There's little special about being Irish, no matter how many certs you have
YES, HALLOWEEN has become ridiculously Americanised, devoid of all relation to the traditions born here and exported to America by 19th-century Irish immigrants.
Yes, the decorations are gaudy, expensive and over the top. Yes, when I was growing up, we made do with costumes hand-fashioned out of bin bags. And no, we never had carved pumpkins.
Still, I secretly love it – for one night only, grown-ups relinquish control and stop trying to impose order on the household, and the children get to be in charge: they tramp the streets after dark, peeking inside neighbours’ houses, and eat sweets at bedtime.
Until you have succumbed to a night like that, you don’t know the true meaning of fear.
Are personal blogs fairgame for the media after a tragedy?
IT’S HARD to imagine a story that could tap more directly into the fears of every working parent. Two-year-old Leo Krim and his sister, Lucia (6), were found dead in the bathroom of their Manhattan home last week, their bodies discovered by their mother and three-year-old sister, who were returning from a swimming lesson. They had been repeatedly stabbed.
Their nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, was with them, and is being treated in hospital for self-inflicted injuries, while police wait to question her.
Within hours of the news breaking, the media had discovered that the children’s mother, Marina Krim, was a “mommyblogger”.
They circled in on her blog, reproducing photos and scavenging details of the family’s life, including her last entry, posted at 2.30pm on the afternoon her children died.
It was disturbing to see the private lives of a family at the centre of a horrific tragedy so readily turned into fodder for some internet commenters to chew up, moralise over, and spit out – which, inevitably, they did; criticising the family for using paid childcare, for working, for being smug, for blogging about their lives.
But it begged an important question. Should the social-media accounts or blogs of private citizens who become the victims of tragedy now be regarded as “fair game”, in the same way as, say, a newsworthy celebrity’s online musings would be?
When Jill Meagher died in Melbourne, her Facebook profile, and that of her husband, were unprotected – but although photographs from Facebook were used in news reports, journalists avoided delving too deeply into details of her postings.
The Krim case appears to have crossed a new and disturbing line in the privacy wars.