. Since his major political asset is being liked, rather than having any particular basis in policy or values, things that jeopardise his likeability become quite important. If he hadn’t made likeability so important in the first place, events like this would matter less. Live by the goofy smile, die by the goofy smile.

    Comment by Dr Foster — April 24, 2015 @ 9:31 am

  32. Whether the harassment was sexual would be up to the woman herself.

    Once again, you’d be entirely wrong NeilM.
    S62 of the HRA defines it. It doesn’t require a subjective assessment from the victim.

    In the end though, the hypothetical sexual or fetishistic aspect of this doesn’t matter a jot.

    A woman was touched repeatedly and on multiple occasions in by a man – who at best was an occasional acquaintance – without her permission, and even after objecting, the behaviour continued unabated.
    The perpetrator while he has apologised, has, when his conduct was exposed, then attempted explain his behaviour in a way that effectively makes it the victim’s issue that she didn’t find his behaviour amusing.

    If he’d come out and something like “I was wrong. My actions were entirely inappropriate I have apologised. As Prime Minister, I recognise that my conduct was infinitely more inappropriate for obvious reasons, not least of which in that my behaviour in public should be above reproach and an example to others. I have embarrassed the nation and for that, I ask your forgiveness.”, then he’d be all good.

    But he hasn’t so, whatevs.

    Comment by Gregor W — April 24, 2015 @ 9:38 am

  33. It doesn’t require a subjective assessment from the victim.

    I was meaning that her perception was of more relevance than those of people in the internet.

    Comment by NeilM — April 24, 2015 @ 9:43 am

  34. Readers might recall that the Dim-Post was already onto Key seven years ago …

    https://dimpost.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/key-caught-out-in-strip-club-lie/

    Patrick Gower’s follow-up question: did the strippers have pony-tails?

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — April 24, 2015 @ 9:45 am

  35. “Whether the harassment was sexual would be up to the woman herself.”

    Certainly with some of the very young girls, if you look at Keys face as he strokes and lets go of their hair.

    His eyes narrow and his mouth forms a self satisfied smirk. hes oozing satisfaction.

    hes getting off on it allright

    Comment by dukeofurl — April 24, 2015 @ 9:51 am

  36. About an hour and a half ago Laila Harre made a tweet comparing John Key to Rolf Harris. Would link, but about 45 mins ago she went back and deleted it.

    Comment by SHG — April 24, 2015 @ 9:59 am

  37. Tailgate.

    Comment by Lee Clark — April 24, 2015 @ 10:02 am

  38. Live by the sword die by the sword springs to mind, Key has used his position to denigrate and dis-empower people and communities, he has used the media sublimely to do this, he is getting a dose of Karma back

    Comment by richieshaw — April 24, 2015 @ 10:30 am

  39. WTMF Danyl. Seriously.

    My fiancee, who does the same job as Amanda B, spent last night practically spitting in disgust at what the PM did, as she caught up on the story. Young women in hospo are often preyed upon by older males who think they can get away with it. They ALWAYS use the excuse that the PM did. Never a thought about the woman’s point of view, about her feelings, about her rights not to be molested by some vile git.

    And then I see he is a serial hair molestor. Especially of young girls. This would be beyond weird in teenage boy – let alone in a man in his 50s. Just think about the psycho-pathology of those actions. If a school teacher was doing that to my daughter at school I would be calling the police.

    There is a reason papers around the world have picked this up and runing with it. It is vile, creepy, weird and the whole thing with the young girls should be ringing alarm bells for everyone.

    Comment by Shane — April 24, 2015 @ 10:47 am

  40. If you see Key at work out on the campaign trail you see that he touches everyone. Claire Trevett wrote about it back in 2011:

    “Key’s other technique is touch. He has patted his way around the country – tickling toddlers’ stomachs, chucking chins, ruffling hair, rubbing women on the upper arm and patting shoulders, clasping men’s arms.

    “It appears casual, but is too frequent and too obvious to be anything but deliberate. This prime ministerial laying on of the hands is something he did not do in 2008. It is aimed at reinforcing a personal connection.”

    So it’s calculated. It’s something he’s told to do. And, on the campaign trail he makes these physical connections with hundreds of people a day. So when you’re looking at footage of him touching lots of young girls’ hair you’re looking at footage selected from thousands of hours of campaign footage of Key touching countless people.

