W(h)anganui: Place Names

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A. Akbar
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W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby A. Akbar » Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:15 am UTC

Ok, I'm not entirely sure if this belongs here, I tossed up between N&A and SB. It's a current issue but what I wanted to discuss is much broader.

Anyway, in NZ the current huge national controversy is whether or not a smallish town should have an 'h' in its name. No, seriously, this is what we do when we can't find any sheep to molest. It's all made somewhat more interesting by the fact that the mayor of the town is somewhat nuttier then normal (he even got a mention in an overseas paper -such fame-.)

What made me think though is that I have no good ideas as to how a place should be named, should it be based on the tradition of the native people who claim it should be 'Whanganui' or the people who live there who voted overwhelmingly (82%) in favour of 'Wanganui'.

And no. It really isn't very important but it did make me think, and i would like to get some opinions from a broader perspective.

Somewhat relevant links:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/artic ... 886&pnum=0
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politic ... ge-slammed
http://www.wanganuichronicle.co.nz/loca ... -/3674389/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wanganui#W ... anganui.3F
http://www.linz.govt.nz/placenames/abou ... index.aspx
http://www.linz.govt.nz/placenames/cons ... index.aspx

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby psyck0 » Mon Oct 05, 2009 11:46 am UTC

Fuck the natives, they're people just like everyone else. Majority rule. If they want an H so badly, let them convince other people instead of just saying "Waaaah we were here first we should get to say waaaah".

As you can tell, I'm not a fan of native rights.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Sharlos » Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:23 pm UTC

psyck0 wrote:Fuck the natives, they're people just like everyone else. Majority rule. If they want an H so badly, let them convince other people instead of just saying "Waaaah we were here first we should get to say waaaah".

As you can tell, I'm not a fan of native rights.

I can also tell you didn't read any of the articles.

The town was named after the river which does have a 'H' in it. The word is misspelt. Now you could argue that the misspelling doesn't matter after all this time, but that's not what you're doing.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Cynical Idealist » Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:07 pm UTC

The Guardian wrote:But this is mild in the pointlessness stakes compared with New Zealand mayor Michael Laws, who scribbled furious replies to two children when they asked him to adopt the Maori spelling for their town, Wanganui. "There are so many deficiencies of both fact and logic in your letters that I barely know where to start," fumed the mayor, suggesting they sack their teacher and pay attention to child abuse in Maori society instead.

What.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Belial » Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:08 pm UTC

psyck0 wrote:Fuck the natives, they're people just like everyone else. Majority rule. If they want an H so badly, let them convince other people instead of just saying "Waaaah we were here first we should get to say waaaah".

As you can tell, I'm not a fan of native rights.


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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby psyck0 » Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:59 pm UTC

Sharlos wrote:
psyck0 wrote:Fuck the natives, they're people just like everyone else. Majority rule. If they want an H so badly, let them convince other people instead of just saying "Waaaah we were here first we should get to say waaaah".

As you can tell, I'm not a fan of native rights.

I can also tell you didn't read any of the articles.

The town was named after the river which does have a 'H' in it. The word is misspelt. Now you could argue that the misspelling doesn't matter after all this time, but that's not what you're doing.


Who cares what it was named after? Canada was named after what the (English?) thought was a place name but which actually meant "hill beside a river" or something like that. The point is that 82% of the people living there don't want the H. I don't care whether the people who want the H are native, chinese, or zebras, they're in the minority and so there's no reason to do what they want over something as minor as a place name. Hell, they can spell it with an H in their letters and emails if they want!

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Technical Ben » Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:00 pm UTC

Some residents of a local village seem to do the same here. It's called "cowbit" and even has a picture of a cow on the signpost (it is "biting" grass or something).
However, most of the residents insist it is called "cobit" as they deny the relation to cows, or it's pronunciation. They could be right, as we also have a "crowland" that has nothing to do with crows, and should be pronounced "croyland" in old English language. However, they could just have their own reality distortion field...
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Philwelch » Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:39 pm UTC

Yeah, it turns out the Red Sea is actually the Reed Sea, too. And Istanbul was Constantinople, now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople. Why did Constantinople get the works? That's nobody's business but the Turks.

