Gayle in a Teacup

Kids that eat fruit and guys who ask girls for drinks – no wonder Big Brother was so popular.

It never ceases to sadden me what makes national news, or how people enjoy discussing, arguing over and championing the stupidest things.

Forget the thousands of human beings living in horrible conditions that our government is mandatorily detaining for, well for being human but from a different part of human land.


Forget the education of our children, better health care and the care of our elderly.

No, let’s talk about some kid who eats fruit in a strange way and how he can appear on every network umpteen different times this week.

The Gayle/McLaughlin interview is somewhat more difficult now to talk about because people have hitched very real issues to what was at best a somewhat awkward and completely un-newsworthy television moment.

‘It is workplace harassment’ they say, ‘Gayle is a woman-hating thug’ they cry.

Well I’ll just stop people right there.

What happened in Hobart was nothing to do with harassment nor gender equality.

A journalist got annoyed and then half the nation went bananas. That is what happened.

As a journo who has covered more than his fair share of netball games I have been on the end of quite a few ‘what are you doing after the game / geez you’re nice and tall aren’t you etc’ while roaming the sidelines and interviewing players.

And not just at netball games. And not just from girls.

That they were less interested in my awesome journalism-ing (totally a word) than they were in my height or body shape never occurred to me.

But even if it had, I can’t dictate how someone perceives me as much as I can control what people say.

There is no shared sense of how to assess people, or what we as people should value most when meeting or talking to others.

So inevitably people will be offended, hurt, joyed or confused by what others do or say.

Gayle’s words and the meaning behind them are subjective – we cannot know if he was trying to be funny, lude, offensive, hurtful, sincere or what.

All we know is that it annoyed or upset McLaughlin to some degree.

That’s it. Gender doesn’t even come into it.

But whether it is an awkward sports interview or a kid who eats fruit, what passes for news and newsworthiness in our society today is just sad.

Our collective reaction and/or overreaction to the smallest, most bizarre, stupid or mundane things is getting increasingly absurd.

Maybe that is the conversation we should be having.

The Meddler

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