Bullied into Silence aka the Bastard Problem

The phrase “being bullied into silence” has started occurring in the Same Sex Marriage debate, often emanating from the No camp.

Here is my response…

Only bullies complain about being bullied into silence because it’s the exact technique they use to bully others!

As soon as they are questioned or confronted they say they are being bullied. Their very actions are meant to provoke. So an angry response is what they want! But even a question or a rebuttal evokes the same response. Then they say they are being bullied.

Or as I call it: the bastard problem.

The bastard problem: assume everyone else is a bastard, treat them as such and keep them underfoot.  And when they resist or respond, they’re a bastard, they’ve proven themselves so. Substitute the word bully for bastard…

So ironic to see what happens in public replicate my own experience in private. As asked last week about how bullies start, I replied without thinking, “They practice first at home!!”


Everyone Failed Social Media : Except Mark Colvin

I knew Mark Colvin (and his kidney!) purely through Twitter! And sad at his loss.

I did read some of his interview transcripts: a gentle questioner able to get a better answer! But in the maelstrom that is Twitter, he came across as funny, intelligent, curious, never ever patronising, clever and subtle, a joy to read.

And his last tweet!!

I think every one failed social media except for Mark Colvin.

Learning Disagreement Skills

Go on, click the angry icon. Share the negative post or tweet.

Slip in and quickly criticise. Tell the other how they got it completely wrong.

They lack intelligence. Common sense. Logic.

Sit back and easily insult the unlike you.

They can’t even think. They’re Inhuman.  We should wipe them out.

Yes it’s so easy to disagree and oppose.  And easiest to offer no solution.

I thinking this as I read each tweet storm. And think even more as I click through each Facebook outbreak outrage.

I realise it is so familiar. For it was exactly the same as my experience.

For at quite close range and for quite a long time, I heard the same words for the same reason.

For to disagree, even silently through to mildly evoked white-hot anger.

Sometimes in despair, I joined in and fully embraced the proferred down spiral.

Until somebody asked, “So how did that work for you Andrew?”

I’d shake my head silent. I said no, it didn’t, it didn’t at all, it made things far worse.

“So what are you going to about it Andrew?”

(How can you make it better?).

There was the beginning of an answer.

I was learning disagreement skills.

Not the “let’s agree to disagree” cliche. That only suspended hostilities for now. And led to a ever widening DMZ!

Be silent Andrew.  Don’t interrupt the the other. Listen to the person behind the words.

Sit stock still Andrew. Don’t move and distract the other. Don’t insult them for not thinking like you.

For no-one thinks like you. Which is a wonderful thing! For everyone and you too.

Ask the question that goes beyond the question. Wait for the answer that reveals another’s truth. Not to you. To them.

Listen and bide your time, then you’ll find that it’s  the time. For the quiet and thoughtful ones to be heard.

Who speak without the intent of crushing free speech. Who speak and listen to encourage freedom of listening.

To enable those who accept truth without question (as you once did) to find their own. And others find theirs.

Otherwise it gets too dark when we all agree not to look for the light.



The Last Selfie

The last moments are the scariest, he thought. As he had been told. Apparently you first bob like a cork. Then you are swamped. Then you stretch your arms out to push yourself out of the water. And giving up, your arms and legs climb upward. Then downward. Thus overloaded you sink to the bottom faster than an anchor. So much time to contemplate, he thought.

The wave had already broken and the spray filled the sky. So much power, so much grace, how fortunate to witness. He reached for his phone. But there was no coverage. There’s no one to tell it to now. No photo, no text, could he break into the internet using his thoughts? But there, there was so much bile, cat videos, fake news that would overwhelm his story. Although it might go viral he thought, the last selfie of a drowning man. The channel between him and the point was now frothing green and white. Apparently once you sink to the bottom, it’s like falling asleep and drifting off. He really was annoyed now. He was never going to get his few seconds of fame on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram now. He looked and now the trough was full and flowing towards him. And then the water started building up again. He looked up and saw the spray over arch him again.
A second wave. He assembled the new facts of his predicament with studied detachment resolving to record and relate it for another time. The wave fell and crushed him silent.

Cory Bernardi and Freedom of Speech

Much has been made of the recent comments by Senator Cory Bernardi regarding his book the Conservative Revolution (see the reviews and Twitter). All I will say is that I disagree with him. Based on his expressed values I almost certainly won’t read his book. And like Bill Shorten I can give personal examples!

It won’t be long until comments are offered that Cory Bernardi is exercising his freedom of speech. It may look like I’m ghost writing for Andrew Bolt or Piers Ackerman. There may even be an appeal to the new Human Rights Commissioner for Freedom Tim Wilson.

And according to the framers of free speech (warning: Wikipedia reference!), he should express his opinion without fear of penalty.

