Home Roland Rocchiccioli When did mean-spiritedness, lack of regard, and a determination to inflict pain...

When did mean-spiritedness, lack of regard, and a determination to inflict pain and anguish on others become a fixture of our lives?

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I am curious to know: When did mean-spiritedness, lack of regard, and a determination to inflict pain and anguish on others become a fixture of our lives? Always, there has been those people who are willing to look for the worst in others; they never have a kind word to say about anyone; and they would rather denigrate than support. It is so much easier to knock-down than it is to build-up; to look for the negative in everything, which, presumably, makes them feel so much better about their own miserable little lives.

Last week this paper ran a page three story devoted to the pandemic societal problem of domestic violence. The story filled one third of the page and included a colour picture of the mayor, surrounded by about 100 people standing – hands on hearts–and all in the process of taking the pledge to stamp-out violence against women. The picture alone was a story but there was supporting copy. The banner headline read: A Pledge To Support Violence Against Women.

I read the headline and went straight to the article which was, unambiguously, a story condemning violence against women. The headline – if taken literally –might, if you so wanted, suggest the opposite. It is obvious, to anyone possessed of a modicum of fair mindedness, what has happened, and what was meant to be said. Patently, even to the most mean-spirited, fault-seeking, mealy-mouthed, censorious reader, it was not a story supporting violence against women. Quite the opposite! The picture shouted the story. Rather than taking the time to send a sensibly worded email, pointing-out that the headline suggested the opposite to what it was meant to say, four sharp-tongued viragos– none of whom volunteered their names telephoned and protested in the most confrontational manner. One of these wretched creatures even had the temerity to phone back a second time to continue her salvo of criticism. Because it suited their twisted, jaundiced view of the world, they shouted their abuse down the line, hissing and spitting their vile hostility, and accusing the paper of supporting violence against women. What a crock of! Their offensive response was mischief making at it ugliest. One can only hope, with the opportunity to reflect on their appalling, antisocial behaviour, they are regretting their action – but I wouldn’t hold my breath! Such people never learn and are unpleasant by disposition. They should ponder the standard of perfection in their own lives.

The Miner is a free paper which requires an herculean effort to publish each week. It has a staff of two – Alan Marini and Debbie Kolarik – Alan even takes the pictures plus a couple of columnists. It is logical, under such pressure, mistakes are going to occur, and the headline was a truly regrettable mistake; however, the good intention was obvious and should not be ignored. Only a determined carper would see it as otherwise. I once did a story for Channel Ten television news. The completed story was viewed and approved by thirteen editors, journalists and producers before it went to air. No-one noticed that I had inadvertently moved the Gallipoli campaign to the Second World War. I was mortified!

It is possible to temper the truth with kindness. The reaction of the four outraged readers was inexcusable and unforgiveable. Their determination to cause upset, and to look for dark shadows where there are none, is disquieting, and is part of a malaise which has engulfed society. It would seem that ‘do unto others’ does not have a place in the modern lexicon.

Before any of the four harpies accuse me of supporting violence against women, my childhood was blighted by domestic violence which was, in truth, recidivistic criminal assault. The bastard perpetrating the crime should have been thrown into jail. He was a chronic alcoholic of diminished responsibility, and who, to my delight, died in the Claremont Lunatic Asylum – and not a moment too soon! My final word on the matter: The four whingers are damned lucky that I didn’t answer their telephone call! Their ears would still be ringing.

On a more pleasant note: The Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Carols In The Cathedral, conducted by Andrew Wailes, will be performed on the Friday 18th 8.30pm, and Saturday 19th December 3 and 8pm at St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne.

The programme of artists will include soprano Yvonne Kenny, The Australian Children’s Choir, Melbourne University Choral Society, Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir, RMP Brass and Percussion,harpist Jacinta Dennett, organist Geoffrey Urquhart, and pianists Amir Farid and Rhodri Clarke. For the fifth year I will be doing several of the readings, including a reflection.

If you want to enjoy two hours of glorious Christmas music – and I promise you won’t hear Jingle Bells Rock or White Christmas – then book tickets. It is one of the best carol services I have heard – ever, anywhere in the world. Maestro Andrew Wailes is a tough task master and his knowledge of Christmas music is vast. He skilfully combines the popular with the less well known. There is something awe-inspiring about the sound of 200 voices – children and adults raised in song. The opening carol – Once In Royal David’s City – takes the audience by surprise and is one of the most thrilling moments I have heard in a cathedral – all of which seem to have been built for musical perfection!

BOOKINGS THROUGH TRYBOOKING or rmp.org.au/concert/carols-in-the-cathedral/

Contact: rolandroc@bigpond.com

Roland can be heard each MONDAY morning on 3BA at 10.30 with Edwin Cowlishaw.