What Pisses Me Off: unsung heroes 70

What pisses me off


View Profile

“Well-behaved women rarely make history”

Eleanor Roosevelt made this observation many decades ago and yet it still applies today. It is a sad commentary on society and applies equally to men or women.

A bunch of kids throw up all over the street, destroy property and terrorise their neighbourhood; someone gets caught peddling drugs; some yobo throws punches on a plane or throws a party for the world destroying the family home; there they are …. front page! Instant celebrity! Television appearances!

Why do we turn these shameful no accounts into media personalities? If “bad news sells”, why don’t we give, at a minimum, equal time to those who are too busy “doing good” to have time to play up?

As a proud aunty, I posted to Facebook the latest achievement of one of the next generation of my family. As I have another opportunity to boast, part of th eannouncement reads:

Karen’s niece, “an international human rights lawyer, professor, and special advisor to the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, will join the Columbia Law School faculty …… She will serve as faculty co-director of the Human Rights Institute (HRI), director of the Human Rights Clinic, and Lieff Cabraser Associate Clinical Professor of Law” – as I said, an amazing woman!

Two comments on my announcement grabbed my attention:

“Wow, how amazing. I just read that article and no wonder you are proud! I have so much respect and admiration for beautiful minds involved in these issues. It’s all very inspiring”

“Congratulations to **** on her achievements. What an important field she works in. All Aussies should be proud, not just her aunty”

The first comment came from a young woman, a niece from GOM’s side of the family; no slouch herself, she is a talented fashion designer. The second comes from a friend, a woman of our generation.

Where is the national daily announcement of this young woman’s achievements? Two people, widely separated in age, celebrate her achievements, why not all Aussies?

As a law student, my niece was a member of an Australian Moot Court Team, which won the International Moot Court Championship against teams from all over the world, including from prestigious law schools at Yale and Harvard. You remember that don’t you? There was huge press about their achievement … Not. BUT, if this had been a football team for instance, their achievements would have been celebrated everywhere. Now don’t get me wrong, I admire sports teams and individuals. The question is “where is the recognition and reward those who achieve greatness in fields other than sport?”

I’m not thinking only of my niece. There are so many people, and you know them, equally, or more, deserving of our congratulations. They are ballet dancers, classical musicians, medical personnel in developing countries, Rhodes scholars, volunteers in orphanages. They are Fulbright scholars, take people with limited English language skills shopping, visit people in aged care facilities, knit squares to make blankets for the homeless, raise their own children and support children in poor circumstances, assist literacy teachers in schools, etc, etc, etc.

Some may achieve fame in their chosen field, but for most of them, there won’t even be 15 minutes of fame. They are the largest part of our community, yet they receive the least attention.

Why don’t the “well behaved” make history?


Do you agree with Karen? Do we champion those with less philanthropic achievements than those who do? Where is the recognition and reward those who achieve greatness in fields other than sport? Does it piss you off? Tell us below!

Karen OBrien Hall

Karen O'Brien-Hall followed many careers in her life and loved each one! From accountancy to the hospitality industry, from managing an employment agency to Executive Assistant to the Chairman of a multi-national, when she retired Karen was in Public Relations. Whatever her career path at the time, Karen is a lifelong volunteer. Married to "the love of my life", John, her second love is community theatre where she enjoys acting and directing. Karen enjoys time in her garden and can always finds time to read, around 8 – 10 books a month. Her reviews appear on Starts at Sixty, Goodreads,The Reading Room and her own page http://www.facebook.com/ReadingReadit

  1. Many of us have high achievers in our families and it should be celebrated in families, but it should also be considered the norm for a wealthy country like Australia. Criminals get media attention because of the bad way they behave, but they do not get the praise, that our achieving children get. Also the media attention could be considered a warning to others for them not to behave badly

    3 REPLY
    • I hope you are right but the media will always concentrate on the turkeys/nincompoops out there. I would like to see more decent and kind people get some recognition publically.

    • So many of the media are those nincompoops. Talk about drop in standards……..but what else would we expect from Murdoch et al.

  2. exactly..sick of politicians getting awards/honours for doing what we pay them to do, while the ordinary australian is overlooked

  3. Unfortunately, “good people” and their achievements don’t grab any headlines.
    Perhaps because the “news makers” in the various types of media feel a bit insecure about their own non achievements in the selected field .
    We definitely need to hear more of the great things people like your niece have achieved entirely by their own merit.
    Then we could all be “team Australia”

  4. Couldn’t agree more. Since there is so much bad news we need a constant dose of good news to remind us there are still good and extraordinary people in the world and to act as an inspiration to all of us, particularly the young.

    1 REPLY
    • IF there is a good news item on the news (TV) it gets about 30 secs at the very end along with any promos for the next show. Grr….

  5. I think the awards should go to many people who donate their time selflessly for the well being of others, the charity workers, the meal on wheels people, these who volunteer in hospitals, our doctors and Nurses who go and fight diseases like Ebola, the carers and so many more. The people who devote their lives selflessly to others. The high achievers get their own rewards, with high salaries and prestige

    1 REPLY
  6. Totally agree. I would also like to mention the carers who have devoted their time and love to look after someone, and also the grandparents who have taken on grandchildren and have put their life on hold for the love of their family. These people will never able to catch up financially and are left in limbo by governments and departments that were set up to take care of them. Most will tell you they do it for love and the money is secondary, but come on these guys have made a huge sacrifice and are the forgotten heroes.

  7. I quite agree. In a similar vein, Olympics time the channels fight for the right to air the events, for 2 weeks we hear nothing else. Paralympics – we don’t hear so much and only one channel bothers to show some of the events. Special Olympics – hardly a mention. But how many of you know that right now in Mexico a team of young Australian people are attending the The World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships. Not many I would imagine. I haven’t heard a word about it on television. These excellent young people have overcome altitude problems (thinner air, hard to breathe …) and are blitzing the events. They are winning gold silver and bronze in individual events, in team relays etc. This is truly a sporting team to be proud of yet no publicity at all for them.

    1 REPLY
    • How true Felicity, and just the point I’m making. I was lucky to go to many events at the Paralympics in Sydney 2000 and saw so much camaraderie, peer support and sheer sporting guts; but few reporters!

  8. My peeve is that honours and awards usually go to sporting people or politicians – who are usually extremely well paid – and should be expected to do a good job to earn their pay without additional accolades.

  9. Perhaps we should ask a TV channel to have a, great local moment, in the evening news time, we all have a family, “great” i am sure….

  10. We deify sportspeople who get paid enormous amounts of money for playing their games, yet here in SA the treasurer dismissed our country fier fighters

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *