Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Sex, sin and latte

Yesterday's Sunday Star-Times carried the results of their so-called "Great Morality Debate". Never mind that they ignored any distinction between ethics and morality, and that as a write-in survey it is by definition a complete load of shite (thanks to Keith Ng for pointing out that "A 1000% over-representation of moral conservatives in a survey about moral conservatism is an invalidating, systematic fuckedupness on the scale of having an ass for a face"). This is a Wellington blog, so the talking point for us yesterday was the "finding" that Wellingtonians are a liberal bunch.

Sin CityThis is unlikely to be a surprise to my cocktail-quaffing, toyboy-seeking, cabaret-going readership. But the scale of the difference was surprising: disapproval of pre-marital sex at 22% compared to 36% in Auckland; intolerance of gay sex only 26% compared to a scary 44% in Auckland (suggesting a high Mt Roskill to Ponsonby ratio in their sample).

While the editorial snidely warned that we Wellingtonian "complacent latte-drinkers of the chattering classes" are ignoring a huge groundswell of conservatism, the "researchers" tried to explain the festering sinfulness of Wellington by pointing out that we have have a highly educated population and a lot of public servants. While this conjures up disturbing images of mortar-board fetishism and PVC walkshorts, it's worth investigating the link between higher education and attitudes to sexual morality.

So, combining the survey's dubious numbers with census data, here is a scatter plot showing the incontrovertible link between academia and moral turpitude:

So it's true: education does broaden the mind. And Wellington is clearly vastly more open-minded than the rest of the country (maybe we share more than the harbour and cable car with San Francisco).

Of course, the survey is complete bollocks. But let's all sip our lattes and give a chattering toast to Wellington: Sin City of the South Pacific.


At 9:44 am, August 16, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I took the survey and then urged all my friends to do so too in order to fight the Maxim Instituteness of it, but I don't know how much good that did, when I was forced to say that "no, moral issues will not influence me at the election" when they very clearly will, because I know that my definition of morals (ie: do no harm) is very very different to the SST's. But they did make a good point in their summary - or maybe it was Keith's point and my mind is blurring - that public servants work for the public good, rather than for the almighty dollar, and that is why they are more likely to think that others can do whatever they like. Or something like that.

Wow, this is the best comment EVAH!

At 10:38 am, August 16, 2005, Blogger Tom said...

Yes, they really mix up ethics and morality in that survey. Personally, I've given up on the word morals: not because I'm immoral or amoral (I couldn't possibly comment) but because the word ethics carries better connotations. Ethics are social, and contingent; morals are metaphysical and absolute. Ethics can cast a judgement on infidelity as a form of dishonesty, but say nothing about consensual polyamory. BTW, go ahead and marry the new wallpaper and chandeliers at Indigo: I'm sure that the pineapple and mascarpone won't get jealous!

On a related note, frogblog points out that a church (in Paraparaumu, the Mt Roskill of greater Wellington) has determined the Green Party to be 97% immoral (http://blog.greens.org.nz/index.php/2005/08/15/97-immoral/. It makes the Greens sound much more fun than I thought!


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