July 22, 2010
Journalists are at the bottom of the trust heap, along with politicians in general and the government. Research carried out by Ipsos MORI in 2009 showed that 72% of the 2,000 adults asked ‘do you think these professionals tell the truth or porkies’, believed the humble media scribe to be a big-time bullshitter.
Surprised? I’m not, and here’s why…
I was amused, slightly shocked, but mostly amused by a tweet thrown up (vomited) by Sky News when the Goldtrail firm collapsed earlier last week:
Are you caught up in the Goldtrail travel firm collapse? Please email Sky News…
… so that we may exploit your misery for our own profit and gain bwahahahahahaaaaa!
Ok so they didn’t say that part, but it does make you wonder why it’s so important that journalists know everything that is happening everywhere.
In the case of Sky News, I guess it has something to do with beating the competition, mainly BBC News. I saw another tweet this week where there was an 11 minute gap between the BBC and Sky posting the same breaking news. No prizes for guessing who got to the pie first…
It still makes me think however, that journalists are some of the least trusted because they’re, well… leeches. As has been proven by Sky News. If I found myself stuck in a similar situation, I’m not sure how I’d react to being suddenly idolised for my misfortune.
For example: if I were involved in a catastrophic event, I’d most likely punch the first journalist who ran up to me and asked me what happened:
what the hell do you think has happened, buddy?! The gas main running under this street just exploded and blew half the soddin’ village into the adjacent county!!! *thump*
Perhaps my bemusement has something to do with the fact that I can’t always relate to sticky events or fully understand their magnitude at least until a week or so has passed. Perhaps it’s because I don’t complain immediately. There’s a certain amount of confrontation needed when you start moaning about something straight after it has occurred. I don’t like confrontation so I tend to avoid it like people avoid sitting next to the person on the train who looks like they’re carrying the Ebola virus.
The other thing that gets me about journalists, and it’s something I know is a huge and idiotic faux pas to make, is when something happens, good or bad, and the first thing out of their mouths is:
how do you feel?
The recipient of the question could have just been dragged from a six metre deep hole in the rubble after an earthquake, covered in dirt and cuts. They’re sobbing. Oh, I wonder how they feel… Can you imagine (yes, imagine here) what the England team would have said if they’d won the World Cup?
The point is, being asked how you feel when it’s evident how you’re feeling is liable to make you hate the idiot who asked you that question.
Journalists aren’t doing themselves any favours; between asking stupid questions, feeding off the misery of others, plugging the same stories of death, destruction and suffering over and over, writing things inaccurately (or just blatantly lying as Ange and Brad have found), and deeming the death of another soldier ‘breaking news’, they’re not giving us any reason to trust them. Or like them. Or believe a word they say.
I recently got back into reading the headlines. That fad lasted a couple of days because I got so depressed at what was being thrust at me over Twitter, I contemplated chaining a bunch of rocks to my waist and wading off into the river at high tide. I wonder if you could bring a claim against the media for perpetuating mental illness…
This world is a horrific place because
- we make it horrific through bad deeds, selfishness and ignorance
- we don’t perceive it to be anything other than awful, and that’s how we report it to be
- we can’t think positively long enough for it to take effect
- we give up
At the risk of sounding like a sentimental and maladjusted idealist, I’d like to see more reports on things that are good about life. And I don’t mean token human interest stories that are all gooey and have weird novelty value, like bald men doing a fun-run wearing custard pants to raise money for a duck crossing in their local village. I’ll tolerate stories of badgers and goldfish becoming life-long companions because that shows us that difference is cool, but isn’t so big a deal as to prevent genuine connections between the seemingly incompatible.
I’d like to see more news about successes in saving the planet, advances in medicine that don’t linger on the desperation for eternal youth/life, technology that works in harmony with nature instead of trying to replace it, groups of teenagers who are proving the myths wrong and contributing positively to their community.
Globalised news may keep us in the loop, but I think it stops us from living fuller lives, happier ones at that. Yes, good stories require challenges, adversity and even tragedy, but the British media has taken that bit way too far. I’m surprised they have any followers left. Or friends for that matter.
