Casting A Spell

Horns of a goat and hooves of ram;
Stuffs of lore, since time began.
Birdsfoot trefoil, nose of dog
Dybbuk’s trap in quicksand hog.
Lesser spearwort, cotton grass,
Murky waters, smooth as glass.
Wetlands, grasslands, Everglades…
Therein lie the roads to Hades
Anise hyssop, bergamot;
Throw them in the boiling pot…
Canine fur and ogre ears;
Damned embodiment of fears…
Biting stonecrop, sedge and reed;
Potion’s done and jinx decreed…

“Oh, do shut up! You’ve been at it all morning. There will be hell to pay if ma comes and that devil-may-care attitude of yours means the chores aren’t done.”

“An idle brain is the devil’s workshop, so I exercise it by composing rhymes; idle hands are the devil’s playthings, so I scribble down said rhymes before I forget them – and it gives my fingers something to do.”

“You’re full of the devil, and both of us know that the devil can cite Scripture for his own purpose. Put that pen down and remember that God sends meat and the devil sends cooks.”

“Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know; rhyming and writing come easy to me… I hate having to play the devil’s advocate. I’m caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, and the devil is in the detail.”

“Needs must when the devil drives – and the devil is not as black as he is painted. He who sups with the devil should have a long spoon, so prepare yourself, and let’s go meet them. We need all the help we can get.”

“It’s a waste of time, I tell you; the interviews will wreak hell with my agenda. They must not happen.”

“I say let’s go. We have the devil’s own job taking off all that hideous wallpaper; we need all the help we can get, and devil take the hindmost.”

Phone rings…

Hello? We are not coming for the refurbishment job. We woke up with oral irritation, pain and swelling of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing. The doctor says we must have come in contact with the devil’s Ivy… not that I remember…

“Speak of the devil, and he is sure to appear; not this time, though.”

How Do I Write? Let Me Count the Ways
Posted on June 7, 2010 at 2:29 AM

I write in the dark, comfortably supine, using pencils on unlined paper and my stomach for a desk. I write on spiral notebooks during the countless bus-rides I take because I do not drive. I write at the kitchen table, with ink-filled pens on beautiful stationery. I write at my personal computer – and that is where FreeCell and e-mails do their best to distract me..
My version of a paperless office is both my night-time dreaming, and the writing I do in my head when my eyes glaze over where it would be bad form to whip out a ballpoint. Sometimes these words do not get to the physical point, but as far as I am concerned, they’re written anyhow..
I breathe because I write. I scrawl ideas on the margins of newspapers and the backs of envelopes and receipts..
I write because I breathe. A letter, a poem, a haiku, or an opinion piece may be written on impulse, but I have to knuckle down for deadlines. Yet I have no “routine” as such; I would never be able to write one thousand words before breakfast..
People fascinate me. Family, friends, and even perfect strangers often thinly disguise themselves and gate-crash my fiction. For non-fiction I have to keep half an eye on the libel laws. With Malta being such an insular place, this is especially pertinent..
Credibility is something I treasure. I always get my information from the source. I do not like censorship; yet I do not like people showing that it exists by depicting gratuitous vulgarity, or sex, or violence that are bound to be censored, either..
Sometimes, a column or a poem write themselves. I have never stumbled over the hackneyed writers’ block; perhaps that’s because I tend to procrastinate since I know I work best under pressure. So, if you want me to write for you, never say “no hurry”. I have always made deadlines (albeit sometimes with seconds to spare) come hell or high water, births and deaths, illness and travel..
I’m a stickler for using the correct terminology; and since the phrase “editors reserve the right to edit for length or clarity” covers a multitude of their sins, this has given rise to many heated discussions. I have no beef with writers who insist upon being paid for every word they pen; but I am not averse to donating articles (or poems or puzzles) to publications of worthy causes, without being credited – since this would defeat the “donation” principle..
My writing is eclectic; so I slant my work according to the demographics of the readership of each publication or site. I do insert a couple of “difficult” words in children’s stories in such a way that, even if they are not looked up (as I hope they will be) the tale will not lose anything. I try to get my values across in anything I write, be it a television critique column or an interview with a celebrity. I like puns, alliteration, and idioms. But unless the feature is deliberately meant to be over-the-top, I consciously ration myself not to risk losing the thrust of my piece. I have several dictionaries (some of them esoteric) and thesauruses, which I prefer to online versions.
Therapy; a weapon; serious fun; a dais. Writing, to me, is all these, and more..

