Aggression is the last thing I thought this post would be about.
It is not my friend.
In my early experience of being bullied as a child, I realised that aggression more often than not started with verbal abuse and likewise that people often seemed to assert their rights aggressively rather than assertively. And thus it was I spent a great deal of energy as a young mother training my daughters and sons to understand and embrace the difference between ‘Verbal Assertion’ and ‘Verbal Aggression’ and an incident in my garden this morning reminded me of that fact.
I’m in the process of trying (once again) to find somewhere permanent for this old body to call home – not easy when one has a faithful pooch. And because I need to move, I was in the garden sorting out my potplants – (like my books, artworks and dog they’re coming with me no matter what).
Now anyone who reads NancyRants on any sort of regular basis would know that I do not hear…I FEEL…what’s going on around me. But I can lip-read rather well and it was obvious that my young female neighbour at my front gate was yelling at me vigorously and waving what looked like an empty McDonald’s container rather aggressively in my direction. The fact that the veins in her neck were purple and swollen-ready-to-burst also helped my judgement of the situation.
‘Did you throw this over my fence?' she demanded to know. ‘What did you do that for?' And I must admit here and now the first thought that flashed through my brain was “‘Guilty until proven Innocent’ – must be catching.”
‘No of course not’ I replied…showing as much surprise as I felt. ‘It might have been the wind.’
‘Wind nothing – why did you do it? Sick of it’ she shrieked.
So I opened my gate and beckoned her into my garden. ‘See these plants?’ See these pots? See these gardening tools ? See these bins?’
‘Of course I do, so what?’
‘Do you not see that there’s a sense of order here? Everything has its right place…and the right place for that empty packet is in a bin’ I said taking the packet from her ever so gently and dropping it into my garbage bin. ‘I would no more do that to you than I would do it to myself.’
‘Oh…um…I just thought it ...um...must have been you ’
The aggression melted away. No pushing, shoving, kicking or punching had been needed.
And there’s an even better ending to this little incident that I’ll recount in a minute.
But first - back to Assertion v Aggression in their verbal form.
It was in the late Wal Cherry’s acting classes that I became truly aware of the one place where it's necessary to feed aggression with aggression. It's in the Theatre - one of the few places where tension and drama are vital. In an argument on stage, one cannot build to any sort of tension if the actor playing opposite you does not take his/her aggressive action a notch higher than your previous one until the scene reaches its climax. Bit of a fizzer - if you don’t build on the other’s performance.
And so it is in real life. Meet aggression with aggression and you’ll soon have a fight on your hands.
I taught my kids to meet aggression with assertive reason wherever possible.
But I also saw to it that they asserted their rights without verbal or physical bullying.
With four kids under the age of 5 and living in the Outback…I’d found it vital to self-preservation to set down parameters of behaviour - especially for a trip to the Supermarket. The main one was simple: help me get through this ordeal of shopping and we’ll go and celebrate our success with a little treat. Not only did it work…but it demonstrated perfectly on at least one occasion how to assert one’s rights.
Having had an extremely successful shopping expedition without any of my four whining, whingeing, fighting or placing unwanted objects surreptitiously in my shopping trolley…we set out for our treat. Destination: the local very exciting and rather expensive ice-cream shop that was a rare treat indeed.
We looked at the colourful signs placed on high behind the shop assistant. Huge swirls of delicious creamy confection in equally huge wafer cones held in very tiny hands met our gaze. They were pricey but within our range for an every-so-often treat.
Deliberation was fascinatingly faster from these offspring of mine than for most questions asked of them and we verbally handed over our choices in double quick time.
To my horror we were presented with five of the tiniest cones imaginable topped with barely a large teaspoon of ice-cream. The looks of disappointment on my kids’ faces was unendurable – this for them was a very rare treat engendering much excitement and good behaviour. They did not deserve this unfair outcome.
I quietly explained to the man behind the counter that these offerings were not what we had ordered. ‘Either you are falsely advertising’ I said, pointing to the misleading signs or you have, for some reason decided to short-change us’.
