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Awards: 2005's Ten Tawdry Transgressors!

Sat 31 Dec 2005 In: Community

Despite the expansion of this year's best and worst lists from seven to ten, it was heartening to find that when assembling this year's shitters that our cup did not runneth over, although it has certainly been a big year. The actions of those listed below certainly rival the nasties of years gone by, and have even warranted the creation of new words to describe their behaviour! So – without further ado, and in no particular order: THE EXCLUSIVE BRETHREN  Call them a sect, a cult, or simply a religious movement – but there's no denying that the Exclusive Brethren left an indelible impact on the political scene this year, and are continuing to do so. They funnelled $500,000 into an anti-Green and anti-Labour leaflet drop at the election with the tacit approval of National leader Don Brash, claiming that "rainbow communities" were going to be created. They carried out push polling in rural electorates in favour of National, urging voters to tick the Brash box because of the "moral decline of New Zealand under the Labour government" and "the gay marriage bill". Even after their involvement in campaigning for National was publicly revealed, much to the party's embarrassment, they carried on doing it. After the election, they frenzily campaigned National, NZ First and United Future to form a right-wing coalition government. As recently as a few weeks ago, they lobbied MPs to vote for the Marriage (Gender Clarification) Bill, citing God's laws as an imperative. The Brethren have been involved in similar anti-gay campaigns in Austalia, the United States, and Canada, where an assault was launched against gay marriage legislation. All the campaigns have been done covertly until media revealed where it was coming from. All this behaviour would be extraordinary enough if it weren't for the fact that the EB's don't even vote, watch television, or use the internet. They're not allowed. They shun contact with the outside world, which they deem to be of Satan. And yet they now see fit to lobby governments to get that outside world to conform to their views. Is this their bizarre way to include the rest of us by Borg-like assimilation? If by some miracle they ever succeed, we hope they at least have us all in for a cup of tea in one of their scary windowless buildings. breth·ren·ate v. 1. To keep from being seen, found, observed, or discovered. 2. To prevent disclosure of or fail to disclose, especially in violation of a moral or ethical duty to do so; "we're going to brethrenate our involvement in knocking over that stand of chips" GORDON COPELAND  Most people buy their husband or wife a card on their 42nd wedding anniversary. United Future MP Gordon Copeland decided to introduce a piece of legislation on their anniversary, a piece of legislation that showed his love for his wife was so superior that it precluded all same-sex and defacto couples from being treated equally under the law, and paved the way for a backdoor dismantling of the Bill of Rights Act. The Marriage (Gender Clarification) Bill was resoundingly rejected by Parliament, 73 votes to 47, much to the dismay of Copeland and a coterie of Exclusive Brethren who lobbied MPs (again) and sat in the public gallery clapping enthusiastically at supportive speeches and scowling disapprovingly at opposing ones like a pantomime textile factory. Copeland unwittingly declared himself the gatekeeper of God's standards during an interview with, when he said that he personally believed "marriage is the only sexual activity which is sanctioned by God, which has God's seal of approval. All other forms of sexual activity, therefore, fall short of that very very high standard, whether they be homosexual or heterosexual." But to suggest these beliefs had anything to do with his introduction of the bill would be "trying to put words in my mouth", he spluttered. Subsequent to the bill's defeat, Copeland blamed simply everybody for stopping its passage – Labour, National and even NZ First. It seemed the only person with the power to stop the bill that Copeland didn't blame was God himself, who incidentally also failed to stop the passage of the Civil Union Act last year – despite prayers and fasting from Copeland's former colleague Paul Adams. Perhaps God is trying to tell them something? Or perhaps, like the rest of our MPs, he's got far more important things on his mind. cop·el·an·dis·ing v. 1. To continue pursuing a cause that has no hope of success. 