Chinese Valentine

Image result for love in chinese


ONCE upon a time, as all good stories go, on the seventh day of the seventh month in the Chinese lunar calendar (July 30th in North America and July 31st in China in the year 2006), the seven daughters of the Goddess of Heaven were visiting Earth and caught the eye of a Cowherd called Niu Lang.
Niu Lang’s parents had died when he was a toddler; he lived with his elder brother and his wife, cruel, mean-spirited people who treated him as a serf. She was even worse than Joe’s wife in “Great Expectations”, and that’s saying something.
Kept on a starvation diet, for which, moreover he had to work really hard, he suffered. Eventually, they – or rather she – decided he was not earning his keep, and kicked him out of the abode, with nothing but the clothes on his back and one scrawny ox.
He constructed a tiny thatched cottage on the side of a mountain, and created a vegetable garden out of the rocky soil, sharing the produce with his pet. One day, the ox talked. It insisted it used to be Taurus, the proudest star. Taurus had committed the heinous crime of stealing in the night sky. He had violated the law of the Heavenly Palace by stealing cereal grains to give to Man; and he was banished to Earth as an ox.
Like many other young ladies in many other legends, the seven sisters had gone bathing in a river. The ox had told the man that, if he took away the silk robes of the maidens, the one of them whom he would glimpse naked would be his wife.
The youngest, daintiest, kindest, most virtuous, and prettiest daughter, Zhi Nu, the Girl Weaver, (who wove rainbows and clouds to beautify the world) took the short straw, and was delegated to ask for their clothes back. Their eyes met and it was the proverbial love at first sight. And as tradition would have it, since he had glimpsed her naked, they were duty bound to wed and, because the husband was mortal, take up residence on the planet rather than in the sky. This was a marriage that was frowned upon by the gods.
Zhi Nu raised silkworms, and made sure there was enough to give her exquisite silks and satins, much sought-after throughout the land. Three years later, Zhi Nu gave birth to twins, a boy, Gold, and a girl, Jade.
After some time, however, the Goddess of Heaven decided that a broken family would not do, and was adamant that the daughter should return to her.
One day, Niu Lang came back from the field to find his children sitting on the ground, crying, because an old lady had kidnapped their mother away.
Niu Lang remembered that shortly before dying, the old ox had told him that its hide would enable a man to fly. He placed the children in wicker baskets on a yoke, put on the magic hide, and flew up to the sky. But the Queen heard the crying of her grandchildren, and the game was up.
She waved her arms and created a river between them. But eventually she had pity on the separated couple, with the upshot being that, just once a year, the couple would be reunited.
Qi Qiao Jie, the day that is The Seventh Eve or the “seventh night of the seventh moon” is when magpies make a wing-bridge for Zhi Nu to flit across and meet her husband.
The Legend of the Fairies
There is, however, another legend that purports to indicate the origins of this Chinese Valentine’s Day equivalent. This festival is also known as the Seven Sisters’ Festival or the Festival of the Double Sevens.
Niu Lang and Zhi Nu were fairies, who, as luck would have it, lived on diametrically opposite sides of the Milky Way. The Jade Emperor of Heaven, saddened at their plight decided to do something about it.
Niu Lang and Zhi Nu, so to speak, were in the seventh heaven to be together, with stars in their eyes – but they began shirking their duties. So Jade Emperor ruled that henceforth, the couple could only meet once a year – on the seventh night of the seventh moon.
Look to the Stars
It is the done thing to celebrate Qi Qiao Jie by gazing up at the star Vega (the maiden who weaves), east of the Milky Way, representing Zhi Nu, and at the star Altair (cowherd) in the constellation Aquila, on the west side of the Milky Way, the place Niu Lang waits for his lover to join him. The two stars, Alshain and Tarazed, next to the Altair, are the Cowherd’s two children.
On a more mundane level, people in love like to go to the Matchmaker Temple. Single girls look to the Waving Maid star to help them become “smart”. When Vega is in the sky, they try to place a needle horizontally on a bowl of water. If the meniscus does not break, the girl will be savvy enough to find a partner within a year. This test, however, may only be done once annually. Other customs involves decorating an ox’s horns with flowers, and tying coins with a red thread to hang around the neck of children under sixteen years of age as a protective amulet in the tradition of Chiniangma (“Seven Mothers”).
Women traditionally wash their hair on the eve of this festival, to have it clean and fresh on the day, whereas children are supposed to wash their face in the dew collected overnight, for inner and outer beauty. Young ladies throw the five-color ropes, made at Chinese Dragon Boat festival, on the roof for the magpies to use, if they need help with the bridge.
Chinese woman who are seeking to become pregnant think that this is the best time of the year to plead with Chusheng Niangniang, the Goddess of Birth, who could well be an avatar of the Weaving Maid or any of her sisters.

