The Six O’Clock News: Keeping Up With Current Events

With the ever-changing nature of ‘current events’ and the complications of understanding it anyway, I thought the Israel-Palestine conflict (war? See, defining this shit is tough) would be a good topic to use to discuss ways to keep up with the news. All the cool kids are doing it, so listen up!

The Traditional Way: Newspapers and Magazines

Aw, print media. A declining medium and usually so full of editorially-biased bullshit that often it’s not worth going near anyway. We all know that tabloids aren’t worth even opening (I discovered a Daily Mail parody on Twitter the other day. It’s beautiful) but what about the broadsheets?

Well darlings, there are some good choices. The Guardian and Telegraph, traditionally a bit leftie and rightie respectively, have pretty decent articles which give a detailed explanation of a story, usually with some photos or maybe an infographic. I don’t usually get the Financial Times but I’ve heard it’s good too, as is The Times, if buying something owned by Rupert Murdoch doesn’t give you the heebie-jeebies. Then there’s the Independent and its sister publication the i, which I loved to read at school because it’s really short and has super-duper-easy-to-digest articles. It’s also only 30p and available from Starbucks, so you can look smart while sipping a skinny mocha polkadot frappe. All the papers have websites too so you can read an article as many times as it takes for your blood pressure to return to normal!

That’s pretty much the extent of my paper knowledge and I encourage you to utilise your local library and have a read of whatever you can get your hands on – you’ll find your favourite style of writing pretty soon. One word of warning: even the news articles will contain bias. Not as much as a column – not as obviously much as a column, anyway – but differentiating between reported fact, the writer’s opinion and a senior management-based reference (like a journalist highly rating a film released on a company owned by the newspaper’s owner) is a fun and useful skill. One that Daily Mail readers are lacking above all others.

In terms of magazines, there is only one I read, though I read it more thoroughly than I do all papers: Private Eye. Edited by the dude who sits on the left in Have I Got News for You, it’s predominately satire but also has some serious reporting and its Street of Shame section calls out other newspapers’ crap. If I remember correctly, it was one of the few publications that picked up on Cyril Smith being a paedophile about 20 years before the Jimmy Savile scandal – I think they got sued over the allegations. They get sued a lot. The Economist is also useful if you want to get really intellectual – and the ads in the back are brilliant if you want to pretend you have a PhD.

The Family Debate Way: Television

Ah, the real Six O’Clock News. I love it. If you’re anything like me, couch-surfing wise, you start your channel-flicking marathons around the entertainment channels (Virgin Media 121) and go up to music (Kerrang! TV is 342) and maybe into films (avoid the porn channels just past them).

This is stupid.

Go straight to the good stuff: the plethora of news channels. BBC News 24 HD is 604 for me and it’s on all the time. So if you’re out at ten o’clock or eating at six you can keep in the loop! I’m assuming your family bought a huge massive mega TV broadband phone package deal, in which case you probably have access to CNN, Al Jazeera English, Euro News, BBC Parliament and if you’re unlucky FOX.

The good thing about TV news is that because they’re broadcasting to everybody, they have to explain everything. Hence why reporters go to whacky places or walk through green screened graphics – the information needs to be understandable to the average viewer. You’re not the average viewer because you’re a) reading this and b) you know that you can access CNN.

A downside to the TV is that because most non-24-hour slots are short, detail can be missed from a story, and some stories aren’t told at all. Syria is big news when there’s been a huge bombing or war crime, for example, but gets overtaken by the next big thing. The same thing happened in all areas of the mainstream media to #BringBackOurGirls and Flight MH370. Both are still missing, by the way.

 The Hands-Free Way: Radio

You know, the way they kept up with business in World War II. Radio is cool because you aren’t rendered immobile and you can listen while you’re in the car or doing boring stuff, like chores. BBC Radio 4 has a good broadcast in the morning, which I discovered completely accidentally when I was searching for a radio station without jingles or adverts for my morning alarm. I’ve also heard good things about the BBC World Service, which apparently has a worldwide following because it’s an alternative to propaganda-ridden state media.

The Hipster Way: Websites and Social Media

I should probably point out that I’m not entirely sure what a hipster is, although many of the people I’ve known who have declared themselves to be one have actually been twats. I’m not sure if that’s the point. Anyway, social media basically sparked the Arab Spring, because for the first time people had ways to communicate meet-ups and ideas quickly. So instead of using Twitter to hashtag how great your favourite band is to promote a crappy MTV contest, use it to keep up with a conflict or political situation as-it-happens. There was a Russian soldier who posted a picture of himself with Russian weapons inside Ukranian borders on Instagram, and Osama bin Laden’s house’s siege was posted about on Twitter as it occurred, which says it all. The people inside war zones are exactly the same as everyone else so you can see the actual stuff that’s going on. You don’t have to follow accounts if it bums you out, but searching a tag here and there makes you like well intelligent.