All he did was repeat how much money I owed him.
‘Could I speak to the Manager please’ I asked, restraining my natural impulse to be a little curt with people who disappoint children.
‘I am the Manager,’ he said. ‘Now pay up’.
We hadn’t touched the ice-creams as they were still sitting upright on the tray on the counter and my children looked from them to the Manager and back to me to see how I would handle the situation.
At this point I must revert to my own childhood to say that I was raised to live within my means, pay my bills but always question value for money. I have the utmost respect for retailers and their need to make a living – an honest living that is.
I explained all of that to the Ice-cream man who became very agitated and started shouting and threatening to get the police if I didn’t pay up.
The ice-creams began to melt – possibly because of the heat of the abuse being hurled at us - but it was essential that I demonstrated to my kids the veracity of my thoughts on handling aggression.
‘Consumer Affairs will be very interested in your false advertising if you wish to take this further’ I said, not matching his decibels. ‘Your greed has prevented you from seeing that another teaspoon of ice-cream on each cone may have avoided this scene…but as it is you now have to work out what to do with five melted ice-creams that are not what we ordered and not coming with us.
And with that, I herded my brood as efficiently as a hen with chicks and left the store - icecream-less.
But it wasn’t all bad. We went to a much cheaper place…found much better value and discussed the situation like sensible people over ice-creams that were probably not as exotic but tasted every bit as though they were. My kids were then aged 7, 6, 4 and 3 and I have to say they are rather astute shoppers today.
Back now to my young neighbour with the shouty voice.
As it turned out…this young woman is a University student – putting herself through a rather demanding degree, struggling with several subjects and not having too many resources at her disposal.
She now has many of my no-longer-needed research books on her desk and probably far more importantly, a new outlook on handling a situation assertively rather than with aggression.
We even shared a cup of tea.
It's little wonder then that my granddaughters, every Wednesday are getting their share of Nanna’s theory: Assertion is always better than Aggression…often with benefits to all.
Thursday 24 May 2012
Six Characters in Search of an Author is a 1921 Italian play by Luigi Pirandello that was met with shouts of ‘Manicomio’ (‘Madhouse’ in English) at its Premiere.
It is an absurdist play – basically about the relationship between the characters in a play, their author and the theatre.
It came to mind this morning as I was thinking about the Social Media site Twitter and its restriction of 140 characters per message. 140 characters in which you can potentially delight, disappoint, encourage, destroy, stimulate, inspire or terrify your fellow human beings. Yes – there is no ending to the impact that just 140 characters can have on another person’s day or wellbeing … or even sanity.
It is not for the faint-hearted. There are few rules. Grammar and punctuation are all but abandoned and interpretation is a free for all. There are no barriers to swearing, blaspheming, threatening or abuse - and hatred is allowed to pour forth in all its many disguises. It allows visual and text links to all manner of material from anywhere on the planet that is able to support its technology and puts people in touch with like-minded colleagues around the globe. It encourages, intimidates, supports and harasses and it’s here to stay in some form or other for better or worse.
And I LOVE it!
You see…Social Media is not really the playground of the elderly…not yet, anyhow. I think at 72, I’m probably at least twenty years older than some of my dear digital friends and more like forty years older than most. But I’ve been embraced into Twitter’s heartland in a way I would not have thought possible or even plausible.
It has led to my developing NancyRants - this Blog where I can rant, reminisce or communicate with little children to my heart’s delight.
It has introduced me to interesting people all around the world and through reading first-hand experiences opened my eyes to so much more global activity than I’d ever known before. In fact – a large part of Twitter has been absorbed into my digital bloodstream – giving me an even greater zest for life.
