YspeopleExplore tab



Why don't we honour the most worthy?

About Subversive

Do you have your own gripe with your local or state government? And what are the streets like in your part of town, in your home state?

If you'd like me to fire a rocket up them, or a shoddy business, I'm listening! You can email me here.

Why is it that we describe sports people as great? Are they? Aren't scientists, teachers and police great?

We have just observed ANZAC Day and honoured those who fought for this country in war. These men and women most certainly earned our honour, respect, gratitude and much, much more.

We continue to worship the wrong heroes, favouring celebrity and sporting prowess over bravery and achievement.

We continue to worship the wrong heroes, favouring celebrity and sporting prowess over bravery and achievement. Picture: iStock

On this same ANZAC Day, I heard a football commentator calling the game of the day describing a footballer as a ‘great man’. This led me to ask what made this sportsman ‘great’ and, on the day that we honour people who have given their life for their country, whether that's even appropriate.

While I enjoy watching football and respect the amazing talent of many of those on the field, I can see nothing ‘great’ about the players of today, or indeed, the players of yesterday. They are nothing more or less than sportsmen, just as their female equivalents are nothing more or less than sportswomen.

How can we reasonably compare athletes with young men and women who have given their lives for their country? For that matter, can we reasonably compare these athletes with the men and women working in laboratories around the world seeking cures for diseases, the climate scientists tolerating extreme conditions to help humanity better understand climate change, or teachers who devote their lives on relatively low incomes to giving children a great start in life?

We are so good at honouring high-paid sportsmen and women, along with high-paid actors and even higher-paid celebrities, famous for nothing more than being famous. We honour the high-profile instead of the true contributors, the opinionated ahead of the humble thinkers, the rich ahead of the contributing, the good looking ahead of the intelligent and the fast ahead of the methodical.

What is wrong with us?

Teachers contribute more to children’s lives than any actor contributes in a movie. Scientists contribute more to keeping us healthy than any sportsman or woman will ever contribute while running fast or jumping high. Policemen and women contribute more to our safety than any celebrity ever contributed to just about anything. While there are some inherent generalisations here, I believe the point is absolutely clear.

We pay sports people obscene amounts while our government cuts funding to the CSIRO. We pay movie stars obscene amounts while teachers have to beg for small pay rises, while education spending increases rarely keep pace with inflation. We facilitate celebrities like Kim Karsashian (a waste of space if there ever was one) earning millions of dollars, while our police beg for the additional funding required to keep us safe.

When there is a flood or bush fire, we laud the popstar or movie star holding a charity concert, while leaving it to politicians to thank those who risk their lives to keep us safe or save us from disaster. While we are getting better at thanking emergency personnel, we continue to pay them poorly and then laud the wealthy popstar or celebrity giving a little of their time for a concert or event.

I have no problem with the popstar doing what they do. I have no problem with the movie star, sports star or celebrity doing what they do. That is their job. My problem is with the population that so readily honours these people and accepts the payments they receive so readily. We need to get our priorities right.

Let’s honour people who earn it.

  • Read more from Subversive Sam: ANZAC Day is no time to celebrate
  • Banner 1
    | Your rating
    No ratings yet

    Related stories

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

    The power of the null hypothesis

    I am a big subscriber to the null hypothesis, a scientific term suggesting there is no evidence available to you that enables...

    Almost 2 years ago
    Why is the Church obsessed with sex? Picture: Shutterstock.

    The plebiscite and the Christian obsession with sex

    Why does this most natural of human pursuits cause so much division?

    LGBTI Politics Marriage Equality Australia
    Almost 2 years ago
    Let's do this! Picture: Shutterstock.

    Calling out the Coalition For Marriage for what it is


    The Coalition For Marriage's action against the gay community this week is no different to an old-fashioned religious witch hunt.

    LGBTI Politics Marriage Equality Australia
    Almost 2 years ago
    All power to a truthful ABC.

    Why One Nation's push against the ABC is wrong

    The ABC has a responsibility to report the facts, not a balanced view.

    Social Issues Politics Australia
    About 2 years ago
    What do you think of Australia day? Picture: ABC.

    Australia Day: Is January 26 appropriate?

    What are your thoughts on an appropriate date to celebrate Australia Day? Here are mine.

    Community Social Issues Politics Australia
    About 2 years ago
    Is prison an ineffective deterrent? Please share your thoughts with us.

    Why do we jail offenders?

    Retribution is not, and should not, be the primary purpose of imprisonment.

    Community Social Issues
    About 2 years ago
    United, we CAN make a difference to our world.

    Together, the over-50s can change the world


    I am an Australian over the age of 50. I believe together we must stand, or divided we will fall.

    Ageing Social Issues Politics Australia
    About 2 years ago
    Peter Finch in that rousing scene from Network.

    I'm as mad as hell. Come yell with me!

    It's time to stand up and tell our politicians that we are as mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

    Movies Community Social Issues Politics
    About 2 years ago
    How can PM Malcolm Turnbull truly understand the average Australian? Picture: iStock.

    Does Malcolm Turnbull understand you?

    How can anyone truly understand you until they have walked a mile in your shoes?

    Social Issues Politics Australia
    About 2 years ago
    Wooden, and full of half-truths and tall tales .

    Political integrity? Pffft, you've got to be joking!

    Don't you just hate politicians who think you are too thick to realise they are just telling you what you want to hear?

    Social Issues Politics Australia
    About 2 years ago

    Message board

    Derek, about 1 year ago:
    I am great
    George, about 1 year ago:
    What's up Thomas?
    George, about 1 year ago:
    Messages are now updated in real time on other browsers.
    Thomas, about 1 year ago:
    Thomas, about 1 year ago:
    DJC, about 1 year ago:
    George, about 1 year ago:
    Message board active from June 2018

    Have your say!

    Your Great Australians

    Trending stories
    When it comes to great bloggers you can connect with, this list has you covered.

    20 mature bloggers worth following

    Looking for Australian...

    (Entertainment & Culture) Over 2 years ago
    They may be hideous, but geez, some toby jugs are valuable.

    Is your toby jug worth a fortune?

    Did you know that some of...

    (Nostalgia) About 1 year ago

    Watch: Kitty Flanagan on panda porn

    Should we be worried about...

    (Entertainment & Culture) About 2 years ago
    Worth a small fortune.

    Do you have this valuable $1 coin?

    Australia's rarest decimal...

    (Money & Business) Almost 2 years ago
    Greg Garnish and senior winemaker Bernie Stanlake with the Harmans Pisco still.

    Wine brawl opens door for Australia's first Pisco

    Margaret River winery...

    (Epicure) Over 2 years ago
    Weekly Poll
    Photographic memories
    It's 35 years since the Ash Wednesday bushfires in South Australia and Victoria claimed 75 lives and more than 2500 buildings.