Word of warning: social media is the least moderated of all broadcasting platforms and there are just as many idiots posting political things as there are idiots posting pictures of themselves in their underwear or bitching about their boss. Take with a bucketful of salt and always use two sources to corroborate information, especially if it’s for a school thing. I once stumbled upon a Hammas-supporting website which bitched a lot about Israel and the stats I collected were totally the opposite to the ones we learnt in school. For quick info, use the BBC News app and for research, the CIA World Factbook has great profiles on each country – well, they would – and lists states numerically by how great their literacy rate or GDP is, amongst other things. The BBC also has great country profiles for getting a simple explanation and timeline of a country. This explains Kosovo perfectly, for example.

The Fun Way: Entertainment

Not going to lie, Tim Minchin taught me the background to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Then there’s Have I Got News for You, Russell Howard’s Good News, The Daily Show… the list  of programmes is endless. If you’re prepared to put up with some Hollywood gloss, films and books are useful. Some, like Shooting Dogs or books by Khaled Hosseini, don’t have gloss. They may make you cry noisy tears and expand your cynicism. But they’re actually really important because you’re more likely to empathise and understand the nuances of a situation through fiction than you are just by watching the news.

Documentaries are also excellent because it’s their job to make sense, tell the truth (again: apply salt) but keep hold of your attention. Plus your teachers will support the concept of watching them instead of doing a timed essay. Probably. Possibly.

Okay, I’m off to watch the diving at the Commonwealth Games and keep a tally of my parents’ homophobic comments regarding Tom Daley. Let me know if I’ve forgotten a supercool way to follow the news!

Moving Image Appreciation Post #6

All we need is YouTube, ladies and gents. That’s it. Ever.

The Chainsmokers – #SELFIE PARODY (by The Midnight Beast)

If I ever get bored by The Midnight Beast, please quietly remind me of this video. Is it a parody of another song? I usually can’t tell (and I think I’m in these guys’ demographic, haha)…

Dumb Ways to Die

Maxim showed me this and I think it might have been a big deal a couple of years ago? 

Woa. Plot twist. I have a feeling that this is like Canvas Bags in that I will hum it whenever I’m near a train.

Axis of Awesome – What Would Jesus Do?

This one counts as Religious Studies revision.

Last but not least…

10 Chick Flick cliches you will NOT see in He’s Just Not That Into You

Watching this is now on my “shit to do in summer” list. Someone on Tumblr noted that at no point do any of the guys pretend to be women, the realisation of which makes watching the whole thing a second time twice as joyous.

Homework/MCRmy

I have to finish a 1500 word report on the Rwandan genocide, a 1200 word introduction on a Psychology project, two-thirds of The Catcher in the Rye and a PowerPoint presentation about it and notes on two acts of Othello, and I’ve ended up on VH1’s ‘Will You Love North West? 5 Other Celeb Baby Names That Grew On Us‘.

I won’t.

So I’m writing a blog because at least that’s productive-ish.

Except I’m so distracted by the CIA World Factbook and Google Docs that I can’t gather my thoughts to go into anything into great detail (I also lost the list of things I wanted to blog about when exams ended)… So this is a suggestion that you head over to The Webways because I’m 83% sure it’ll have been made better since your last visit – unless you’ve visited since Thursday, anyway. Or you could look at some pretty Gatsby/Gatsby memes and reflect upon what it must feel like to watch Leonardo DiCaprio die twice in two days.

It was weird and traumatic, although his character was a bit dodgy the second time round.

I’m going to make my third (fourth?) caffeinated beverage of the day and check to see if Sprout, my badly named Politics bean, has emerged from the soil.

If The Webways isn’t enough for you, check this out:

TBF – To Be Finished (Maybe)

While I’m thinking about it, I’ve updated Monday’s post with a clearer, Spanish-subbed Fence video.

I had something really smart to say but I’ve forgotten what it is… Che Guevara had excellent hair. (That wasn’t it.)

I’m going out to see The Great Gatsby in a bit and I’m nervous because we’re doing the novel in school at the moment and I’m coming dangerously close to becoming emotionally attached to certain characters who may or may not be well-portrayed and/or die in the film.

