Monday, May 5, 2008

"...queer and trying to pretend something else."

The bullshit about Helen Clark’s supposed “sham marriage” that cropped up again with the release of Ian Wishart’s paranoid pot-boiler got me wondering why tories feel so strongly about it. That they do feel strongly about it is evidenced in these comments threads at Poneke and Kiwiblog. Here at No Minister, I’ve commented several times at the barrage of ugly shit from mentally disturbed commenters that often arrives when Fairfacts Media posts innuendo about Clark being gay, and I think it’s that abuse that indicates the origins of the right-wing obsession with Clark’s marriage.

Like Clark and Davis, my then-girlfriend and I “upgraded” our de facto marriage to an official one in the early 80s. Unlike Clark and Davis, I’ve yet to encounter anyone with the cajones to declare that we’re in a “sham” marriage, or a “marriage of convenience,” and can only suggest to anyone contemplating such an accusation that they’d better not try it to my face if they want to keep their teeth. After all, those of us like me and Helen Clark, who’ve clocked up a quarter-century of married life, with years of cohabitation before that, needn’t look kindly on some bunch of strangers shouting the odds about what kind of marriage we’ve got. I can only assume it’s the fact that being a Prime Minister carries some behavioural obligations with it that prevents Clark from giving the only answer these allegations deserve: “Fuck off.”

The official line from tories on this matter is that Clark is “misleading” the voters because she married to avoid putting off conservative Labour voters back in the early 80s. That’s bullshit – for one thing, she’s never concealed that’s why they made their marriage official, so it’s difficult to see where “misleading” comes into it. For another, no-one has given a shit for a good 15 years or more whether people living together are married or not, and yet Clark is still married. She was living with Davis before she married him, she’s still married to him long after anyone ceased to care about whether politicians are married or not, and yet right-wingers want to claim she’s in a “marriage of convenience” to “mislead voters.” No – that may be the official version, but not even you lot believe it.

The thing that’s really getting the right-wingers all worked up, of course, is that they think Clark and Davis are gay but pretending to be heterosexual. I find this one much more interesting, if just as offensive (hell, more offensive). So where does this come from? It’s not like there are photos of Clark with her face in another gal’s crotch, after all. So where, then? This is where we get a good look into the psyche of the right-wing ranters who fill comments threads with vile abuse whenever the subject comes up (which it does with regularity, right-wing bloggers being what they are). What makes Clark and Davis “gay” is that they don’t fit these guys’ (well hell, you almost always are, and you know it) view of what a “real man” and a “real woman” should be like. Well, too bad. For a lot of us, trampling all over your cherished stereotypes is a point of pride. I would dearly love to think that if you met me, I wouldn’t fit your view of what a “real man” should be like either.

Please feel free to go on with your "it's not the gay, it's the deceit" line. Just keep in mind that nobody believes you. But don’t worry about it too much, guys. When Key takes over, a real man with a properwife who knows her place, you can go back to feeling like the “right” people are running things. Until that day comes though, yeah, we have a PM that don’t play that shit - too bad, asshole.


Lindsay said...

Good post. I couldn't give a stuff about Clark's sexuality. It's her politics I have difficulty with.

JC said...

Helen Clark was forced to marry by her own party.

From Wikipedia:

"She married sociologist Peter Davis, her partner of five years at that time, shortly before that election (under pressure from some members of the New Zealand Labour Party to marry despite her own feelings about marriage — her biography reports that she cried throughout the ceremony, although she attributes that to a headache).[5"

The Labour Party didn't force her to marry to make her more acceptable to National Party supporters, but to Labour supporters.

The stunningly obvious logic of the marriage was to placate Labour bosses and make her more acceptable for the safe and always Labour seat of Mt Albert.

By now it should have dawned on you that the whole marriage requirement and Clarks fury over the hypocrisy of it was and remains a matter of Labour Party homophobia.. witness the occasional comments of her ex Parliamentary collegues and the "consort" jibe.
So I suggest you point that little pop gun of yours at the real target.. your own feet.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of ":cherished stereotypes "
I love it how you bunch all right-wingers together. I suppose it makes it easy for you.

Psycho Milt said...

JC: not news to me, which you can tell from the post: "she married to avoid putting off conservative Labour voters."

That was more than 25 years ago. I don't see "Labour Party homophobia" accounting for Wishart's campaign or for the jesters commenting about "carpet munching" on this blog.

Anon - yeah, that's real unfair of me, given how careful my fellow bloggers are not to talk about left-wingers as though we were issued from a factory somewhere...


Fair comment PM.
Funny thing is, I first heard those 'rumours' in 2000 on coming down to Auckland to be a journalist.
And the journos who told me, certainly weren't right wingers either.
I will answer some other points when I get round to doing my own review of Absolute Power and posting it here, so brace yourself.
I see Cactus Kate has just posted a review of the number one best selling book too.
I look forward to meeting up with you one day, and 'real man' or not, as long as you don't have a beard while being as camp as a row of tents that's fine by me.
I once saw some lads in a K RD bar just like thaT with facial hair and the combination of masculinity and their feminity just seemed so wrong.
Other than that. I'm a tolerant fellow :)

Blair said...

I really couldn't give a shit whether Helen Clark lies about her personal life, but by the same token I couldn't give a shit if someone like Ian Wishart wants to investigate it and place some significance to it. This is a democracy after all and there is no sin in asking questions. Though it is a bit embarrassing that so many people seem so obsessed with it. I suspect their own sex lives aren't particularly interesting. We should pity them.

What I do find interesting is the possibility of Peter Davis receiving "diplomatic assistance" in the USA.

Ackers said...

Good post PM. Not having lived in NZ during Clark's reign it's always been a bit of a mystery why the vitriol directed towards her is so obsessed with matters of sexuality and her personal appearance. It's always struck me as a combination of homophobia and misogyny.....something must be really pushing their buttons.

Us Howard haters certainly vented our feelings against the man's policies but never on such a personal level at the man himself.

Bogusnews said...

I don't give a stuff about HC orientation.

To be fair though, I can understand why people like Wishart are looking at this. If I had recvd a call from a PI Wishart did, and then gotten the response from MFAT, it would cause my antenna to go up.

Further, I remember the PM's response to Barry Soper when he asked her. She refused to deny that she was gay.

And certainly other politicians I have spoken to have openly admitted she is.

As I say, I don't give a toss either way, and I suspect most NZ'ers are the same, but I can see the argument that IF she is, then it does raise some eithical issues if she won't admit it.

mawm said...

She's as bent as crowbar and claiming to be straight. Peter is too. FFS, we are adults they must not insult us and pretend that they are not, and accept the fact that we can live with a 'gay' PM.

Secondly if her party wants to mess in other peoples private lives (Brash) then she must accept that others will air her dirty laundry.

And this is not a right wing thing, it is about integrity.

mojo said...

Oh psycho ... I would have thought that, in this day & age of 'professional' politician & their active aversion to public policy statement, that all people are able to vote on is whether or not they feel an affinity with a particular politician, like see them as having similar values in life to themeselves. As I believe it was Prince Phillip that said (something akin to), "integrity is whether or not you get out of the bath to have a pee."
... so an active deceit, a mirepresentation of something so basic as sexuality is important ... if they would misrepresent this then what else ... & so it has come to pass.
The new age acceptance of unacceptable or statistically abnormal behaviour as proffering no indictment on the integrity of the person is illogical, is psycho, a pathology ... a naive & simplistic sickness.

& when your cohorts indicate a preference for gaiety with the facially hairless (probably bodily & oiled & dark skinned also)sort of suggests a genesis for deviance.

But I guess Psycho, time has indicated an overwhelming aceptance for diversity on your behalf in a very 'non judgemental' sort of way ... yeh right.

Anonymous said...

To me her sexuality is inferred from the type of Social Engineering policies that will be her legacy and are indeed the onlynotable achievement of her term in office. Incidentally I haven't seen her share a kiss with her husband involving
the same degree of passion as he received from a male on the night of the last election....You seem more pre-occupied with the matter than any other blogger I have read.

Psycho Milt said...

Mojo, Mawm and Bogusnews: all I can do is point you to Ackers comment's always been a bit of a mystery why the vitriol directed towards her is so obsessed with matters of sexuality and her personal appearance. It's always struck me as a combination of homophobia and misogyny.....something must be really pushing their buttons"

and say, "Yup."

Johnboy said...

Nice to hear that both you and Peter are "Real Men" Psycho so you kiss other guys at parties too eh.

mawm said...

Psycho - If you bother to reread my post you will understand that I did not direct any vitriol toward HEC. On the other hand, like any good labour lemming, when I don't agree with you I must be villified.

Psycho Milt said...

And if you had read my post you'd have noticed it was actually about why right-wingers are so determined Clark must be gay. You state bluntly that she is, thus illustrating my post rather nicely - maybe I should thank you.

And re this:

Secondly if her party wants to mess in other peoples private lives (Brash) then she must accept that others will air her dirty laundry.

"join the dots," as Wishart is so fond of writing. Brash denounces Clark, a married woman, as "indifferent to the institution of marriage," an unprovoked and intensely personal insult. Not long after, it turns out that this staunch defender of the institution of marriage, is shagging someone else - again. On what basis exactly would Clark feel honour-bound not to give him what he'd so thoroughly earned, hmm?

Further, what "dirty laundry" is there to air about Clark's private life? Apart from your idle fantasies, I mean? I don't think the fact that various bigoted right-wingers publicly claim Clark is "bent as a crowbar" actually constitutes "dirty laundry," it in fact tells us far more about the right-wingers in question.

JohnBoy - the very fact you could imagine I might be offended or insulted by your comment serves as a better illustration of my point than I could have wished for. Thank you for dropping by.

Ackers said...

"To me her sexuality is inferred from the type of Social Engineering policies that will be her legacy"

I'm sure Roy Cohn would have agreed with this......that's integrity for you....must be a right wing thing.

And Mojo, I don't have a problem with diversity but you clearly do.

mawm said...

And if you had read my post you'd have noticed it was actually about why right-wingers are so determined Clark must be gay

I have reread your post and nowhere do you say anything that represents the above.

As to her sexuality - can you disprove what I have said?

Brash never attacked Clark personally, National have not attacked Clark's personal life - yet it is ok for Clark and Labour to?

There is plenty of 'dirty laundry' as far as Clarke and Davis are concerned.

Psycho Milt said...

Mawm, are you taking the piss?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Blair, I too find interesting the possibility that Davis received diplomatic assistance in the US. Wonder why no-one has seriously dug into that in the year or two since it happened?


WAKE UP said...

Two things:

1 If Clark being openly gay would have prevented her becoming PM, that that says something about this country - but that's not neccessarily a negative. We have every right to be wary, to expect the truth, and act according to our views of the truth.

2 Her post-feminist lesbian tendencies (concealed or not) have, in fact, strongly influenced much of her government's legislation, creating negative results for men and families in particular.

Why does anyone have trouble equating those two points, and seeing that reality for what it is?