Mixed bag of issues

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What a week – Twitter trolls, Muslim protestors, the confirmation of our new-look Council, Princess Kate’s goodies, Julia Gillard’s boost in the polls, Barry’s education funding crisis… the list goes on and on.

Let’s deal with a few of those issues…

Twitter trolls

The story: Robbie Farah, Charlotte Dawson and a whole bunch of other B-List celebrities have been rolled out over the past week as the fight over Twitter trolls steps up. Government regulation, police involvement… it’s all being tossed up as fears grow that online bullying is getting out of control.

My view: We all need to toughen up. Bullying is very serious and indeed can have tragic consequences, but when it comes to the online world, there’s two words that prove to be a miracle cure to bullying, particularly from anonymous trolls: ‘sign out’. Farah, Dawson and others have been subjected to unfair and disgusting criticism, but they have chosen to open themselves up for whatever comes their way by giving the public unfetted access to them. Celebrities once hid behind dark glasses, bodyguards and huge fences around their homes. Now they’re happy to tweet half naked photos, opinions about politicians and events and news on what they had for dinner. To compare Internet trolling by anonymous people in cyberspace to the serious issues of schoolyard or workplace bullying is to trivialise the bigger issue. If you don’t like it, sign out and get on with life.

On the bright side: I know that my mate John got his cast off on Tuesday, and I didn’t even talk to him. Oh, and Mark had soup for lunch. Knowledge is the key to the success.

Muslim protests

The story: Violent clashes erupted in Sydney last Saturday following a protest sparked by an anti-Islamic film.

My view: I still haven’t looked at the YouTube video that sparked such anger from the Muslim protestors, and in fact I wouldn’t have known it existed if it wasn’t for the protests both here and overseas. Pointless stupidity that nobody is brave enough to actually condemn with words that really mean something. If it was indeed a minority section of the Muslim community that reacted in a way that saw such violence erupt last Saturday, then it is up to the majority to find a solution. Not for one second do I believe that what we saw last Saturday is reflective of the wider Muslim community. Just like not all football players are overpaid alcoholics on drugs, and not all politicians are liars. Stereotypes stick, and unfortunately, a stupid, irresponsible few only strengthened an unfortunate stereotype that the Muslim community will now find even tougher to overcome.

On the bright side: Talkback radio producers have been able to take a week’s holiday, safe in the knowledge that the topics of discussion will look after themselves.

Princess Kate

The story: A French magazine has published nude photographs of Kate Middleton, but thanks to Google, little Johnny from St Marys has seen more of the Princess than he could ever have imagined.

My view: If you haven’t tried to find the photos online yet, you’re lying. Legal arguments aside, the damage has now been done. Permanent damage? Not really. Yes, she’s a Princess and has a huge public image to protect. But she’s also a beautiful young woman, and is going to constantly attract attention – bikini top or no bikini top. So, we’ve all seen more of her than we ever thought we would. We’ll move on to something else tomorrow (with any luck, to her sister, Pippa). And as much as I’ll be battered around the head by the odd colleague and probably my girlfriend, she only has herself to blame. I’m not excusing the actions of the photographer, but if your image is crucial, you mitigate the risks. She didn’t.

On the bright side: Research for this part of the column was quite interesting.

New-look Council

The story: The 15 councillors to lead Penrith for the next four years have been decided.

My view: A few surprises, and a mix that will ensure the job of Council reporter at any of the local newspapers is never dull. All in all, quality people with Penrith at heart. Their views will widely differ at times but the many different roads will eventually intersect and hopefully give us a bright, fruitful Penrith.

On the bright side: This week, we’re sure we’ve got the 15 names correct.

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