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Respect: Let’s show it

Back when Gough Whitlam won the election a few of us guys from the local football club went along to our pub, and on this day we thought we’d drink in the lounge, rather than our regular spot; the front bar.

We talked about Gough’s win when a bloke started chatting to us about how bad it was that Labor won.

He would have been in his mid-fifties, and he was clearly a right-winger.

We gave him hell. Not just on that day, but whenever we saw him again in the lounge bar of the pub.

We were quite nasty, actually. Our language was appalling, splattered with such terms as; “F#ck off, idiot”, Go f#ck yourself”, “What the f#ck would you know”, or “Go and talk to your f#cking friends over there”.

And as we were disgusting people, the “c” word was used liberally.

You get the picture.

And of course we enjoyed it. We were bloody heroes.

After that our lives took us down different paths and 25 years later I was working for ATSIC in Port Augusta.

One evening on ANZAC Day an old WW2 veteran was interviewed by one of the local Adelaide news channels.

This bloke was in the air force and had been shot down over Germany. Parachuting (luckily) to safety, he hid from the German forces for over three weeks, managing to find his way to the Allies.

It was a tormenting, harrowing experience. At any time he might have been only a minute away from capture, or worse, death. This man – probably in his early twenties at the time – was a true Aussie hero who gave up everything to go and fight for his country.

Can you imagine the guilt I felt when I recognised him as the bloke me and some footy mates used to throw the most vile, disgusting abuse to whenever we saw him in the pub all those years ago?

We knew nothing about this bloke when he was the victim of our insults.

It’s a bit like social media. How often do we see abuse hurled at someone that the abuser – in all likelihood – knows nothing about. The abused person may be someone with a mental illness, or someone who is a hero as a community worker, or someone who had just lost their partner. The list goes on.

Sadly, very sadly, I’ve been one such perpetrator. I remember on one occasion suggesting that a very annoying person was drunk. Little did I know that this person was a non-drinker after years of fighting alcoholism.

The little things we say that we think are funny, might just be shattering to our target.

Tempers have been demonstrated this year, not just on The AIMN, but Facebook and Twitter. The looming election gives us the opportunity to focus on the true enemy, and not just each other.

From what I’ve seen elsewhere the government (and their mates in the MSM) are watching social media like a hawk.

Let’s not give them anything to swoop on.

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38 comments

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  1. Kate Ahearne

    Michael,

    What a beautiful, brave and timely piece! Thank you.

  2. Keitha Granville

    thank you. It’s so easy to be horrible about another person on social media. You had no idea you would ever KNOW who you had abused, and sadly most people these days never will.

    Think before you speak. There’s never aneed to be vile or obscene if you have a solid argument.

  3. Michael Taylor

    Thank you, ladies. You are both too kind. 🐿

  4. Kate Ahearne

    Hey, Michael,

    Not kind at all!

    Nice to be a lady, though.

    Seriously, I’m still thinking about your brave and beautiful piece. You’ve hit a particular nail on its nasty head. I hope you’ll get lots of thoughtful response to this piece.

    PS, You’re a helluva good storytella.

  5. Kaye Lee

    Aside from the main thrust of the story, I think it also shows how we are continually learning and growing as people. Self-reflection should also come with a degree of self-forgiveness. We all make mistakes. We will never be perfect but we can do better. Never give up trying.

    All experiences in life, good and bad, teach us things.

  6. leefe

    Having had a hard time in the past is no excuse to be a jerk now. It might be part of the reason, but it doesn’t absolve you of responsibility for your words or your actions.

    I don’t hold with ad hominem attacks. If you find fault with what someone says, attack their argument; don’t get personal. And if someone does attack your argument, don’t take it as an attack on you personally.
    You can respect people (most of them; there are a lot of politicians for whom I have less than zero respect) but that doesn’t mean you have to respect their words or their beliefs.

    ps: If you ever try to call me a lady you’ll learn just how unladylike I am.

  7. John Hanna

    Nothing wrong with criticising behavior irrespective of who the person may be, their opinion can be debated but politics is often a passionate area to broach…. the man in question should have learned from his war experience and kept his gob shut when in enemy territory.

  8. Michael Taylor

    leefe, so true. Don’t shoot the messenger, just debate the message.

    If there’s one thing Carol and I will not tolerate, it’s having one of our writers attacked. It’s our honour to give our writers a platform, so an attack on them is an attack on Carol and I.

    There’s not one writer here who doesn’t enjoy intellectual debate with someone who disagrees with their argument. Even I’ve learnt something new from commenters who disagree with my message.

