Cancel Culture vs Doing a Bad Job

A senior lecturer at a New Zealand university drops more casual homophobia. Another day in New Zealand.

Just a quick Webworm update.

Over the weekend I wrote this piece about Steve Elers, a senior lecturer at Massey University.

Or as his website states, a “thought provocateur”:

I wrote the piece because Elers used his platform in the Manawatu Guardian (and its big brother, the New Zealand Herald) to take some shots at Youth MP Shaneel Lal, who had spoken out about the dangers of gay conversion therapy.

(Which I misspelt as “gay conversation therapy” the entire newsletter, something I will be embarrassed about until the day I die!)

Elers used his column to talk down to Lal, and mock the idea that gay conversion therapy was in any way not good.

“If people want to pray – for whatever purpose – let them pray. No one is forcibly rounding up gay people, holding them down and making them pray.”

[…]

“So, if you see any Christians kidnapping gay people, please call 111 immediately.

[…]

“On the other hand, don't call the cops if you see any adult individual – gay or not – freely going to church to pray for whatever reason.

[…]

“After all, the last time I checked, adult individuals have agency to make their own choices and decisions about their lives, including their sexuality.”

The whole thing was ill-informed and reeked of sarcasm, so I wrote about it. '

Amongst other things, I pointed out that gay conversion therapy is targeted, ongoing, brutal and traumatising.

Elers’ column was offensive, but at its most basic it was just really badly researched and written.

It was in line with a transphobic column he wrote for another outlet earlier in the year, which was essentially a variant of the very boring, very old, and very unoriginal “I identify as an attack helicopter” meme.


Yesterday, The New Zealand Herald decided to stop publishing him.

The thought provocateur was not happy.

He sent this out to his mailing his subscribers (credit: sent via his website) — titled “Cancel Culture Strikes Again!

I just wanted to make a few quick points.

The first thing is that he blames me for Stuff dropping him months ago, after his transphobic piece.

All the blame is on me, apparently — not on his words.

The most remarkable thing is that he follows this up with some more casual homophobia:

“This is the second time I have been ‘deplatformed’ or ‘cancelled’ by Mr Farrier. Maybe he fancies me or something.


The insinuation is that I wrote about him not because I wanted to speak out about his hateful commentary, but because as a bisexual male I wanted to fuck him.

That’s called homophobia.

It’s the year 2020.

It’s kinda remarkable.

The other thing I wanted to note is that I did not cancel or de-platform him. I wrote about what he’d written about.

Stuff and The New Zealand Herald chose to stop publishing him.

Put it this way. If I had a column in a major press outlet, and I decided to submit this…

“Poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop poop!”

… and they stopped hiring me, that would not be “cancel culture” or “de-platforming”.

It would be dropping me because I was really bad at writing columns, and because the content I’d submitted was just poop.

Finally, at worst, this is a man who lost his side-gig.

He is a senior lecturer at Massey University. I don’t imagine the pay is all that terrible. He’ll be fine.

The thought provocateur will cope.

And all power to him, if that’s a job he can do, cool.

My feelings are as they were when I wrote my original piece on Sunday: I feel for his students. But going by the ones who have reached out to me over the last week, they’re smarter, kinder, and they get it.

Sucks for them to have to learn in this environment, but they won’t be following in Elers’ footsteps. Which is a weird lesson to get from a senior lecturer: “what not to be like”.

But it’s a lesson, nonetheless.

David.

PS. Thanks for the continuing support with the newsletter. Members help me put out stuff like this for free, so it’s more widely read. Like the conspiracy stuff (Webworm's conspiracy coverage so far), I think it’s important to keep it free. Thanks.