2. To use irrational religious beliefs as the basis for secular law. 3. To dwell dogmatically on a matter that has already been decided; "continuing protests by Lions fans over the Umaga spear tackle has been labelled copelandising of the highest order by sports commentators" PLAYERS IN THE PERON AFFAIR  No-one emerged looking good from this mess. Not broadcaster Lindsay Perigo, who spread allegations about the libertarian Peron's alleged paedophile sympathies in poisoned whispers, because he was concerned about damage to the reputation of the libertarian movement in New Zealand – yet mysteriously failed to use his considerable skills as an investigative journalist to find out if any of the allegations were true. Not Winston Peters, who used parliamentary privilege to make false allegations that Peron was actually responsible for child abuse, and make insidious connections between homosexuality and paedophilia. Not the Locke Foundation, whose dogged pursuit of evidence against Peron just happened to coincide with child sex charges being brought against their former colleague – Christian Heritage Party founder Graham Capill. And last but not least, Peron himself, whose increasingly bizarre stories about how the NAMBLA Bulletin and a paedophile journal containing a story with his name on it came to be sold in his San Francisco bookstore in the 1980's rivalled something from The Twilight Zone. Denying he was responsible for anything at all in televised interviews and then scuttling off to Europe just as evidence was emerging to the contrary wasn't a good look either. Peron was last heard of having returned to his native America, having been barred from re-entry into New Zealand. pe·ro·nym n. 1. A phrase or story that obfuscates or deflects attention from the central issue at hand; "little Johnny was scolded by his teacher for using peronyms after he claimed the stolen cookies had been forced unwittingly into his pocket by the Tooth Fairy" 2. An explanation or answer that misleads by omission. WAYNE MAPP  The National Party's newly-appointed political correctness eradicator proved himself to be nothing more than a human hall of mirrors and a peddlar of slogans when interviewed him about his new job this year. He failed to define a series of often-used buzz phrases like "social engineering", "moral values", and of course, "political correctness", without referring to other terms or phrases. He displayed bizarre gaps in logic by saying it was "outrageous and defamatory" to refer to an innocent single gay man as a paedophile, but an acceptable use of free speech to use such abuse against gays in general. He declared that transgender people don't suffer serious discrimination – "Look at Georgina Beyer, she's hardly being discriminated against," he said – and that poverty and child abuse aren't "moral issues," but issues of sexuality are. Although Mapp believes New Zealanders shouldn't be told how to think, he does think the state should interfere in people's private relationships. In an interview regarding his support for United Future MP Gordon Copeland's anti-gay Marriage (Gender Clarification) Bill, he complained about the widespread use of the term "partner," and how it upset some married heterosexuals who wanted to use "husband" and "wife" so they could celebrate their marriage. When asked him if he saw the irony in supporting a bill which denied same-sex couples the chance to do that, he laughed and said, "Well, no-one is seriously suggesting that marriage ought to be extended to gay couples." Instead, Wayne suggested, we should just marry a partner of the opposite gender. After all, that's what's been going on for centuries! "Many a gay person has been married with children, and then they choose... then they end up not being married," he said. "You know people in that situation I'm sure." Yes, Wayne. It's called being in the closet. And you've got the best view of that "situation" from the party you're currently in. Map·pet n. 1. A puppet character of the social conservative and religious right movement, designed to express blanket opposition to any progressive or inclusive community initiatives via the use of meaningless slogans. 2. Derogatory slang; any person who uses the phrase "political correctness gone mad." CLIVE ASPIN No sooner had the Foundation announced the appointment of its first Maori chair, Dr Clive Aspin, a proposal that its supporters felt would have constitutionally affirmed a Treatification of the AIDS Foundation governance structure was on the table faster than you could say "racist colonial journalism." The proposal, which would have set aside at least 50% of the board seats for Maori at a time when the epidemiology of HIV in New Zealand shows that less than 15% of infections are amongst Maori (and the overwhelmingly majority of those are gay or bisexual men), was so unpopular that it had to be withdrawn. Aspin was out of the country during most of the fallout, at an international conference in Mexico where he presented a paper suggesting any opposition to the proposal was racist. Although many suspected that Aspin was the architect of the proposal, which was announced without any consultation with the Foundation staff, members, and – incredibly – Foundation kaumatua Henare Te Ua, the board maintained collective responsibility throughout. It took a heated AGM and the resignation of two board chairs, Aspin and his successor Simon Robb, before the board retreated entirely from its proposals and pledged to return to focussing on the community most affected by HIV in New Zealand – men who have sex with men. Subsequent statements from acting board chair Jeremy Lambert suggest that the board has clearly learnt its lesson, but it can't take away the fact that in one of the worst years for the HIV epidemic in New Zealand, the Foundation's focus was objectively disordered (thank you, Pope Ratzinger), and lethally opened up for political evisceration by a rejuvenated, and previously supportive, National Party. as·pi·na·tion n. 1. A strong desire for political achievement, often flying in the face of scientific research, that destructively divides a community. 