    That’s very different from him pulling a waitress’s hair while she’s at work. That was a creepy, awful thing to do. I don’t want to minimise it. But I think its equally wrong to maximise it and accuse him of being a sexual predator when that’s simply not justified.

    Comment by danylmc — April 24, 2015 @ 10:57 am

  41. “having too much fun if you like in a situation, playing along a little bit”

    This betrays the way he thinks about the incident: It’s clear he wasn’t “playing along” because he initiated the behaviour and ignored all the signals that it wasn’t welcome. No one else was playing.

    It’s not so much the behaviour as the lack of a genuine apology, which betrays a lack of empathy/understanding of how his behaviour was received. No sympathy is due him as far as I can see…

    I would be fired and lose my professional registration if I did this to a student, and rightly so.

    Comment by nommopilot — April 24, 2015 @ 11:00 am

  42. Obviously no ever told JK to keep his hands to himself! Mentally he i just spoiled child!

    Comment by A M Thom — April 24, 2015 @ 11:02 am

  43. I agree with that, Danyl (40). It’s all Diana’s fault.

    For the record, when I’m on the TV news after heroically trying to rescue a dying kitten from the rubble I do NOT want to be comforted with hugs by any politician or public figure I have never met, and doesn’t give a damn.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — April 24, 2015 @ 11:04 am

  44. The whole “He’s a Dad” response really sits among the bottom of the barrel of potential rejoinders; this is precisely how everyday sexism gets perpetrated. “It’s not as bad as that; after all, he can’t really be disrespecting women, since he’s got a daughter!” et cetera et cetera. Throw in your false dilemma between Key being a dad who horses around or a pedaphile and we have a clear case of apologist bingo.

    Comment by Matthew R. X. Dentith — April 24, 2015 @ 11:09 am

  45. Veiled accusations of pedophilia. That’s it guys, keep it classy.

    Comment by Phil — April 24, 2015 @ 11:12 am

  46. Very soon he will look like the victim here.

    Before or after more questions are asked about his relationship with Mike Sabin?

    Comment by Ross — April 24, 2015 @ 11:21 am

  47. he whole “He’s a Dad” response really sits among the bottom of the barrel of potential rejoinders; this is precisely how everyday sexism gets perpetrated. “It’s not as bad as that; after all, he can’t really be disrespecting women, since he’s got a daughter!” et cetera et cetera. Throw in your false dilemma between Key being a dad who horses around or a pedaphile and we have a clear case of apologist bingo.

    The progressive left are so adept at preachy jargon-riddled hysterical self-righteousness, it’s hard to see how we haven’t won the other 95% of the population over to our way of thought.

    Comment by danylmc — April 24, 2015 @ 11:25 am

  48. Meanwhile the trial of a “prominent New Zealander” is going to the High Court whose location is suppressed. The location of the District Court where the case was to be heard was also suppressed.

    http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/crime/prominent-kiwis-case-goes-to-high-court/

    Comment by Ross — April 24, 2015 @ 11:27 am

  49. Emmerson’s cartoon (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11437585) figuratively reveals all. The loathsome hand of male chauvinism dehumanises the body of the women (or “girl”) as part of societal norms.

    John Key treated this woman as a plaything for his own entertainment. He did not treat her as a person, as an equal. This women’s hair, part of her body, part of her, was not his to touch, play with, be entertained by.

    “Prime Minister John Key inappropriately touched woman, repeatedly” would be my headline. As other’s pointed out, he has no record of doing it to men, only women and girls. Men aren’t his playthings, women and girls are. On the basest level, it is sexual.

    A Concerned Reader

    Comment by A concerned reader — April 24, 2015 @ 11:30 am

  50. The progressive left are so adept at preachy jargon-riddled hysterical self-righteousness, it’s hard to see how we haven’t won the other 95% of the population over to our way of thought.

    This is very true.
    The turning point was Harre’s tweet. Sure as shit that will become the story.

    Comment by Gregor W — April 24, 2015 @ 11:32 am

  51. I think you’re comparing two extremes here. It doesn’t need to be any kind of fetish – but it can still be sexual. It can still have sexual overtones. It doesn’t have to be about the hair, just a way of getting her attention, or touching her in an ‘overtly harmless’ way. If he was repeatedly stroking her arm, we wouldn’t say he was an arm fetishist, we’d say he was a creep.

