10 December 2012


Jacintha Saldanha RIP


Leveson leveraged.

Terribly terribly sad, and ironic timing with the current spotlight on the attitude and activities of the meedja.

Andrew Sachs, now Mrs Saldanha ...

I have to say that it absolutely does not surprise me that this thoughtless 'prank' came from Australia. 

During my time in Hong Kong i learned very quickly that the Oz media is ruthless and self-centred and thinks not an inch beyond their own juvenile triumphs.
Long before the tapping of Millie's phone (which accusations seem now to have been declared baseless), I had a friend whose son and female friends were ambushed by bandits on an innocent trek into Thai badlands. They were raped and murdered within hours of being taken but the torture of not knowing was played out over weeks. The father went down there and observed every courtesy and cunning to work his way towards what he was allowed to believe was the children's imprisonment and possible rescue.
The Australian media used every trick of pose and ruthless mendacity to place false clues and hope in order to stretch the agony out in case they could report the families' downward despair.

Michael Christian and Mel Greig are victims of their own culture: young, thrusting, too immature to think past immediate triumphs to weigh the possible consequences.

I was once in a situation, in a team where we had assembled enough information to play some 'social engineering' down the phone so we went ahead.
It progressed splendidly and we were all giggling and winking and feeling so pleased with ourselves.

Suddenly - and God bless you, Jenni Webster, wherever you are - one of us self-congratulatory pranksters banged her hand down on the receiver, ending the call.
Boos and hisses.
"It's going too well. Fish in a barrel. Sorry, no fun anymore."
She was junior in the team and had nothing to lose by allowing us Big Swinging Dicks to have our fun. But an instinct kicked in, of humanity and maturity whose chip we lacked.
It later emerged that we were playing a very dangerous game.
Jacinthagate ~ Let me put it in this context:



  • You phone in prank mood. You expect an equal 'opponent'.
  • You get a helpful foreign accent (which Christian/Greig may not have recognised)
  • You know you have a language advantage.
  • You know that you are trying to penetrate what should be one of the best security systems in the world.
  • It goes too well.
  • Bully for you. Your success will be a giggle, but someone will be keelhauled at the other end.
  • Think. Think. They didn't think. All they wanted was the ego trip. No alarm bells went off, as they did for Jenni, who realised it wasnt a fair fight and wondered why and then went with her instincts.
    Not long after, I was talking to the manager present at our shaming and I told him,
    "You know, I'm ashamed that she had to teach me lesson."
    He said,
    "I know, I thought about it a lot after ... especially when the full facts came out. When i heard she was applying for the Weidenfeld job, I phoned George and said 'You have an application from someone not yet up to the job, but of a core of decency and decisiveness that it doesnt matter a fuck. I know you dont descend to such lowly decisions and I prefer not to go into further detail, but I'm telling you, boss to boss.'
    You know George, he has these silences until you think you've been cut off. Someone came in and he told them to 'put it there; on a scale of 1-5, how urgent my attention?' then he was back with me: "Lowly decisions ... my life was once saved by a 'lowly decision'. Thank you for this advice.' Then click.
    I saw her at a PPC meeting and she expressed awe that George had time to see every applicant in person.
    Interesting you felt the same. Not an honourable wake-up call."



  • 2 comments :

    Simon Baddeley said...

    I thought it was a harmless prank in tradition of Horace de Vere Cole's Dreadnought inspection in 1910, but wiser in retrospect. That was not 'fish in the barrel'. Conscientious nurse/receptionist, steward to possible heir to the throne; sincere royalist; deeply aware of the honour and duty; a nurse. This happens. Figures in farce collide with real human being. Humiliation is overwhelming - beyond the imagination of clowns. JS falls on her sword. I can't get into a post hoc rage at Oz or DJs - this is what they do.

    Corfucius said...

    wonderful succinct response. 'Figures in farce collide with real human being.'