Lighten up

December 6th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

NZ Herald reports:

An online Christmas Cracker promotion has landed Air New Zealand in trouble, with some accusing the company of transphobia.

The controversial campaign, run through the airline’s Grabaseat website, gave people the chance to win prizes and those who failed received a consolation joke instead.

One of these jokes read: “What large heavy ball was responsible for Valerie Adams’ gold medal? The Belarusian’s left testicle.” …

“This joke is unbelievably offensive, transphobic and just plain unnecessary. Really poor form,” wrote one Twitter user.

Another said she would like to see an “immediate apology” and a donation to a Lesbian Bisexual Gay Transgender programme.

Oh, lighten up. Let’s just ban . And please can we not have stories that just quote “one Twitter user” and “another”. Would you run a story quoting an unnamed talkback caller?

Here’s my views on this sort of humour. If someone has a characteristic they have no control over, then it can be pretty mean to mock them for it. So you don’t mock people for their race, sex, height, weight, sexual orientation, appearance etc (unless they are mates, and it is good natured).

However you can mock people for choices they make. If someone chooses to be a Scientologist I’ll mock them for that. If someone chooses to dye their hair blue I’ll mock them for that.

Now if Ostapchuk had been born looking very masculine with high levels of testosterone  then it would be rather cruel to mock her for it. She can’t control her genes. But she CHOOSE to take the steroid metenolone, in order to beat Valerie Adams. Metenolone mimics testosterone and gives those taking it male characteristics such as more muscle, deeper voices, and hirsutism.

So I’m sorry but if you take metenolone, then you are fair game for jokes about testicles. That’s the price of trying to cheat and making a bad choice. The situation is not the same as someone who is born with masculine features but is a woman.

Again the principle is very simple – don’t mock people for what they can’t control – but if someone chooses to take steroids to cheat at sports – they are fair game.

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33 Responses to “Lighten up”

  1. Mary Rose (393 comments) says:

    >Again the principle is very simple – don’t mock people for what they can’t control

    Like being ginger, perhaps?

    [DPF: Yes, but note the exception I referred to for friendly mocking by friends. That is very different to trying to humiliate an individual]

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  2. rouppe (983 comments) says:

    So you don’t mock people for their race, sex, height, weight, sexual orientation, appearance etc (unless they are mates, and it is good natured).

    So its fair game to mock someone for eating steroids, but not for just eating?

    That’s a choice too, you know

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  3. scrubone (3,105 comments) says:

    Like being ginger, perhaps?

    Burn!

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  4. Manolo (14,070 comments) says:

    Was P.G. the complainant? :-)

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  5. Scott Chris (6,177 comments) says:

    If someone has a characteristic they have no control over, then it can be pretty mean to mock them for it. So you don’t mock people for their race, sex, height, weight, sexual orientation, appearance etc (unless they are mates, and it is good natured).

    Oh lighten up! (irony intended)

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  6. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    Being “offended” is an internal subjective emotion. It is not a description of another person’s behaviour, or anything else outside of the offended parties head.

    We see way too much recognition given to alleged feelings. Often offence is claimed in order to shut down debate, or to manipulate others.

    This is, yet another, example of our highly feminised society.

    There is no such thing as “transphobia”. This term is just another example of manipulative social engineering and should be treated with contempt and derision, by all those who respect personal freedom. I say this as someone who thinks the riddicle, of Ostapchuk, is way over the top and rather cruel.

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  7. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    Manolo – no (and you knew that).

    Media have acquired a habit of promoting random grizzles and they often omit any balance. They cater for reactionary attention seekers. There are others with much more reasonable and reasoned approaches.

    Here trans activist examines it well:

    A recent example reported was that made by John Key in his reference to a red shirt being gay. Those words just roll off the tongue easily becoming part of the manner in which the conversation is going.

    After listening and looking at the contentious video many times, discussing with others, I doubt it was meant to be offensive, but that view is open to opinion, the truth is; only John Key knows.