    And it doesn’t matter if he consciously acknowledges it; if he did it to everyone, it wouldn’t be sexual, it would just be creepy and annoying. But he singled out a specific person, who *also* happens to be attractive, young and female.

    Comment by flynn — April 24, 2015 @ 11:34 am

  52. And, on the campaign trail he makes these physical connections with hundreds of people a day.

    I did not know that.

    I’m not sure how calculated his antics are in the cafe. On the one hand I can see he sort of wants not to prisoner to his office and on the other he thinks being a prankster is good for his political image.

    But either way being a PM means having to have a bit more judgement.

    How this sort of moral lapse plays out often depends on how the person at fault and their critics react. It’s easy for sympathy to shift.

    For Key there’s a lesson to be learnt and for the rest of us there’s an obligation to react in a way that’s educational in some sense.

    Politically, let the court of public option decide one way or the other, or – most likely – a mixture of one way and another.

    Comment by NeilM — April 24, 2015 @ 11:42 am

  53. To adapt the famous quote, “We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the Dim Post commenters in one of their periodic fits of morality.”

    Comment by Tinakori — April 24, 2015 @ 11:53 am

  54. I’m half inclined to agree with you Danyl, as I feel you underestimated the percentage you cited by about 4.78%

    Comment by Lee Clark — April 24, 2015 @ 12:07 pm

  55. The progressive left are so adept at preachy jargon-riddled hysterical self-righteousness, it’s hard to see how we haven’t won the other 95% of the population over to our way of thought.

    Key isn’t going to resign, the scandal is not big enough. To maximise the value of this scandal the left needs to provoke the right into going full smear mode, with an over the top cover up there will be big gains to be made.

    If the left can’t provoke a big response then yes this preach-i-ness is going to hurt, but if they could provoke Whaleoil or KB to go full negative on the complainant/TDB there are big potential gains to be made.

    Comment by unaha-closp — April 24, 2015 @ 12:17 pm

  56. “To maximise the value of this scandal the left needs to…”

    Personally I wish the opposition would focus on demonstrating that they can provide a credible alternative to the government. If voters actually believed it, there might be less writing off of this type of scandal as unimportant every time it conflicts with people’s political preferences.

    Also, keep in mind that there’s actually a real, genuine victim at the centre of this, who felt she had no choice but to go down a path that was automatically make her the centre of attention, polarising both support and hate against her and very possibly throwing her entire future into uncertainty, directly as a consequence of the huge power and influence of the other person involved. Can we please at least try not to make it worse for her?

    Comment by izogi — April 24, 2015 @ 12:32 pm

  57. @A concerned reader, April 24, 2015, 11:30 am

    I agree with you re Key treating the woman as if she were not a person. But it is one thing to do that by pulling the hair of a 20-something woman and another to rape or sexually assault an 8-year-old girl. Some of Key’s critics – a small minority of them anyway – seem to be arguing they are pretty much identical. I think they are probably on the same scale – in the same way that punching someone in the face is on the same scale as kicking them to death – but that doesn’t mean that trying to make them morally equivalent isn’t both absurd, and grossly insulting to the rape or murder victim.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — April 24, 2015 @ 12:36 pm

  58. Is Danyl about to experience his Jonathan Chait moment within the progressive world?

    Comment by Tom Hunter — April 24, 2015 @ 12:40 pm

  59. “Treating an adult woman as if she’s a child for him to play with is totally unacceptable, and maybe it reveals something ugly about the way Key perceives women.”

    Yes, its his apparent sense of entitlement over those “lower” in the food chain. It is another projection of power, lording it over the “lesser” mortals – wait staff, women, children, that appears to be a recurring behaviour in the National Party talent pool of superior white business males.

    See numerous accounts of dicks in suits treating young (female) service staff that have precipitated.

    Reader, from above.

    Comment by A concerned reader — April 24, 2015 @ 12:42 pm

  60. Danyl, are you making so much money as a famous author that you’d actually quite like to have a nice, low-tax National government around for a bit longer?

