Sort of a rant, but more an expression of confused bafflement.
I really don’t get celeb stories in the press. I mean I’m not interested in the tittle-tattle about people’s private lives, but I can see how others might be.
No the stories I mean are the “So What?” type, typically a picture of a famous person doing something banal like walking down the street, or going to the supermarket, or being on holiday, while doing nothing newsworthy like this example from the Daily Mail.The main thrust of the story is that Lewis Collins was spotted looking older now than he did when he was the star of The Professionals. THIRTY-ODD YEARS AGO.
I mean so what? Of course he looks older! What’s the point of this story, I really don’t get it.
The Daily Mail is one of the worst for these banal, privacy breaking stories. What’s worse is that on the website they all go out under the “Femail” section. Am I unusual in thinking that filling the women’s interest section of a paper with such spiteful and yet shallow and banal stories is sexist and misogynistic? The choice of stories of the editorial team of the Femail section seem to me to indicate that those compiling them think that women are typically shallow, gossipy, and stupid. I know this is not the case.
I mean WHY? I’m so confused it’s putting me off my morning coffee.
Hat tip to Minority Thought
Much has been made of the recent case in the media of a gay couple who won damages against the owners of a B&B.
The couple were extreme Christians applying a personal interpretation of Christian values to their guest-house. Their views are far from normal, even among Christians. Actually even among the sub-set of Christians who have a problem with other people being gay. That’s not to say believing sex outside marriage to be wrong is rare, and believing homosexuality to be a sin of some degree is not, relatively, common. It’s just that most decent, caring, Christians do not seek to impose those values on others.
As someone who was brought up in a loving, caring Christian family, I worry about the fall out from this sort of case. It always seems to be the nasty, dogmatic kind of Christian, who’s just that little bit weird. It never seems to be your normal, church-going caring christian, who has come up against some silly aspect of dogmatic secularism. Even though some religious leaders claim religious people are under attack from dogmatic secularists, these sort of cases demonstrate nothing of the sort.
There are plainly a large number of people who have prejudices and look for reasons to back them up. The Bulls’ are so clearly such a couple that I shudder when I read about their personal views, even extrapolated from Christianity as they are, being misrepresented as Christian values.
I worry about the popular view of Christianity when these are the examples of Christian values people see. Not Churches running homeless projects or reaching out to help asylum seekers. Not taking on and supporting individuals who’ve had a hard time. The image is of a people who have a set of rules which they use as a ruler to judge others and don’t hold back when they find they don’t measure up.
I think decent, caring, mainstream Christians should be doing more to present the positive side of Christianity. Sending out a message that the Bulls’ are not typical or representative of true Christians.
Warning: this article contains spoonfuls of anecdotal evidence.
I heard, via various channels, that the British are failing once again to cope with the snow, and are a laughing stock all over Europe where the rest of us are coping and life carries on like normal.
Living in Germany I turn on the TV news, and look out of the window and think, “Really?” I mean sure we have Winter tyres here, but things are being affected by the weather. Some of the local buses are cancelled due to the snow, and some people are choosing to work from home. Elsewhere there are tail backs on the autobahn, and flights are being cancelled because of the bad weather. Students from the next town are missing lectures because of the snow. And the gritting is nowhere near as good as it was in West Yorkshire, with side-streets remaining untreated here as they were there.
There’s little stopping the average Brit from taking similar precautions. Any decent tyre dealer will get hold of winter tyres and a spare set of hubs for you, should you choose to use them, and have the space to store your spare wheels. Certainly I know that once back in the UK I can get replacements for the “All Weather” tyres that our car now uses. And while manufacturers may not go in for German levels of over-engineering you can get decent outdoor gear in the UK too.
I wonder if the difference is attitude. In Germany, most people expect there to be inconvenience, they expect to need decent footwear to get to the bottom of the street, they expect to take longer to get places, they choose not to go out and don’t see it as the collapse of civilisation. And maybe few drivers in Germany expect grit to be some sort of magic dust that means they can drive in the snow without slowing down or taking any more care. In Britian, we try and plough on regardless and when we suffer the slightest inconvenience and we’re calling for the heads of the council gritting department managers.
Pictures from BBC news show that Germany and Britain are not unusual, people are having problems all over Europe. So maybe the only thing that is making the UK a laughing stock is the ability of the tabloid press to make a drama out of very little.
… make sure he isn’t similarly occupied!
The news that a convicted rapist won a case in the ECHR elicited a predictably furious story in the Daily Mail. This prompted many people to post mis-placed anti-EU commentary, even though the EHCR is part of the Council of Europe and not the EU.
