|New Zealand men have come a long way from Fred Dagg to cut-throat mercenary capitalist Gordon Gekko to the nineties Metrosexual to the current "Emerging Man." Or so says Miranda Likeman in the most recent issue of M2, the magazine for the contemporary New Zealand guy.
Emerging straight men seem to be literate in terms of fine wines, clothes, cars and tech, yet still worships the ground that the ABs play over. However, they also worship HRH Helen Clark, quaff 42 Below and sound virtually indistinguishable from their gay male counterparts. Which is probably a sign of the success of the feminist and LGBT movements, and resulted in the reconstruction of straight and gay male gender as much as lesbian and straight female gender. All of the above would be relatively scary to the doddering old men who run most of the contemporary New Zealand Christian Right. From Ken Orr's combover at Right to Life New Zealand to Bernard Moran's glowering visage at Investigate and Voice for Life Auckland to UFNZ's Gordon Copeland, all of the old blokes mentioned grew up and reached maturity at a time when black singlets, countrification and churches were far more common than they are today. Granted, Ian Wishart, Greg Fleming and Brian Tamaki don't belong to that generational cohort, or ethnicty in the case of Tamaki, but in the case of Wishart, Tamaki and Family First's Bob McCoskrie, those generational values are still dominant, even if inapplicable to the lives of most Maori, which is why mainstream Maori ignore Tamaki as irrelevant. Investigate is locked in a ridiculous seventies time warp with generic imported "Mad Mullah" anti-Muslim TM pseudo-terrorists doing a conga, and McCoskrie is still lodged firmly in the subculturally isolationist fundamentalist media, so the same inertia is evident. Note that I didn't include Greg Fleming in the above. Since Logangate, the Maxim Institute has changed tack, and emphasised its shared centre-right values with National to the exclusion of its cultural ties to the dying Christian Right. Fleming, Amanda McGrail and Nicki Taylor have inherited a world where the LGBT, feminist and peace movements won their cultural struggles, and may have concluded that with Bruce Logan gone, it's time to face the underlying political reality of the early twenty first century. As I've noted beforehand, this means paying lip service to remaining fundamentalist cultural issues like Section 59 Repeal, while actually paying more attention to National's current New Right policy platforms on welfare and educational policy. Why? It's a survival strategy. To be blunt, the rest of the Christian Right is going nowhere, and succumbing to death, degenerative disease and migration fast. It means that the Maxim Institute will survive, but at the cost of its fundamentalist past. However, as the US midterm elections suggest, the evangelical community itself is changing, and may be becoming more mainstream in terms of its values, so it may be futile to hold out any hope for anything different happening here. Ten years from now, will we still recognise the Maxim Institute as the one-time satrapy of Bruce Logan? Or will it have signed off on the amens? Recommended: Miranda Likeman: "The Emerging Man" M2: 2.21 (Feb 2007): 34-41 Craig Young - 5th February 2007