...here in Australia.
I've avoided commenting on various news stories that have caught my eye, notably the death (apparently by suicide) of a British nurse who'd been "pranked" by a couple of young Australian DJs. While aspects of this pressed my emotional buttons, at the end of the day we can't legally blame the DJs for the nurse's death. Even claims that their actions were morally somehow equivalent to murder or manslaughter are over the top. That's not to deny that their prank was taken too far - the way they pressed it, rather than ending it quickly when it became apparent that they were dealing with someone whose low level of English language skills made her especially vulnerable, was immature and cruel. There was gloating afterwards on at least one Twitter feed, since deleted, and this adds to the impression of a cruel or callous mentality.
Then again, I don't understand why the British media, which evidently displayed even more cruelty, seem to be getting off without blame.
More generally, when will we all grow up and take the attitude that it's simply not funny when powerful people use that power to humiliate ordinary, seemingly good, powerless people? Surely we can work on cultural change, so that actions like of those of these DJs are no longer considered acceptable. They were handed great power, in the form of their platforms at a popular radio station, and placed in a culture that encouraged them in every way to abuse it.
Despite some of my own intemperate tweets, one of which I subsequently deleted as it went much too far, I think, on reflection, that the blame goes a long way beyond these rather young (and in this instance, evidently immature) people. It's better for us to introspect about what we really want as a society, when the powerful confront the powerless, than to conduct a witch hunt against these two individuals, who appear to be emotionally shattered by the experience.
Then there was the sensational Federal Court judgment that found the civil law claim against Peter Slipper for alleged sexual harassment to be an abuse of the process of the court. This does not mean that Slipper is entirely exonerated - he may be guilty of some borderline sexual harassment of a staffer - but in this case there are issues of proportion, ulterior motives, and even political conspiracy. The ramifications of the case will continue for some time.
Some days earlier we saw lobbying to ban teaching Love in the Time of Cholera, by celebrated author Gabriel García Márquez, as a literary text in Victorian schools, and this seems to have met with some success. Last I heard, it's under review.