February 8, 2013

There Is No Excuse

I don't get outraged a lot these days. The older I get, the more aware I am of my own flaws and limitations, and the less I judge other people. What's more, as the years go by, the more attuned I am to the dark side of the human condition, and the less surprised I am by some of the shocking things that occur.

But the Chrissie Swan saga outrages me. Not because the woman had a sneaky cigarette whilst pregnant. I mean, seriously people - do we not have more important things to worry about? She didn't beat one of her already-born children, or take to her pregnant stomach with an iron bar. She didn't mainline heroin or strap a dozen mobile phones to her stomach to send radiation to her poor helpless fetus. She didn't even smoke a pack a day. She had a few sneaky cigarettes. I mean, give me a break.

And yet the woman is required to offer a tearful apology to the entire nation because of her bad behaviour. It is outrageous. It is none of our business. NONE. It has nothing to do with you and nothing to do with me. Chrissie Swan is a 'personality'. She has made her living through media work - television, radio and newsprint. And good on her. That is incredibly hard to do and she has risen above the pack and succeeded. I admire her and I envy her.


But the fact that she has made her living through media work does not make her public property. Chrissie Swan is not Kyle Sandilands. I have listened to her radio show many times and read her columns and watched her on TV. She is respectful of other people, self-deprecating and warm. She does not deserve or invite public shredding.

As for Woman's Day, well, they ought to be ashamed of themselves. They won't be, of course, because they are a tabloid publication, and celebrate women by mocking their weight gain, pointing out their plastic surgery, speculating on their eating disorders, and celebrating their personal tragedies. Of course they're going to publish photos of yet another 'fallen' celebrity, however ridiculously fabricated the 'fall'.

I just wish they weren't pretending to believe they were doing a community service by highlighting the dangers of smoking whilst pregnant, because that is cruelly and laughably disingenuous. We all know the dangers of smoking whilst pregnant. They did it because they knew it would sell a lot of magazines, at the expense of a decent human being. And there is no excuse.

Sometimes, these days, I still get outraged.

51 comments:

  1. Totally agree with you. As I said on Twitter, the air is pretty thin up there on those high horses - I fear the people at New Idea need a good dose of oxygen and an upper cut or 26.

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  2. And, it's early. I mean Woman's Day. Woman's Day. It's Woman's Day people.

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  3. Bloody well said, Ms Sackville. I am so over gutter-sensationalism disguised as public services. OVER IT. I don't buy that crap anymore (although I used to and for that I should be publicly apologising to a nation) and the harshness of it is simply mind-blowing. Kx

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  4. Yep - I'm totally sick of the "Outrage Industry" - I'm not sure what's it's like in other countries, but over the past 18 months, an Outrage Industry seems to have sprung up within our New Media...I'm sick of it...

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  5. Yes, totally got my cranky pants on with this whole issue - especially re Woman's Day!

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  6. Totally agree. I don't buy those trashy mags, don't care about the latest celebrity gossip at all.
    I wrote an open letter to Chrissie on my blog yesterday, sums up how I feel completely

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  7. I am totally with you on this one!! Well said. Bravo!

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  8. Abso-fruitin-lutely! I don't smoke and I like places being smoke-free but the villification of smokers has always bothered me. As I say to the self-righteous, just wait until the nay-sayers start on your vices! And this judgement of pregnant women and mothers is so out of order its bizarre. Who needs Big Brother when the court of public opinion will do the controlling? Pah!

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  9. I have never been so mad about anything ever. How dare they put Chrissie through this, she needs love and support, I adore her and will support her 100% unconditionally. She is beautiful and smart and funny and such a wonderful mum, hell if all mum's were as loving as her, the world would be a much better place. I have vented on fb and twitter and will never ever buy Woman's Day again.
    I hope this hysteria disappears soon so she can enjoy the last few weeks of her pregnancy with those that she loves and who love her.

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  10. Beautifully said Kerri.I love that you have posted this and hope others with a good name as yourself use their positions to show disgust at this low act.
    I also hope that the word spreads and people show their own disgust by never buying the magazine again.Hit them where it hurts.Show them that these days they cant just print anything and only receive a few letters in the confines of their office.Now they have the social media to contend with which has a power of its own and has shown great support for Chrissie.
    In supporting Chrissie no one is saying smoking while pregnant is ok.We all know it is not.We are supporting her as a person who has never been anything but her kind gentle self and who has been punishing herself over her shame.Where has compassion for others gone?I don't understand how anyone could have watched her in her pain and shame and not felt that pain themselves.
    I hope Chrissie will overlook all the negativity towards her and see the incredible support she has earned by being the beautiful compassionate person that she has always been.

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  11. Well said Kerri!!! At the end of the day, I think Chrissie has more supporters than Woman's Day and hopefully we'll show them by not handing over hard earned cash for something worthy of trash!

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  12. Makes me scratch my head at this years pick for Australian of the Year. Such a positive contribution to our society.

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  13. For sure - I really don't know why they sell so many - its rubbish!

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  14. Hear Hear. Honestly, a publication like Woman's Day could disappear tomorrow without leaving a vacancy in anyone's life. It adds no value and provides no benefit to anyone. On the other hand, Chrissie Swan is a warm hearted, funny, clever, watchable talent who provides loads of value every time she shows up.