The people who actually live in Wanganui think it should be spelt Wanganui. That's fair enough. Cities and countries belong to the actual human beings who live there.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby MrGee » Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:53 pm UTC

Wow, this really is the most pointless issue ever. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't that 'h' SILENT anyway?

I do not approve of silent letters.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Belial » Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:55 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:The people who actually live in Wanganui think it should be spelt Wanganui. That's fair enough. Cities and countries belong to the actual human beings who live there.


True enough, but if they weren't being a bunch of cocks, they might consider showing some kind of respect for the people who were forcibly removed from, killed off of and/or otherwise displaced from that land by their imperialist asshole ancestors so that they could be "the actual human beings who live there".

Apparently fixing a typo would be too much.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Philwelch » Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:59 pm UTC

Because we all know changing the spelling of place names will make an actual substantive difference to Maori people.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby TaintedDeity » Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:19 pm UTC

Technical Ben wrote:Some residents of a local village seem to do the same here. It's called "cowbit" and even has a picture of a cow on the signpost (it is "biting" grass or something).
However, most of the residents insist it is called "cobit" as they deny the relation to cows, or it's pronunciation. They could be right, as we also have a "crowland" that has nothing to do with crows, and should be pronounced "croyland" in old English language. However, they could just have their own reality distortion field...
Well shit, I know those places. They're not too far from me :)

I think it's the decent thing to do to let the natives decide what it's called, if only to make up for invading/kicking them out.
The river has a 'h' and the place is named after the river, the decision seems obvious in this case, surely.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Fractal_Tangent » Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:23 pm UTC

TaintedDeity wrote:
Technical Ben wrote:Some residents of a local village seem to do the same here. It's called "cowbit" and even has a picture of a cow on the signpost (it is "biting" grass or something).
However, most of the residents insist it is called "cobit" as they deny the relation to cows, or it's pronunciation. They could be right, as we also have a "crowland" that has nothing to do with crows, and should be pronounced "croyland" in old English language. However, they could just have their own reality distortion field...
Well shit, I know those places. They're not too far from me :)


Hey I kinda know those places too.
They aren't too far from me either.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Belial » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:35 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:Because we all know changing the spelling of place names will make an actual substantive difference to Maori people.


Does it matter? Is that even up to you? They *asked*. When it comes to "doing things for the maori people" complying with *direct requests with little to no cost* probably falls under "least we could do"

And by the same token "refusing to comply with direct requests with little to no cost" would probably go down as "arbitrary and willful dickishness"
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby The Utilitarian » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:44 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Philwelch wrote:Because we all know changing the spelling of place names will make an actual substantive difference to Maori people.


Does it matter? Is that even up to you? They *asked*. When it comes to "doing things for the maori people" complying with *direct requests with little to no cost* probably falls under "least we could do"

And by the same token "refusing to comply with direct requests with little to no cost" would probably go down as "arbitrary and willful dickishness"

[sarcasm] But think of all the business cards that would need to be changed![/sarcasm]
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Philwelch » Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:08 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Philwelch wrote:Because we all know changing the spelling of place names will make an actual substantive difference to Maori people.


Does it matter? Is that even up to you?


The name of a city is up to the people who live there, and they've had their say.

I could be every bit as dismissive and insulting towards people who think readdressing misspelled and mistranslated placenames is more important than doing real work, but...there's no point. If the Maori lobby has time to complain about the spelling of placenames, I'd take that as a sign that the Maori lobby has a shortage of real issues to press.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Dauric » Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:16 pm UTC

A. Akbar wrote:No, seriously, this is what we do when we can't find any sheep to molest.


Apparently they're in dire shortage of sheep (or at least sheep they can find). It's critical that they get a shipment of easily discoverable sheep (or sheep that enjoy being molested...).

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Marquee Moon » Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:26 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Philwelch wrote:Because we all know changing the spelling of place names will make an actual substantive difference to Maori people.


