Kerry O'Brien's Occasional Speech


Kerry O'Brien

Kerry O'Brien gave an Occasional Speech during the Autumn Semester graduations of May this year. It was delivered to graduates from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, which included Ruben's sister, Elke. My own speaker a few days later was quite interesting, but I was certainly intrigued about what was talked about during FASS' graduation and only recently did I discover the transcript to the full speech.

Some great points from Kerry O'Brien's Occasional Speech:

I’ve watched the quality of political leadership shrink as politicians become more and more consumed with the propaganda possibilities of the communication age. They end up hopelessly enmeshed in the quicksands of a 24 hour news cycle; where media strategy and marketing appeal shape and drive policy as much as the need for the policy in the first place; if, in fact, there was a need.

This was given before the election and still in Gillard's time to boot, but I'm looking at you, Abbott. Ruben also tweeted a quote during the speech, which this part could be or could relate to and certainly bears thinking about for all. Emphasis mine.

[W]ith humans being humans, we should never underestimate our capacity to misuse or abuse the technology [...] As you find yourself rushing along at breakneck speed, with all these wonderful but increasingly intrusive tools at your disposal, and diminishing time to actually stop and think free of distraction, promise yourselves this: That you will always try and keep some time for reflection on who you are and who you want to be, and value your privacy. Once it lost it not easily regained, and sometimes we only realise what had when we've lost it.

A great many things to learn from such a well-respected and experienced man. I urge you to read his speech if you have the time to do so. :) As I studied in my Digital Media in Social Context class, we often take the technologies we have now for granted, but technology is a wondrous and magical thing for those who first grew up sitting around the radio with their families before the television appeared as a commodity for those who could afford it. We sure live in wondrous times.

Image from... YouTube.