    This sort of thing niggles Key. We know this from interviews he’s given and that awful authorized biography. Maybe it’ll roll him into deciding that he wants to go off and run Goldman Sachs or the World Bank, and we’ll have a less glossy National leader, like Collins or Brownlee.

    If the end of Key stems from it becoming false common knowledge that he kidnaps little girls, cuts their pigtails off and feeds them to his pet pigs (named Judith and Cameron, in case you were wondering), while M*ke S*b*n videos the proceedings, that would not be a bad outcome, as far as I’m concerned.

    Comment by richdrich — April 24, 2015 @ 12:42 pm

  61. @Ross worth keeping an eye on the High Court list: https://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/business/calendar/daily-lists/5-National%20Court%20List%20-%20Friday%20-%2024.04.2015.pdf

    I’m assuming it will be Auckland or Whangarei. Not sure whether a suppressed hearing is shown on any list? Maybe a rota to stake out the High Courts?

    Comment by richdrich — April 24, 2015 @ 12:50 pm

  62. it seems like the kind of physical contact fathers have with their daughters. Dad stuff.

    Evidently I have been neglecting my parental responsibilities.

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — April 24, 2015 @ 12:57 pm

  63. Fascinating reading Tom Hunter.

    As I read it, here in Sleepyville, the local fire-alarm (and old school klaxon) went off. A fair number of the neighbourhood hounds howled in response. As far as I know none of the dogs were firefighters, concerned with fire-prevention, or even knew what they were howling for. I think they imagined it was a big wolf, and felt it necessary to howl along, in case they were caught out not howling, which might have been a breach of canine etiquette.

    I just had to share that, paritutu, I really don’t know why..

    Comment by Lee Clark — April 24, 2015 @ 1:09 pm

  64. Every week the blogosphere is full of people screaming National and Key are finished. But nothing changes. I’m still waiting for the Sabin scandal to destroy him, as was promised by all those “in the know” but even Hinch couldn’t make anything out of that. Now Sabin’s no longer a pariah but working for some resort as a manager and I can see Key going on to victory number four.

    Comment by artcroft — April 24, 2015 @ 1:25 pm

  65. About an hour and a half ago Laila Harre made a tweet comparing John Key to Rolf Harris

    Key can paint portraits and entertain people with his whimsy humour and singing? If only he were so talented…

    Comment by Ross — April 24, 2015 @ 1:34 pm

  66. You need to get out more, Ross.

    Comment by Lee Clark — April 24, 2015 @ 2:00 pm

  67. @unaha-closp

    If the left can’t provoke a big response then yes this preach-i-ness is going to hurt, but if they could provoke Whaleoil or KB to go full negative on the complainant/TDB there are big potential gains to be made.

    Has anyone checked this strategy out with Amanda Bailey, or is she just an egg that is needed for the omelet?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — April 24, 2015 @ 2:22 pm

  68. @herr doktor bimler,

    Evidently I have been neglecting my parental responsibilities.

    If there is an intended implication in your comment that a father jokingly tugging on his pre-pubescent daughter’s ponytail is “bad”/”wrong”/”unseemly” or similar, then I reject it. You may not do it … which is fine. But there’s equally nothing wrong with another Dad doing it.

    However, repeatedly treating a member of waitstaff as if she is a pre-pubescent girl without picking up that she finds it very annoying/demeaning/upsetting, that’s not just “Dad stuff” … or, rather, it’s the type of middle-aged Dad who is so self centered and used to getting his own way that he doesn’t really think about what effect his actions may have on others. In other words, it’s good old-fashioned “entitled male privilege” on display.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — April 24, 2015 @ 2:33 pm

  69. Key will go down as a martyr, yes… to ponytail pulling.

    Comment by Tony Pony — April 24, 2015 @ 3:14 pm

  70. Ultimately why Key did it doesn’t matter. He can be judged on his actions, there’s no need to speculate on the motivations that led to those actions.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 24, 2015 @ 5:24 pm

  71. there’s no need to speculate on the motivations that led to those actions.

    Provided it does no harm to Key’s victim I don’t see any problem in mocking the shabby reality behind what’s been exposed as just another political personality cult. Or perhaps we should consider the feelings of those who desperately cling to a substitute after the trauma of discovering that they’d been deceived over the existence of Santa Claus.

