Lay of the Land
It’s 2017 and it's an election year in New Zealand and I want to talk about it.
Around 2014 for mostly internal reasons I shut down all my social media accounts and made them anonymous. Stepping away from the comment box and shuttering down my feeds.
Now I’m read to jump back in, but I want to jump in for one specific purpose which is to talk politics. More than that I want to talk about politics in a very specific way and for a specific set of goals.
I want to learn more about people's political views, I want to learn what forms and informs their views and what motivates their political lives.
I want to gain more context to the our political landscape.
I want to deep map the political stances in New Zealand across the divide, discovering where we are politically and how we got here. I want to talk with people about the future and try an connect how we think today with what we want for tomorrow.
I want to expand the horizon of my political awareness. I want more information, more perspective and a higher resolution detail about our political landscape.
In 2014, I watched the elections from the sideline, it wasn’t the best of times for me internally, I was starting to feel the long burn of living through the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes. Part and parcel with that was a growing disillusioned with social media. It's time consuming and incessant potential resulting in very little substantive value in my life, something had to change.
As a result I started to retract myself both physically and digitally from the world around me, closing or anonymizing my accounts and zeroing out my interactions. Going back to ground.
Solitude and seclusion is what I needed. It was essential and restful.
To be honest it's a restfulness I am not a %100 wanting to break. However I believe something important is happening right now and it's time for me to jump back into the conversation again.
In 2014 curious I witnessed one of the most curious political actions I had ever seen (little did I know what was to come later in 2016).
I watched many of my peers in the entertainment industry (producers, managers, artists) making fairly serious bank running or supporting a political campaign for an internet pirate billionaire who was under threat of extradition by the US government.
It was surreal attending one of the ‘Internet Party’ campaign parties with the usual suspects from the Dj and events scene plus a room full of university students reveling in the ironic ‘lol-catness’ of the whole affair. When Kim Dotcom came on stage I was standing about 5m away watching him decanted standard political rhetoric rounded off by a lukewarm attempt to start a ‘fuck John Key’ chant.
This experience formed a deeply layered response in me. Seeing the election cycle being effectively hijacked by 3rd party special interests seemed at once both obvious genius and deeply disturbing. I was fascinated.
Watching my native scene (djs, producers, managers and super socialites of the music world) pile in for Kim Dotcom because he was paying the bills was curious. I understood what was going on, everyone needs to get paid, but I had never witnessed this version of ‘working for the man’. This wasn’t just appearing on TV to sell insurance or dressing up funny for pie in the face charity. It was going on stage to represent as yourself to your core audience as paid worker for a political interest.
Judgement aside, it also wasn’t any garden variety political interest either, it was one born exclusively in the age of the internet(s), globalisation, hacking, dread piracy, the logistical semantics of international extradition treaties and five eyes black ops 4Chan anon wikimedia exclusives.
Ultimately it was the sole selfish interests of the Internet Party to protect Kim Dotcom from extradition that seemed the most cynical. Was it apparent to people, did people really believe the rhetoric, was it lolz just a game?
From a different perspective, the Internet’s Party’s participation in the election process was seemingly an affirmation of our MMP electoral system. Awkwardly proving the with enough money or bravado an effective representation of a niche issue could be made, grabbing media attention, soaking up public interaction and ultimately creating votes on the ballot.
To me it also seemed to be a harbinger of how big a can of worms you could actually open if you found the right can opener.
Overall there were just so many facets to the situation that astounded and mesmerised me in a morbid fascination. Now back in 2017, politically 2014 seems like an eon away, since then my curiosity has only grown deeper.
I find where we are today socially and politically to be astonishing.
So I want to understand more, I want to source more data. I want to diversify my sources of information, I need better triangulation.
So I’m back. I have a few ideas, a few plans.
My hope is to write more, talk less, listen more.
Let’s see how it goes.