Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Much Ado About Nothing (according to the offensive)

In no particular order but highly interchangeable:
"It's a total overreaction."
"It's political correctness gone mad!"
"I was quoted out of context."
"It was just one of those things. (You know what) happens."

And my personal paraphrased favourite by none other than Barnaby Joyce, future leader of the National Party is that "it would be a shame if we became a sterile nation."

We can all do it. These are highly credible, scientifically validated and potentially useful psychological devices to justify and rationalise things to ourselves and others. Sometimes we believe them. Sometimes we pretend to. But we're all capable of it.
We obfuscate when we're scared.
We exaggerate when it suits us.
We trivialise when we're defensive.
We tell people they misunderstood or just plain got it wrong.
We tell them, the targets or victims it's no big deal and they should lighten up.
We are sometimes crueller or more subversive. We tell them they are misrepresenting the facts or even that they outright lied.

And then when they come out of the woodwork and say this happened to them some time ago (think Bill Cosby), we attack them on social media and say if it really happened why didn't they complain about it at the time?
If we can defend the indefensible then perhaps we can also do the following as victims or targets.
We can convince ourselves we've overreacted.
We can be convinced (perhaps justifiably) if we complain we'll be labelled "problem children" or "litigious".
We can fear pushing back will mean potential talent (e.g. high profile sports stars) won't ever agree to be interviewed by us and for a journalist that's career suicide.
Our own colleagues may become wary of us. Perhaps they'll label us "precious" but not to us directly unless we get sent the text accidentally!

So in the past week we've seen it from a federal politician and a gifted cricketer.  We've seen the victim shaming, tolerating, obfuscating and explaining away. Others have weighed in and some did to condemn. If a footy player over-celebrates a goal or does the handcuff jail thing, the commentators jump, but if it's about race, religion or gender, some are just plain scared lest they fall out with the wrong people. And the fear of falling out with the wrong people is sometimes why targets of inappropriate  behaviour don't say anything at the time. But it doesn't mean it's not offensive in a Hong Kong Hotel or after a cricket match.

The senior journalist labelled an effing witch by a hapless/careless politician has the same right to decide she wasn't bothered as Mel McLoughlin had to decide she was.

Chris Gayle is exciting to watch. How about he lets his cricket bat do the talking?!

I can only hope that those poor attractive female journos sent to the airport yesterday to get a sound byte from Chris Gayle and who looked clearly uncomfortable if not repulsed to be be there holding a microphone in front of him, weren't sent by their editors hoping to get a repeat of what Gayle dished out to the professional and gracious Mel McLoughlin just because that would have been another story. It would also have made them cannon fodder. The healthier and more wholesome story would be that sending them was a truly "gender blind" decision on the part of the editor who saw neither gender nor physical attractiveness as a criterion for decision making.