'You don't need to read the article to know it's slut-shaming sexist garbage.' So said one Facebook respondent to my editorial last week (Whose culture needs to change?) And that just about summed it up.

I was warned before the editorial was placed on the NZ Herald website that I should brace myself for some negative reaction. I was ready for that. What I wasn't ready for was the venom.

The view that dangerous behaviour can have horrible consequences sparked an outpouring of vitriol, although perhaps I've led a sheltered life thus far. The response of one politician was, 'Welcome to my world.'

It has to be said that the majority of responses were positive, although positive people don't seem to go anywhere near Facebook.


At the time of writing, 58 per cent of almost 4500 respondents to a Herald poll saw the editorial as 'Right on the money,' another 19 per cent saying it made some valid points. Not a bad approval rating, but it was the 21 per cent who strongly disagreed (two per cent had no opinion) who really let rip.

One critic, who, unfortunately, did not wish to see his emailed missive published, described me as a dinosaur, not fit for today's world.

I was from a generation of misogynistic woman-beaters who revel in victim-blaming to make up for a lack of 'growing the ... up.' He signed off not with Kind regards, Yours faithfully or even Cheers, but with 'Vomiting over you.'

A few more moderate contributions were made to the Facebook discussion, but they were quickly shouted down. It is people like me, apparently, who perpetuate New Zealand's persistent rape culture.

Slightly less colourful were the views that the editorial was written from a holier than thou perspective, poorly timed, poorly researched, poorly written, displaying an utter lack of compassion, and embarrassing to one woman who was dismayed to find that my kind of thinking was still acceptable (if only to me).

One contributor, who wondered why we teach our children about stranger danger but forget those warnings when we're older, was labelled a victim-basher too.

Another, who compared the lengths to which people are expected to go to keep themselves and others safe in a work environment with the willingness of some to place themselves in danger in their personal lives, and yet another who said he recognised his right to play Russian roulette but would agree that it would not be a wise thing to do, didn't make much of a dent in the collective rant.

In hindsight, perhaps the editorial could have been better written, although it was hardly poorly timed given the unspeakably awful fate that befell Warriena Wright after she followed Gable Tostee into his 14th floor apartment on the Gold Coast.

It was not intended as a sermon, but an observation that moral standards have seemingly evolved to the point where some people indulge in dangerous behaviour that can, and in Warriena Wright's case did, have tragic results.

I did not accuse the 'Tinder generation,' as I described it, of indulging in a standard of behaviour that is hitherto unknown to humankind.

I did not say that previous generations were universally chaste.

I was not arguing against pre-marital sex.

I was not saying that my generation, or my parents' and grandparents' generations, were virtuous beyond all criticism. I am also well aware that cultures long gone might even have taken moral laxity to greater heights - or depths - than ours in the 21st Century.

I do believe that Warriena Wright placed herself in a situation that she should have recognised as potentially dangerous when she followed Gable Tostee home.

I specifically said that she did not deserve to die, but that decision cost her her life, and perhaps we should learn from that.

For some, it seems, this tragedy offers only an opportunity to argue that we all have the right to do exactly as we please without coming to harm. The world doesn't work like that. It never has and it never will.

If I am to make a moral judgement, it is this. However hedonistic, or if you like sexually promiscuous, previous generations might have been, what we are seeing now, from some, is a growing lack of respect, for others and for themselves.

I do not have disdain for an entire generation, as I have been accused of, but I am deeply saddened by the degree to which some people - and not all of them 'Millennials,' by any means - devalue themselves.

This is not simply about the death of one woman in appalling circumstances in 2014. It is about an attitude that physical gratification is life's greatest prize.

That the most fundamental of all our emotional needs, close, loving relationships with others, is of less importance or value than the pleasure to be derived from sex, alcohol, drugs and money.

I do not believe that women should display a degree of chastity that is not expected of men.

I do not believe that men possess one single, solitary right to which women are not equally entitled.

I do not believe that my views reflect the outdated standards of an elderly white male who wishes to exert some sort of control over others.

I do believe my views reflect standards that are as relevant and worthy of defence as they have ever been, standards that apply to men just as much as they apply to women.

I believe that in this day and age some people, men and women, deprive themselves of the opportunity to achieve the fulfilment and happiness for which we all strive. Fulfilment and happiness that some might see as a right, but which in reality every one of us has to work for.

I believe that some people are looking in the wrong place for fulfilment. And if that view is archaic, as it was described last week, then I shall take that as a compliment.

Can we not at least agree that this would be a better world if we all had respect for others, and, at the risk of causing further offence, treated others as we would like to be treated?

That cannot be achieved if first we do not respect ourselves.

I do not expect my opinions on any subject to be universally popular. I am indeed (approaching) elderly, I suppose, a Pakeha middle class male.

I am the product of my conservative parents' upbringing in a small, conservative community. I grew up knowing that I was expected to be honest, to do what I said I would do, to respect others (especially women and elders), and that the worst offence I could commit was to bring my family name into disrepute.

I was never a paragon of virtue, but my friends and I were given a foundation that some now seem to lack.

Having said that, it would be nice if those who disagree could do so without vomiting over me, or calling for my resignation or dismissal, even if some of those who took to their keyboards last week really didn't know what they were talking about.

Some even confused me with another Peter Jackson altogether, one asking why a movie producer would 'write s ... like this.'

If any apology is owed to anyone perhaps it is to Sir Peter, who played no part whatsoever in prompting last week's outrage.