    So words are used that have one meaning in one way but a different meaning in another, confused! Is it any wonder that the general public gets confused, when more confusion is added in the way certain sections of society refer to themselves. Society is expected to accept comments made by people who refer to themselves as for example, gay, but those same people become offended when others refer to them as gay, is this a double standard or what!

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but when those opinions are offered as fact or desire or as a response to a perceived wrong, there is much need to question. Only when we are all perfect will any of this change, in the meantime we must continue without judgement and do the very best we can.

    http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/32/article_12533.php

    That sort of sensible opinion doesn’t make media headlines.

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  8. eszett (2,431 comments) says:

    Question is, why does this even make it into the papers?
    How many were offended? One maybe two?

    For any story you will always be able to find one or two that are “offended”. Mosty they are not “offended” themselves, but in the name of others.

    Do you really have to make a story about it?

    Shouldn’t the story rather be how the Herald writer is so desperate to find something controversial about this and is scraping at the bottom of the barrel to fill some space?

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  9. graham (2,346 comments) says:

    I’m offended by the continuous hijacking of the word “gay” to mean something other than “happy” or “merry”.

    I’m also offended by the hijacking of the beautiful innocent rainbow symbolism.

    Who can I complain to?

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  10. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Concur with ezsett – for once – the real story here is the habitual lazienss of New Zealand ‘journalists’ who seem to think that some random person’s twitter-feed somehow constitutes news.

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  11. Elaycee (4,410 comments) says:

    Good on Air NZ. At least they have come out of this with their reputation (and their sense of humour) intact. But clearly some people are just too precious for their own good. They must be real joy germs to be around… :(

    So… I don’t suppose this is the best time to tell the one about the ginger haired, fat, ugly, dyslexic lesbian unionist from Gaza who walked with a limp, used Coke bottles for glasses, had a terrible BO problem and had a real bad case of tourettes? :D

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  12. graham (2,346 comments) says:

    Were you able to swap it for a case of ginger beer?

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  13. Harriet (5,132 comments) says:

    “…….So you don’t mock people for their race, sex, height, weight, sexual orientation, …..However you can mock people for choices they make….”

    Yeah – like eating some TYPES of foods and having some TYPES of sex!

    Gays should be more than capable of engaging in hetrosex – because hetros can engage in sodomy. It’s all about choice!

    Or are you saying David that hetrosexuals are not born homosexual and can therefor NOT engage in sodomy? :cool:

    [DPF: You seem confused about the difference between sex and sexuality. Sexuality is who you are attracted to. Sex is well sex. In broad terms there are three types of sex – vaginal, anal and oral. Anal sex can be done by hetero or homosexuals. Oral sex can also be done by hetero or homosexuals. Vaginal sex can only be done by a mad and a woman as it needs a penis and a vagina. Two men can’t have vaginal sex. Two lesbians can, if one uses a strap on. Of course a gay man and a woman can have vaginal sex as can a straight man and a lesbian woman – I guess they just don’t enjoy it as much as a partner of their preferred gender. Bisexuals of course have all the fun]

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  14. Harriet (5,132 comments) says:

    Pete George #

    “…..Only when we are all perfect will any of this change, in the meantime we must continue without judgement and do the very best we can…..”…..That sort of sensible opinion doesn’t make media headlines…..”

    ‘Without judgement’ ?

    I’ll judge anyone I see fit to judge – as it’s called ‘having judgement’ – it’s what grown-ups do Pete!

    It’s not only the women who walk all over you Pete – but the gays too! :cool:

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  15. Reid (16,634 comments) says:

    It’s ironic isn’t it that proponents of gay marriage really pander to the preciousness of the gay community and thus actually give rise to ridiculous outbursts such as this which is really just a little bit more extreme on the preciousness spectra, that’s all. This preciousness is no different at all from the gay marriage preciousness.