Does it matter? Is that even up to you? They *asked*. When it comes to "doing things for the maori people" complying with *direct requests with little to no cost* probably falls under "least we could do"

And by the same token "refusing to comply with direct requests with little to no cost" would probably go down as "arbitrary and willful dickishness"


What if the Maori people asked, as full compensation for the injustices of colonialism, for me to give them $100 (I'm a half-European NZer by the way). Sure, it's tiny compared to what the Maori people suffered, but clearly I as an individual have the right to my $100, and if the NZ government just said "sounds fine to me", took my $100 and gave it to the Maori people, I have been wronged. In a similar way, I think the people of Wanganui have the right to name their town what they want, and even though the local iwi want it called something else, we should let the people of Wanganui decide.

There are proper channels for righting the wrongs of colonialism, with the Maori people receiving land, cash and other payments directly from the Crown/New Zealand government. Lets just stick to those.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Belial » Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:39 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:The name of a city is up to the people who live there, and they've had their say.


Right. And if you'll reel all the way back to the part where I entered this conversation in any serious way, I'm not saying they *don't* have that right. Obviously, someone decided they do. I'm saying that the way they chose to use their say over this trivial little fucking thing was blatantly dickish and disrespectful. As it turns out, I don't have to deny your right to choose in order to say you made an asshole choice.

Philwelch wrote:I could be every bit as dismissive and insulting towards people who think readdressing misspelled and mistranslated placenames is more important than doing real work, but...there's no point. If the Maori lobby has time to complain about the spelling of placenames, I'd take that as a sign that the Maori lobby has a shortage of real issues to press.


Totally. I mean, after all, why shouldn't white folks get to set the priorities for a native lobby? We know better, after all. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

Marquee Moon wrote:What if the Maori people asked, as full compensation for the injustices of colonialism, for me to give them $100 (I'm a half-European NZer by the way). Sure, it's tiny compared to what the Maori people suffered, but clearly I as an individual have the right to my $100, and if the NZ government just said "sounds fine to me", took my $100 and gave it to the Maori people, I have been wronged.

....

There are proper channels for righting the wrongs of colonialism, with the Maori people receiving land, cash and other payments directly from the Crown/New Zealand government. Lets just stick to those.


You realize those two things are basically the same thing, right?
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Philwelch » Mon Oct 05, 2009 11:00 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Philwelch wrote:The name of a city is up to the people who live there, and they've had their say.


Right. And if you'll reel all the way back to the part where I entered this conversation in any serious way, I'm not saying they *don't* have that right. Obviously, someone decided they do. I'm saying that the way they chose to use their say over this trivial little fucking thing was blatantly dickish and disrespectful. As it turns out, I don't have to deny your right to choose in order to say you made an asshole choice.


There's no substance in the issue at all, so it's quite fitting that the only criticism you can think to levy against this is equally lacking in substance. In the great history of injustices committed by one race against another, naming a town Wanganui and refusing to rename it to Whanganui doesn't even register.

Belial wrote:
Philwelch wrote:I could be every bit as dismissive and insulting towards people who think readdressing misspelled and mistranslated placenames is more important than doing real work, but...there's no point. If the Maori lobby has time to complain about the spelling of placenames, I'd take that as a sign that the Maori lobby has a shortage of real issues to press.


Totally. I mean, after all, why shouldn't white folks get to set the priorities for a native lobby? We know better, after all. Nothing could possibly go wrong.


I expect the Maori lobby to set their own priorities. If they choose to prioritize superficial issues, the only charitable conclusion is that there are no substantive issues for them to press.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Belial » Mon Oct 05, 2009 11:07 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:There's no substance in the issue at all, so it's quite fitting that the only criticism you can think to levy against this is equally lacking in substance. In the great history of injustices committed by one race against another, naming a town Wanganui and refusing to rename it to Whanganui doesn't even register.


....right. The point is, if it's so bloody trivial to you, and me, and presumably to the residents, why did the maori saying "Actually, this is pretty important to us. Would you mind fixing it?" elicit the response "No, screw you."

Clearly, it was important enough to them for some reason or another to request the change. And despite it being totally trivial to the residents, they decided to thumb their nose instead of saying "Oh, hey, if it's important to you, I guess it's the least we can do". Again, dick move.

I expect the Maori lobby to set their own priorities. If they choose to prioritize superficial issues, the only charitable conclusion is that there are no substantive issues for them to press.


My issue is with the part where you get to decide for them what's substantive and what's superficial to them.

