Saturday, October 26, 2019

This week's controversies

It is good that here in Australia we only have controversies at the moment and not madness as is happening in Britain and the United States but our turn will come again.

Our Australian Aborigines own Uluru and its surrounds, formerly known as Ayers Rock, and lease it back to our Federal Government and it is jointly managed by the local aborigines and Parks Australia. If you haven't seen what the monolith looks like, Jackie in Toronto has a good photo taken when she and her husband visited. It's also like an iceberg with much of the rock below ground level. While we have the honour of having the largest monolith in the world, Mount Augustus not Uluru, Uluru is pretty damn large.

As of yesterday, Friday, climbing the rock will be banned, some time after the local aborigines requested people to not climb their sacred rock. Also, 37 people have died while climbing the rock and many more have been injured. Meanwhile today, there is a long queue to make the climb. My view? It's their rock and if they don't want people to climb it, so be it. It isn't the end of the world, but some people have a very different view. Some things are best admired from a distance. The Ponte Vecchio is perhaps not so interesting to walk across but how wonderful viewed with some distance.

I have not seen the rock because I have never really wanted to. I liken it the joyful surprise in finding out how wonderful Barcelona, Lisbon and Porto are as I knew little about them before visiting them. I've grown up knowing Uluru by photos, documentaries, travel shows and descriptions. Majestic as it is, I don't think I would find it too surprising.

Another matter here that went off like a bomb this week was stoked by a simple cartoon by the at times controversial Michael Leunig.

I think it rather depends who you are talking about. Is it the young blonde women who lunches and shops in High Street Armadale with a baby in a carriage that might cost as much a motor bike, often seen in the streets pushing a pram at speed in exercise clothing and glued to her phone? Or is it the new mother in the outer suburbs feeling socially isolated and friendless apart from the connections she has via her phone? 

If the job of a satirical cartoonist is to cause controversy, Leunig did a good job, especially with setting off war between the nodding in agreement Baby Boomers against the defensive Gen X and Y. What a hoot! Of course when daddy looks at his phone, it is only for really important reasons, like sports scores and photos of naked women.

38 comments:

  1. I have no problems with the ban on climbing Uluru. I can't think of any other item of cultural/spiritual signficance we expect to be able to climb (and was amazed/appalled by the vast queues of people climbing on the last day).
    I saw the Michael Leunig cartoon and smiled. I have seen some people focussed on phones to the exclusion of everyone around them. I didn't take it as condemnation of all mothers. Naive? Perhaps. I note that his sister Mary has joined the criticism and wondered whether their estrangement was the cause... She is also a cartoonist/social commentator but her images are much darker than his on the whole.

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    1. Indeed EC. R tells me at times to get off my phone, but he is equally focused on his. Wow, did Michaels sister dis him on radio here.

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  2. I like your comment Andrew so much that I feel there is nothing I can add.

    XO
    WWW

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  3. I was very surprised that they allowed large groups of people to climb Uluru yesterday. Why can't people accept its significance to the true owners of the rock and have some respect.

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  4. Nobody needs to climb that. That's baloney. Stay off, thrill seekers, find some other outlet for your adrenaline addiction and selfie needs. We destroy the thing we love. Everest has mountains of trash now.

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    1. Strayer, probably about selfies now.

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  5. The cartoon is hilarious. It made my day.

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    1. Forsythia, I hope you didn't tut tut.

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  6. Hah! Memories here of the day I forgot to fasten the strap at the foot end of the pram and when I tipped up the front wheels to get up a step into the newsagency the entire mattress, blanket, baby package slid towards the ground. I caught her halfway down and fastened the strap, but I've never forgotten it.

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    1. River, no babies hurt in the process.

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    2. Only six weeks old and well cushioned by bedding, sound asleep.

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  7. I have wanted to see Ayers Rock, but who knows.
    On electronic devices: I once went away with my cousin for the weekend. This was before I had a smart phone. She had one.
    I woke in our hotel room to the sound of Facebook pops. So annoying.
    Then after we walked to the nicest little diner for breakfast, she sat there texting with other people! After what seemed like forever, I put my hand on her phone!
    Talk to ME!
    She didn't understand. The next year, I took my sister with me to Falmouth. My cousin was hurt that she wasn't asked. But finally, I got my point across!

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    1. Oh yes Maribeth. I told someone at work to turn off his phone sounds in the quiet room. So rude too, as you describe.

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  8. I am very happy that Uluru has been permanently closed to climbers. I like your take on the Leunig cartoon too.

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    1. Thanks Cheryl. Love your comments.

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  9. I must agree that most Australian controversies are not as horrible and even life threatening as in other countries. That is... apart from running out of water for animals, agriculture burning up in the drought, the Great Barrier Reef's corals dying etc

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    1. Hels, we do have our own issues.

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  10. I have been known to growl, Look up, at people staring at their phones and walking. I leave mine in a case most of the time, and even turn it off at night. I am so old fashioned.

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    1. Travel, walking and talking on phones is worse here. I agree, switch it off at times.

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  11. I Tell Everyone That I Am Canadian While Traveling

    Cheers
    P.S. Classic Cartoon There Brother

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    1. I've heard about the Canadian thing Padre. Terrible that you feel ashamed of your nationality.

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  12. Thanks for the shout our, Andrew!
    I have no idea why people would bother to want to climb it. People should just respect others' rights.
    I like your comment about discovering the joys of new places like Barcelona, which I am totally in love with.
    As for devices, I am very attached to mine. I spend a lot of my day at my laptop. When out though, my phone is my camera. I don't check email or social media. I might look up an address.

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    1. Jackie, your photos are good taken by a phone camera. We have kind of an unwritten rule at cafes when brunching, phones are ok before the food arrives. I certainly don't walk along the street using a phone.

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  13. I never had the desire to visit or climb Uluru, and was amazed at the queue of people wanting to climb it on the last day. What most annoys me is people walking while looking down at their phone and not paying attention where they are going.

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    1. Sami, some are absurd with phones. They can be in the most beautiful places and all they do is look at their phones. You can bet atop Uluru people were preoccupied with phones and not staring around at the views.

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  14. I heard about the no climb policy yesterday.
    Cell phones. I see mothers on them all the time with their small children, and even their dogs, walking along looking sad.

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    1. Snowy, I don't know if it is a word you use, but it was a pithy cartoon.

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    2. Pithy is used enough that people know what it means.

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  15. At one time I want emigrate to Australia, when I was younger. Do you think the no climb policy has something to do with libiality

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    1. Dora, no. It is Aboriginal land and the rock is sacred to them. The ban has been on the books for years.

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  16. I totally agree with you ! Have nothing to add.

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    1. Of course you do Gattina. I am never wrong.

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  17. Absolutely agree with the no climb decision. If it's possible for a cartoon to be succinct, then the Leunig cartoon is 😉

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    1. Grace, succinct it is, but is it fair?

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  18. It bothers me to see parents ignoring their children for the sake of their phones. Why have kids if you don't want to put in the time and effort to love them and interact with them and teach them stuff? I suppose some parents don't plan them, but lots do, and they still have this blind spot.

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    1. Jenny, I've seen that too but it is complicated. I read something today about a mother who works part time so that she can spend more time with her young child and has to deal with work email and work matters when she is home, so she spends time on her phone when she is with her child, but the child can't distinguish between mummy working or mummy or mummy looking up parental advice or mummy playing on her phone. It's a hard one.

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