    I enjoy learning, which involves listening.

    Kaye, I’d forgotten all about that bloke we used to abuse and his heroics in WW2. It came to me yesterday. Maybe there was a reason for that.

  9. Michael Taylor

    John, I wouldn’t call the lounge bar of the local pub enemy territory.

    If anything, it was us guys who were in the so-called enemy territory given that we were in a pro-Liberal electorate.

  10. Michael Taylor

    PS: We were the ones at fault. Instead of discussing the issue with him in a mature way, we chose to abuse him.

  11. Kaye Lee

    Michael,

    There was a flower moon last night. At the risk of waking the earworm….

    When the moon is in the Seventh House
    And Jupiter aligns with Mars
    Then peace will guide the planets
    And love will steer the stars

    Let the sun shine in

    Hey, did you ever get your telescope working?

  12. Michael Taylor

    Kaye,

    I was disappointed to miss that. It was overcast here last night and I could see nothing but dark clouds. ☹️

    A few years ago Carol bought me an astronomical telescope (x300) for Christmas. Despite following all the instructions I still haven’t been able to get the software on my computer to talk to the telescope. But I’m determined to see the rings of Saturn, so I’m not giving up.

    And yes, I have an ear worm. It’s all your fault. 😁

  13. Kaye Lee

    Saturn is amazing. It doesn’t look real. The rings are really distinct. I didn’t see the eclipse either for same reason.

  14. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, whenever there’s an astronomical event the chance of an overcast sky increase tenfold.

    Or, as happened a few months ago when Saturn and Mars (I think it was Saturn and Mars, or it could have been Jupiter) were cuddling up to each other in the night sky… it was behind the large hill next to our place.

    The planets weren’t aligned for me that night. ☹️

  15. Michael Taylor

    I played a little joke on Twitter that night.

    I downloaded a large photo of Saturn (and its rings) and posted in on Twitter, saying that I took the photo with my iPhone.

    You’d be shocked at the number of people who believed it. 🤦🏻‍♂️

  16. Michael Taylor

    PS: I’d forgotten I told you about the telescope.

    My short-term memory is off the planet. ☹️

  17. Kaye Lee

    Yeah, we talked about it because I did astronomy at uni the year Haley’s fizzer came out. The comet was a disappointment but getting to use the big telescopes was fabulous. The really weird thing was my lecturer was a creationist. Still does my head in.

  18. Carol Taylor

    Respect is far too often a one way street where people demand that their opinion must be respected. The problem comes when one opinion is based on science and provable fact while the other is based on ‘faith’ and conspiracy theories. This is where there is a problem – we consider the right wing nutters delusional, the QAnons/neo Nazis believe that we’re brainwashed..we’re sheep.

    One of the common themes, sadly stolen from feminists is: my body, my choice. This is what the antis do not understand or refuse to acknowledge, that it’s not about THEIR body, it’s about the body of someone such as anti- vaxxer infecting small children yet unable to qualify to be vaccinated. It’s reasonable to express freedom of choice, except when your choice might cause another to become sick or die.

  19. Michael Taylor

    So true, Carol. These people want respect but are not prepared to give it.

    I do not wish ill upon them, but they’re attitude is that they have no concern if they bring ill upon others.

  20. corvusboreus

    Thank you Michael, your message is both timely and timeless.
    I have often been guilty of reacting to adverse stimulii from other humans with responses ranging from narky insult to vile abuse.
    I have oft made vows not to continue to do so, although my success in adhering to such noble resolutions has been…inconsistent.

    For those who offer valid points of disagreement in reasonable language, I should respect differences of opinion and make the disciplinary effort to research then refute/debate/discuss their claims in rationally considered terms.

    For those who repeatedly and deliberately employ sledges as goads to provoke irritation and disrupt discussion….(?)

  21. corvusboreus

    Ps, regarding astronomical phenomenae, in my neck of the woods the last 2 evenings have offered perfect atmospheric conditions for studying cloud bellies.

  22. wam

    Arrogant ASSumptions are the province of us, the nearly intelligent. I can remember being so bitterly disappointed at discovering intelligent fellow students, colleagues and team mates. were not labor supporters and they actually thought playford and ming were doing a great job. I am too dumb to learn the lesson that what I see and what they see are true and react with you tell me 3 things gough or fraser or hawke or keating or the lying rodent or the lemon or the diludbansimkims did and I will tell you my three. Then proceed with my goading over and over. ps carol: vaccinations are better than nothing but their main use is to keep you out of ICUs they neither prevent the disease nor the transmission. But the word sounds good?
    pps
    Michael sir tom playford was at gallipoli and the services people are are almost all far right.