    And those who support gay marriage therefore encourage this sort of preciousness. Why don’t you just be consistent like those of us who oppose all preciousness? Isn’t that a more intelligent and ethical position? Of course it is. So you either approve of this preciousness as well as the gay marriage preciousness or you don’t. But you can’t approve of one and disapprove of the other. That’s just so wrong, in so many ways and on so very many levels.

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  16. hmmokrightitis (1,595 comments) says:

    In other news…

    You know what Air NZ? I know those cool new hip marketing types think its AWESOME that social media rocks our world these days, but your last few attempts at puerile humour suck a great big fat fucking kumera. GROW UP FFS. Smutty humour might be all the go, but youre an airline FFS, not a fucking pizza joint. We expect safety and grown up conversations, not bollock humour.

    Thats all, carry on :)

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  17. nonpartisan (41 comments) says:

    Another non-story quoting non-entities and being passed off as journalism. Pathetic.
    “Transphobic” – didn’t I read in another thread somewhere that this is just the PC-brigade’s method of trying to slap a mental illness label on people with a differing opinion? Or something like that.
    The only person who could rightly take offence to this joke is the Belarusian her/himself and who honestly gives a shit what a drug-cheat from another country thinks of a minor airline promotion in NZ?

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  18. Dave Stringer (188 comments) says:

    hmmokrightitis

    Luv i’

    The purpose of advertising is to attract attention, your attention was drawn to Air NZ

    Mission accomplished.

    good eh

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  19. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    Reid:

    And those who support gay marriage therefore encourage this sort of preciousness.

    I don’t support gay marriage, nor do I support this preciousness, nor do I support media overexposure of this preciousness.

    A lot of people, including me, support marriage equality.

    Some people seem to be a bit precious about marriage, thinking it should be exclusively for them.

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  20. Reid (16,634 comments) says:

    Some people seem to be a bit precious about marriage, thinking it should be exclusively for them.

    Well that’s how it’s been throughout history Pete. It seems to be that way everywhere, all the time, till now. Does it occur to you it’s not a human wights issue? Think about it. It’s a word. It is. That’s all it is. The ability to use a single freakin word. Does it occur to you to wonder why on Earth a global movement spanning years has all of a sudden arisen all at the same time across the western world? If you haven’t wondered about that you’re a most incurious person.

    So personally I don’t see how a word can be discriminatory. Sure, a legal right is disciminatory, but they have all of those, so there’s no discrimination there. And if gays want to adopt, why let’s have a gay adoption debate, which has nothing to do with gay marriage, so let’s not conflate the two. Tell me where this logic is flawed Pete. Tell me where you see discrimination, tell me you see real discrimination, which is more than the ability to use a single word. I’m afraid while you and others who support gay marriage claim there is discrimination, not one of you, ever, has ever shown where precisely it is. Never.

    So no, I’m not precious about the use of the word marriage for straight people, I’m just a supporter of civilisational practice ever since we started farming. I’m surprised you and some others aren’t, apparently in favour of continuing that, and what’s more, I’m shocked that you’re abandoning it for something as profoundly trivial as the use of a word. What sort of fools are you people, I wonder to myself, over this.

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  21. Harriet (5,132 comments) says:

    Pete George#

    “….Some people seem to be a bit precious about marriage, thinking it should be exclusively for them….’

    Not all relationships are the same!

    Or are you going to go on record as saying homosexual relationships are the VERY SAME as hetrosexual relationships?

    You are saying that ‘Marriage’ is the same for all people Pete, so it then follows that you THINK hetro and homo relationships are the same.

    They arn’t and never will be Pete – as it’s human nature! :cool:

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  22. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Harriet asks:

    Or are you saying David that hetrosexuals are not born homosexual and can therefor NOT engage in sodomy?