So it was with a great deal of sadness and regret that only a few days ago, I spent a restless and sleepless night agonising over whether or not to withdraw from Twitter. Earlier that day, Monday 21 May I had been watching the speech from Craig Thomson MP on television. But as is my usual wont, I also had Twitter open on the iPhone beside me and I started to see an outpouring of what seemed to me heartless cruelty; a mob-mentality taunting and bullying a human being. As his title tells us Craig Thomson MP is a member of parliament. He has been accused of much, charged with nothing and continues to be tried and convicted by all and sundry in what is to me, a reprehensible display of lack of basic human rights.
And in my state of sleepless struggling I formed the opinion that the phrase - ‘Innocent until proven Guilty’ of which we are so proud in this democratic country – had become an empty slogan not even worth the sneer wrapped around it.
But worst of all…I faced my worst demon of all. Bullying. I was mercilessly bullied as a child over my deafness – an experience that I handled at the time in my own way (See my last post: Open letter to little children: My 5 Secrets). But until this crisis took hold I had not realised how deeply I’d buried it in my psyche.)
All but taking the decision to abandon Twitter - the fabulous Social Media platform that had so caught my attention and put all the above invective in my face – I ventured the possibility of leaving Twitter in a Tweet early on Tuesday morning.
By Tuesday afternoon – and here is one of the indications of the snowball effect of the Twittersphere and its potential power to move mountains and bring down governments – I had an extraordinary and totally unexpected barrage of responses. Evidence of the beautiful, honest, truthful, encouraging, supportive and loving side of humanity rose to the occasion and convinced me not to ‘cut and run’ but to stand firm and continue to speak out against things I do not believe in, or for those things I hold dear.
And now – just a few days later and about nine months all up (appropriate gestation period) I have reached a personal milestone of 1000 Followers.
Yes – I know…that’s absolutely nothing in its proper global perspective of Twitter-Followers but nevertheless a fabulously exciting phenomenon for me.
So here is my ‘thank you’ to all of you, who – by your courage of your convictions, your strength and your determination - have inspired me to stay and fight; to put forward thoughts that may be sneered at or derided; to be true to myself at the risk of personal attack and to face the revolting challenge of unmitigated cruelty (look at our Refugees) inflicted on members of our human race by one or more of our own.
Thank you SO much for taking the time to read this. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you all.
Tuesday 22 May 2012
I did not sleep last night.
It is a rare occurrence for me but it is one that re-appears from time to time and has done so since I was a small child in a world of silence.
I know the triggers and when I was a child I wanted to run from them. I wanted to hide; I wanted to dodge and weave and pretend I wasn’t there to face the inevitable bullets that would shortly shaft into my consciousness with the precision of a trained marksman.
But I also knew…instinctively, I guess…that until I built up a line of defence, the process would repeat itself.
I did build up that defence – and as I child I called it ‘My 5 Secrets’. It’s stood me in good stead over the years.
Last night the triggers were the relentless attacks on one person who has been pushed to the edge of despair…a feeling I know so well…and I had to work very hard to get my defence working today. I did so with a lot of help from some dear friends...most of whom I have never met.
This is the reason for this letter to the children. If you think it useful I would love you to share it with a child you know.
My dear little Children
Chances are that someone is reading this to you or at least paraphrasing it (you might have to ask them what that means).
And chances are, also that that person is someone to whom I once said ‘Hello’ from the television set when he or she was a child. Maybe it’s your Grandma or Grandpa or do you say Poppa or Nanna like my granddaughters do?
I have no idea what age you are…but one thing I do know is that I am a LOT older than you. I’m 72 and that makes me as old as some of the trees you see in your park. The good thing is…I don’t have leaves sprouting out of my head…well at least I didn’t, last time I looked.
Now cuddle in a little closer because I want to tell you a few secrets that I learnt from MY Nanna.
There is always going to be something that somebody can do and you can’t. Someone will be able to run faster than you…or sing better…or be really good at Maths and Spelling and other yukky stuff.
My Nanna told me this…and it helped me not to be jealous of my friends.
There is always going to be something that YOU can do that nobody else can do. You might know what that something is right now…or it might take you quite a few years to discover it…but you can be sure that it is there because you are UNIQUE. That means that there is nobody else in the whole wide world exactly like you…even if you’re a twin.