Symbiosis: Beneficial Friendships

In my school days, I had tracing paper and carbon paper to help me draw, but the former set my teeth on edge and the latter made me sneeze. Nowadays, I still can’t draw a creditable amoeba.
One homework assignment I remember particularly well involved creating and dividing an exercise book into three, width-wise.
The top part had to contain heads of creatures, the middle section was for bodies, and the bottom part was for legs, tails, or both. The idea was that we could create an (almost) infinite number of weird and wonderful creatures, naming them by using syllables from the animals’ names.
Some real animals, like the platypus, the star-nosed mole, and the aye-aye appear to have escaped from the pages of my scrapbook.
Doesn’t an animal with the head of an ox, the horns of a buffalo and the mane of a horse belong in the realms of fantasy? Actually, this one does exist; it’s the wildebeest.
Anyone who has seen the magnificent migration procession of this animal from Masai Mara to Serengeti will notice that these animals usually travel with substantial herds of zebras. There are several reasons for this.
Zebras have a very poor sense of smell, but excellent eyesight and hearing. So they can sound the alarm as lions or hyenas approach. With wildebeests, it’s the opposite. So the animals trek together, and they are covered on all three sensory fronts, by making full use of the talents of either group.
This union is also favourable to both droves of beasts when it comes to obtaining food and drink, which are after all, the primary reasons for the voyage. The constitution of wildebeests necessitates their drinking at least every two days, and luckily they have a heightened sense of scenting water. This is a benefit to zebras in the dry Serengeti.
Wildebeests and zebras look as different as chalk and cheese. One is bulky, ungainly and muddy-coloured; the other is sleek and has a designer pelt. And yet, they have found the secret of co-existing peacefully. Without knowing of the word, they have developed symbiosis – a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship.
I think of my childhood friends with whom I am still in touch, and marvel at the empathy, solidarity and synergy amongst us… because we make them happen. Dependable Emma who would cut her hair short if I had alopecia; athletic Simone who’d take off her loafers because my stilettos hurt me; fashion-plate Helga who would leave the party early if I was tired; Earth-mother Susan who’d miss a boat-trip to visit me in the hospital; world-famous artiste Stella who’d clean my dirty laundry if my machine broke. I reciprocate as needed.
We have lived, loved, laughed and cried together, and prayed with and for one another.
Our friendship has withstood the test of time. Acquaintances come and go, but friends with whom you give-and take, without counting the cost, remain forever. When you are blessed with a true friend, treasure her.

