Wednesday, 19 November 2008

and on a lighter note.

"Welcome to the 4th national claustrophobics meeting everyone. Sorry again, we are rather overbooked this evening. If you could all just share seats and tables for now, I've just sent the caretaker to go and find a few more chairs to squeeze in to the room.

Now I'm sure many of you are wondering why we're not out on the sports field and instead we're pushed in to the wooden hut at its side lines. Well first of all the weather is coming down out there and the localised flooding is too risky. Of course we are in a glorified wooden, windowless coffin of a room. And also the only door keeps getting stuck shut. But...hey! Look on the bright side, we'll all probably float if it gets that bad. Probably.

John please stop crying, we've discussed this before. When things get bad then we'll all sing our happy song. Don't worry everyone, no more group hugs. I've learnt my lesson from that, and let's face it, the last thing we need in here is another mass panic attack of 30 people in a room designed to safely hold 10 people and a lawn mower.

The other reason is I don't see how we're going to conquer your fears by standing in open fields, so instead we'll be using smaller and smaller rooms to have our meetings in. Unfortunately the large open aircraft hanger that I had scheduled this meeting for collapsed yesterday, tragically crashing on the agrophobics group and trapping them for several hours in pitchblack pot holes with the rain water slowly filling it up. The upshot of that is it did cure 3 people. Though it did kill 2 others."

New News?

I find that my writings these days tend to be rather sparse and often are only motivated by strong desires to talk about something that has recently got my goat.

For instance, I could take this opportunity to make people aware that joining facebook groups on bandwaggon news stories is the greatest demonstration of a warped view of mob justice and social outrage since Sky news allowed its viewers to vote on news stories by text.

I'm not though. I'm not going to mention that you achieve nothing but make yourself stand out as a reader of tabloid journalism and struggle to form your own opinions, but I won't. Partly because this may upset those who read this page and who also like to text their opinions in to BBC News so that they can be read out instead of the informed opinion of someone who actually knows about the subject at hand, but mainly because this blog is more about light hearted meanderings and relaxing my mind. Not pointing out my own friends' shallowness.

Unfortunately that does leave a problem because although my intention is to now follow wherever my concious thought takes me, it keeps coming back to how people percieve the news. Instead let me work on this from an "invention" aspect.

So I give you the Daily Dichotomy. Though I am worried that the name alone will scare off many readers, I feel that the ones that will therefore not venture further are also those that form their opinions based on the front page of a newspaper, day time telly and the pub.

On every page there is a verticle line that runs the whole length of the page. No text or pictures may cross this line. An article may take up the whole page, but the section to the right of the line is in counter-point to the left hand side. It has no opinions, no views that the reader is expected to take away directly. Instead the reader must read both sections and should leave each page wondering where exactly they sit on the issue.

How wonderful is that? Someone finishes reading the newspaper, and sits down next to someone else who has done the exact same thing, and then DISCUSS the news. Not agree on the only opinion that they have heard, but disagree, discuss and argue. It is actually a rather alien concept, for a newspaper to not tell you a story with an obvious message.

Let's take a case in point- the recent child death story that has had people jumping on the bandwagon faster than you can say "front page worthy". Now I would not advocate a paper that says nothing went wrong here, but there is always two sides to things. Reading newspapers you wouldn't realise this.

The Sun (yes I had to sit through one of their speeches), has an article where it fills the pages with pictures of a bruised baby (insulting and unpaletable enough), with doctors queueing up to say, it's so obvious that these bruises are from abuse. The hindsight engine has been running overtime.

So there are our two sides.
1- This was avoidable and changes can be made (notice that I didn't say "changes SHOULD be made"?)
2- There is no way to improve current services without sacraficing other abilities of the service.

Instead the Sun (and I rather think others too) choose to tie the abusers to the stake and then go on to voice that if things had been different then it wouldn't have happened. That's not news. The fact that the child is dead and the authorities blame the parents is news. The fact that the child services were unable to deal with this problem is news. Finding the reasons behind any failures is news. Pictures of bruised babies is not news. It is a disturbing method of selling newspapers to the mob.