2. An object of such a desire; an ambition; "in retrospect, the government's proposed fart tax turned out to be an aspination they'd rather forget" ALAN DUFF  The celebrated Once Were Warriors author and Books in Homes founder doesn't like gays very much. His expressions of hatred started late last year when he made himself a signatory to the infamous Sax-Hubbard letter to MPs, which claimed that gays were more likely than others to abuse and murder their children. No evidence was provided, and when asked him this year why he decided to sign the letter, Duff accused us of "bullying" and told us to "piss off." Here's what he said: "Stpuid [sic] and arrogant, shrill questions all. I signed my name to the document in question because in a democracy, which you gays hate, I have that right. If it ain't patently obvious that raising children in a gay household is not good for them, then any wonder the straight community at large doesn't get you. So pissoff with your bullying and find someone who'll lie down and let you stick it to them - I won't. And broadcast this to the country, the whole queer world for all I care. I cannot stand your pc, morally superior bullying." By year's end, Duff had become something of a media darling. He was simply the person to come to when you wanted unexpurgated bigotry expressed against minorities. His "who bloody cares" rant about gays and disabled people even shocked the National Party's newly-appointed PC eradicator Wayne Mapp, who said Duff went too far. As far as Duff's concerned, though, you can't go far enough to silence the gays. duf·foc·ra·cy n. pl. duf·foc·ra·cies 1. Government by self-labelled "red-blooded heterosexual men", exercised either by the use of fists or the use of law to curtail equal citizenship for minorities. 2. A country that has such a government (see Australia, the United States of America, and Zimbabwe). 3. Majority tyranny. 4. The principles of social inequality and contempt for minorities within a community. 5. Self-labelled "red-blooded heterosexual men", who consider they should always be the primary source of political power in lieu of others; "the bank she worked for maintained something of a duffocracy, making advancement to management level extremely difficult for her" GREG FLEMING  If the increasingly bizarre Maxim Institute's managing director Greg Fleming were Pinocchio, his nose might reach clear across the Milky Way by now. When the "highly regarded" and "thought provoking" Maxim "research" director Bruce Logan was caught out stealing large tracts of other people's writing and passing them off as his own in newspapers around the country, Fleming didn't apologise – he want on the mega-defensive. Fleming's father-knows-best media performance in the week following Logan's ruin was hindered by both the weight of evidence against Logan's originality, and Fleming's hillarious propensity to turn into a wrist-flapping Frank Spencer whenever the going got tough. He warned his detractors to beware of throwing stones from inside the glasshouse, before proceeding to throw a ten-ton boulder through every pane of glass himself. He faced two difficult live interviews on National Radio's Nine To Noon programme on consecutive mornings. In the first interview he got through by writing his opponents concerns off as lies, and claiming he'd sent out rebuttal documents that were later shown not to exist. Fleming positively melted in the second interview when confronted with the woman who blew the whistle on Maxim supporter and former Press columnist Alexis Stuart's plagiarism. Demanding shrilly to know her credentials and what agenda she was running, the woman calmly proceeded to explain she was a housewife in rural Christchurch who cared for disabled horses. Fleming lamented that his staff had been unable to turn up any information on her – perhaps finally proving to the Maximites that there are some forms of research which cannot be conducted via Google. in·flem·ma·tion n. alt: in·flegm·ma·tion 1. A localised protective reaction of right-wing moralists to irritation, injury, or the truth, characterized by pain, redness, swelling, camp affectations, and sometimes loss of function. 2. The act of inflemming or the state of being inflemmed; "the thought of the man he was servicing peering around the glory hole wall and uncovering his identity positively inflemmed him" BRUCE LOGAN  ...and thanks to the actions of Maxim Institute "research" director Bruce Logan this year! The Bearded One has ensured that both his name and that of the anti-gay Christian think-tank he helped to found will be forever associated with inverted commas - or lack thereof. If only dear Bruce had used a few more of them in his columns, along with sufficient attributions, he might not have found himself in such a plagiaristic pickle. Then again, if he had, his pieces would doubtless have not found widespread publication in esteemed papers like the NZ Herald and The Press in Christchurch, and he would have been written off as an unoriginal