Is it me, or do you rarely hear people these days talking about ‘honour’? It was a ‘given’ in our childhood – the honour of our country, the honour of our school, don’t let the family down because it will affect our honour …

You do hear it sometimes: from some Oscar winners, for instance. ‘This is a great honour’ … but it is an honour for them personally.

I was thinking about this in relation to Murdoch et al. His apparent absence of interest in ‘honourable’ journalism opened the door to all sorts of ‘dishonourable’ ways of behaving for some of his staff. And if you have no sense of honour, then you may have no sense of shame either, of having done something wrong, of being in a position where an apology should be made. Indeed, Murdoch is said to have laughed when the ‘Hitler Diaries’ story turned out to be a sham. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, he is supposed to have said. How is that ‘honourable’ or even accurate journalism?

It reminds me of Falstaff: ‘what is honour? A word. What is this word, honour? Air’ …

Many people seem to feel less and less ‘shame’ or embarrassment about all sorts of things. Are we losing the sense of what is good and right and praiseworthy, and have we replaced it by what is ‘cool’?

Have we replaced a virtue with a fashionable sneer?




  1. Your excellent post invited me to compare the situation in your country with the one in Germany. As Rumwell put it: “It might just be that the word (honour) itself is anachronistic.”
    I think Germany is more or less in a similar position. The word honour is used mostly in standing expressions like: it is an honour for me to address you here etc.
    Of course the Murdoch hacking scandal is reported and commented at length in German newspapers. I analysed some contributions but never found the equivalent of honour in the papers. The deep indignation of the public is described due to Murdoch’s journalists not being committed to the common ethics. But honour – that belongs to the past. Also no one is accustomed to talk about the honour neither of the country nor of the family. Instead people are talking about integrity of a person. In this sense Murdoch is considered to have behaved without integrity.
    It is somewhat different with the word shame. The sexual abuse of children is nowadays openly discussed and causes to talk about shame, too.


  2. I think people change like the wind and sway about and they reflect what the most leaderish person is saying. I think humans are very suggestable and changeable and so it is very important the leaderish people are moral and honourable and have integrity.

    I like to hope the good honourable people win over and have the influence….. :yes: But I don’t think people are fixed one way or the other in the face of challenge unless strong individuals….. but in their hearts they must always know what is honourable and so must always through history have known … so I guess what I’m thinking is there is no change in people themselves… just in the prevailing wind if you see what I mean…..


    1. … yes indeed, and it’s about having integrity ourselves and not letting the wind sway us just because it’s convenient to us, but to keep applying what I call ‘kingdom principles’ of truth and justice etc.


      1. They may have 2 sides to themm where they can be loving to their families like Goering and co in Germany.
        I think it’s not just money,it’s the love of power and control and domination.I admire the persistence the Guardian has shown.Without them it would still be going on.It’s so good to know that something can be done if people try.


      2. And of course the Dowler family, being willing in their grief to take a stand – like someone jumping up and down, and starting an avalanche. If enough people jump up and down then things can be changed.


      3. Gillyk, I wonder how many these days think about anything except making money. When these days, it’s sleaze that seems to sell papers and make money for those who should be embarassed (“I slept with so and so celebrity and he broke my heart etc.”, greed and all things wrong rule the day. The skeletons coming out from this NotW shambles is good from an accountability point of view, but frightening in the sense of how far people are now prepared to go for money and fame.


      4. We are responsible, choco – people who buy these papers do so because they like reading about these things. So all the readers of these papers are involved.

        You’re right – both good and bad are coming out of this fiasco. Good point!


  3. Your excellent post prompts me to want to quote Mark Antony’s words…over the body of Caesar…especially the subtle refrain….’Brutus is an honourable man, so are they all…honourable men’…..:roll:;)xx


  4. I think it might just be that the word itself is anachronistic. Honour thy mother and father, as it says in the bible. What does that even mean? People might love, loath or respect their parents. But honour? Did you? I wouldn’t know how. As for Murdoch et al, well, they lacked integrity pure and simple. I don’t think that concept’s changed.


      1. Really? Small world. You must be proud. I’m taking Business Admin. Who knows, perhaps, in two years time, I’ll graduate with honours. 🙂


  5. Don’t even talk to me about Murdoch….

    I was a home to school driver at the time and saw the families grief…

    I saw the boarded up windows because paparacie were about in abundance….even to having baracades outside their home in Weybridge.

    I picked up a child 9 doors away and saw the grief of the families…I went through another families grief withh their daughter…not so far away…




      1. No….I want to preserve the family’s solitude. It was bad enough for them then….no one can ever imagin what it is like now.



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