  23. leefe

    wam

    In the case of Covid19, they lessen the severity if you do get infected; they lessen your viral load and thus both the length of time during which you can pass it on to others and the likelihood of you doing so. Yes, better than nothing..
    No medication or medical procedure is 100% effective all the time with zero drawbacks. But a major reduction in the rate of death or serious illness is a good thing, no? Or do you have an alternative option for dealing with the pandemic?

  24. corvusboreus

    Leefe,
    Germany had mandatory vaccination as national policy from the late 19th century until the early 1930’s, when a shift in government led to a suspension of the programme that lasted until 1945.
    I think the predominant philosophy was to ‘strengthen the herd’ by letting the ‘old and weak’ die off.

    Your request for alternative options didn’t specify ‘morally or ethically palatable’.

  25. GL

    Kaye Lee,

    The preferred term in some circles is “intelligent design” rather than creationism, it sounds more scientificky and plays down, sort of, the taint of the work of a bearded magic sky fairy.

  26. Terence Mills

    I’m trying to reconcile in my mind how a teenager in the US can go armed with an automatic rifle to a place where he knew a civil disturbance was occurring, shoot and kill two unarmed men – one had a skateboard which he was wielding – injure another man, a paramedic, who was trying to disarm him and successfully plead self-defence.

    The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right to keep and bear arms. It was ratified on December 15, 1791 and affirmed the right for individuals to carry firearms for self-defense but it may have been taken to unreasonable extremes considering how firearm technology has changed over the last two hundred years.

    On a brighter note, yesterday a beautiful fig parrot flew into a window at our place and fell to the ground unconscious ; Buddy the dog picked him up gently and brought him to me. Though concussed he had a strong heartbeat so I put him in a cage to recover. He responded well and has now been released back into the wild.
    The moral of this story is : put off cleaning windows until later.

  27. corvusboreus

    Terence,
    Yeah, the Rittenhouse verdict is a disgusting legal outcome that is deeply disheartening for those who would prefer not to see the US further fracture into violent disorder.
    Of course, the performative trolls and carnage cravers of the Republican underbelly (specifically Matt Gaetz) are now suggesting that Rittenhouse should be given a political internship.
    Murica.

    I had a recurrent problem with a male magpie lark that kept attacking it’s own reflection in the study window.
    I ended up using glass paint to sketch a hawk with yellow eyes and outstretched talons on the offending pane.
    The peewee kamikaze attacks ceased.

  28. GL

    Rittenhouse will most likely make a shitload of money now. The main sleaze media will be falling over themselves to get the rights to his story and ordeals.

  29. Michael Taylor

    I can’t make sense of the U.S. justice (or injustice) system.

  30. Terence Mills

    In Australia there would be an appeal possibly based on the judges directions to the jury which seemed to support the self defence theory. In the US that is unlikely to happen as Double Jeopardy is specifically barred by the fifth amendment to the US Constitution.

    A mistrial could be an option but it would need to show that the judge was biased for, among other things, having ruled that prosecutors could not refer to the two men shot and killed by Rittenhouse as “victims” whereas he allowed the defence attorneys to call the dead men “arsonists” or “looters”.

    Very unusual case, particularly that Rittenhouse shot one of the unarmed deceased men four times, in self defence.

    I recall a case in Australia where it was successfully argued that one shot could be self defence but two or more allows the jury to draw an inference of intentional killing (I.e. Murder).

  31. Keith

    I had an unsolicited invitation to join the obnoxious IPA a few days ago on face book, apparently, they are looking for new members. I placed some comments on their face book page about science, had some obnoxious comments come back. That was expected.
    I challenged them to provide references, which are never provided. Those challenges are for anybody unsure, to see no references coming from the deniers gives a clue they have nothing to offer.

  32. corvusboreus

    Keith,
    Apparently the IPA are shaking an increasingly empty can in terms of both funds and relevence.
    Coupla days ago I read a quote from J Roskam as he jumped ship. He was bemoaning the fact that corporate donorship had all but evaporated.
    It tickles my sense of schaedenfreude when cheerleaders for lassez-faire capitalism cry butt-hurt about free- market choices.

