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
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.
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
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.
I’m in a desperate moral dilemma.
I’m actually quite glad Russell Brand has left the BBC. He’s an irritating idiot who rarely makes use of the decent brain he was born with and isn’t funny. BUT, I’m deeply concerned that his departure means giving in to the wishes of the easily offended, ignorant mob.
I’m getting fed up of the whole circus surrounding this whole saga. Listening to Richard Allinson in the mornings (a welcome break from Sarah Kennedy) I have to agree with his weariness.
Do I need to summarise the situation? Well OK I’ll be quick. The week before last, Andrew Sachs was due to be interviewed by Russell Brand and his guest Jonathan Ross for the Russel Brand show on Radio 2. Only, he was unexpectedly and inexplicably unavailable. So they decided to leave a message on Sachs’ answer phone, in the manner of teenage youths leaving a jokey message for a mate who’d forgotten to turn up at the party. Only Andrew Sachs is not a mate of Russell and Jonathan, and he didn’t find it all that funny. So far, so childish.
Fast forward to this Sunday just gone, and the Mail On Sunday gets hold of the story, over a week later, and in their inimitable style twist and misrepresent it in the worst possible light to elicit outrage from their readership. Which they get, in spades.
Unlike the 30,000 who complained, I actually heard the show “live”. OK, so not
live but on the original broadcast. It took me a while to work out that Jonathan Ross. It was not the best radio programme I’d ever heard, and I only kept it on because I was loathe to get the laptop out and listen to something else. It wasn’t, I have to say in the best of taste. They were irresponsible and did something wrong. It was as some say “out of order”. But it didn’t warrant all this.
To me, the people who are malicious are the hordes of people who didn’t listen to the broadcast and complained, based on the press hype. Particularly the ones who don’t care what was said, but just want to stick the boot in. People who complained because they hate Brand and Ross for being overpaid and overhyped, or because they can’t stand that sort of broadcasting were given an excuse to behave in a despicable manner. People who would describe it, not in terms like “a bit offensive” or “childish” or “stupid” but as “disgusting filth”. Most of the 30000 complaints could be more accurately described as malicious than that stupid childish broadcast.
These people and the ones in this case who deserve the lion’s share of the opprobrium. It is a massive injustice that they have been listened to. I can’t be pleased that a radio show I vaguely dislike is off the air, because of the terrible, terrible way in which it came about.
I am not sorry to see Brand go, and can take or leave Ross. But I am deeply concerned as to the sort of people who are getting their voices listened to over this.
According to the Daily Hate and other newspapers, us PC killjoys are out to ban Christmas.
Unfortunately for them it isn’t true and here’s why.
James O’Malley has an interesting response, which is more anti-religion than I would write myself but still worth a read.
In summary, people are complaining that the Royal Mail issuing non-religious stamps this year is all part of a PC conspiracy. However the fact is they issue non-religious stamps every other year anyway, this year is no different. Anti-PC nutcases also cite Birmingham’s Winterval as an attempt to ban Christmas, and yet Winterval only happened the once and featured Christmas celebrations prominately!
Thanks to Nick Barlow.
Yesterday was Remembrance Sunday. We impressed on the explorers that it would be nice that they turned up on Sunday, and was pleased some of them did. Explorers tend to be exempt from sponsorship agreements with places of worship, so there was no obligation for those that turned up. So I was really impressed with the turn out from Blacksheep.
Actually the Explorers have impressed me a lot lately. I planned and ran quite a serious evening on mental health issues last Wednesday. It was quite a serious topic, and even though there was a small amount of chatter, most of it was relatively grown up discussion of the topic in hand. I was very pleased with the way the evening went, it was a great success.
Back to Remembrance Sunday, and I have to admit some concordance with both James G and James C over the self righteousness of White poppies, with a Christian group deeming Red Poppies “politically correct”. Some people I know have very sensible reasons for not wearing the red poppy. Howvwer beyond the news story the last white poppy I saw was back in my days as a Venture Scout when the leader of Dovers VSU was an ex-serviceman, and we were childish. I don’t see the red poppy as glorifying war, given remembrance is all about reflecting on those who were killed in battle. Nor do I buy the idea that those who wear red poppies don’t remember civilian casualties. Contrary to what is suggested in the latest furore the poetry then red poppy image comes from doesn’t in an way suggest war is a Good Thing.
During the service at the Church, Barry Overend, the vicar, gave what I thought was a good talk on the meaning of some of the traditional remembrance hymns. It made it very clear why St Chads goes in for the less modern side of its hymn books given his enthusiasm for the musical history of the church. However it may have been better aimed at a Women’s Institute or musical society evening than a sermon to a general audience, as I was a little bored, let alone the cubs.
The weekend brought up various conflicting ideas regarding what people in the war fought for. Two things spring to mind. This morning a friend of a friend sent a link to a Daily Mail article about an unrelated subject, and I noted the poppy at the top of the page. On Friday the odious Nick Griffin was cleared of inciting racial hatred, and was depicted wearing a red poppy. I realise the poppy is an emblem from the great war, but both the Mail and Griffin stand for the very values that we fought against in the subsequent conflict, even in the diluted “secure the borders” mildly xenophobic message prevalent in the mail.
And yet there’s a dilemma. Silencing these people would also be insulting the efforts of those that have died for us because it would be fighting fascism with fascism. The fact that what Griffin said was not illegal does not make it right, and nor does it mean we should be toughening the law to make sure it’s illegal. We should let people like that have their say, and they can condemn themselves out of their own mouths. Unfortunately freedom sometimes means having to hear things we dislike.