Love Is… Haiku!

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Love is a biscuit –
Spread with jam or dunked in tea
According to mood.
Love is a hairnet
Catches stray strands and hold them…
Gently, and softly.
Love is a melon
Succulent flesh, ugly skin;
Appearances lie.
Love is a mirror
Reflected affinity
In each other’s eyes.
Love is a rose bush
Looked after, it will flourish;
Neglected, it dies.
Love is a window;
Look inside; you see your soul –
Look out, see the world.
Love is an apple
Make apple pies or cider –
It’s your decision.
Love is an orange;
Squeeze out the last single drop…
Then make candied peel.
Love is like a pear…
The bottom line is heavy,
But it sounds like “two”.
Love is like a plum
That when not cherished enough
It becomes a prune.
Love’s a banana –
Yellow outside, white inside…
Afraid, yet tender.
Love’s a bicycle.
Two wheels moving in tandem
Like kindred spirits.
Love’s a unicorn;
Unusual, mythical mount…
A lifetime’s partner.
Love’s a strawberry:
Good with either cream or milk…
But shaped like a tear.
Love’s a tangerine –
Easy peel, many segments…
Fragrant smell lingers.

Home and Away!


The minute you announce that you will be “working from home”, the comments begin: Ah! You will be lolling about in pyjamas all day! I envy you, no more traffic jams and canteen lunches! You will never get anything done! Work will eat up your life…
Some of these comments are directly contradictory – but each of them contains a grain of truth.
Tele-working, like job-sharing, makes life easier for those who cannot, or will not, keep a full workload because they have other commitments, or because they can afford to do it, or because they are sick and tired of the rat race, and they have different priorities. This is the nitty-gritty of the hackneyed term “work-life balance”.
Think of the money you will save on fuel, or on bus-fares, if you commute. Think of how you don’t have to get a zillion different outfits, and look pristine, and wear heels.
Thin k of the panic that arises when your child is ill, or when the school she attends has a Teachers’ Development Day mid-week.
Think of the precious minutes you will save by not having to scour the streets for a parking spot.
You are Mistress of All You Survey; the pots are on the stove, the washing machine is doing its thing – and you are putting the final touches to that confounded report – and it’s still 11.00a.m. Multi-tasking was never so easy… and after you hit send, put the clothes on the line, and turn off the burners, the rest of the day’s your own.
How will you spend the time you’ve saved? Going for a brisk walk around the block, or binge-watching your favourite series?
Ah! Would it were that easy. Being flexible means, to some, that you have nothing better to do than jab at your keyboard in between taking never-ending phone-calls from them, or running to the shops for them because they forgot something, and they will pick I up on their way home from the office. Oh – and can you relay my shopping-list to the supermarket, please, because I am not allowed to make personal phone calls at work?
Working from home means that you have the framework that’s right for you. But it also means that you must have discipline – over yourself and with regard to the demands of others, because you cannot “leave work at work”.
At work, you have colleagues who natter and drink endless coffees – at home, you may have children or a parent who does not realise that work is work, wherever the venue for it. They think you are on call, just because you are present. Unless you bolt your office door, disconnect the internet, and switch off your phone, you will get interruptions.
However, remember that you may need to contact your colleagues, or even people whom you do not know, for information or advice.
If you work from home as an employee, there are ways and means for your boss to find out how much time you are actually devoting to the job. If you are self-employed, you need to tether the temptation is to log on to social sites, or game sites, to “relax” between bouts of work.
You have to learn how to fight procrastination: it’s not at all enjoyable to have to set the alarm, to 3.00a.m. because you overstayed your jaunt to the beach the day before, and got home too tired to work.
Not being physically present at the place of work means you have to rely on what your colleagues (who are not always your friends) tell you, about the day-to-day happenings. But they may not want to, or remember to, tell you everything.
Whether your work-from-home job comes with a pay-cheque, or is voluntary, you must be totally professional about it.