  33. wam

    Yes, waltz, Courts are sad places for some social profiles. It is not that long when a british soldier shot his errant wife and he was given a non-custodial sentence because he was unlikely repeat the offence. But my fear is the 4 year sentence for a miscarriage, with no medical advice to suggest any culpability, of an Indigenous woman. The risk of god being the cause of natural abortions is obviated by blaming the miscarriage on women. The ramifications for roe and wade and the flow on through our xstian nutters should be scary for women. There are many silly beliefs about women in the xstian sects and the new laws will protect and hide them from view. Some of the clappers believe that god give boys the power over all women, including mum, on their 12th birthday. ps kaye intelligent design is an attempt to put science sounds to another aspect of adam and eve and god’s 6 day build. I can remember a sad xstian’s attempt at explaining that god must have been behind the design the flagella on bacteria. The poor prick had no idea that his god put fossils around to trick scientists so he could keep them out of heaven.

  34. Bruce White

    Yes, well said Michael Taylor. I rather liken what you said about your verbal attacks on the old Digger. Which you later regretted. I guess I see it as analogous to the saying ‘play the ball, not the man’. He is only, like us, a voter. ‘Playing the ball’ is arguing the policies. But in politics ‘the ball’ is also the politician. The politicians are very well paid professionals, they know (or should know) what they are letting themselves in for. And if they don’t like it, they can resign. It can be tough, but a lot of other people, not politicians, in life, and work, have it tough. And if the worst comes to the worst for politicians, then they just have to survive somehow on a parliamentary pension. In a dictatorship or totalitarian country they might not be able to leave and retire. They might only be able to leave in a coffin.eg. Putin. The only way he can leave is in a coffin.Contrast that with Gorbachev who lives a happy life in retirement and freedom. Perhaps otherwise, going into exile after paying a lot of money to another despot in another country. Our politicians only have trouble if they do something really criminally bad. And the worst that could happen? 2-3 years in gaol. The sort of thing that us ordinary citizens would get 5-10 years for.Yes I believe we can fairly play hardball with the politicians if they deserve it.
    As regards the old Digger.
    Many years ago, back in the 80s, I was a cab driver. I was working driving the cab on Anzac Day evening. I picked up an old Digger at a club. He was well dressed, suite, medals,rosemary. He hopped in the cab. Rather drunk. He said ‘there are two things I hate, bus drivers and taxi drivers. And he wasn’t joking at all. He was angry. Very angry. I ask (rhetorically), what can one say? I held my tongue, then said, in a dispassionate voice. Where do you want to go to, sir. That’s when I understood the name that’s sometimes given to Anzac Day. ‘The One Day Of The Year’

  35. Bruce White

    Keith, that is very funny. An invitation to join the IPA. Maybe you could consider going underground there. Become a fifth columnist. Or use a good old fashioned trade union technique. White ant them. Take them over. You would have plenty of willing covert left wing collaborators. And then destroy or collapse them. You might have to resign first (tempoarily but officially) from anything like the ALP, Greens, Socialist Equality Party,Socialist Alliance or union membership and perhaps tell ASIO and the AFP what you are doing (under strictest secrecy of course). It could be quite fun. It would be like watching The New Guard disintegrate in the mid 1930s. With an incoming federal ALP government (we hope), you could be up for honours.eg Order of Australia for services to Australian Democracy, Australian Of The Year,etc, the mind boggles. Keating once said, “there are 3 types of people in Australian politics, 1. ‘straight men’, 2. ‘fixers’ and 3. ‘maddies’… I’m a maddie”… With a grin.

  36. Keith

    Bruce The funny thing is that having made a comment on the IPA Facebook page it took a bit of effort to go back there … you get results such as … ” IPA & LIBERTARIAN Exposed PLUS My initial comments which they have edited: Instrumentation on satellites and argo buoys along with other instrumentation inform climate science. Paleoclimatology provides information about what was happening in past epochs in relation to climate. They provide a measure of what can be expected. Aynsley Kellow is not a climate scientist. Claiming to know more than 14,000 studies used by the IPCC is on the ridiculous side when a consensus approach is used to write IPCC Reports and so are very reliable. ********************************************************** Edited out

    How do you explain to Inuit hunters that in some areas used for hunting for hundreds of years, that those areas have become unsafe through ice melt. Or, ice that hugged islands is now very many kilometres away. Or, roads once flat are now in a concertina shape rolling up and down due to permafrost thawing. Permafrost thawing is dangerous. as it stores huge amounts of methane and CO2. The area edited out was about the book they had published suggesting it was a catalogue of myths. My other comments have been edited from the same meme when it was used again a day or so later. Anyway a wealth of ignorance was displayed by IPA commentators.

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