November 30, 2008
Before I give you what I promised in my earlier post, I wanted to share this with the blogging world:
I was heaving the Christmas tree up the stairs and into the living room when I saw a label declaring something quite alarming and beyond hilarious…
I don’t have to go into how this is wrong on so many levels, but I’ll just question how this tree managed to marketed in the first place, and how it actually made it into this country. In my eyes, and for me personally, it’s a valid reason for not having children.
Anyway. As promised, the Opinions piece I submitted as course work around two years ago for one of my Journalism modules:
Santa Must Die
“Ho ho ho! Meeeeeeeeeeery Christmas!”
I glare at the mound of Christmas sitting at the end of my checkout and grumble at it. If it’s not the endless whirring of its motors, it’s the continuous, trumped-up, manly bleating of what is supposed to be the essence of the festive season.
I shove a bag of frozen peas across the scanner, with a satisfying sadistic bleep. It’s amazing how evil you can make a checkout sound if you’re completely p***** off.
I’ve been sitting here for almost three hours now, listening to the five foot Santa jig about in poor timing with the same Christmas songs, over and over and I only have to hear ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ one more time and I will explode into a fury of screams and bloodshed.
Like most people, I do actually like Christmas. I like seeing friends; I enjoy giving gifts as opposed to receiving them. I like stepping outside into my garden to survey the cold winter night as my family are left indoors to argue. I even like that bit too, it’s not Christmas if they don’t moan and shout at one another. Yes, the Christmas spirit is indeed alive within me.
The thing that I don’t like however, the thing that makes the blood churn in my veins and makes me want to stuff the turkey as hard as I can with my fist, imagining that I’m shoving dynamite up into an orifice of someone who heads the corporate Christmas campaign, is the tack.
The cheap, crappy plastic of Christmas time. I despise it. The mere thought of someone’s house becoming the perfect beacon for a pack of bombers not only makes me think ‘ugh’, but also makes me think ‘how huge is their electricity bill going to be next quarter?’
I’m all for Christmas cheer and good will toward everyone, as opposed to just men. And that goes for the rest of the year too, after all, why should we restrict ourselves of being good to one another for only four stress-filled weeks? What’s wrong with the other forty-eight weeks of the year? Do they not create as much of a coronary episode for us?
One of my customer points out to me that those who lavish their house with tinkling abominations are quite happy to pose for the papers, but if it came to the crunch and someone truly needy turned up on their well-lit doorstep, asking for some much-needed ‘good will’ and help, the Christmas spirit would most likely evaporate under the glare of their house-turned-nuclear reactor.
A customer walks past the singing Santa, setting the thing off again. Jingle Bells. I feel my blood pressure surge up a notch and a bit of my Christmas cheer drown in the flood of frustration that bubbles over my skin.
“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the waaaaay….”
“You can jingle all the way to hell and like it…”
A customer behind me lets out a snicker at my comment and I suddenly feel better knowing that someone appreciates my cynicism. I assume most people would have taken offence by it, but then it’s my opinion that they get so wrapped up in the hype and glitter of December time that they don’t realise that they’re being gently fleeced by every retailer that can get its company advertised on television. This includes Argos and its claim to be able to fulfil every Christmas wish. I highly doubt that it can make my wish come true, that people will stop panic buying three weeks before the big day.
Finally, the massive tail-back of eager festive shoppers vanishes like the stock on the shelves as my shift draws to a close. A straggler spots my empty till and walks over to me smiling like I was waiting for them. In these situations, it is hardly likely that a stressed, exhausted looking Cashier, flicking her eyes at the clock desperately is merely sitting there in wait for her next customer.
Despite my yearning for the final ten minutes to be over, I follow company policy by smiling and making eye contact. The Santa cuts my obligatory greetings short with a jolly welcome of its own. I cast my eyes over it in anger as storm clouds begin to gather over my till.
“Doesn’t that get annoying?”
