It rained! Yippee! I hope this is a trend which continues for a while. I’m going to bake fruit bread and chocolate chunk cookies this morning in anticipation of friends coming over this afternoon. I also have birthday cake to finish off. (It’s really good).
Quite a varied list of links this morning. Hope you enjoy!
Recently First Offspring had a friend over to play, and I made the children frozen yoghurt icy-poles, using frozen berries I’d bought from the supermarket. The next day, I read about people contracting Hepatitis A, the only common link being that they had all eaten the same brand of berries I’d just fed to my children. Understandably, that’s frustrating. Our Offspring will probably be fine (although it’s not an enjoyable experience to have to ring another parent to tell her that her Offspring might have contracted Hepatitis A at our place) but if the Handsome Sidekick or I contract it, things may get uncomfortable. Usually I’m careful to buy food which is a product of Australia or another country where I trust the food standards, but I confess this time, I just didn’t check. In the midst of the outrage, there are calls for more oversight into what we import, to make sure we’re not eating diseases along with our food. For me, it’s a case of once bitten, twice shy. On Thursday I went out and bought a boysenberry vine and a blueberry bush. I would love for everyone to have the high food safety standards we have here, so that nobody has to eat contaminated food. But in the meantime, growing my own means at least I know what my family’s eating.
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When I was studying German at university, we read a book called Die Verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum (The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum). Written by Heinrich Böll, the book follows the story of a young woman who becomes associated with a suspected terrorist, and is caught up in a police investigation and hounded by the tabloid media. The way in which the reporter relentlessly investigates is tantamount to harassment, and… I won’t go into details in case you want to read it, but let’s just say it doesn’t end well. Of course, this was written in 1974, and tabloid media has come so very far since then. Now, it’s not just a tabloid newspaper, it’s the whole internet which become judge, jury and executioner. Jon Ronson has written a book called So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed which looks at the shocking way in which internet shaming has gone the extra step, so that something which might have once been a minor indiscretion becomes the catalyst for death threats, verbal abuse and loss of employment, as well as a devastating effect on the lives of individuals. The way we seem to be swept up in a mob mentality to judge people so quickly and so harshly is worrying, indeed.
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You would think that there have been so many people speak publicly about their struggles with mental illness that there might be less stigma and shame surrounding it, but a Federal Court judge, Justice Shane Marshall, explains that his depression was not only something he couldn’t admit to colleagues and friends, but also that the pressures of his career and position were toxic to his (and many others’) mental health. I admire his courage for discussing this in public, but am disappointed that it is still so difficult for us to talk about, and that some of his colleagues are no longer speaking to him.
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A good news story to end with! Connor McLeod has been blind since birth, and recently petitioned the Reserve Bank of Australia to print tactile banknotes so that he and other people who are visually impaired know the denominations of the notes without having to ask other people. This kind of thing makes me happy. It’s a small adjustment which will make a huge difference to those who need it.