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Tuesday 6 September 2011

Revenge, on Insight - SBS. How far would you go?

On this week's Insight - to screen Tuesday, 6 September 7.30pm on SBS ONE - the topic is revenge.

It’s powerful, and it plays out in many arenas - the most obvious is in the area of bitter break-ups, and extends to neighbourhood disputes, friendships, and even to politics and sport.

Revenge can make people, well, lose their 'nana and act in ways considered not in character, leading them to act out against former partners, colleagues and companies.

In this episode, Insight asks whether humans are hardwired for revenge, and whether it can ever be justified (some of the examples on tonight's ep will make your head spin).

Some of those who take revenge say the wrongdoer is simply getting what they deserve and that justice is being done. But others say that ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’ – and that revenge won’t make you feel better anyway. Watch the various examples and see what side of the fence you sit on...

Host Jenny Brockie leads the discussion and tonight's interesting guests include:

Warren Mallard, a private investigator, who sees a large number of cases driven by revenge. He says he’s been threatened with death, had his car torched, tyres punctured, and windows smashed as payback for cases he’s worked on. He believes revenge most hurts the person who enacts it.

Paul Gyulavary, who lost his twin brother and only sibling, Peter, in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the twin towers in New York. Paul confessed to a sense of jubilation after hearing of the death of Osama bin Laden, but then he wondered whether his reaction was appropriate. He says neither revenge nor forgiveness are factors for him.

Mike McCullough, an evolutionary psychologist from the University of Miami and author of Beyond Revenge – the Evolution of the Forgiveness Instinct. He says revenge and happiness both stem from the same area of the brain and that, in evolutionary terms, revenge was ‘created’ because of its value in deterring harm.

Pauline Clayton (perhaps my favourite), who racked up $20,000 on her husband’s credit cards after he left her for another woman. She also threw her husband’s beloved golf clubs in the swimming pool and cut the backs out of dozens of his Yves St Laurent shirts (ooh, nasty!).

Niromi de Soyza, who joined the Tamil Tigers at age 17 to avenge the government sanctioned atrocities against Tamils in Sri Lanka. After a year of guerrilla warfare and witnessing the violent deaths of many close friends, Niromi says she came to believe that violence and revenge are not the answer.

Dave Carroll: after United Airlines damaged his beloved guitar, Dave recorded a song “United Breaks Guitars” which went viral on YouTube. The song notched up 10 million hits on the video-sharing site and became a public relations headache for the airline (see the song on the show tonight). But Carroll doesn’t view his actions as revenge.

What would you do in the name of revenge? Better still - what have you done? C'mon, spill. Comment - and feel free to remain anonymous...

Insight is hosted by Jenny Brockie and airs on SBS ONE every Tuesday at 7.30pm.

For more, see: www.sbs.com.au/insight

And you can follow Insight on Twitter at www.twitter.com/insightSBS and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/InsightSBS

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