    I still remember when Sam Hunt said on live (black and white, narrowscreen) TV – Edwards on Saturday, in fact – that he occasionally sodomised his wife, there was a great deal of public reaction which took that precise stance 8-|

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  23. hmmokrightitis (1,595 comments) says:

    Dave,

    Not really. Anytime I fly from the provinces, I comment to the staff that I think there ‘edgy’ marketing sucks. To a (wo)man they agree. FFS, it doesnt have to be cringe worthy. But then I dont see eye to eye with the show pony either :p

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  24. Spoon (104 comments) says:

    Interesting you specifically say mocking over weight isn’t OK. My one just a minute ok was – “What three words prove black isn’t slimming? Kim Dotcom”.

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  25. ChardonnayGuy (1,216 comments) says:

    “Christian” and “family” used to be such nice words before the religious right hijacked both of them. Now they’ve almost destroyed the poor old NZ Presbyterian Church and all but dumbed down an historic moderate and mainstream denomination, to say nothing of that Sydney fundamentalist cult that masquerades as the “Anglican” Diocese of Sydney, but which is hated and reviled by most real, mainstream Anglicans in surrounding Australian states and territories.

    People ask me why I have it in for fundies. Simple. The bad dress sense, the awful hair, the dragging knuckles, the sycophantic attitude toward Deep Southern baked Yanks as some sort of arbiter and moral exemplar, the hornrim glasses, the hypocrisy (eg Graham Capill, Bruce Logan, Catholic clergy pedophilia vs fetus worship and attacks on same-sex parenting), and the fact that they attack good people like Katherine O’Regan, Fran Wilde and Marilyn Waring for their stalwart advocacy of social justice and freedom from authoritarian religious tyranny.

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  26. Reid (16,634 comments) says:

    “Christian” and “family” used to be such nice words before the religious right hijacked both of them.

    Yes but they’re nutters CG, so why pretend they typify religious people?

    And you appear to be conflate social justice and fweedom with feminism, a highly destructive Travistock-designed and propagated social engineering meme. You need to get out a bit more CG. You have no idea what’s going on. The fact you have no idea how Christians think is the least of your issues, you poor thing. (See? We Christians love you CG, we just want to help…)

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  27. iMP (2,422 comments) says:

    Pete George at 1:33 pm, “Some people seem to be a bit precious about marriage, thinking it should be exclusively for them.”

    You mean like men and women PG? Yeah, I think all the non-men and non-women should be allowed marriage too.

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  28. Fletch (6,496 comments) says:

    Author Greg Gutfeld has this to say about jokes in his book The Joy of Hate

    People get angry not because of the joke but because it hits too close to home. Think about it: When someone cracks a joke, it is meant to be taken as a joke. It’s not real. Yet that is ignored—selectively. Offense over a joke is a dog whistle, selectively heard by those with a dog in the hunt.

    Meaning, the same person who laughs uproariously over a joke ridiculing the ethnic background of the scamps on Jersey Shore will get pissed when you target the Kardashians. Because they’re Armenian, and the offended person had an aunt who was Armenian. Who died in a fire. So you’d better not make any Armenians-who-died-in-a-fire jokes. (There goes half my act.)

    Now, should every comedian demand his audience fill out questionnaires regarding areas that are off-limits? Perhaps a checklist that reads, “Are you black, gay, Hispanic, transgender, missing a limb? Do you have a relative with arthritis, have you worked in a labor camp in China, do you have thirty-four toes, can you see colors, do you have a fish-smelling disease or overgrown eyebrows, are you too short for roller coaster rides, do you have an unattractive unibrow or a penis shaped like Florida, do you have a mom who was a prostitute, a sister who was in the Manson family, or a dad who ran Jonestown?”

    The assumption is that when someone makes a joke, it’s a joke. We’re all adults and we understand no one is actually trying to “hurt” someone. So why the outrage, then? Why does someone get mad when Rush Limbaugh makes a joke about Barack Obama? Why do groups get angry when Louis C.K. unloads a crass, drunken tweet about Sarah Palin? Why did Gilbert Gottfried lose work over earthquake jokes? Why do people have to apologize over things that don’t inflict real pain on people?

