Drunk and Ugly? Not Australia

Drunk Penguin

Drunk and Ugly? Not Australia. Picture from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The phenomenon that is social media. I came to it late. It still gives me a thrill to send messages to friends and get replies within seconds. I feel their warm presences on the internet and I love it. We can share, chat, keep in touch, advertise. It has a multiplicity of purposes. How easy to drop a quick hello to a friend, letting them know you are there and you care.

The Prime Minister is using it to the hilt. And why not? In the same spirit, I would urge him to stop prancing about, issuing challenges to debate the Opposition leader.

We don’t want to hear your clever phraseology, Mr Rudd. We want you to get on with governing the country. We want to know if we can trust you with it. And we don’t need to see your shaving cuts either. It’s not a good look. I know Norman Gunston made a mint out of it, but …

Recent and recurrent personal attacks on celebrities show this wonderful tool has a dark side. I am amazed at the extent of the venom against Julia Gillard, for example, when she was PM. Again the personal attack. Does the office of Prime Minister of Australia hold no inherent respect?

Could the disrespect shown to her by her own colleagues have more to do with the way she shafted Kevin Rudd than the fact that she is a woman? Who disrespects Aung Sung Su-Kyi: the ultimate female politician?

Whatever the reason, personal vilification on social media must not be tolerated.

The Windsor and Oakeshott families called it ‘ugly Australia’, having at great personal cost borne the vilification of the political decisions of Tony and Rob.

We can all get up on social media and vent our spleens. Does anyone listen? Does anybody care?

Well, under certain circumstances they might. Print laws have not caught up with digital media. But they will. And your words will be up there forever, haunting your future. A snare to bring you down when you’ve reached the top.

Maybe we should have a breathalyser on the mouse or the on-button of a tablet to stop disgruntled ramblings after a night at the pub. Young people also need to be protected from using the internet as a photo diary to bare all. Remember, it is up there forever.

There is the much-publicised tweet by a disgusted viewer of the appalling spectacle that is now Question Time in Federal Parliament, telling Australia to ‘go home.’ How embarrassing!

I can remember (just) when politicians were hysterically funny. Question time in the House was high entertainment. They beat each other with fine wit and humour. We admired their clever use of words, enjoyed their ‘duels’.

Then we got ‘scumbags’ etc. The days of gentlemen (and women) in politics were over, with personal vilification entering the lists. Back then, they played the ball. Now they play the ‘man’. Has it filtered down into all our lives?

Just lately, I’ve heard too many criticisms of our beautiful Australia. Drunk, childish, irresponsible, whatever … And all because a few frustrated, incontinent people cannot control their verbiage. Trolls on the internet. Spite and malice are ugly, not Australia. Individuals are drunk, not Australia.

Let’s not forget the doctors, nurses, carers, vets and all the kind people who don’t get on social media and shout their prowess or their complaints to the world. They don’t have time. Like the farmers, they are too busy doing what they have to do for those in their care.

Twitter (Oxford Dictionary) – a succession of light tremulous sounds. I would add: pleasing to the ear.

Let’s not have to rename it.

One thought on “Drunk and Ugly? Not Australia

  1. The thing with social media these days, is that it’s the new news. The news has often been ‘depressing’, in that it more often than not highlights negative stories. With social media, there is so much more talking. So many more opinions shared, and not as much ‘vetting’ or ‘editing’ of these opinions. In one way, it’s a fabulous development for freedom of speech, but in another, it can over-exaggerate issues. Like the fact that we think the times are so much more dangerous these days? Are they really? Or is it that we see everything bad that happens to everyone, so we become overwhelmed with negativity?

    I do believe that we have a cultural problem in Australia, though. And that is the culture of drinking. It is glorified as an Australian way, but we see far too many young people unable to determine an acceptable amount to drink; binge drinking is a problem. And this is something you see on the street, not just social media. It has caused an increase in violence, and unnecessary violent deaths, like that of the death of Thomas Kelly at Kings Cross.

    I believe this is something that needs to be addressed in the home. The blasé attitudes to drinking around children. Involving children in the drinking culture. I grew up in a household that would be considered quite rare in this country. Where my parents really didn’t drink much, and I rarely saw them drink in front of me. Therefore, I really wasn’t that interested in alcohol as a teenager, and it is only now, as I’m in my mid-thirties, that I appreciate a fine wine in moderation.

    So, you’re right. Australia is not drunk. But we have some poor attitudes to drink. I think this was exemplified in the documentary series last year about Australian’s being dumb, drunk and racist. Whilst that statement actually angers me, because I know many Australian’s who do not fit that bill, there are people in this country who are those things. But it’s like anything. Stereo-types are generally unhelpful. They group people into one category unjustifiably. It doesn’t usually come down to race, religion, colour or beliefs. It comes down to the individual. Are you a good person, or not?

    Thanks for the food for thought. 🙂

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