Why? Implicit in the right to free speech is that it is a right for all. Freedom of speech is for everyone.

Which presents a problem for those like me who disagree strongly.

It’s way too easy to tell him to shut up or insult him. Some have already.

The problem with that is my explicit and implicit attitude : the only person who should exercise freedom of speech is me and me alone.

Which means I can enjoy my moment of free speech. And silence everyone else’s freedom of speech.

Which mean freedom of speech is lost in the long run for me and for everyone else.

I Wish I Was A Mummy Blogger

According to the normal media, the Internet is inhabited by mummy bloggers.

As a male mummy blogger I find this a bit hard to take. I did style myself as a male mummy blogger during a mock debate over social media but was politely howled down.

I learnt from that. I’m now a daddy blogger. Which sounds really daggy and unfashionable.

But what I would like to see is this. Either the media embrace the term daddy blogger or even male mummy blogger and then I would receive the well deserved attention I desperately crave.

Or just call us bloggers and read what we write!

Maybe it would be seen that the Internet has diversity and variety!

Another blog is calling!

Why the MainStream Media is Dying…

Imagine you are a journalist in a small country town.

Reading the newspaper: Brookgreen Gardens in P...

You know everyone and they know you.

Any unethical behaviour will in time be found out.

Then you lose your contacts, advertisers, circulation and your newspaper’s reputation.

Imagine you are a journalist in a city.

You know no-one and no-one knows you.

Any unethical behaviour may not in time be found out.

Then you keep your contacts, advertisers, circulation and your newspaper’s reputation.

Unless the city becomes like a small country town (as is happening with the internet, social media creating a confluence between newsmakers and news consumers).

Where personal contact, ethical behaviour and trust is vital. And people will ask their friends for the latest news rather than an untrusted media outlet.

Social Media Simplified


social-media-party (Photo credit: cyberpunk65)

HubSpot Leads Automatically Get Social Media I...

HubSpot Leads Automatically Get Social Media Info and Photo Added to Them (Photo credit: HubSpot)

Imagine you’re invited to a party.

You check the date, time and place. You get ready and turn up. You expect to be the centre of attention.

But when you arrive, the party is happening and has been going forever. Everybody is talking at once.

Everybody seems to know everyone else.  People will stop talking, join another group, talk for a while and then return to the original conversation as if nothing has happened.

So what do you do? You could choose a random person and start talking to them. You could choose a group and interrupt the conversation. Or you could wait and listen and when the right time take a chance to converse.

Welcome to Social Media!

Being Strategic About Trolling

Recently I was trolled on Facebook. Someone left some rather unsavoury comments on a photo I posted.

Angry  After some thought and some research, I deleted the post and blocked the person from Facebook.

The personal effects on me are just that, private and personal. But it raises some questions for me and for anyone who uses social media.

Currently, social media trolling is dealt with tactically. Either you engage with them  until proven guilty and then disengage with them . Many people recommend engaging with them first including me. But this incident has sown some severe doubts.

Sadly, there are some people who will respond to all and every engagement negatively. Dealing with them is time-consuming and tiring (as opposed to dealing with them in person 😉 ).

Unfortunately they have to be dealt with strategically. But how?

From my best guess, the tactics are:

1. You say (and listen) everything to everyone. This encourages trolling but also encourages new surprises and friends.

2. You say (and listen to) everything to a closed circle. This can only be called social media groupthink.

3. You communicate some things to some people (groups and circles). See Google and Facebook!

In truth, options 1 and 3 are acceptable unless you wish to restrict free speech.

But the hard part is to consciously work out what to say to whom and when.  We simply don’t do that in real life.  How can we do it in social media?

What is True Gallantry Anyway?

Lou Pardi’s experience of men patronising women but then being just so sweet and nice about it is summarised in the following blog (http://pardipardi.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/dilemma-unintentional-misogyny/).

When I quickly read it, my summary was tweeted as “Men are still uncomfortable with successful women and cover it up with false gallantry”. My comments were retweeted by the writer and I received two or three replies agreeing with it. So far, so good. Maybe my fifteen minutes of fame.

Which is all well and good until someone asks the unanswered question. No-one has yet asked me to fill in what I left out. No-one has asked, so Andrew, just what is real gallantry?

But people will. And I know who you are! And this is for you and anyone else who wants to know what gallantry is. At least to me anyway.

I will now throw some light on what I said. Taking the definition of gallantry from the dictionary : brave, spirited, noble-minded, or chivalrous or exceptionally polite and attentive to women (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gallant). Which means false gallantry is precisely as described in the blog above. So far so good.

But it still does not answer the question at all. In a post-medieval-renaissance-modernist age, what is real gallantry?

For me, true gallantry is helping someone in need and never asking for something in return.

True gallantry is admiring and praising someone who has prevailed through adversity.

True gallantry is really love that gives and asks no price.