Fellow humans with whole new language
LIKE, I'm on the train, right? It's, like, 9 o'clock on Saturday morning and it's f---ing freezing? Like nine degrees or something? And these two, like, chicks get on and their skirts are right up to their, like, bums? and their white legs are, like, naked? And covered in, like, chicken-bumps?
At the next station, this real cool dude with a backpack swings on and they both, like, take their ear phones out? One girl is like "Oh my God, it's Cam!" and the other's, like, "Cool!" Cam sits down and he's, like, all over them and they, like, seem to think he's really, like, hot, even though he has this massive zit on his chin and a ring in his, like, eyebrow? They both, like, hang on his every word, even though he's only got, like, about 10 of them? And the top five are: "f---", "shit", "cool", "massive" and, like, "like"?
When they get off at, like, Richmond, Oh, my God! Cam's backpack gives me a, like, massive thwhack in the face as he passes my seat? And he, like, doesn't even notice? (I'm, like, a woman in my 70s?) Hey, guys, don't forget we older generations, like, exist? Even if we are another species and speak a different language.
Vivienne Player, Beaumaris
My donations to end
PETER MacCallum's management may not see the absurdity of having a lawyer who defends Big Tobacco on their board but I do ("Peter Mac denies tobacco conflict", The Sunday Age, 2/9). As a Peter Mac donor for several years, I can think of few more worthy causes than the fight against cancer. But I am writing to the director saying I will make no further donations until I consider Peter Mac has appropriate board members. I urge other donors to do the same.
Danny O'Neill, Narre Warren South
Doing their duty
ROB Moodie says that advocating for the tobacco industry is indefensible. I am a strong supporter of plain packaging, but I disagree with Professor Moodie.
The tobacco companies are some of the most evil corporations. But the right to legal representation is universal, and is not to be forfeited on grounds of misbehaviour. If it becomes "indefensible" for a lawyer to advocate for certain parties, where do we stop? Accused terrorists? Murderers? Without the right to legal representation, an accusation can stand as proof, because an amateur's defence would often ruin a good case.
The companies are to be condemned for the business they run and for the arguments with which they tried to defeat the legislation. Their lawyers, however, are not. Provided they acted within the established ethics of their profession, they have simply been doing their duty.
Greg Platt, Brunswick
If only . . .
IN LIGHT of the apology regarding thalidomide ("Mother's angry tears at thalidomide apology", The Sunday Age, 2/9), there is another article we would love to read. Datelined September 1, 2032, the article would be headlined: "Drug companies apologise for diabetes, brain damage and deaths caused by anti-psychotic drugs".
The article would say that: "A joint statement, issued yesterday by seven international drug companies, acknowledged that 'anti-psychotic' medications used for decades to treat 'schizophrenia' (a term abandoned in the early 2020s due to lack of a scientific basis) had caused neurodegeneration, diabetes, sexual dysfunction and serious heart conditions in millions of people. The companies also apologised to the families of the tens of thousands for whom the drugs had contributed to premature deaths."
The statement would acknowledge that "for the last 20 years that the drugs were used before being removed from the market in 2019 it had been known that the drugs were only slightly better than placebo for about 25 per cent of recipients and no better than placebo for the remaining 75 per cent. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists declined to comment."
We just hope we don't have to wait two decades for such a statement to be published.
Professor John Read, University of Auckland, and Professor Philip Thomas, University of Bradford, England
Bank always wins
HOW'S this scenario: Bank deducts $30 from a wrong account admits mistake. After complaint, bank reverses $30 charge. Bank charges 90? for deducting the $30. Bank reverses 90? charge. Bank now debits the account $1.80 for re-depositing the money it incorrectly deducted. No matter what mistakes banks make, there is always a way they can make money from it. NAB, you have a lot to learn about customer service and satisfaction.
Pam Roseman, Wantirna South
At our worst?
US WRITER and historian Wallace Stegner called national parks "the best idea we ever had. . . absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst". The remarkable amenity and benefits of national parks, for people and for nature, are many and varied they remain one of the few resources in the world that may truly be termed common property.
Unfortunately, economic opportunity is not democratic and it too often reflects us at our worst, rather than our best.
Who or what benefits from the proposed opening of our national parks our heritage, held in absolute trust for us by our governments to private developers? The common good? Nature? Democracy? Who is left to protect and promote these goods, resources and ideals if not our governments?
Dirk Biddle, Lalor
Treachery leaves long-term legacy
MUCH has been made of the cost of our involvement in Afghanistan in terms of lives lost. What has not been well documented is the trauma caused to soldiers who, every day, experience tension regarding the trustworthiness of allied forces.
"Guardian angel" squads, watching over Australians training Afghan soldiers to prevent trainees turning their guns on the Australians, highlight the possibility of treachery from those whom Australian soldiers believe they are trying to help ("Coalition of the unwilling to understand", theage.com.au, 2/9). Such a situation not only plays havoc with soldiers' morale while in the field but with their perceptions of who is the "enemy" and their perceptions of the meaning of their engagement. It can also leave a legacy of long-term trauma, often eventuating in lifelong illness such as post-traumatic stress.
The focus on a body-count perspective, which is what the media can easily handle, and the public is deemed to understand, hides the cost to thousands of soldiers and their families of the long-term damage to mental health. Did we learn anything from Vietnam?
Julie Ann Zabinski, Wantirna
Saved for posterity
GERT Silver wondered if we were seeing the return of the BLF and Norm Gallagher (Letters, 3/9). I remember when, in the 1970s, the green bans imposed by the BLF saved the Melbourne Baths in Swanston Street and the Regent Theatre from destruction at the hands of several lord mayors who wanted to demolish them and replace them with featureless modern structures.
As a member of "The Save the Regent Theatre" committee I was grateful to Gallagher, without whose constant support that splendid theatre that is now so much a part of Melbourne's theatrical experience would have fallen to the bulldozers.
Brian McKinlay, Greensborough
It's a vision thing
CHRISTOPHER Pyne denigrates Labor's education policy because it spans a number of election cycles and he says the ALP is unlikely to be in power in some or any of those years. It is called vision, Christopher, something that has been sadly lacking in Liberal policies.
Alan Inchley, Frankston
Missing in action
ON SUNDAY night we were No. 2 in the medal tally at the Paralympics, after China and ahead of Great Britain. Last month that would have been front page headlines. At least Bruce Petty's cartoon (3/9) had a feel for the outstanding performances of all Paralympians, ours and those of all the other nations represented. The ABC is doing a great job with TV coverage but The Age in print is missing in action.
Too few copies
THE Good Food Guide at $10 was heavily promoted with the purchase of last Saturday's Age. But unless one was at the newsagent's door at 6am, the chance of getting a copy was slim. Bad luck to Age subscribers whose home delivery was not until 8am, as they needed the paper's promotional coupon to buy the guide.
The phrase "while stocks last" might be a good let-out, but does nothing to recommend a home delivery subscription to The Age. Surely your marketing department can do better.
Bob Eden, North Melbourne