Sunday, 14 February 2016

Annoying Politics

How Aggravation Politics is Annoying the Shit out of New Zealand's Political Environment:

An Essay/Thesis/Report by Joe Bloggs

Protesters deliberately being annoying, Auckland 2015
Breaking news: Absolutely nothing interesting is happening in the world at this very moment! Well, Iran is doing some shit, the TPPA just got signed – but nothing has happened beyond that. But you know what they say – all is calm before the storm. I got thinking about the TPPA protests (I have only attended one) because for those who don't know, the recent protest that took place in Auckland caused more havoc than any prior. Main roads were blocked up for hours, and for the first time, I heard colleagues and friends actually comment on it. I never thought I'd see the day! You see, I meet people at work, or through mutual friends or whatever, and I'm always curious what they think about things like the TPPA. Well, okay, for the most part, I'm not curious 'exactly' what they think 'uh you know, it's probably like, good for the like, economy and shit', but rather, I'm always curious to know how much people know about the TPPA. For example, it fascinates me when one side will tell you this thing is so important, how this 'trade agreement' (or alliance, depending on who you ask), is the most important legislation ever, which will effects everyone's lives in some way, whether it be through changes to the cost of medicine or copyright laws.

I don't deny that the TPPA will have an effect on most of us, but I just find it hard to reconcile when you see other people – people who may very well be badly affected by this agreement, whom can't tell the TPPA from a TeePee. Sometimes I think about what the good ol' days when we all watched a single channel and everyone had a say on politics and current events. News used to be something we followed because it was so homogenous. Now, there are so many competing (and vastly differing news outlets) that we can't even talk about news out of fear of annoying someone. 'Did you hear the new-' 'I don't watch news, mate' 'dude, who watches news anymore, you read news, man!' 'guys, you are all living in the past. I boot up my Playstation and I PLAY the damn news!' To be honest, I feel like a moron watching TVNZ. I like Mike McRoberts, but the whole format needs to hurry up and die. It's called creative destruction. Destroy the old system so we can devote more time and resources to creating a new, more relevant system. The world is always changing but many of our institutions stubbornly hold on to the past, insisting they're still relevant.

But that's rambling. What I'm trying to say is I love it when politics intrude on the lives of my otherwise religiously un-political friends, because at least they're finally acknowledging it somehow. That's why I loved the whole John Key ponytail pulling affair. Yes, borderline sexual harassment doesn't actually bring into question your competency in leading the government, but I loved it anyway, because not only did it bring to light another aspect of Key's very weird character, but it got people actually talking about politicians. I'm sorry to tell you, but talking about politicians is better than not talking about them. We should be talking about them every day of our (or at least their) lives. Give 'em hell, I say, because it's a lot harder to do horrible things if everybody's paying attention to you. Why can't we give politicians the same scrutiny we give celebrities? I reckon that if the Kardashian girl went around meeting Saudi Arabian businessmen and buying marine sanctuaries to use for oil drilling, there would be substantially more fucks given than for anything John Key is capable of doing. And when you think about it, we deserve to give politicians hell – after all, we pay for their lavish lifestyle, which now includes free travel.

The reason I'm saying this is because I had friends who never once mentioned the TPPA until they found themselves held up in traffic because of protesters. They'll always say the same stuff: 'I'm fine with you protesting, and I understand your concerns with the TPPA, but you can do it without getting in the way of hard-working people like myself!'

In which case, consider changing jobs to become a policeman. Nothing, including traffic, will ever be of your concern.
Likewise, I'll make a compromise: I don't care about hard-working people making complaints like that, as long as they aren't implying 'I am frustrated by the way you conduct your protest, therefore, I automatically dismiss whatever you are protesting about!'

Of course, nobody says that consciously. Consciously, humans are unfathomably intelligent beings, but subconsciously, humans are morons. That's why we'll leave it to the big news groups to answer the important questions: such as what we should and shouldn't be angry about, rather than taking the time to open up comments and polls to ask very simple questions like: 'how do you feel about the TPPA?'

This just in: the entire human race may potentially be
the product of one overstimulated, hyperactive unicorn called Pinky
The reason Toni Street's career is based off sports-coverage, breezy Breakfast shows and the heavily Fox News-inspired Seven Sharp, is because she is not a journalist. A journalist's job is to ask questions about life and things, whereas pundits and 'presenter/commentators', as she is known, are paid to juggle the hard work of smiling and laughing one minute, but next minute, drawing fangs and transforming into a radioactive scorpion, raining a shower and acidic, flaming hot opinionated spittle on us dim-witted watcher who are obviously waiting for someone intelligent to speak. Watch FOX news, or even Seven Sharp with a notepad and measure how much time is spent by the journalists, presenters and pundits asking serious questions,compared to time spent trying to tell you how you should view a situation. It is not a news outlet's job to say what people should be annoyed about, and it certainly is not a new outlet's job to discuss what 'could've happened'. Last time I checked, a news outlet is supposed to tell what did fucking happen.

Now: I'm not saying it is completely unfair for Seven Sharp to have made that above post. After all, they're just saying what people think!: These damn protesters are:

A) Stopping kids/mums from getting medicine and;
B) are doing their own cause more damage by being a bunch of stubborn short-sighted knobs with no consideration for the consequences of their selfish actions

So yes, the show is being representative of some percentage of the nation's population, but you're still making a stupid argument: if you believe in the first point, that 'TPP protesters could've held up sick children blah blah blah' you are accepting the scenario that the protesters genuinely don't care about that happening – of course you think that, otherwise, there is no point in saying it. You have to accept the scenario that if a woman was in labour or a sick children was in need of treatment, there would be no way around it but to 

A) run over the protesters with a vehicle (which is an option on the table for some people) -

B) blast through a wall for some building.

You know full well this is not a reality. I have seen serious congestion within Auckland city without protests, and having worked as a phone operator for NZTA's nationwide Highway Information service for nearly a year, I know full well that Highway's have been closed off with less than a day's notice. These protest organisers give councils weeks of notice. If anyone's to blame, it's the council.

The second point, 'your killing your own cause with your grade-A assholery!' is where I get to the heart of this topic, and it's what I like to call... drum roll please, 'The Politics of Annoyance', and it's why I return point I made earlier in the form of this rhetorical question: 

If a bunch of annoying protesters stood outside your house, screaming, shouting, farting, possibly engaging in pre-marital homosexual sex and all the rest of it, what would annoy you the most?
  1. The fact that they are protesting
  2. The fact that they have the right to protest in such a disorderly way
  3. The very subject that they are protesting about

Suddenly I despise these lazy black people who have nothing better to do but sit around making life difficult for these hard-working white men who just want to have a meal during their hard-earned lunch break.
Because this is what annoys me with these hard-working people who get frustrated at protesters, saying things like 'you're destroying your own cause'. First of all, if you're saying that, you're probably the kind of person who has never protested in his entire life, and are by no means authoritative on the subject of protests. Second, you obviously don't understand much about psychology. Now, I apologise if it's Mr. Psychology Major Graduate reading this, but let me chuck a scenario in for you: Have you ever seen an advertisement, whether it be on TV or Radio, that is just so incredibly fucking annoying? Like serious, in your face, look at me, listen to this repeating, annoying sound, screaming right into your living room for a gratuitously long period of time? Those ads where they'll repeat a word over and over again at different lengths and volumes? Don't you ever watch an advertisement that is so blatantly annoying that you think to yourself 'how did they ever agree to air this ad? Or 'surely this is going to make people less likely to buy their product?'

And then you get PeTA, who do the most batshit crazy stuff ever that make them look like the biggest fools on the planet. You get people responding with 'PeTA are making animal lovers look bad' and all that.

PeTA may be obnoxious, but that doesn't change anything, little boy.
Well guess what? advertising agencies and PeTA's marketing team understand psychology a lot better than you do, and what they both understand is something you haven't thought about: you may find it annoying right now, but here's the beauty part: that doesn't matter. What matters is that an annoying advertisement stands out more than its subtle, friendly counterpart, thus people will remember it - that's the key word: remember. 10 years from now, you won't remember how annoying the ad was, but you will remember the product. Likewise, PeTA understands that 10 years from now, you may or you may not remember all the stupid things PeTA used to do and say, but you will remember all the horrifying facts about animal treatment they forced you to face. You may think that they're destroying their own cause, but really, that's just something your brain wants to convince of you in order to avoid hearing the message of what they're saying. As David Wong, who is practically the Socrates of the 21st century has put it, 'the human mind is a miracle, and never will you see it spring more beautifully into action than when confronted with proof that it needs to change. Ask any addict.' The same logic applies here, except it's not Alcoholics Anonymous telling you to stop drinking, it's Carl's Jr telling you, in the most obnoxious; condescending way possible to eat their burgers, or PeTA telling you to stop wearing the skin of tortured animals. You can criticise their methods all you like, but you can't criticise the fact that you probably like their burgers, or that you are inflicting unimaginable suffering on an innocent animal.

Above: symbolic depiction of a Carl's Jr TV ad
playing on my T.V
If Psy's lyrics start getting political, shit's
gonna escalate real quick
All this psychology applies with protests too. I enjoy protesting – not just for the cause, but for the whole atmosphere. It's great, but I have news for you: shit never got done with a peaceful protest. This is something NZ'ers don't understand. All our protests are flimsy compared to what happens in other countries. Even South Korean youths, who are normally too pacified on soju and K-pop to protest, finally do go on a march, things get violent. I was ashamed to be a Kiwi. We simply don't understand the power of hostile civil disobedience. We don't understand because we grew up in school learning about Martin Luther King's passive resistance, instead of Nelson Mandela's terrorist activities. 'But exactly, what about Martin Luther King,' you say? 'He was a peaceful protester and succeeded!' Well, here's some history for you. First of all, MLK's protests were not 'peaceful' by today's standards, now that we can't even perform similar blockades without upsetting working people. Secondly, Martin Luther King takes credit for civil rights victories of the 60's, but he was only part of a duality of civil rights leaders that helped bring forth change. His semi-evil twin, Malcolm X, played a huge part in the
revolution, but for very different reasons. While King was a cute, cuddly gentleman who preached empowering, Christian inspired words of equality and persistence, Malcolm X was a racist, radical Muslim, advocating racial separatism and violent resistance, and the U.S government was scared of him. As historian Dan Carlin discusses in his podcast 'Spectre of Dissent', governments are not afraid of protesters calling for change. What scares them is the idea of an immobilised faction of the population, ready and willing to do whatever they can do to challenge the system. That's exactly what the Black Panthers did.

Now, I'm not advocating violent resistance. I'm not advocating violent protest. But I do advocate annoying protest. I advocate annoying resistance, and I believe as vigilant citizens in a democratic society, we should all practise our right to be as annoying as hell. When somebody gets annoyed, they eventually get over it. But if they are faced with the truth, you can deny it, but they can't forget about it. One of the reasons so many of us are afraid to be outspoken and honest, is that we are afraid of annoying people. If we can make it past this massive evolutionary hurdle, the human race may very well develop into a more enlightened species, albeit a somewhat more annoying one. Of course, we'll never overtake possums on the annoying factor, but at least they know how to be cute.

No comments:

Post a Comment