I look at the customer and smile sweetly and suddenly realise that my psychopath has raised its pretty little head at a very opportune moment.
“I’m afraid it annoys me terribly,” I chirp, scanning the items through.
“In fact, it annoys me so much, that next week, I’m planning to dress like a ninja, ram the bloody thing with a trolley where I shall steal it away from the store and tie it to a pre-prepared ceremonial pyre. Upon doing this, I shall strip naked in the cold moonlight, paint myself red and light the pyre with joy, dancing freely around the blazing fire as the synthetic fabrics and materials melt and fuse to become the sign of my mighty vengeance upon all that think Christmas is just about presents, food and tinsel.
The flames shall rise ever higher, and spark into multiple, beautiful colours and the aurora of my rage shall be seen for miles around as I dance and sing my way to the highest peak of ecstasy upon which I shall rejoice and climax, crying out into the night at the sound of his voice gurgling and fading into the sacrifice.”
The customer stares at me blankly.
I smile, “Do you have a member’s card?”
November 13, 2008
How time flies when you’re miserable.
If you’re one of those people who want nothing more than to get on with your sorry life and grind yourself to the bone for a feeble pension and fuel poverty at the end of it, then like me, you’re inclined toward the idea of getting things ‘sorted’.
There are many things in life that have to be ‘sorted’, but one of the more pressing issues usually circulates around health and well-being (after all if you can’t work due to poor health, you can kiss that potential pension bye-bye). And where do we turn for the eternal salvation for our health? Minds, bodies, souls – the NHS of course!
I was hurled from my bike earlier this week and suffered some minor bruising, grazing and gouging. Like anyone else, I picked myself up and carried on with my life. Three days later, I’m finding that bending my left knee and generally using it in my everyday activities is proving to be awkward and down right painful. So. Off to my G.P. I go (because waiting in A&E is a soul-destroying experience) just to get it checked out. I’m poked and prodded, given an x-ray slip and shuffled off to my local ‘virtually germ free’ (and I say that with no hint of sarcasm, honest) to get my bones photographed.
After a considerable amount of time and pain (yes, lets manipulate the joint that’s causing you agony and ask you to hold it whilst we titter about), I’m eventually told to wait for the results because the good ‘ol NHS wouldn’t want me wandering out with any bits broken. How kind.
But, good news! Only tissue damage. Huzzar!
It was good news indeed because the last thing I wanted was to be unable to shower for six weeks courtesy of a cast. But I can’t help but feel sorry for the individual who snapped up glamorous, smoky white films of my joint. Merely doing their job, they apologised for putting me through pain and making me wait.
“Our radiologists have found no bone damage; the report will be sent to your G.P. within 7-10 working days.”
“Yes. By which time, I’ll be fine.”
“Well, if you still experience problems after a few days, go to your G.P. again. They’ll be able to treat soft tissue injuries easily.”
“I think I’ll just strap it up myself.”
“Ok. I’m sorry I couldn’t do more…”
Out of the machine that is our health service emerged a human being. Kind, gentle and genuinely sorry that nothing more could be done to ease my suffering.
I’ve decided firmly that from now on, unless I’m dying of the bubonic plague, the Ebola virus or suffering from physical ailments that need emergency attention, I’m not going to waste my time being flung back and forth between the posts of a rotting institution. Needless to say that this decision didn’t come lightly. After being turned away twice by my local practitioner and told to go to hospital if my palpitations and chest pains persist, you can understand why I’ve lost my faith, as I fear many others have too.
“Oh, you’re too young to have a heart problem.”
I only have a history of heart conditions in my family on both sides. Nothing to worry about. Nothing to check out. Nothing at all. People drop dead at the age of 25 from a heart attack. I’m 24 and suffer from chest pains. The last time I checked, this isn’t what should be happening.
“Its most likely stress related. Are you under any stress?”
I’ll shoot myself now, shall I?