Also, the part where you assume that they can only do one thing at once. Or that they have to solve *all* the "big" issues (that, incidentally, rarely ever see progress) before they can even consider the small ones (which might).
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Philwelch » Mon Oct 05, 2009 11:31 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
I expect the Maori lobby to set their own priorities. If they choose to prioritize superficial issues, the only charitable conclusion is that there are no substantive issues for them to press.


My issue is with the part where you get to decide for them what's substantive and what's superficial to them.

Also, the part where you assume that they can only do one thing at once. Or that they have to solve *all* the "big" issues (that, incidentally, rarely ever see progress) before they can even consider the small ones (which might).


My only expectation is that people do real work and address real issues before addressing non-issues. Some issues just plain are substantive, and some issues are just plain superficial. This is a classic "color of the bikeshed" controversy, and it doesn't really matter if people have some type of deep-seated identity issues with bikesheds.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Mr. Samsa » Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:18 am UTC

MrGee wrote:Wow, this really is the most pointless issue ever. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't that 'h' SILENT anyway?

I do not approve of silent letters.


Nah, the 'h' is included in the Maori pronunciation, so the town is supposed to be called "Fonganui" (according to the Maori people, anyway).

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Marquee Moon » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:13 am UTC

Belial wrote:You realize those two things are basically the same thing, right?


I mean me and only me paying the reparations vs all white people paying reparations. The Maori people can demand that some kind of 'League of White people' pay them reparations (which the NZ government is close enough to), but can't just choose and arbitrary white person pay them. My analogy's getting a bit disconnected from the W(h)anganui name debate, but basically I think all reperations should go through the NZ government because it ensures that the fair share of the burden of reparations is placed on each White person (which of course isn't true with all races paying taxes, progressive taxes etc., but it's close enough).

Belial wrote:....right. The point is, if it's so bloody trivial to you, and me, and presumably to the residents, why did the maori saying "Actually, this is pretty important to us. Would you mind fixing it?" elicit the response "No, screw you."

Clearly, it was important enough to them for some reason or another to request the change. And despite it being totally trivial to the residents, they decided to thumb their nose instead of saying "Oh, hey, if it's important to you, I guess it's the least we can do". Again, dick move.


Maybe it isn't a trivial issue to the residents of Wanganui. Maybe several generations of their family have lived there and they feel changing the name would be disrespecting their family history, similar to how the local iwi feels.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:13 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:My only expectation is that people do real work and address real issues before addressing non-issues. Some issues just plain are substantive, and some issues are just plain superficial. This is a classic "color of the bikeshed" controversy, and it doesn't really matter if people have some type of deep-seated identity issues with bikesheds.
Two things: First, this is superficial to you, but obviously not to the people who are bringing it up. That's important. Some people put an immense emphasis on names; their concerns are not trivial or irrelevant simply because we might not do the same. If something is important to someone's sense of self or happiness, then it is not, for them, a superficial issue. I don't think it's fair to describe it as trivial merely because you don't share their value system. I mean, we can probably think of a lot of examples of value systems we both respect but that we also both find ridiculously trivial.

Second, even if it was a trivial issue, are you saying that they shouldn't ask for them to change the name until all their shit is together? No one ever has all their shit together, so what I'm hearing here is that they shouldn't ever ask the town to change the name. I mean, is there some point in the future where you think we could honestly say "Okay, Maori, now you aren't facing any issues that we think are more important than the letter 'H' in this town's name. It's fine for you to ask us to put it back in."

I mean, applying this universally, we end up with a hierarchy where we're not supposed to complain about something so long as something else is happening that's worse. And that's just going to end up being silly, because there's always something worse going on.
Marquee Moon wrote:Maybe it isn't a trivial issue to the residents of Wanganui. Maybe several generations of their family have lived there and they feel changing the name would be disrespecting their family history, similar to how the local iwi feels.
That's fair, but it's a totally different thing from what we're talking about. There's a difference between saying 'not having that H is very important to us and our history' and saying 'we don't think that H is important, so we're not going to give it to you'.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Philwelch » Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:15 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Philwelch wrote:My only expectation is that people do real work and address real issues before addressing non-issues. Some issues just plain are substantive, and some issues are just plain superficial. This is a classic "color of the bikeshed" controversy, and it doesn't really matter if people have some type of deep-seated identity issues with bikesheds.