The miniscule snail, settled snugly between the tightly-packed folds of a humungous cabbage I’d got at the Farmers’ Market, didn’t know what had almost hit him. I had just sliced it in two before scooping out the centre for coleslaw and using the outer leaves as a shell for stuffing and baking, after boiling it.
I gouged out the gobbet of leaves around him, and transferred him to the garden. Throughout this operation, the creature’s antennae alternately undulated and retracted; no doubt he was wondering why his crispy universe was being disrupted.
How could he have comprehended that his refuge had been only millimetres away from oblivion by knife-blade?
But snails, like tortoises, are renowned for being slow and steady – so he might have taken it all in his stride, so to speak.
Sometimes, it is the little things that hold my attention, and the infinitesimal details that leave me fascinated. Pretentiousness leaves me cold.
The flash of a firefly in the night is more interesting than a bonfire; the raspy trickle of sand through my fingers is more appealing than miles of open beach; the droplet of dew hanging on the tip of a leaf is more impressive than bucket-loads of rain; the swirl of colour in a glass as a teabag releases its flavour is more inspiring than the monochrome infusion.
This is the obverse of the coin, what William Blake succinctly described as… To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour.
Sometimes, we strive to impress others by brazen actions or grandiose schemes. Expensive gifts, designer clothes, and ostentatious jewellery are props we might use to make us feel better about ourselves because we couldn’t be bothered to delve deep into our inner beings to see our true worth.
There is the reverse of the coin – where something that would be inconsequential to most people takes on gargantuan proportions and needlessly spoils “everything” for the person who experiences it.
The afternoon siesta that’s cut short by a buzzing fly; the tiny stain on the white tablecloth that spoils a celebratory meal; the broken gel nail that stops us from going to our school reunion…
Little things mean a lot – both ways. Let’s make the agreeable ones count and ignore, or at least transform, the unpleasant ones.

Minute Minutes
I focus on my blessings
With an attitude of gratitude.
Content I have food to share;
Grateful my friend called me;
Happy to have a roof over my head, even though it leaks.
For I am alive.
I am secure in the knowledge
That I love, and that I am loved.
And that I have the gift of understanding, and the knack of empathy.
I am grateful. I am blessed.
–Tanja Cilia

Just Like Chicago


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Brother what a night it really was…
Stop it; you’re getting on my nerves.
Brother what a fight it really was…
Glory be! Your voice annoys me.
You are as thick as a two Chicago Bricks.
But like the bumblebee, I fly anyway.
Aggravation Bifurcation Cessation
Millennium Park Cloud Gate sculpting the Future.
Been there? Done that?
Refried beans on Saint Paddy’s Day – diversity.
Bean there! Done that.
Eli’s Cheesecake Festival; Mexican Independence, Celtic Fest.
Soca, hip-hop, salsa, paranda, reggae, rap meld into Punta rock
Germination Habitation Innovation
Provocative dance to a sacred tune – cultural wealth.
Burned my boats in the Poetry Slam –
And enjoyed watching the conflagration…
Play with fire and you singe your eyebrows.
Duration Elation Frustration Jubilation.
What Sandberg said: Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads; Nation’s Freight- Handler.
He forgot improvisational comedians like you.
And the Bears.
And the Mutt Strut. And the Route 66 Car Show. Classic Jurassic.
Magnificent miles and Paxti’s Pan Pizza with everything.

Just like Chicago.

Yes. Just like Chicago.




