Posts Tagged ‘Society’

Want a lolly? Hop on an Aussie bus.

September 21st, 2015 Comments off


I’ve been back in the Australia homeland for a month or so, and impressed with the old place – especially the ditching of the loathsome Tony Abbott as prime minister, although his “self-made all-round genius” successor Malcolm Turnbull may not be a massive improvement.

People are generally nice – polite and considerate – more than in the dirty old Anglo-Celtic capitals of the northern hemisphere, Donald Rumsfeld’s “Old Europe”. The locals, of course, do an exercise in mouth-wrinkling and sotto voce scoffing when I offer this opinion.

On a Melbourne suburban train, when another middle-aged lady and I were the first passengers into a well-populated carriage, two teenage school students in uniform rose immediately from their seats and moved aside for us. Could have knocked me down with a feather. The only young person who ever gave up a seat for me in Dublin was a young Travelller boy, some years ago. The privileged sprogs of the south county Dublin bourgeoisie lounge around comfortably, with their schoolbags providing an insurmountable obstacle course.

In Sydney, on a crowded late-afternoon bus, an elderly gentleman asked the father of a toddler, as they settled in their seats, if it would be okay to offer the little boy lollies [sweets]. “Thank you, but no, too much sugar and he gets hyper,” the father declined with a smile. You don’t see such exchanges on the 46A in Dublin or the no 29 in London.

Getting lost in Melbourne, a couple of girls walking their dogs fished out their mobile phones and Googled my destination – not a bother.

And most remarkably of all, when I was wandering lonely as a cloud along a central Melbourne railway station, looking for the airport bus, a rail employee actually approached me and asked if I needed help!! He nearly had to pick me up off the floor. Read more…

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The Notorious and the Voice of an Angel: ultimate odd couple

July 24th, 2015 Comments off

Weird, wonderful but weird – and maybe wrong?

Conor McGregor tattoo

The championship fight of Conor “The Notorious” McGregor in Las Vegas on July 12, spiked as it was with a heart-rending performance by Sinead O’Connor, studded as it was with Irish flags and chants of “Ole, ole ole ole”, was one of those pinch-me experiences for the witness.

Surely many Irish citizens watching, either payTV, online or subsequently on landline TV, winced at the unabashed depiction of the fighting Irish. Plucky, dangerous lot who lead with their fists, if not their knucklehead. Violence solves everything and is supreme. Don’t mess with us, boyo, ye British jackbooted … etc etc.

It’s disgusting – but also tempting, cleansing, as with any atavistic ritual that does play to feellings deep inside the person, or the collective consciousness.
So maybe that’s why tickets to the event cost €350 and yet there was an overwhelming, obvious take-up by Irish fans. An estimated 11,000 Irish fans made their presence dominant in the vast arena.

Read more…

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2015 Gallipoli evacuation was one big mess

May 12th, 2015 Comments off


AND so to Gallipoli, for the centenary of the disastrous first World War campaign, in the company of An Uachtarain Michael D Higgins of Ireland.

That’s slightly gilding the poppy, as your correspondent wasn’t in the President’s party, but on the same plane, in steerage rather than the glamour of first-class.

Turkish Airlines are a pleasant carrier, but even the president’s presence didn’t mean we got into the air on time at Dublin.

However that was a minor transport consideration compared to what lay ahead. Read more…

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Women are disposable – still

April 10th, 2015 Comments off

IF you haven’t read recently about an Irish architect called Graham Dwyer, count yourself lucky. If you haven’t, you’re also probably living in another country, as the Dwyer trial was big news in Ireland for the first three months of 2015.

And if you haven’t perhaps you should – not only because it is a fascinating if repulsive story, but also because it, sadly, suggests at the underlying attitude to women in the human race.

And that is: disposable.

Read more…

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On Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat – the ‘asocial media’ emerge

November 21st, 2014 Comments off

It’s good to see the Irish authorities have reached the stage of public consultation on fine-tuning changes to existing laws so they cover bad behaviour on digital platforms.

But why not a whole new law, even a suite of laws? As netizens [ugh], or rather people who overwhelmingly both work and play via the internet, we should have controls that refer specifically to this environment. It’s no longer possible to pretend that the wonderful freedom and openness of the web can be a highway without road-signs and restrictions.

More and more, the unlovely side of the internet comes into view. And that’s without discussing the Dark Web, hard-core porn and its trade, ditto for drugs and weapons.

Up in the sunny, noisy, hillsides of ‘social media’ it’s becoming ever more clear, to anyone with sensitivity and clear sight, that the term ‘social’ denoting a big open party is a misnomer. Even the implication that social implies a concern and regard for one another is often inaccurate.

More often it should be ‘asocial media’. ‘Asocial’ means ‘without society’. And individuals such as those who threatened athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill with sexual violence after she stated she would not support the re-employment of a convicted rapist at Sheffield football club should not be welcome in any society. They have no regard from others, except for those who confront them in the flesh. Read more…