Two things: First, this is superficial to you, but obviously not to the people who are bringing it up. That's important. Some people put an immense emphasis on names; their concerns are not trivial or irrelevant simply because we might not do the same.


Two points.

First, the issue got about as much of a hearing as it deserved. The people who live in that town had a vote, and one side won by over 80%. That's enough for me to settle the issue. The town is their town, and they agreed on a spelling of the name by a 4-1 margin. What we have are a group of people who don't even live in the damned town but have some feeling of entitlement to decide how the name is spelled. What next, angry people in the Netherlands demanding that we change New York back to New Amsterdam?

Second, the cultural relativism argument doesn't go very far.

The Great Hippo wrote:Second, even if it was a trivial issue, are you saying that they shouldn't ask for them to change the name until all their shit is together? No one ever has all their shit together, so what I'm hearing here is that they shouldn't ever ask the town to change the name. I mean, is there some point in the future where you think we could honestly say "Okay, Maori, now you aren't facing any issues that we think are more important than the letter 'H' in this town's name. It's fine for you to ask us to put it back in."


It's a non-issue, and I don't think it's worth complaining about at any point in time. The Red Sea is really supposed to be the Reed Sea, a bunch of Welsh place names have been corrupted, Idaho's name was made up as part of a hoax (the "Idahoax"), and nobody cares. This shit doesn't matter.

The Great Hippo wrote:I mean, applying this universally, we end up with a hierarchy where we're not supposed to complain about something so long as something else is happening that's worse.


Not at all. You can push on a less important issue if you think you have a chance of making more progress on it, or even if you're personally suited to solving that problem or personally interested in it, and that's worthwhile. I'm saying this is not an important issue at all. It's fair to say that anyone who has nothing better to do than go around collecting petition signatures to put an "h" back into the placename of some insignificant Kiwi town should probably just get a job or something. What kind of dismal, dreary, myopic person can devote themselves to this issue?
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:25 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:First, the issue got about as much of a hearing as it deserved. The people who live in that town had a vote, and one side won by over 80%. That's enough for me to settle the issue. The town is their town, and they agreed on a spelling of the name by a 4-1 margin. What we have are a group of people who don't even live in the damned town but have some feeling of entitlement to decide how the name is spelled. What next, angry people in the Netherlands demanding that we change New York back to New Amsterdam?
Wait, are you complaining about the way they asked for the name change or the fact that they asked at all? Because I assumed it was the latter; if your problem is merely with the nature of their request (and if that request is belligerent, demanding, entitled, and assholish), that's a whole other thing.
Philwelch wrote:Second, the cultural relativism argument doesn't go very far.
It stops precisely at the moment we're talking about doing harm to others; before that, it will go as far as someone needs it to go to pursue their personal happiness. Otherwise, we'll start telling people that the things they value aren't important by our value systems, and are therefore meaningless. Which is silly, because all value systems are ultimately arbitrary and meaningless anyway. The only thing that's important in equations like these is happiness and peace of mind.
Philwelch wrote:It's a non-issue, and I don't think it's worth complaining about at any point in time. The Red Sea is really supposed to be the Reed Sea, a bunch of Welsh place names have been corrupted, Idaho's name was made up as part of a hoax (the "Idahoax"), and nobody cares. This shit doesn't matter.
To you. Notice: All your examples involve (as far as I'm aware) things no one is asking for. That's very important. The focus here should be on the people involved and their concerns (including the concerns of those who live in the town), not on the nature of their request.
Philwelch wrote:Not at all. You can push on a less important issue if you think you have a chance of making more progress on it, or even if you're personally suited to solving that problem or personally interested in it, and that's worthwhile. I'm saying this is not an important issue at all. It's fair to say that anyone who has nothing better to do than go around collecting petition signatures to put an "h" back into the placename of some insignificant Kiwi town should probably just get a job or something. What kind of dismal, dreary, myopic person can devote themselves to this issue?
I'm not sure why you don't believe that someone could be very passionate about the name of a town, especially if it has historical relevance to them, without this passion being irrelevant, ridiculous, or stupid. Human beings are sentimental creatures; we've certainly valued stranger things. I don't think that doing so makes us deserving of anyone's contempt or scorn.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Philwelch » Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:09 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Philwelch wrote:First, the issue got about as much of a hearing as it deserved. The people who live in that town had a vote, and one side won by over 80%. That's enough for me to settle the issue. The town is their town, and they agreed on a spelling of the name by a 4-1 margin. What we have are a group of people who don't even live in the damned town but have some feeling of entitlement to decide how the name is spelled. What next, angry people in the Netherlands demanding that we change New York back to New Amsterdam?