hack. Logan has since found himself granted the dubious honour of being labelled both a plagiarist and an unoriginal hack. His gallant attempt subsequently to both "apologise unreservedly" and play down the extent of his borrowings was akin to describing the Hindenberg disaster as "excessive combustion resulting in structural weakening and some loss of life". His "retirement" soon followed, along with the emaciation of Maxim's Real Issues weekly newsletter, which in the wake of the scandal resorted to quoting poems and discussing a female intern's essay on "the decline of friendship". lo·ga·neer·ing n. 1. The application of assembling columns or treatises by cobbling together unattributed tracts from the work of others, in a patchwork quilt manner, and passing the work off as your own. 2. The profession of, or the work performed by, fundamentalist Christian activists, particularly those who work for think-tanks. 3. Covert activity and manipulation of debate using the resources assembled by the above methods: ie. social loganeering, political loganeering. GRAHAM CAPILL  Now jailed after pleading guilty to charges of sexual molestation and rape of little girls, former Christian Heritage leader Graham Capill's hypocrisy was so mighty it took a 4-part feature to cover it all. Capill led the party from 1990 to 2002, during which time he repeatedly attacked gays and lesbians and made connections between homosexuality and paedophilia. During his trial, it was revealed that his sexual offending had been taking place during nearly all of that time. His three victims still have name suppression, which is probably one of the only things they can be thankful for. Prior to sentencing, Capill compounded his crimes by sending an email to supporters claiming his sexual acts with children were consensual, and that he was having difficulty in deciding how to plea – because his crimes were not "rape" in the Biblical sense (whatever that means). Although the fallout from Capill's offending nearly destroyed the Christian Heritage Party at the last election (they secured just 0.1% of the vote), there is little sign that they have learnt from their previous mistakes. The current Christian Heritage leader launched an attack on openly gay National MP Chris Finlayson during the election campaign, saying National couldn't be relied upon to promote family values while they were running an openly gay man in such a high list position. The enduring image of Capill will be the haunting sight of him sobbing loudly in a foetal ball on the ground outside the Christchurch court where he was tried, having been knocked to the ground by a punch to the jaw from indignant boxer Daniel McNally. "Child molester," McNally shouted. "Get the cops," yelled Capill's lawyer. "Don't get the cops, don't get the cops," wailed Capill. A disturbing, cathartic, and pathetic moment. cap·il·lep·sy n. 1. A psychological phenomenon characterised by recurring attacks of moralising in order to cover up a multitude of one's own sins. 2. An emotional breakdown caused by public exposition of the above. DICK FAISAUVALE Another in the long list of despicable individuals who have attempted to use state-sanctioned homophobia to get away with murder, 19-year-old Faisauvale claimed he stabbed 55-year-old Auckland stamp collector Robert Hunt no less than 42 times because he believed he was going to be sexually attacked. Faisauvale was so traumatised by this alleged attempted rape that he stole money and Hunt's car as he left the man's Ellerslie home. During the course of Faisauvale's trial, it was revealed he had visited Hunt numerous times for sex and had a history of engaging in same-sex encounters for money. However, Hunt's final fatal encounter with Faisauvale was carried out at the blade of a knife, which police prosecutors claimed Faisauvale had intentially taken along with him so he could rob him. He told a colleague the night before the murder that he was going to "smash his friend dead". Hunt was found by his flatmate in a bloodied mess on the floor, dead with the phone in his hand – he had made two unsuccessful attempts to call 111. Nevertheless, Faisauvale's lawyers claimed that Hunt, described by his devastated family as their "teddybear big brother," had sexually attacked him. This defence has worked numerous times in the past, the most infamous recent example being the vicious slaying of TV interior decorator David McNee, whose killer got off with manslaughter. That didn't work for Faisauvale. He was convicted of murder, and sentenced to a 17-year minimum non parole period for the crime. However, it is still perfectly legal in our courts to claim "homosexual panic" as a sole motivation for murder, and when your victim is no longer alive to speak for himself, it seems clear that to employ this defence means your victim doesn't even have to be gay. There's no need to invent a new word for Faisauvale. There's a perfectly fitting one already available: mur·der·er n. One who perpetrates the unlawful killing of another human being, especially with premeditated malice.     Chris Banks - 31st December 2005

Credit: Chris Banks

First published: Saturday, 31st December 2005 - 12:00pm

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