The only thing that the NHS could possibly achieve now (this is discounting a dramatic and fantastic reform that doesn’t rob the common serf … err … tax-payer), the ONLY thing it could achieve… is a gold medal in ping-pong at the 2012 Olympics…
July 22, 2007
If I’d have known I was to spend my Saturday off subjecting myself to Bluewater, I would have stayed in bed. Or even better, just gone to work.
What possessed me to brave the vast interior is beyond me, but it resulted in approximately twelve minutes of terror as I was faced with the task of finding my way out of Marks and Spencer.
One wrong turn later (possibly at the handbags), I resorted to following two women back from the “Blue Car Park” (how I ended up there, I don’t know) which would have looked worryingly suspicious if I had continued to follow them beyond the French Knickers.
After finally spotting the exit into the shopping centre somewhere in the distance, I made a beeline amongst the throngs of shoppers, near clambering over trolleys and buggies in my desperation to be free.
It occurred to me, as I burst out of the shop front, that all the people I had passed somehow managed to make shopping look important. Their faces had hard looks on them, eyebrows knit together in concentration and eyes staring straight ahead at symmetrical patterns as fingers inspected sleeves and seams.
Could it be that Bluewater isn’t a shopping experience, but is actually a career?
It baffled me as I wandered past clumps of fashion that I could only assume to be people and felt sorry for the kids that were being dragged about by their mums, looking gormless. The truth is, that glazed expression may have been down the fact that every child I saw was eating a pot of frozen yogurt (a.k.a ice cream). These kids weren’t awed, they were stoned on sugary goodness.
I suddenly realised that this was how you make shopping look important. Put on your best drags and don your only pair of Gucci or Dolce and Gabanna sunglasses, and walk about with stylish paper bags for hours on end, as if you’re strutting up and down a catwalk (at this point, it helps to forget that you’re still in Kent and not London). Additionally, if you have kids, save yourself the embarrassment of being a parent by drugging them with confectionaries. They’ll keep quiet and you’ll remain gorgeous.
Adding fuel to the fire are the people who work there. I wandered into the O2 shop to look at my next upgrade – the Samsung U600. Yes, it is a commodity, but if O2 are going to give me a brand new, up-to-date mobile phone for free every twelves months in return for the pathetic £20 a month I pay, then I’m allowed to gloat. Little did I know that as soon as I set foot into the laminate-clad store, I’d be quietly stalked. Observed as I fiddled with grubby looking handsets on patches of plastic grass. Circled. Smiled at. Pounced upon like I was a juicy lunchtime snack. Do they not feed these people? Perhaps they’re threatened with thumb-screws or The Rack if they fail to reach their sales targets. Either way, the staff are no doubt there to make this the most important purchase of your life. LG Shine, or Prada…
In that moment, I came to understand that I was a form of anti-christ to these people. Why? Because I’m the savvy shopper. I don’t need someone to tell me about phones, because I have the power of the interweb at my command (apart from when my router crashes). Review it online and then brave the outside world to feel it in your palm, with Anthropophobia being the price to pay for a near life time of being able to make your own informed decisions without ever having to interact with people.
I politely refused assistance (by avoiding eye contact) and left before Bluewater Security were alerted to someone not actually shopping, but god forbid – browsing.
I had only been at Bluewater for half an hour before I began feeling doubtful of my role in existence. Chatham High Street employs at least two hours to achieve this.
My day was spent dodging Professional Shoppers with their armfuls of bags and fistfuls of buggies, and queuing – on a day when the seventh Harry Potter had been released. What was I thinking? Why did I even dare to consider indulging my bibliophilistic tendencies in Waterstones when I knew it would be packed with eager fans?.
I had gone to meet a friend for the day. A good friend. Unfortunately, having to spend so much time weaving, waiting and working through what we could manage in the ways of conversation made me long for the orderliness and isolation of MSN.
Popular as it may be, Bluewater does little for real social connections and even less for someone who just wants to sit down to a cup of green tea and muse over the tranquility at the bottom.
Needless to say, I won’t be taking any of my friendships there again. Unless I want to destroy them, leaving them to drown and shatter upon the rocks of hyper-consumerism.