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A Different View

Overuse of cameras just another modern day menace

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

If a wild man with blood on his hands and a knife and machete in his fist came up to you and asked you to film him on your camera phone, you’d imagine your first instinct would be to turn on your heels and run as fast and as far as you could in the opposite direction.

But apparently you’d be wrong.

Because such is our insatiable appetite to capture all moments and images that we’d risk our own lives to film the bloody end of someone else’s.

The most bizarre thing about that horrific murder in Woolwich recently wasn’t that two lunatics attacked and killed an unsuspecting, off-duty soldier – it was that dozens of people filmed the aftermath with no more fear than they would have had if they’d come across a car that had run over a cat.

They were circling around like a lingering audience after coming out of a theatre, instead of a group that had witnessed what was, by any stretch, a deadly drama.

Some very courageous citizens among them stood over the murder victim’s body in open defiance of his killers, and they deserve every commendation the British can muster for their bravery.

But those who mooched around with their mobile phones have clearly watched too much television and must have felt like they’d been given a walk-on part in a new series called CSI: London.

The image of a man ranting into a camera phone about Muslims and war, with his beheaded victim clearly visible on the street behind him isn’t just deeply disturbing – it is a final commentary on where we find ourselves in this age of technology and instant news.

But then again, should we really be surprised that people will unwittingly risk their own lives so they’ll have something to show their friends later – or something to flog to television or the tabloids of thirty pieces of silver.

More and more, American television relies on what is euphemistically called ‘citizen journalism’ – which is where individuals with cameras or video recorders roam the streets in search of a crime, a crash or a dead body.

From a positive point of view, were it not for ‘citizen journalism’, we’d have known little of the Arab Spring or Syrian uprising; the civil resistance in Bahrain would never have been heard of outside of the Persian Gulf.

Indeed there are agencies – our own Mark Little’s Storyful, for example – which have been set up for the specific purpose of distilling such footage and verifying its provenance, to bring it to a worldwide audience.

And all of that is very positive – a chance for ordinary people to play their part outside of ‘traditional media’ who either couldn’t be there in time to capture a moment or who, in the case of some US networks, may prefer to ignore it.

But it’s when this becomes little more than voyeurism that the waters turn considerably more muddy.

And you’d have to wrack your brains to imagine a scenario, anytime, anywhere, that there isn’t some galoot with a camera recording it for posterity.

You only have to see a performing puppy standing on its hind legs and half a dozen people have their phones out to take a picture, never thinking for a second that even they themselves wouldn’t want to look at the image at any point over the rest of their lives, let alone show it to their guests at a future dinner party.

If you’re unlucky enough to be seated towards the back of a concert, you’ll spend more of the night watching the band through someone else’s camera or mobile because where once it was a sea of cigarette lighters illuminating the arena, it’s now a wall of phones lighting up the night.

At the end of the day, is the world really a better place because we’ve filmed every minute of every day?

And anyway, if we keep recording it all of the time…..when will we have time to actually watch it?

 For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Grandparents may well be the greatest gift of all

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

My mother-in-law is the greatest grandmother on earth, although she’s the only one who doesn’t know it. Not because she’s modest – although she always was – but because she has dementia and struggles to know her own family, never mind their children.

Yet she was there, every step of the way – not just for our two, but for every single one of her 19 grandchildren; minding them, nurturing, entertaining, caring for them, for well over three decades from oldest to youngest.

Kay wasn’t alone for the most of that journey, because Tom in turn was the best grandfather – doing all of those things too, and also instilling a love of simple things into another generation . . . birds, flowers, cats, songs about townlands.

He also embraced things unfamiliar to his world – Thomas the Tank Engine, the Teletubbies, even PlayStation although that remained largely a mystery, as did the fact that anyone would watch soccer when there was a chance to enjoy hurling.

“You’ve been watching this for hours and there isn’t even one score. If this was hurling, you’d have seen 50 of them,” he’d tell the Liverpool fans, enthralled by another scoreless classic.

The beauty of it was that the Kay and Tom got to meet, enjoy and educate every single one of those 17 grandchildren, and there will be no more – because even science can’t produce surprises like that at this stage.

They also got to know a few of their great-grandchildren, although dementia for one of them, followed too quickly by death for the other, didn’t really allow them to pass on the great gifts they had already imbued in their grandchildren.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

No great rush to mend the error of your ways!

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It was St Augustine who famously petitioned in prayer: ‘God, make me good – but just not yet’. It’s a sentiment that one Sister Mary Joseph took to whole new levels, because after spending her first 61 years as a high-living heiress, she spent the last three decades as a cloistered nun.

And she closed one chapter to open another one back in 1989 with a party for 800 of her closest friends at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco – so many guests that the hostess carried a helium balloon all night, with the words “Here I Am” so that people could find her amid the throng.

The next day the former Ann Russell Miller flew to Chicago and joined the Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as a novitiate, spending the rest of her life as Sister Mary Joseph of the Trinity.

Or as one of her 28 grandchildren put it: “It was like The Great Gatsby turned into The Sound of Music.”

Her recent obituary in the Times painted quite the colourful picture of a lover of the high life turned Holy Roller.

“She smoked, drank champagne, played cards, spent five hours a day on the telephone and, as an expert scuba diver and enthusiastic skier, travelled around the world.

“She had a season ticket to the opera, was a high-society patron of many charitable causes and drove her sports car at such reckless speeds that, according to her son Mark, ‘people got out of her car with a sore foot from slamming on an imaginary brake’.”

Because if ever a life could be described as a tale of two-thirds of high living and one-third of contemplation, this was it; the mother of ten who enjoyed the casual company of celebrity friends like Nancy Reagan and Bob Hope opted for an order which allowed her one visitor a month – and even then no touching given the two rows of iron bars between them.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Online games will always give way to world of pure imagination

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

When we were young and Wimbledon came on the telly for two weeks, we’d all rush out to hit a tennis ball off the wall and imagine for an hour that we were Jimmy Connors or Bjorn Borg.

On the odd occasion when we saw live football on TV – the World Cup, the FA Cup Final, or Jimmy Magee covering another false dawn for Ireland at Dalymount Park – we took to the footpath and pretended we were Johnny Giles or Georgie Best.

Jumpers for goalposts, games that went on for hours, fly-goalkeepers, next goal wins – a world of entertainment for the price of a plastic football.

Now when it’s half-time in Sky Sports’ fifth live match of the weekend, the kids still want to play their own version when it’s over. Except they do it on the PlayStation so they never have to leave the comfort of the couch.

Even if we re-enacted the World Cup indoors back in the day, we did it with Subbuteo – so we still got more action and exercise than today’s kids, even if it was just a flick of the fingers.

But in the absence of video games, we did all this with nothing more than our vivid imaginations on a field of dreams that was otherwise a concrete car park or a patch of grass.

We pretended we were Mick O’Connell or maybe Mikey Sheehy (but never Brian Mullins or Jimmy Keaveney) as we fielded balls majestically out of the clouds – even if reality would suggest we hardly left the ground.

It was a world of our imagination where we supplied our own running commentary; these days, FIFA 21 does it for you.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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