Nanna seemed to think I needed to know this…and I soon found out she was right.
The thing about these two secrets is that they are both good! It’s rather wonderful that we can all do something better than anybody else and that’s why we can be happy for our friends and our family. But here’s another secret that Nanna knew.
Not everybody KNOWS what it is that they can do better than anyone else. Do YOU know? Do you think your best friend knows? Or Grandma? Maybe you could help them find it.
Now this brings me to Secret 4, which is a little bit tricky.
Sometimes we seem to be DIFFERENT from everybody else.
When I was just a really little kid I couldn’t hear anything like the other kids could…and I still can’t. They said I had ‘profound hearing loss’ which is really just another way of saying I was deaf. Sometimes when you can’t hear anything, you can’t talk…but for some reason, I could talk even though I couldn’t hear my own voice. This meant that most of the kids didn’t understand that I was deaf. But some kids from another school found out. They used to wait for me to come out of my school gate and they’d make a circle around me and start to call me names and push me around inside their circle and ask me to repeat what they were saying…then they’d laugh when I couldn’t. Other kids would join in and soon there’d be a big crowd all pushing and pointing at me and laughing.
Somehow Nanna found out about this and that’s why she taught me about Secret 2. Have a quick look at it again.
I realized that if I concentrated really hard and looked very carefully at the way the other kids’ mouths moved, I could tell what they were saying. I didn’t know it then, but I later learnt that it’s called ‘lip-reading’. This was something I could do that nobody else could do...and it felt great.
Now I didn’t let on for ages that I could do this…because I wanted to be really good at it before I let anyone know. Then one day when they were saying really terrible things about me I yelled out ‘STOP! I DIDN’T steal Jimmy’s apple and I’m NOT a stupid dummy and I'm not a liar and I’m…I’m NOT going to be taken away and put in a madhouse!’ Every cruel and mean thing they had said to me, I repeated straight back at them.
Well…you would have thought a ghost had them by their pants. They took off and didn’t try that again.
Now this brings me to Secret 5 which is really rather exciting.
Just for a few minutes go back and have a look at Secret 1.
It’s about everybody else isn’t it. It says that everybody can do something special. Well, I learnt to use that as a secret weapon…not a weapon that would hurt anyone…but one that would help ME because the teasing was still going on with other kids who said I was 'different'. Here it is.
I would look at each kid as he or she was teasing me and I’d concentrate really hard - just like when I was learning to Lip-Read - and I’d think about Secret 1 and try to work out what each kid’s special thing was. What could they do that nobody else could?
And a really wonderful thing happened.
I tried it out on Harry. He was a really big kid for his age…and some said he was a bully at his own school. He was yelling at me and poking at me with a stick so I thought hard about what it could be that Harry could do that nobody else could.
And I suddenly remembered something. At the Inter-School sports day a few days earlier, Harry wasn’t running – mainly because he couldn’t – so he was messing around behind the drinks stand. I was having a drink – because I’d done a lot of running – and I saw Harry bob down suddenly and pick something up from near the garbage cans. It was a tiny bird and it was very scared…and it appeared to have a broken wing. Well…I could hardly believe it…big bully Harry picked that bird up and stroked it and started talking to it ever so gently. He had it quiet and settled in no time. I think he took it home.
That was it! That was Harry’s SOMETHING. And as I looked at Harry I thought about that…and do you know what happened?
Harry gave me a funny look…threw the stick down…and just walked away. Later we became friends and he told me he wanted to be a Vet or a Zoo-Keeper but his Dad had said he was too stupid and too fat. Can you imagine how Harry must have felt? He said that when I looked at him and he threw away the stick, he felt ashamed...but he also knew that somehow he WOULD become a Vet.
Well – they’re my 5 Secrets…and you can have them. Put them in your pocket right now and take them with you wherever you go.
If you do that, you will find you have the most powerful thing you could possibly own. You can use it when other kids are mean, or things go wrong or you don't feel great.