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  15. Hear, hear Kerri! I have been stunned this week. I am feeling so shocked because I had no idea we lived in a community where all these people coming down on Chrissie do the right thing by themselves and others 24/7. It was, as you say, a few sneaky cigarettes and none of our business. I fear this will have her recoil from the public eye which would be a shame as it is fantastic to flick on the radio and listen to someone who so often comes from such a heartfelt and honest place.

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  16. "The air is pretty thin up there on those high horses". LOVE!!!!! x

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  17. EXACTLY. And that's the part that really shitted me. (and we will forgive you. Eventually) x

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  18. ME TOO. I'm OUTRAGED! Um.... .that didn't sound right....

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  19. But knowing you, your cranky pants are TOTALLY gorgeous....

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  20. So true. I'm not a smoker either, but I've got my own share of flaws, and only a person without flaws has any right to judge anyone. Except that they wouldn't, because being judgemental is a flaw.....

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  21. Hope she reads this, that was a lovely expression of support.

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  22. So true. I suspect this will backlash badly against them x

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  23. To be fair, Ita published Cleo & Women's Weekly, neither of which are tabloids. I'm not a magazine buyer in general, but I'd certainly buy WW over Women's Day.

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  24. Sadly, people like rubbish. Sigh....

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  25. I wish the tabloids would disappear. You're absolutely right.

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  26. Hopefully she's stronger than that. And there has been such an outpouring of support for her; hopefully she will see that too. Who'd want to be famous, huh? x

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  27. I have not paid for a Womans Day or a New Idea for about 15 years now...I look at the pictures for free in Coles whilst waiting to pay for my groceries!!!! Sometimes I pick an extra long line so I can have a good look and not have to rush...then I just put them back. I refuse to spend my money on such rubbish... sadly I am not above wanting to have a free peek at the rubbish!!

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  28. I am outraged too. I hope there is a massive backlash and woman's Day sales drop through the floor. I have also had enough of the sanctimonious position some have taken over poor Chrissie's few puffs. Where is the compassion? Let he who is without fault cast the first stone (or however that saying goes).

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  29. Hear hear!
    If only Woman's Day readers would stop buying the stupid magazine and select something a bit more respectful, interesting, decent and intelligent to read instead. Poor Chrissie!

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  30. Stay outraged, Kerri. It's a good word and reaction!

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  31. Couldn't agree more and I feel a similar feeling to what you described in the first paragraph. It amazes me that people continue on with life with so much judgement.

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  32. Nicely said Kerri
    I have never had time for any form of media reporting on the trumped up short
    comings of others, hell I have enough of my own to worry about. I like that
    this outrages you and I hope many more people I feel sorry for people like Chrissie
    Swan and people like her who are publically dragged through the mud for no
    really good reason. I wonder what affects the attacks has on them.

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  33. I couldn't agree more, Kerri! So well said!!
    I posted about Chrissie too... Re-posted.

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  34. I am SO glad you wrote about this Kerri. I have been stewing since first reading about this on another online women's 'presence' (which should be shamed as well MM!) and have been unable to calm down enough to comment till now. I work in maternal and perinatal epidemiology and have been a maternity consumer advocate for nearly a decade. I am well aware of the dangers of smoking during pregnancy, but PLEASE! The holier-than-thou commentary coming from some women and the crucifixion of Chrissie Swan is unbelievable! I would love to know whether any of those women attacking Chrissie chose to have an elective caesarean before 40 weeks, or an induction, or had a glass of wine while still pregnant or ate a BBQ chook or salad from the local takeaway or a myriad of other things you can do during pregnancy that could increase the risk of harm to your baby. There are plenty of smashed up glass houses appearing all over the place I think! The stress caused to that poor women from what she is going through could possibly be doing far greater harm than the few ciggies she's been sneaking.The latest figures from NSW Health indicate that in NSW alone approximately 12% of pregnant women smoke during pregnancy. That's alot of women. Are they suddenly all going to be abused and held up to public ridicule by the self-righteous do-gooders that read Woman's Day and other trash? It is hard enough being a mother without copping this sort of public flogging for no good reason at all. I'll get off my soapbox now...

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  35. i agree! i just put a status up on thursday about this, i had turned on the news and all that they were talking about was chrissie swan smoking and the afl doping scandal. i mean please! what about the black saturday bushfires 4th aniversary this week?the justice for danile morcombe? the fires that happened in tasmania this week? it saddens me that news companies feel that a person smoking is more important then these topics.

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  36. This news story got me sooooo mad! Shameful? Disgusting? Damn right! The media, the photographers, the gossip mags - all of them -they are all part of a process way more toxic than smoking. I do not buy Woman's Day and now I never will. Boycotting this mag ( especially the issue with Chrissie's pics) and refusing to pay for this invasion of privacy, is the best way to support Australian women! Woman's Day? More like 'Making Women Pay!"

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  37. Here Here, it is nobody else's business whether you are a celebrity or not. Chrissie is entitled some privacy and respect is she not? xxx Rae

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  38. She's withdrawn from social media for the moment. I'm sure it must be awful.

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  39. SOOOO true, Tash. All of it. Agree 100%. Get on your soapbox here anytime x

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  40. Yep. I think we all need a little bit of PERSPECTIVE x

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