Wait, are you complaining about the way they asked for the name change or the fact that they asked at all? Because I assumed it was the latter; if your problem is merely with the nature of their request (and if that request is belligerent, demanding, entitled, and assholish), that's a whole other thing.


I think it's a settled issue at the current moment. Rather, a settled non-issue.

The Great Hippo wrote:
Philwelch wrote:Second, the cultural relativism argument doesn't go very far.

It stops precisely at the moment we're talking about doing harm to others; before that, it will go as far as someone needs it to go to pursue their personal happiness. Otherwise, we'll start telling people that the things they value aren't important by our value systems, and are therefore meaningless. Which is silly, because all value systems are ultimately arbitrary and meaningless anyway. The only thing that's important in equations like these is happiness and peace of mind.


The people who live in that city are the ones whose value judgments--and whose decision--matter here. As it happens, both have been decided.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:16 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:The people who live in that city are the ones whose value judgments--and whose decision--matter here. As it happens, both have been decided.
That doesn't mean the dialogue can't go on - that it's wrong for someone who is passionate about this thing to continue trying to convince others to be passionate about it. Creating a petition of signatures seems like a fine and sensible idea, if this is something that's important to them. Besides, people's minds change - they could come to realize that someone values this much more than they do, and there's no real reason not to give it.

I would be opposed to either side being belligerent, of course. Someone demanding that the town be renamed is silly; people live there, their concerns are of paramount importance. Someone in the town growing indignant that there are people who are passionate about the name, though, and responding to their (hopefully!) polite attempts to make that passion known and shared - also dickish, also assholish.

Getting indignant over asking someone to understand why something is important to you - and, if it's not too much trouble, to respect that importance and make appropriate modifications - is stupid. If you're wearing a shirt that I find incredibly offensive, and I ask you - politely - if you would mind taking it off, you can either decide that yes, you will, or no, you won't, because it's more important that you wear that shirt than not offend me. But if you get indignant, and start telling me about how I have no right to care about the shirt you're wearing - well, now you're just being a fucking douche. I asked you to respect what's important to me; you can either say yes or no. But don't demean me or my values just because I've got the balls to express them.

I'm going off on a tangent here, and it might not be related to how you view this situation. If that's the case, please pardon.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Belial » Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:43 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:It's a non-issue, and I don't think it's worth complaining about at any point in time. The Red Sea is really supposed to be the Reed Sea, a bunch of Welsh place names have been corrupted, Idaho's name was made up as part of a hoax (the "Idahoax"), and nobody cares.


The highlighted bit makes all the difference.

And honestly, do you not really see how it could be important to an indigenous people, the folks who used to own *all* of it, not to see themselves erased from the face of their country? Names are important, psychologically. If I name something, I've left my mark on it, and if you change that name, you've erased my presence. There's a reason conquering armies like to change all the names and topple all the statues: it's demoralizing.

To a people that have been colonized and subjugated by an invading force, keeping their mark on their former territory can be...uhh..kindof a thing. I know that in the US, one of the big problems is how we like to completely fucking disappear our native population whenever possible. And it's some bullshit. Fighting against that even in small ways isn't trivial.

Being symbolic doesn't make something nothing.

Marquee Moon wrote:Maybe it isn't a trivial issue to the residents of Wanganui. Maybe several generations of their family have lived there and they feel changing the name would be disrespecting their family history, similar to how the local iwi feels.


That's a fair point, and if it's so it starts to be an argument, but at the same time I think there's a point where you have to realize that your historical associations with these things are built on trampling someone else's. And that just because you have the voting power to keep it that way doesn't mean you necessarily should.

