New Zealand: David Cunliffe: I'm sorry for being a man

Article here. Excerpt:

'Labour leader David Cunliffe's [link added] apology for being a man is "insulting" because not all men are abusive, Prime Minister John Key says.

"It's a pretty silly comment from David Cunliffe," Key said.

"The problem isn't being a man, the problem is if you're an abusive man, and I think it's a bit insulting to imply that all men are abusive.

"A small group are and they need to change their behaviour and be held to account.

"Is he really sincere about that statement? Tomorrow afternoon is he going to go down to the local rugby club and say 'I'm sorry for being a man'? I don't think so."

Cunliffe made the apology at a Women's Refuge symposium today, where he also pledged to invest an extra $60 million into family violence services.

He spoke of the "bullshit, deep-seated sexism" still prevalent in New Zealand.

"It needs to stop," he said.

"I don't often say it - I'm sorry for being a man," Cunliffe said, "because family and sexual violence is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men."'

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His comment was pathetic. Who is most likely to come to the rescue of women and children, often risking their own life?...That would be men!

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The more irritating thing for me was his use of the verb "to be."

While not strictly passive, it conjures the notion of the passive voice.

In my life, when making casual statements (and mostly, when thinking to myself), I will say "I am a man, I am a husband, I am a professor."

But in the life I discuss with others, I will say: "I love my wife and family," "I conduct research," "I teach."

For him to get on a stage and announce (with regret or without regret: no difference to me, as the very syntax reeks of regret): "I am..." "I am sorry for being," etc.

... speaks of a coward who defines himself (or his gender) by his mere existence and not by what he DOES in the world.

And in this twits case, he used the passive voice twice in one sentence: BEING and AM
1) I AM sorry;
2) for BEING.

What an annoying and arrogant weak twit.

A more masculine/feminine (i.e.: human) phrasing (one I would STILL object to) would have been: "I apologize for those men who harm women." While I would still object to the idea, I could, at the very least, respect the expression and its active ownership of moral responsibility.

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In fact, if I were really to analyze his sentence, I would ponder the use of the DOUBLE passive:

I AM sorry for BEING.

I suggest his use of the double passive is manipulative. Perhaps it is to distance himself, psychologically and with deceit) from his own expression while on stage (rarely do public speakers speak like this).

Just as there are women who beat men, there are men who beat women.

And most often, those men who scream the loudest are the ones where the fire rages.

I suppose I would wonder if, given the circumstances, HE is the type of man (or woman) who could readily engage in spouse abuse (in order to achieve his political ends).

Again, it is not so much the sentiment that irritates me; it is its expression.

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