Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Most Hated Man... in New Zealand

Cameron Slater is a New Zealand-based blogger with personal problems.  He says mean things about people, and now everybody is threatening to kill him.  And his family.  He is the Most Hated Man in New Zealand.

New Zealand is a place we Americans can't easily understand.

Here in America, people are pretty chill.  We have random mass murders in public places every three or four days, and nobody gets too uptight about it.  That's just how it goes.

(Which, by the way, is why you'll rarely find me in a public place.  If you do, rest assured I'll be armored up and strapped.)

We have 40 million people without health insurance, and at least a million people without homes.  No biggie, what's on TV tonight?  Have some nachos.

Also, we have a little thing called Freedom of Speech.  You can say anything you want about anybody.  Nobody cares.  Nobody will even notice.  

But in New Zealand, say one wrong thing, and the whole country lands on you. 

Cameron Slater is finding that out the hard way.  Cam is a blogger who owns the website Whale Oil Beef Hooked.  Strange name.  It probably means something in New Zealish.

Don't bother trying to go there.  It's undergoing constant Denial of Service attacks by hackers who hate Cam Slater, which means the website is down.

Cam is considered a "right-wing" blogger.

New Zealand is a cradle-to-grave socialist welfare state, where everybody has health care and everybody has a home, and nobody gets murdered.  So we Americans can't possibly know what "right-wing" means in this context, either.

From the outside, it seems to mean that Cam says dumb things, which piss a lot of people off.  Just recently, he said something really dumb.

A 26-year-old Greymouth (NZ) man named Judd Hall was out driving around with friends last Friday night.  They were probably drinking, they got into a high-speed police chase, and they crashed the car into someone's house.  Hall was sitting in the back seat, and he died in the crash.

Here's the aftermath:


See how they went through a fence and then right through the wall of the house?  Bam!  Like something out of a movie, am I right?  Scary.  At least they missed the telephone pole.  Otherwise, they'd all be dead.

In a blog post, Cam described Judd Hall as a "feral," and said the world was a better place without him.  That's an insensitive comment.

Since Cam is often called a "right-wing" blogger, naturally I assumed that it was also a racist comment, and that Hall was one of the half-million or so Maori people in New Zealand.  A look at red-haired, green-eyed Hall suggests that isn't the case:


        
So he was "feral" because... we're not sure why.  Possibly because he was out drinking on a Friday night, or maybe because he lived on the West Coast of the south island, a remote area which is like New Zealand's version of Mississippi, only a lot more scenic.

Anyway, people didn't like it.  Editorials across the country have condemned Cam for the use of this word "feral," and even prominent politicians are piling on. 

There isn't, I guess, a whole lot going on in New Zealand. 

I mean, it's a small country.  There's only 4 million people in the whole place.  To put that in context, there were 4 million kids at my junior high school.  And Cam Slater is like THAT KID, the one who is deliberately annoying, because negative attention is better than no attention.

Cam has now been the victim of the aforementioned Denial of Service attacks, which have taken down his website.  More disturbing, he has received numerous death threats, including ones against his family, especially his daughter.  He has sent his family into hiding.  And still, nobody seems to feel much sympathy for him.

Naturally, Cam being Cam, he does little to help his own cause.  "It's a tragic situation," he said about the Judd Hall death, "but where is it written in the rule books that you have to take into account people's feelings?"

It's just this lack of sensitivity that makes Cam Slater the Most Hated Man in New Zealand.     

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