Forgive me please

I make a habit of attacking, mocking, and vilifying people on this blog, but I try now and again to put things right.

I do try not to get too personal when I’m writing a piece, but I’m not perfect and this is the internet, so sometimes I will cross the line into nastiness or pettiness.

I’d like to be a better person, devoting more time and space in praise of people doing wonderful things and helping others in our community. But I worry that if I did so my readers would desert me in droves.

I can at least acknowledge my wrongdoing from time to time, though. Think of it as the atheist’s version of Confession. Or like having a big clean-out the day after eating an extra-hot beef vindaloo. Getting it all out isn’t usually much fun, but you feel magical afterwards.

So here goes!

To John Key, I’m sorry. I’m really sorry I’ve been so mean about you and your government. I don’t actually think you’re a bad person, even though I’ve always believed that good people can do bad things. People say you are a political opportunist without a strong moral compass, but even if that’s true it’s hardly your fault. You can’t change the way you were brought up.

To Paula Bennett and Gerry Brownlee, I don’t recall ever making jokes about your weight, but if I did then I’m sorry. It’s wrong and insensitive to focus on someone’s appearance, especially when their actions are so ripe for criticism that one doesn’t need to even address the weight issue.

Gerry, I solemnly pledge never to make your weight an issue, and I promise instead to focus my attentions on the garbage coming from your mouth and the damage your government’s policies are doing to the people of Christchurch. And if it was you who ate all the pies, then I guess that’s fine too. Hopefully they’ll bake some more soon.

And Paula, your inability to recall how hard it is for a struggling beneficiary to cope when everyone is putting the boot in doesn’t give me the right to attack your appearance. I will try instead to make your punitive measures against beneficiaries my focus.

To Hekia Parata, I’m sorry that I’ve been mocking you so frequently. I’m certain you think you’re making a difference to the education system, and believe me you most certainly are.

I’m guessing history will be unkind to you, and I know it must be hurtful to hear people talking about how much more competent the last person in your role was, which really is the most damning indictment on your work. So you’ve a lot to be blue about.

But I’m sure you’re still a nice person.

To those politicians on the left I have attacked or mocked, I’m sorry. To various Labour caucus members I’ve offended, a special apology. Your frequent own-goals, communication failures, social media disasters, policy blunders, and leadership squabbles might have me and other party members tearing our hair out, but most of you are well-intentioned. I’m sure many of you are multi-talented and could turn your hand to a number of different things, which is why I think some of you would do splendidly if you found an alternative career.

To various other people who have been offended by anything offensive I may have written at any time, a big sorry. Even if for some of you the problem was not what I wrote but how you chose to perceive what I wrote.

If it turns out that you weren’t really offended, and were just just trying to shut down debate on a subject that you felt uncomfortable with having out in the open, that’s still okay. I’m sure you had genuine reasons for behaving like a jerk.

To the other bloggers I’ve picked fights with, a deep apology. Nobody does this solely for the money, and most of us don’t earn a cent through blogging. So I have to assume that however deluded or deranged you all are, most of you are at least sincere.

And for those of you who are entirely insincere (and you know who you are), I just hope they’re compensating you appropriately. Blogging can be hard work, so if you’re going to be doing someone else’s dirty work they ought to at least reward you properly.

And lastly to Martyn Bradbury, whom I’ve picked fights with on far too many occasions. The whole feud thing was funny at first, but then it got boring.

Martyn, I don’t agree with a lot of you say, and your communication style is very different to my own, but the NZ blogosphere is far too small a place for two bloggers on the left to be flinging mud at each other all the time.

Forgive me, Martyn, please? Just as I forgive you. No deeds of settlement or pistols at dawn this time. Just aroha.