Michael O'Doherty: Google only gives you bad news about people
So Google has taken a stand against the Chinese government, which insists on censoring its content so as not to create insurgency or free thinking within its borders. And, of course, it is to be applauded for this stand. Google is a fearless and transparent portal to the truth and should be protected like democracy itself. Should it not?
Well I'm not so sure. It's not a popular opinion, but for anyone who's had a potential life of happiness ruined by Google, this probably needs to be said.
Consider the position of a journalist friend of mine, Niamh (that's not her real name, obviously).
She met a man last week. He googled her name the following day. And thus the gates of hell were opened up -- Niamh was asked to leave a party, she was slagged off on a social blog and, worst of all, had postings about her of a derogatory nature on boards.ie.
The majority of news about an individual on to the web is negative, meaning anyone with a bit of public profile is likely to come across in a poor light. If you don't believe me, google me -- you'll find that I come across as a twat.
RTE's brilliant idea for Earth Hour. . . blasting the boring Green Party into our living rooms
With magnificent irony, John Gormley's speech at the Green Party annual conference was timed to coincide with Earth Hour -- the moment that people across Ireland were asked to switch off their lights to conserve power. And if any of us needed encouragement to cut our electricity consumption, the sight of his keynote address on prime time, Saturday night TV should have provided it.
Quite why RTE still broadcasts these conferences is one of life's mysteries.
They argue that their remit as the national broadcaster obliges them to give all main political parties equal coverage, but there's an easy answer to that.
Give them all equal coverage -- absolutely none.
At first glance, it seemed to be business as usual for party conferences, the graveyard of national TV scheduling.
The acceptance that the Green Party is a 'major political party' seemed absurd in itself, as the conference seemed to be taking place in a Portakabin, with their leader being flanked on stage by senior party members, stacked on top of each other to give the impression of the teachers' backing choir in a school nativity play.
And the obligatory standing ovations seemed less like a tribute to the speakers, and more like an urgent need forn the party's faithful to remove their corduroy-clad derrieres from their ass-numbing plastic seats.
And what a speech. Gormley, without irony, castigating the Opposition for being devoid of ideas, while at the same time delivering a 20-minute speech which miraculously didn't contain one idea itself.
While banging on about sustainable energy, local government funding and Trevor Sargent's integrity, his only reference to the economic hell into which this country had fallen during the Green Party's time in power was to say that they had "laid the seeds for recovery". Which is, of course, bollox.
Installing 'charging points' around Dublin for electric cars that nobody drives; stockpiling sandbags for when we get more floods again in 2045; clear stands on animal welfare and directly elected lord mayors -- truly, this is a party not afraid to tackle the big issues.
In the middle of the biggest economic crisis this country has faced, the Green Party continues to try to knit us an eco-friendly solution, believing that if we all cycled to work, our troubles would disappear.
But then it occurred to me -- the sheer brilliance of it all. The inspired way in which RTE sneaked this comedic gem into their schedules, just as they were allegedly fretting as to what exactly to have as its headline Saturday night entertainment show.
Brendan O'Connor, Craig Doyle, Gerry Ryan and Miriam O'Callaghan all seemed to be battling it out for that coveted slot, but RTE have come up with a better idea ...
As the Titanic that is the Irish economy continues its merciless plunge into the icy ocean, it's comforting to know that the Green Party are busy on deck, not just re-arranging the deck chairs, but also making sure that they're made of bio-degradable material, so that they don't pollute the ocean when we all go down together.
Who needs a show to entertain the whole family on a Saturday night, when you can have the Green Party annual conference?
Nice one, Kamal, you're Mr World. Now, a career in TV? Well, just ask Rosanna
Congratulations to Kamal Ibrahim, the Irish male model who was crowned Mr World at the weekend.
He hopes, I understand, to capitalise on his new status by landing himself a career as a TV presenter.
Well, if his broadcasting career attains anything like the heights of the last Irish person to win a worldwide beauty contest -- Rosanna Davison -- then the world is his oyster, obviously.
Oops, I did it again...
OOPS. Last week, in my latest desperate attempt to get Brian and Amy to allow VIP to cover their forthcoming summer nuptials, I mentioned the wedding of Claire Byrne and her husband as having been covered by ‘a VIP snapper’. On mature reflection, this may have implied that there was a deal struck between the former couple and my magazine, a suggestion which I understand the male half of the couple wishes to dispel. So for the record, no agreement was reached, no money changed hands – we simply ran photographs taken by press outside the church. Sorry old chap.