Do you know what it is? Here’s a clue.
It can give you respect
And the freedom to fly
The wisdom to solve things
And help passers by
It can help little children
And men tall as hills
Make everything equal
And heal lots of ills
It can calm any anger
And rid you of fear
It’s there in your pocket
For laughter or tear
It’s there for the asking
As tame as a dove
I think you have guessed it
Of course it’s called LOVE
Monday 14 May 2012
I have always been passionate about the need to develop imagination in young children. Even as a child myself I could not believe that people could go through their early years without understanding that milk jugs could dance and yet hope to plan a city that truly inspired or become men and women of vision.
It was therefore with great delight many years ago that I came upon this quote from Dr Peter Ellyard, Former Director of the Commission of the Future:
“We cannot work to create a future which we cannot first imagine.
The future is not some place we are going to, but a place we are creating.”
I found the quote again recently and sat down and wrote this little tale - It all began at the Well - because of it and a few other things on my mind.
Once Upon a Time…there were Two Tribes.
Vastly different, they both lived in the Middle of Nowhere…because that is where they began.
When the news broke it was Tribe Tenebrisi that heard it first; creeping and slithering through the cracks as only rumour can…it caused such excitement within the upper ranks that much scrambling went on to keep it secret from the underlings: hands went over mouths, gatherings broke up never to re-group and all those - seen to be gossiping idly on the path…merely vanished.
On the other hand, Tribe Luminosi based on the Far Side of the Middle of Nowhere, met the news with collective celebration, quickly gathering to spread the word amongst the weakest and the smallest of them all.
And thus it was that two Tribal Expeditions made their way that night to the Starting Line: for indeed the news could not be ignored. Treasure had been found in the midst of Desert Somewhere and it was imperative that each should find it first.
The Tenebrisi were not pleased at all when the shapes of the Luminosi appeared on the Horizon as they gathered at the Starting Line.
‘They’ve heard the news…we must leave now’ said the Tribal Elders of Tenebrisi. And as ill-prepared as were their people, they took off into Desert Somewhere with little thought for those they’d left behind.
It was a young man of the Luminosi Tribe who asked the question many had feared to ask as they set out for the Starting Line.
‘Please…what is this treasure of which you speak…what does it look like? And what happens if we do not find it?
But no one could answer.
‘We will know it when we find it…and find it we will’ said the Keeper of the Peace. ‘Are you all ready? We must away before the start of the Tenebrisi Tribe becomes too great.’
‘But’ said the young man. ‘How can we know what we cannot see?’
And they all looked at each other…for they too wanted to understand.
‘I think I know’ said a child ‘and if I’m right…there is no need to rush. ‘We cannot see a heartbeat and yet we know it’s there. Our Keeper is right…we will know it when we find it but the Tenebrisi will see only what they expect to find.’
And with that, the Luminosi Tribe took all the time they needed and prepared so that all should be in order for the journey ahead.
By then the Tenebrisi Tribe or as much of them as could keep up with the race, were deep into Desert Somewhere and very weary for they had tracked from side to side searching for Treasure signs impossible to see in the light of night.
‘We need food and our children are too tired to carry on,’ said one.
‘What? Let the others find the Treasure?’ answered another. ‘Let us push on into the Darkness. We can always come back for the others.’
So that is what they did.
‘Is this the Treasure?’ called out one in the gloom, coming to a spot that felt damp and cool. ‘No’ was the reply. ‘That’s just surface dew. Illusion. Magic. Treasure is of solid make - will stub your foot - feel strong and lie within a great Oasis bed. Shiny it is and mirrors much of night. Imagination cannot bring the wealth that will be ours when no more shall we work. Our bidding will be done and we shall have to care no more. Do you believe that surface dew can do all that?’ Why just as well believe a tree stands there and underneath its roots a treasure box is hid.'
And on they pushed and on and on.
Now the Luminosi Tribe was not far from the Starting Line by the time the Sun had interrupted the night with her broad grin. And the deeper into Desert Somewhere they went the more brightly she burned down on them.