But it's probably too much to expect folks not to be needlessly childish.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Freakish » Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:35 pm UTC

I think racial entitlement is fucking bullshit.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:37 pm UTC

The British Empire fucking didn't.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Belial » Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:43 pm UTC

Freakish wrote:I think racial entitlement is fucking bullshit.


And after the wolf had had his fill, he announced that he and the sheep were all brothers, that the past should be forgotten, and proceeded to bed down amongst the flock....

Basically, it's mighty convenient for us to say "magically race doesn't matter anymore" now that we've used it to put ourselves on top of everything and take everything we want. It only gets more laughable when we insist that everything we got because of those maneuvers is rightfully ours now and fuck you if you want us to give it back. Expecting everyone else to agree and play along is hilariously naive.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Freakish » Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:50 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Freakish wrote:I think racial entitlement is fucking bullshit.


And after the wolf had had his fill, he announced that he and the sheep were all brothers, that the past should be forgotten, and proceeded to bed down amongst the flock....

Basically, it's mighty convenient for us to say "magically race doesn't matter anymore" now that we've used it to put ourselves on top of everything and take everything we want. It only gets more laughable when we insist that everything we got because of those maneuvers is rightfully ours now and fuck you if you want us to give it back. Expecting everyone else to agree and play along is hilariously naive.


Do you actually have any idea of what my ancestry is or are you just grouping me in with ever other white person? All wolves are canines, but not all canines are wolves.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:55 pm UTC

Is it particularly relevant? Regardless of your own race and ethnicity, the particular White people in this town show a lot of hubris in brushing aside its traditional name.

And the idea that this is "racial entitlement" is a smokescreen. The Maori people aren't seeking the name restoration because they think they have special magical privileges; they just want their own legitimate concerns and historical claim to the name Whanganui to be heard.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Belial » Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:56 pm UTC

Freakish wrote:Do you actually have any idea of what my ancestry is or are you just grouping me in with ever other white person? All wolves are canines, but not all canines are wolves.


It's not terribly relevant, and it risks going off into a whole other conversation regarding the umbrella of whiteness and the advantages it brings to anyone under it.

Point is, though, the Maori here? Race was pretty fucking relevant to putting them into the situation they're in. Telling them their race is irrelevant now that it's inconvenient for the folks in charge? Kindof transparent.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby setzer777 » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:13 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Freakish wrote:Do you actually have any idea of what my ancestry is or are you just grouping me in with ever other white person? All wolves are canines, but not all canines are wolves.


It's not terribly relevant, and it risks going off into a whole other conversation regarding the umbrella of whiteness and the advantages it brings to anyone under it.

Point is, though, the Maori here? Race was pretty fucking relevant to putting them into the situation they're in. Telling them their race is irrelevant now that it's inconvenient for the folks in charge? Kindof transparent.


True, but I guess it's considered more polite than saying: "We won, you lost, fuck you."

Edit to add: That is, assuming we aren't dealing with a dominant group that has suddenly had a moral awakening and decided to give up all any of the privilege their ancestors thought it was worth oppressing others to gain in the first place.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Philwelch » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:22 pm UTC

Belial wrote:And honestly, do you not really see how it could be important to an indigenous people, the folks who used to own *all* of it, not to see themselves erased from the face of their country? Names are important, psychologically. If I name something, I've left my mark on it, and if you change that name, you've erased my presence. There's a reason conquering armies like to change all the names and topple all the statues: it's demoralizing.

To a people that have been colonized and subjugated by an invading force, keeping their mark on their former territory can be...uhh..kindof a thing. I know that in the US, one of the big problems is how we like to completely fucking disappear our native population whenever possible. And it's some bullshit. Fighting against that even in small ways isn't trivial.


Perhaps, and that's a sensible argument if you gave it a fully English name. Arguing about a bad transliteration is just quibbling, though.

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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Belial » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:28 pm UTC

Perhaps, and that's a sensible argument if you gave it a fully English name. Arguing about a bad transliteration is just quibbling, though.


Pronounciation as well. If Samsa's got it right, it's a pretty big one.
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Re: W(h)anganui: Place Names

Postby Freakish » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:47 pm UTC

Never mind, it's not going to be addressed.
Last edited by Freakish on Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:58 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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