A lifetime ago, before irate parents could call their favourite radio stations at the drop of a hat (more on this later) I worked as a Kindergarten Assistant.
Even back then, some of the children mocked their peers because whereas they “had a wardrobe bursting at the seams”, the latter “always wore the same clothes”.
Then came the decision that children, even at pre-school age, would wear uniforms. Ironically, the parents of the Clothes Show gang were the first ones to call the radio stations to complain about the “extra expense” they were going to be put through.
Alas, for some of them, the real reason was that their perfect little angels would not be able to preen any longer because they would look “the same as the others” as one of them succinctly put it in a rant outside the school gates. “Children are individuals!” she said “so why are they being treated as if they were in the Army? If they don’t wear their nice clothes to school, when can they wear them?”
Many people would remember the story with references to the Young Pioneer Movement, which has hitherto free-spirited children having to wear a uniform (like that of their teacher) and being given sweets sent by the “Great Leader” – after prayers to God delivered nothing.
The reason that I do not like uniforms is that most of them they tend to be drab… and some of them are also ugly, itchy, and badly-designed… such as summer shirts for girls that are so flimsy that a waistcoat made from the same fabric as the skirt, guaranteed to keep the heat in, has to be worn.
Or how about socks in school colours that do not have turned-over tops, such that they slide down the legs as the child walks?
There are schools that go for distinctive, expensive uniforms as a touch of class. For reasons of their own, they even forbid parents who are excellent seamstresses to sew their children’s’ blazers.
For others, the reason is more practical. It is much easier to do a headcount of children wearing a bright yellow polo-shirt during a school outing, than it would be had they been wearing white shirts…exactly like those of four other schools in the same place on a school outing.
Many children who watch television shows depicting foreign schools complain that their peers in the equivalent of Saved By the Bell, Fame, Beverly Hills 90210, Smallville and The O.C. can get away with, literally, everything. Making a uniform mandatory would probably make the series less interesting, since the clothing of the students in these shows reflects their characters, anyway.
They fail to realise that what is depicted on the screen is not ”the truth” – surely no self-respecting head of School would allow bare midriffs, spaghetti straps and painted-on cycling shorts, or other provocative clothing.
This is not a case of a Head of School ripping loose hems of skirts that are too short, or making students go to the toilets to remove tights worn underneath knee-socks to fight the cold if they were not “exactly” flesh-coloured.
Wearing a uniform is part of the praxis of religious orders, the armed forces, and other groups that want to present a depiction of “organisation” and “discipline” to the world. This is only a part of what school uniforms represent, however.
Some of us resent the fact that uniforms may only be bought from selected outlets or from the schools themselves – especially if they are not made of good0-ality fabric and the only thing differentiating them from non-branded items is s logo that is sometimes just sewn on.
And yet, they solve the perennial what-shall-I-wear today problem, as well as indicating that a child is a part of a group with an innate sense of decorum and order.
It is a moot point whether a fail-safe dress code – no branded clothing, no jeans, no tracksuits, no visible cleavage, no stretch fabrics, covered shoulders, shorts up to the knees, no slogans of any kind (even religious ones) on t-shirts or sweater, no hoodies, no low-waisted trousers that expose underwear – would work.
It goes without saying that make-up, jewellery and piercings and non-sensible shoes will be forbidden, too.
There will always be that difference in how many different items of a type one has, and what quality they are, and whether they are new or obviously hand-me-downs. And there will always be students who assume that fashion shows and beauty contests are part and parcel of the educational system.
Ironically schools that boast they are progressive are all to ready allow children not to wear uniforms, just to prove their point, whereas the Malta Union of Teachers, in a memorandum to the political parties, has actually asked whether it is time to abolish them.
And then we have those who believe that the very wearing of a uniform is conducive to learning, because “a child in casual clothes is not in the right frame of mind to learn”. It is one less thing to worry about for school administrations. Alas, however, a uniform will not stop bullying.
One assumes that by the time the child is in tertiary education, his mind-set will be different.
At least, one hopes it will.