Anyway, silly me, I left two comments myself. One pointing out this little factual inaccuracy, and another one that’s more thoughtful and philosophical about how the difference between a regular law-abiding citizen, and the worst criminals ever is not a binary distinction but more of a sliding scale:
While I agree that people who have committed serious crimes should be disenfranchised, many of us break the law in small ways every day. Under your blanket rule anyone who drives at 33 mph in a 30 zone should be ineligible to vote.
Sure there are practical limitations as to who is prosecuted and who isn’t, to give both the general public and police equipment a reasonable margin for incompetence, but the fact remains that the dividing line between breaking the law and not breaking the law is not somewhere between doing something “a little bit wrong” and committing murder.
The message here is that while there are rapists and murderers, who can be legitimately described as “evil” they don’t make up even the majority of people who break the law by a long shot, and it’s a good idea to have a sense of perspective on these matters.
OK, it’s not Pulitzer prize-winning standard, but it’s a pretty good and intelligent piece, even if I do say so myself. It amused me to see how being sensible, level-headed, and thoughtful wins you no friends in Daily Mail land. My comment was one of the three on that article in negative appreciation figures, when I last checked it was minus 26.
I’m not sure about giving all prisoners voting rights; I think there is a case for withdrawing rights from serious offenders,.however the responses seem a little simplistic- it’s either all or none, and all prisoners are as bad as multiple rapists. This is plainly untrue.
A couple of weeks back Professor David Nutt, an advisor on the subject of drugs, was in the media because some things he said contradicted the government’s position on the reclassification of cannabis.
Soon after Alan Johnson sacked Professor Nutt claiming that he had campaigned against government policy.
I thought there was something fishy about this, it didn’t seem to me like the statements were campaigning, even with the media leaping on them in the way they did. But with work and family I didn’t have time to look beyond the headlines. Turns out my feeling was right. Dr Evan Harris, (the Lib Dem MP for Oxford West) covers this in his blog, systematically taking apart the sacking and then Alan Johnson’s response to criticism.
I’m not sure whether the campaigning line, that Johnson is still sticking to is his own misunderstanding of the situation, or whether it is an interpretation that he keeps restating in the hope people believe it.
Actually not so much behind the headlines as behind the whole story!
The Daily Mail ran a piece on how in Watford barmy councillors had banned parents from parks and playgrounds, and had put special trained supervisors in their place. No longer can a family take their toddlers to enjoy time on the swings, they must watch from a distance.
Except- it wasn’t true. Not one word.
Well maybe one or two words. Parents have been told not to hang around after dropping their kids off at supervised adventurous play facility. The facility is not an open playground for the under 5s as you may find in a park, but has always been an enclosed area run by trained supervisors. The facility had become a bit lenient with the rule over letting parents stay for the session, but one or two had begun to get in the way of activities. So they put their foot down and began to enforce the policy.
Cue one disgruntled parent, and you’ve got a classic case of flat earth news!
For an in-depth take in this issue see Sara Bedford’s post here
I agree that it achieves nothing to censor Nick Griffin and the BNP. Banning his party from question time would have been counter productive, making them cause celebres. I don’t believe that anyone watching will get the idea that the BNP have any ideas worth voting for unless they already had racist views.
I keep hearing though that the way to defeat the BNP is to engage with them. Must I? I want to see fewer people voting BNP sure, but I don’t want to have to listen to Griffin’s bilge. Sorry that’s how I feel. I’m not boycotting Question Time in disgust at the BBC, I just don’t want to hear that idiot speak.
It may seem undemocratic, or prejudiced, but freedom of speach does not mean people have to listen.
The big story recently has been the reaction to a piece in the Daily Mail by columnist Jan Moir about the death of Steven Gateley. To date the press complaints commission have received 21,000 complaints about the piece.
I found the original piece mildly offensive, but that’s nothing compared to what happened next. Instead of being chastened Moir hit back at her critics, calling the complaints the results of a mischievous and orchestrated twitter campaign.
I am amused by this. I think back to the last campaign orchestrated against someone who has offended people in society. What was it, oh yes, the campaign against the BBC over a couple of lines in a radio broadcast . Orchestrated by- The Daily Mail. That campaign was mischievous- as many had not heard the broadcast but just wanted to stick it to. Compared to this campaign where I feel people are genuinely aggrieved by what was written.
Moir’s column was a written piece, not an off the cuff comment like that made on Radio 2, and what’s more she has not accepted she did anything wrong. Ross and Brand both apologized for what they did. Ross was punished, while Brand resigned.
If the Daily Mail are consistent they should take on board that this column was far worse than the Ross_brand prank call incident and act as they feel appropriately.
The BBC is not a taxi. It’s a bus. Paying your licence fee and deciding that entitles you to dictate the output of the BBC is like buying a bus ticket and saying “Right, I’ve got this ticket, therefore this is now my bus! It must drive me home, park in front of my house and wait there until the morning when I need it again.”
- Mitch Benn
(c/o Barnaby “Dalek Innards” Edwards)