    Comment by Joe W — April 24, 2015 @ 6:11 pm

  72. @ 63 …….in case they were caught out not howling…..

    Guess when you lie down with dogs, you catch a few fleas?

    Comment by paritutu — April 24, 2015 @ 6:50 pm

  73. @Joe W: My point was not to attempt to excuse Key, quite the opposite. His actions are bad enough, there’s no need to try to pile up the blame.

    And wasn’t the fact that Key’s popularity is a political personality cult exposed to you some time in 2007?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 24, 2015 @ 6:55 pm

  74. I don’t condone what Key did to Ms Bailey.

    The response however, is starting to pose a problem to other men.

    The problem is that any contact between a man and a younger woman and a girl may (more than previously) be perceived as creepy.

    So even appropriate touching – like shaking hands with a colleague, hugging a friend or patting a daughter or niece on the head – may be seen as pervy.

    An unfortunate result if so.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — April 24, 2015 @ 6:58 pm

  75. @Antoine,

    But Key’s been pulling on pony/pig-tails for years now without anyone thinking anything of it. It’s when he apparently seems unable to differentiate between young women and little girls that it takes on anything other than an endearing or charming quality. Context here, as with everything, is everything.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — April 24, 2015 @ 7:14 pm

  76. @Antoine: Are you seriously saying this is comparable to shaking hands?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 24, 2015 @ 7:18 pm

  77. @AG

    I am sure that you would not criticise someone for contact that was appropriate in its context, but I think that other people might be more likely to do so, as a result of this episode.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — April 24, 2015 @ 7:19 pm

  78. @Kalvarnsen

    No!

    Pulling ponytails is different from shaking hands.

    I am saying that condemning one man for pulling pigtails might lead some (through muddled thinking) to criticising a different man for e.g. shaking hands.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — April 24, 2015 @ 7:21 pm

  79. paritutu, I hope you aren’t equating “lying down with dogs” and inappropriate touching… it can be done in a platonic fashion, too.

    Comment by Lee Clark — April 24, 2015 @ 7:31 pm

  80. Daryl…. Please he describe the girls pony tail as tantalizing. Is that what you’d expect of a father????? wake up man

    Comment by anker — April 24, 2015 @ 8:22 pm

  81. @Antoine: I can’t imagine what convoluted chain of quasi-logic might lead somebody to go from “it’s wrong to pull a woman’s ponytail after she’s asked you not to” to “it’s wrong to shake hands with women”.

    But in the still-theoretical event that it might happen, such an outcome is purely on whatever sociological rocket scientist drew the connection between these two almost totally dissimilar events, not on the person who asked for their ponytail not to be pulled.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 24, 2015 @ 8:23 pm

  82. @Antoine 77 – only is the person making the comparison was (a) being mischievously disingenuous or (b) an idiot.

    Comment by Gregor W — April 24, 2015 @ 8:27 pm

  83. I don’t have a daughter. But if I had a daughter, I would like to be able to pat her head in public without people thinking ‘creep’. I think the chances of someone thinking ‘creep’ would be higher after the Key incident, than they were before.

    That is all I am trying to say.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — April 24, 2015 @ 8:42 pm

  84. @Antoine: So you’re not saying that the waitress should tolerate having Key tug at her hair so fathers can pat their daughters’ heads in public without being molested? Because that’s what you appear to be saying.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 24, 2015 @ 8:56 pm

  85. @Kalvarnsen

    No!!!! If I meant that I would have said that!

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — April 24, 2015 @ 8:59 pm

  86. I dunno man, I’m having trouble believing you. Maybe if you added a few more exclamation points?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 24, 2015 @ 9:00 pm

  87. Kalvarnsen I like you and I always read what you say with interest, but I have got to say you are pissing me off here. I am not trying to criticise Ms Bailey or defend Mr Key. I am not supporting inappropriate behaviour. I am just expressing regret that good people doing innocent things are likely going to end up copping some flak.

    Anyway I am obviously not succeeding in communicating anything worthwhile here so I will log off for the night.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — April 24, 2015 @ 9:06 pm

  88. @Antoine – I can safely say that as the father of a young daughter, I could pretty much tell 100% of the time whether it felt ‘off’ or not when watching an adult male interact with a child. I could also perform the same trick when watching an adult male interact with an adult woman.