    Perhaps it’s not about outrage. In a way, it could be about jealousy, which is the basis of much manufactured grievance. The anger toward a comedian erupts not because the comment simply strikes a nerve, but because the angered person feels unable to say the same thing, and that’s unfair. Why should you have the freedom to say something sick, but I can’t? I don’t mean “won’t” or “wouldn’t.” I mean “can’t.” It’s a joke I can’t make, because it might get me in trouble. See, it’s not that people can’t say it, it’s that people can’t take it. So I’ll shut up about it.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Joy-Hate-Triumph-Whiners/dp/0307986969/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354772172&sr=8-1&keywords=joy+of+hate

    Greg Gutfeld (2012-11-12T11:00:00+00:00). The Joy of Hate (Kindle Locations 2206-2225). Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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  29. Viking2 (11,571 comments) says:

    Perhaps the Belarusin won Bob Clarksons left testicle in a bet with Bob.!

    That was a favouritte saying of his untill the girlies that run the newsmedia decided they were offended.

    Of course none of you linked the two which shows your shallow thinking doesn’t it.

    Anyway as someone else pointed out its all about noise. More noise more notice taken,
    Can any of you tell us what the cleaverest adverts were on TV back about 1990. Bet you can’t but, can you tell us the worst, bet you can.

    Advertising is about getting noticed and brand recognition.
    Fair Go creates brand recognition by its publishing stories and I have seen sales of a food product that was rubbised as it was disected on TV, immediately go ballistic and beleive me the product was crap compared to its competitors, but any publicity is better than none.

    The answer is the best were the Dairy Boards Family Story about butter and the worst was Madge who sold Palmolive. Now who remembers the butter adverts. Really good and people hung out for the story but Palmolive Madge adds were horrible but everybody knew them and it made sales.

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  30. Dean Papa (784 comments) says:

    hahaha, oh my aching sides, I can’t stop laughing !!

    http://www.news.com.au/travel/news/companion-pet-not-allowed-to-fly-with-blind-woman/story-e6frfq80-1226518755475

    only $1000 dollars each way, to fly that ugly rat-dog to Auckland !!

    (and apparently that doesn’t include the $100 Air NZ wanted for supplying a crate !!)

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  31. kowtow (8,776 comments) says:

    Christian and family are still nice words and more,wonderful concepts.

    What they have become to progressives is targets.

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  32. ChardonnayGuy (1,216 comments) says:

    Not at all, KT. Mainstream Anglicans and dissident Catholics are wonderful people and I enjoy both my family of origin and the one that I’ve built with my partner and our daughter.

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  33. itstricky (1,903 comments) says:

    On yah hmmokrightitis

    There’s got to be some sort of responsibility for the statements you make in public, when you’re a public figure or public entity.

    When you and I do so around the BBQ, it’s hillarious. When I post that on your Facebook page, for your friends, it’s hillarious.

    When the PM or a public entity broadcasts it to the public is it funny? Not so sure?

    Is the only humor that’s left humor that offends? And only offending humor makes good marketing? Is that what it has come to?

    It’s all too easy to say:

    “…sorry if I offended you…” which, in the public arena is equivalent to “I stood in front of everyone and said something stupid but I’m not going to take responsbility for it so I’ll put the onus on you to double guess whether you should laugh, cry, or get angry”

    or

    “…that PC bulls*t…” which, in the public arena is equivalent to “I’m too lazy to even consider whether what was said would offend someone or not”

    BTW, did anyone find DPF’s disecting of sex weird. Like really weird. Like I can see the point was there to be made but, just, why? Just weird.

    I had have to agree about quoting “one twitter user & the other” in the media though. Chronic. Pretty much the same thing I guess “cool hipster marketing” One day “social media” will be like, like, so yesterday, like…

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