Home > People Being People > An open letter to Pebbles Hooper…

An open letter to Pebbles Hooper…


Pebbles Hooper resigns from Herald roles


Ok, you’ve done the right thing… for now.

In a part of my mind, I *shock, horror* have a small degree of wistful sympathy for you, Ms Hooper. (No, not for what you’ve said – that was repugnant beyond belief.)

My sympathy is based on the premise of youthful stupidity.

I’ve had my own “youthful indiscretion” which caught up with me a few years ago.

I didn’t do hard drugs (the occassional toke was about the extent of my venturing into the realm of illicit substances).

I binge-drank until a final event around Christmas 1985 made me do some very fast growing up. (No, not drunk driving – that is one taboo I’ve had the common sense never to attempt.)

I could do stuff with my little Mini 1100 that was later featured in the cult movie, ‘Goodbye Pork Pie’. (Hey, I was in my early twenties – and young people are indestructible to Kryptonian-level, as we believed ourselves to be.)

I was a cad with women. (Though I loved and lost a few in the process.)

It wasn’t until my late twenties, with the anchoring of a good woman who came into my life, that I began to settle down, mature, and realise that just ‘cos I could do or say a thing, didn’t necessary mean it was automatically a Good Idea.

My politics changed with me as I matured into my thirties. My views softened. The world was not so much black and white,, as 99% shades of grey, with a sprinkling of other rainbow colours…

I associated with other people. More mature people. A wider cross-section of humanity.

In short, it took a while, but I grew up. (Most of the time.)

Ms Hooper, your life is ahead of you and whilst you have made a horrendous mistake that will be long remembered, you can (and hopefully will) learn from this experience.

Lesson 1: How would I feel if I were in that person’s position. Think deeply about that. It’s called empathy.

Lesson 2: Just because you can say a Thing, doesn’t mean you should. Yes, free speech exists – but others can use that same right to free speech to express their thoughts and feelings. And the feedback you get may not be pleasant. Free speech cuts both ways.

Lesson 3: Your coffee may be black or white, but the human condition is not. Ms Hooper, you may not understand this now. But you will by the time you are  50 or 60. One hopes.

Lesson 4: Shit happens. (No, I don’t like that cliche either.) In other words, people make mistakes. Only gods, cyborgs, supermen, and superwomen do not. I suspect you are none of these, so you yourself may make the odd mistake now and then. Just like you did yesterday, on Twitter. Think twice; thrice; more times, before passing judgement. Remember, that judgementalism cuts both ways, Ms Hooper.

Lesson 5: More like advice. You should surround herself with other, more diverse people. Those with the same mind-set as yours may not be good for your personal growth.

Just as when I was a pratty, right-wing, know-it-all, teenager, who could easily have been a member of ACT On Campus – I associated with a young chap who made me question my assumptions; Mark Davies, the son of trade unionist, Sonja Davies.

Mark was a communist (Soviet-aligned); staunch trade unionist; and anti-American, and we had the most heated, passionate arguments. Boy, he made me think. (I was grief-stricken when Sonja told me, many years later, that Mark had been killed in an industrial workplace accident.)

This will pass, Ms Hooper. But it depends what you do with this ‘stumble’ in your life, that makes it worthwhile as a learning experience.

I hope you make the most of it.




= fs =

  1. Deb Kean
    8 July 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Well written Frank! 🙂

  2. Kakapo Kate
    15 July 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Never underestimate the level of stupidity that is engendered by privilege and a sense of entitlement. Ms Hooper has a lot of growing up to do.

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