    I all strongly suspect i’m not alone in this. In fact, I would hazard that almost every other adult with a modicum of social skills and emotional intelligence could perform the same amazing feat.

    Surprisingly, I doubt this ingrained survival/protection skill has been affected one iota post this incident.

    Comment by Gregor W — April 24, 2015 @ 9:13 pm

  89. I don’t have a daughter. But if I had a daughter…

    Back in the 1970s Mungo McCallum of the fondly remembered Australian Nation Review wrote an insightful and entertaining piece on the then prevalent phenomenon among the reactionary right of nvoking hypothetical daughters, usually in the interests of keeping bloody uppity wimmen in their place. Plus ça change.

    Comment by Joe W — April 24, 2015 @ 10:12 pm

  90. “it’s the fact he continued to do it when she was clearly uncomfortable”

    And he may have fed on that discomfort. For seven months. That’s why this is power-focused bullying rather than jolly japes.

    Comment by Sacha — April 24, 2015 @ 10:13 pm

  91. “‘It doesn’t require a subjective assessment from the victim.’

    I was meaning that her perception was of more relevance than those of people in the internet.”

    Some criminal offences are against society rather than just individuals. Therefore anyone can complain their rights as citizens have been violated.

    Comment by Sacha — April 24, 2015 @ 10:47 pm

  92. Shane 39 and Reader 59 get it.

    I can’t put my fury at this ‘slippery slope’ and ‘it’s only suffering if it’s as awful as x’ or ‘it’s wrong but not as wrong as y’ rubbish into words, so I’ll just leave that aspect of it alone.

    The thing I can say is next time you start feeling sorry for John Key, it may help to recall his throat-slitting gesture in parliament when a troubled constituent attempted suicide by jumping from the gallery during question time. Or his attitude towards the complainant in the case of the Malaysian diplomat rape case. His government’s attitude and behaviour towards women, children, the elderly, the mentally ill and various other marginalised groups in our society over the last eight years. His little ‘jokes’ about Tuhoe cannibalism, and/or the fugitive paedophile in Brazil. I’m sure you know I could go on…

    What’s more, since it seems to be required, being a parent does not equal being good.

    Comment by R — April 24, 2015 @ 11:04 pm

  93. This is a 26 year old women trying to do a stressful job on low pay, being tormented by a very powerful man.

    I am one 5, all girls, and this is nothing like the relationship we had with our adored father. Dad loved babies and children and was always ready to show affection by giving anyone he knew a hug, but he would never have played with the hair of a stranger’s child. However, I do not think Key’s behaviour with children shows signs of paedophilia however, just an inappropriate sense of entitlement.

    The situation with pulling the hair of the waitress is much more sinister in my opinion. Some people say this isn’t sexual because it was done in public, but I don’t buy that. To me, it is exactly the same as pinching women’s bums, which is also done in public. In my experience, some men get off on expressing the power they have over women. There is no question that Key was sexually harassing this woman.

    Comment by Karen — April 25, 2015 @ 11:07 am

  94. Danyl giving Key the daggy Dad defence? Seems like BS to me. Toby Manhire seems closest to me. This seems like something very deep rooted in childhood, in my pop psychology.
    Actually when I read the story, I thought this too. But the footage of Key, without permssion, grabbing the hair of young girls made me think otherwise. I don’t see how Danyl can rule out it being a sexual thing. It seems to me it is like a remnant of early sexual experience such as ‘Catch and kiss’ that some kids played when they were 8 or 9. It seems childish fascination that hasn’t left in adulthood.
    Danyl doesn’t know what motivates Key’s behaviour, he’s supposing. There is no real basis for most of us in our own experience for why an adult would grab the hair of young women and girls, so we can’t really say one way or another.

    Comment by sheesh — April 25, 2015 @ 11:48 am

  95. Is it worse to be infantilised or sexually harassed at work? You seem to assume that the latter is obviously worse. I’m much less sure.

    Comment by ruthlessly — April 25, 2015 @ 2:40 pm

  96. “Is it worse to be infantilised or sexually harassed at work? You seem to assume that the latter is obviously worse. I’m much less sure.”

    Or that these things might be mutually exclusive which I don’t think is necessarily the case….

    Comment by nommopilot — April 28, 2015 @ 10:52 am


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