Onwards they trudged…the strong shouldering the weak. They could see the tracks of the Tenebrisi Tribe criss-crossing like ants in the rain and elected to steer a more direct path.
‘We need to stop and let our people rest’ the Elders whispered, rather fearing they’d taken too much upon themselves. ‘The Sun will show no mercy and our water supplies are low.’
‘Look…is that a tree?’ cried one of their number pointing an elderly hand. ‘Over there…in the distance. It seems almost too far away but it may give us shade.’
‘Why yes’ said a woman. 'It IS a tree. If we carry those who can no longer bear their burden we could be there by nightfall’
And that is what they did.
Thus it was the Luminosi people came upon that tree - the Soak beneath…the very same discarded by the Tenebrisi Tribe that merely saw its surface dew…a humble Soak that in the Darkness gave no hint at all. The tree was large and spread her cooling branches very wide. And all around the Soak was green…flowers of every hue danced to subtle music tones of Pan and tiny creatures splashed and played - rainbows reflecting in every drop upon each leaf.
And all together knew what they had found.
‘It is the Treasure, isn’t it,’ whispered the child and they laughed and knelt and drank that surface dew and gave their thanks and made their plans.
The child stood up, began to clap and shout and weave around the Soak…and soon to follow - all including old and frail were caught up dancing, madly prancing in the spirit of rejoicing tears.
They built a Well and around its wall they sat at night and taught the young; told stories of the years long gone and of their customs and their tongue; they shared their skills and toiled by day; healing the sick and hailing life to come; they planted crops while cattle roamed; invented dances, games and songs - to entertain when work was done.
They cared for those who needed care and taught the children to respect; exchanged their goods and shared their wealth and no one sought to have excess.
They took in Tenebrisi from afar and asked no questions of their birth; for they could see what time had done to those pursuing empty gain.
Strangers came from far and wide - taken in and prospered all.
The young child grew and made his plans…imagination fired by years of hearing stories at the Well.
He built a town for all to share its burdens and delights.
He called it…
Tuesday 8 May 2012
I must apologise for the hiatus between my last Blogpost and this one. I’d forgotten what a family wedding actually entails…to say nothing of a precious few days with a daughter-not-often-seen and then three intensive days of study.
But my fingers are snapping at my ankles to get started…albeit on a post I wanted to write exactly one week ago.
I’ll pre-empt a little in case you want to tune out now…although I certainly hope at least one of you stays. You see…it’s another letter on behalf of my two tiny granddaughters (aged 3 and 18 months). I must admit I didn’t really expect to be writing another quite so soon after the first. Nor did I expect that it would be to another male whom I don’t know and whose name starts once again with the letter M…only on a surname this time.
Yes Mr Grahame Morris…I speak of you.
On Monday 30 April 2012 you were reported as making a rather unfortunate remark on television. Now at the time of reading your remark I was horrified, aghast and yes, even furious but busyness can sometimes cancel out even passionate emotions…at least for a while.
But that ‘while’ is now over Mr Morris. I have just seen my two little girls and re-kindled the necessary indignation.
Dear Mr M
I am writing this letter to you on behalf of my two young granddaughters who are not yet old enough to write to you themselves.
They are, however quite accustomed to their grandmother discussing things with them…things like ‘sharing’ and ‘manners’ and ‘caring about the needs of others’…so it was no great surprise to them that I mentioned the remark you made the other day about our Prime Minister.
You remember the remark, don’t you – I’m sure you must because you apologized for it the next day after someone reminded you that it was probably not a politically wise thing to have said.
But just in case you’ve forgotten what you said (and don’t we all wish for amnesia re certain episodes in our lives) I shall remind you.
You said of our Prime Minister: (Australians) ‘…ought to be kicking her to death.’
And you said it on television.
The subsequent apology from you and others concerned only about the political impact of your remark, suggested it was a throwaway line that you often use – and merely an Australian colloquialism.