Death Watch
I had written two posts mentioning suicide.
I had hoped never to write another one.
But the recent sorry excuse for reportage – a pathetic hotchpotch of biased comments with concerted, subtle, yet vicious splotches of slut-shaming and vindictive, malicious comments and misinformation following articles, allowed to stand by newspaper editors who ought to know better, has put paid to that hope.
I may be wrong, but it seems to me that some murders and suicides that happen locally get more column space and extensive audio-visual media coverage than others. As a corollary, there is a national discussion by self-styled experts about whys and wherefores.
The media relies on the fact that its audience laps up inaccurate, oversimplified and potentially dangerous, sensationalised reports. I was perturbed at the words and out-of-context sound-bites dug out from statements.
In other sections of the press, we are told that bullying leads to suicide. However, nowhere have I seen it stated that mental manipulation, whether or not it is Gaslighting, may lead to a similar end for the victim. Neither have I seen links to helplines, except once, just in case copycat suicides are in the offing.
I am told that ‘journalists’, whatever that term means these days, have to stuck to fact and not offer opinion – that is the domain of bloggers and / or opinionated bitches like myself, and, apparently, the people who regularly trawl the virtual news-sites to leave their insidious, warped points of view for our delectation.
It is not easy to ‘know everything’ about something that happens. And yet, multifaceted issues are fed to us in drips and drabs, in a seemingly logical manner, in a bid to sway our judgements and mould our conclusions to match the agendas of those who have something to hide.
At this point, I have to ask many, many questions. If you knew your friend was shoplifting or doing drugs, or riding his motorcycle hell for leather without a crash helmet, would you shop him? Or would you not want to get involved, lest you be tarred with the same brush by ‘ignorant adults’?
If you assume it’s just a phase, or that it is not your business… would you, then, hide the fact that he was having sex with minor? If you thought he was a megalomaniac, or sociopath, psychopath, or any other kind of –path, whether or not he had a history of underlying mental illness would you seek help, or would you cover for him because “that is what friends do”, while secretly envying his stud-luck with the girls?
Because of course, there is only one thing worse for a girl than to be called a slut – and that’s to be called a prude. Still, alas, when a man and a child have sex, the man gets high-fives, but the girl loses respectability. Even when he, shudder, shock horror, expresses trepidation that he will be branded a paedophile.
If, on the other hand, someone told you that all of the above could precipitate a death because the person involved fell into an “at-risk category”…would you change your mind? Or would you shrug and say “shit happens?” ignoring the fact that the warning signs were there all the time?
If you had an acquaintance who always seemed sad, would you approach her? Now let’s take this point farther. If you had a friend who self-harmed because she was lonely, and felt excluded, would you ‘do something about it’, or would you assume she was showing off, or worse, that she was ‘in good hands’ because someone else had her back. Is it really possible for just one person to have anybody’s back, in these circumstances? Nobody in a position to do so has yet explained that suicide is not an automatic response to feelings of rejection, depression, anxiety, despair, and isolation.
The non-sheep of us have been hauled over the coals for pointing out that you do not fall from a height without breaking a limb or four; that you do not even consider the possibility of a suicide attempt failing; that you do not keep a kid out at night of you know she is listed as missing; that sexts of minors constitute child pornography; that a person’s Facebook wall is not usually removed by anyone except himself… and this cannot be done when you do not have access to it.
I chided a journalist for treating the death of Lisa Marie so flippantly and histrionically, and asked him whether he would have extracted the same quotes from a social site, had she been his little sister. He did not reply.
As part of the research for this article, I clicked a random photograph on “See who’s here” on Just for the record, there is no need to have an account with the site, to do this. The very first, and only, ‘conversation’ I saw was “il-hara kemm nobodok / mur aqbez / omgzz / suwisajd”.
Is it possible that this kind of activity is ‘fun’? Healthy, and psychologically sound, it certainly is not.
Gossip feeds the voracious appetitive of idle minds; note the hullaballoo about L’Wren and Peaches Geldof, which may not, after all, have been a suicide but due to an extreme diet.
This spawns the disgusting phenomenon of writing schlock – in error-riddled English – to attract audiences.