1. Dolly’s message
People all over the country were gutted when they heard that 14 year-old Amy Everett, known as “Dolly”, committed suicide after being bullied on social media. The father took to Facebook to suggest Dolly’s tormentors attend her memorial:
- “Please come to our service and witness the complete devastation you have created,” he wrote on Sunday.
Dolly had been the face of Akubra hats back in 2009:
This was the last drawing she left behind:
There has been much commentary, and we have diverse services to help, including the establishment of an eSafety Commissioner whose office, we are told, has ordered offending comment to be taken down 600 times.
Who honestly thinks there will not be more casualties?
People naturally look to the schools, where much of the bullying starts. Back in the 1990s when we were parents Queensland schools were meant to have anti-bullying programs as a matter of policy. One that didn’t was Buranda State School. There the principal, Lynne Hinton, said if the school had a behaviour management policy and taught philosophy across the school, which it still does, then anti-bullying was redundant. Her policy was to work with children, not on them so that they were routinely considerate of the feelings of others. Also they came to understand the ethical basis for action.
Buranda had certain advantages. One was that by and large the parents were not bullies. Child bullies often have parents who are bullies. A bully typically lacks self-esteem, but gets a temporary rise out of taking other people down. Bullies are often victims that need help.
When bullying occurs there is also often a pack effect. Children need to recognise this, monitor their own behaviour and learn appropriate strategies and skills, including intervention where possible.
Apart from that I have two suggestions. One is that personal and social development of children become a core task of schools, not just the promulgation of a core academic curriculum. In earlier days personal and social development was a large focus in early education, which has unfortunately been overwhelmed by the back-to-basics movement.
The second is that prospective teachers undergo a personality test to identify the bullies. Many teachers, including those who are promoted, have authoritarian attitudes that don’t help.
I also thought the suggestion that commenters on social media should by law have to supply a phone number, or a means of tracing them, so they can be held accountable had some merit.
2. Trump out-Trumps himself – again
You will recall that Trump has just tweeted that he’s a genius and “a very stable genius at that!” Seems his aides have been struggling over whether he is a “fucking moron”, an “idiot” or “dumb as shit” or just a “dope.”
- Everyone, in his or her own way, struggled to express the baldly obvious fact that the president did not know enough, did not know what he didn’t know, did not particularly care, and, to boot, was confident if not serene in his unquestioned certitudes.
- just interrupted an immigration meeting in the White House to tell a group of presumably surprised lawmakers that the United States was “having all these people from shithole countries come here.”
He’s suggesting that the US should stop admitting immigrants from Haiti and El Salvador and instead bring in more people from Norway.
No-one is surprised. The contention is that he won the presidency because of his xenophobia and racism and his willingness to say such things blatantly. It’s the core of Trumpism.
Meanwhile Slate has a piece on what Michael Wolff got right in his book.
Wolff thinks the sad fact is that Trump just wanted to shake things up a bit, gain celebrity, then complain that the system cheated him out of the job. He never expected to win, nor did he particularly want to. Now his schedule is arranged so he has plenty of time for golf, TV, phoning friends and tweeting.
So we have what we have.
Now Trump has claimed that he has been misreported, but I think no-one believes him. There were multiple people in the room. The WTF bloke who sends out an email every day cites an unnamed senator who claims Trump said the “shithole” word multiple times.
Also you should know that Michael Wolff has a reputation for stretching the facts, but no-one is saying he is majorly wrong this time, except the rusted-on partisans. He says he’s giving us a feeling of what the Trump presidency is like.
3. Peter Dutton sledges the judiciary and individual judges
Peter Dutton seems to think it his duty to sledge magistrates as civil libertarians and has labelled one Supreme Court judge, Lex Lasry, a “left-wing ideologue”.
Victoria’s Attorney-General, Martin Pakula, has appointed 10 of the 57 Supreme Court Judges, Associate Judges in Victoria, 17 of the 126 Magistrates, and 68 Country Court judges in the state. The question is whether Peter Dutton with his new home affairs ministry can contribute anything practical, or whether he’s there just to stir up fears and score political points.
4. Craig McLachlan
Craig McLachlan’s acting career has been put on hold as more accusations surface. First it was three members of the cast of the 2014 Rocky Horror production.
Then a man and a woman who were crew members approached the police, followed by new accusations relation to the Dr Blake TV production.
Now Germaine Greer has weighed in, saying she’s not happy with how McLachlan has been treated:
- “He hasn’t been proved guilty of anything,” she explained on the show. “Now it’s becoming if you’re in a position of power or influence, you can’t make a pass at somebody, because it will be considered to be inappropriate use of influence, force and so on. How do you express desire without putting pressure on people?”
She questioned why society couldn’t have a “rational attitude” to sexual offences and even suggested there should be different degrees of gravity depending on the impact of the crime.
She’s all for women badly treated coming forward, but warns not all will win, and she’s concerned over what will happen to them. Powerful men will hire good lawyers.
By the way, she also told Radio National that Donald Trump as president was “working” for the USA. He interests her because “they” can’t control him.
Not sure how much all that helps.