That may well be Mr Morris…but the year is 2012 not 1952. We no longer say (at least publicly) lots of things we used to shriek out loud back then - albeit colloquially...offensive words like ‘nigger’ and ‘coon’ for a start.
No! ‘Oft-used colloquialism’ is not a really strong and impressive defence. In fact, it is no defence at all - even the three year old chuckled - because, Mr Morris…she knows better and she knows she’d never get away with that at Kindergarten.
For a start she understands that at Kindergarten, kicking someone is simply not allowed. She knows from personal experience that it hurts and she wouldn’t want to do that to someone else…let alone have it done to her again. She also knows that some little boys can kick even harder than can little girls.
But what she doesn’t know, Mr Morris is that when incited…people have been known to kick others to DEATH…that it’s a practice still happening right here in our midst.
She doesn’t even know what ‘death’ means…yet.
None of us do, Mr Morris – not really, not until we experience death itself…and then it’s all…too…late!
It’s a funny verb ‘to incite’. You can make it work for you with very few words…like, say…‘kick to death.’
Olivia doesn’t yet realise that people CAN be incited to inflict violence on others - even in jest or by colloquial reference. She doesn't even realise that people CAN be stirred up sufficiently to perpetrate on another human being, any atrocity you can think of - given the right environment…and words. Any environment at all will do the trick…any place where human beings are gathered together – even at a family event – especially where alcohol or a touch of cocaine may be added.
Please think about it Mr Morris.
Television is EXACTLY the right catalyst – as is radio – for the promotion of violence. Just ask Mr Alan Jones how effective HE is on the good old airwaves with suggestions like a certain PM should be placed in a sack and drowned at sea?
Are you thinking? Can you see how sick this is? Can you see that I do not want my granddaughters or any of our Australian children to grow up in this environment of attitude?
I want you to think very carefully about this Mr Morris…because whilst my granddaughters may not understand the power of television, I do. Many years ago with a careless but innocent toss of a few words I was the direct cause of two little boys burning down their parents’ garden shed. It could have been their lives that were lost. What a lesson!
And that is the point Mr Morris.
It is one thing to say a smart, funny, clever or sarcastic jibe at someone’s expense whilst you’re entertaining in the pub or at a private social function; but it’s quite another to do so in the public arena of television broadcasting.
If you're lucky enough to get your head on the telly - and get it on often enough to wield some influence on the average casual viewer…then there is a rule that comes into play: it’s called Duty of Care.
It's simply not good enough, not professional enough and certainly not humane enough to imply or suggest on television that violence of any sort on another human being is a good idea.
I hesitate to say that your remark - (perhaps unlike the remark made by Mr Max Tomlinson recently on the ‘obvious inadequacies of the females of the species’) - was made from any subtle or otherwise misogynistic base. But it is hard to believe that such a bully-phrase would have been directed at a male Prime Minister. Gough for one had a long reach – and so did Malcolm.
Whether or not you care for her politics, her clothes or her marital status the fact remains she is your Prime Minister; she is a highly intelligent woman who is working in an extremely difficult political environment.
She has endured death threats, incitement to violence, cruel remarks on her decision to not bear children, taunts on her atheism, her hair, her clothing, her make-up and yes…her nose.
Endured - Mr Morris. Do you believe she is inhuman - has no feelings at all? Do you really think she deserves this kind of constant diatribe?
No human being deserves such treatment.
At the very least, Mr Morris she deserves your respect; and at the very most she deserves protection from these hideous and veiled threats we hear and see all too often.
But no one is standing up to you Mr Morris. If there is a TV Watchdog with teeth, he took them out when he heard your remark.
It is essential we eradicate this unacceptable attitude in our society and we must do so with education on Equality & Respect.
My granddaughters along with millions of other children hopefully will be educated by family members to be aware of this scourge in our midst; and on their behalf and the many young Australian children who may not receive that benefit, I ask that you refrain from ever repeating such vile suggestions on television ever again.
We may not be on television...but we shall all be watching.
Nancy, Olivia and Hannah