Nothing stays the same but we’re often surprised when things change.

Plenty of the attitudes and behaviours of the past are no longer acceptable.

Take ‘the rule of thumb’ for example. It is said to come from an eighteenth century English law allowing a husband to beat his wife with a stick provided it was no thicker than his thumb. Today domestic assault is illegal.

I was stuck in a bank queue the other day. The man next to me I was trying to ignore made some made some comment about a ‘police person’ and exclaimed ‘did you notice I didn’t say policeman? I’ve got in trouble about that before!’

The use of language says a lot more than we realise about how we see the world.

Unpicking the underlying values in our language is a journey, one we’re all on, including Eddie McGuire.

Eddie’s felt so ‘emotionally and physically flattened…’ from this week’s gaffe he didn’t call Thursday night’s Fox Footy coverage (The Age, 23 June 2016).

It’s a little bemusing since he wasn’t the subject of taunt that caused so much consternation.

Regardless, it set my mind to what makes for social change and you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.

Pavlov worked it out yonks ago. The most effective way to create change is with positive reinforcement.

We can focus on what we think Eddie did wrong or we can encourage him to turn the situation around.


Eddie apologised to veteran sports journalist Caroline Wilson and that gets a tick. But he doesn’t have to withdraw and lick his wounds. Alternatively, he could also demonstrate his commitment to ending sexism and domestic violence. Why not use that $50 000 to make a positive contribution?

It’s just an idea.


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