At least it’s not in 3D – it might have tempted me to punch Carey Mulligan in her very nice face.

I can’t find a meme of acceptably-funny standards to put here. Maybe I’ll look for a GIF post-film.

Update:

Ahahahaha…

From FunnyJunk.com
From FunnyJunk.com
From NextMovie.com
From NextMovie.com
From CDN.uproxx.com
From CDN.uproxx.com

And, that, ladies and gents, both concludes this post and the entire story.

AS Standards II: Psychology Revision

I really need to do some multi-tasking because yesterday my Picture of Dorian Gray audiobook sent me to sleep for four hours, and I didn’t get all the work done I need to if I’m going to pass looming exams. So we’re going to revise together!

Subject #1: Psychology

Question: How many links from the syllabus can Francesca make to the film We Need to Talk About Kevin? (There are a few spoilers coming up.)

 

Answer: at least three.

  •  Kevin and his mother did not appear to bond very well. When a babby is very little, it is generally considered that there is a sensitive period of attachment between the babby and their primary care giver. A bloke named Bowlby came up with this idea. Essentially an infant needs to form a nice secure bond with at least one person in order to form nice secure bonds with other people later in life (this is called the continuity hypothesis). There are a few different types of attachment, however, and Kevin’s does not appear to be secure, but insecure-aviodant or insecure-resistant. Or possibly insecure-disorganised. This can result in aggressive behaviour in later life (mass murder). Incidentally, mothers of insecurely-attached babbies are less responsive to crying (walking through building work to drown out Kevin’s screaming).
  • Kevin did not seem have a biological abnormality prompting him to resort to mass murder, but Freud’s psychodynamic approach could be on to something – perhaps his id was all “I want mummy’s attention” when his ego and superego were developing, and he projected these feelings toward Eva as a teenager by committing mass murder. Or maybe he learnt mass murder by playing video games with his dad and listening to Eva bitch about fat people.
  • Kevin did not conform to social norms because he killed lots of people. In fact, he deviated rather strongly. He was pretty highly-functioning, however, like Harold Shipman.

I should add that as I’m not a trained psychologist, and Kevin is fictional, I can’t actually decide what turned him to genocide. I can speculate though… This is fun, we should do it more often. Maybe Jesus Christ Superstar for RS.

 

Six Degrees of My Headache

I thought I should let you know that recently I’ve been rereading and discovering the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus novels respectively, and that earlier I had a boogie to Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners, which featured in a film called The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which starred Logan Lerman, who also had the lead role in the film version of Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief, and Emma Watson, who played Hermione in Harry Potter, a series to which the Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus stories are compared, because they both have roots in Greek mythology, which obviously means Rick Riordan’s been nicking ideas off JK Rowling.

I hope that knowledge made your head hurt as much as it has mine. Let’s be infinite.

Frank’s Weekly/Monthly/Quarterly/Annual Moving Image Appreciation Post #1

You’ve probably noticed by now that I spend a large portion of my time on the Interwebz and watching television and films (though I still have not seen Forrest Gump, despite my best efforts to – best efforts being thinking, “I should find out if we own that!” – or Breakfast At Tiffany’s). Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to share my love of moving images with you all on a somewhat regular basis. I don’t know how regular yet because I’m lazy, forgetful and quite unreliable when it comes to blogging specific things… Let’s just see how it pans out.

So, without further ado:

Axis of Awesome: 4 Chord Song

 

Since I’ve recently learnt the Circle of Fifths, I think this is the most brilliant thing ever. Also very proud that none of my favourite bands are in there – though no one’s heard of most of them, so maybe I shouldn’t be too pleased… Chords, by the way, are C, G, A minor and F.

Venetian Princess: 7 Things Spoof

 

If you’re a girl who doesn’t do one of the things Venetian Princess sings about, or you’re one of the guys who does, come say hi. And pass this on to everyone else.

Weird Al Yankovic: Amish Paradise

 

The brilliant thing about this video is that Amish people can’t be offended by this, because to do so they’d have to see it and know what they’re missing! It’s unoffendable!

Weird Al Yankovic: Perform This Way

 

It took me quite a few watches to twig they’d Photoshopped Al’s face on a girl’s body. I was thinking, “He’s well fit for an old bloke!”

Gerard Rockin’ In His Pajamas

 

Everyone’s favourite band jamming during the making of Revenge. Song, I belive, is AC/DC’s Problem Child.

Could you deal with more blogs like this or shall I stick to ranting?! Sorry if there are any spelling mistakes, the WP spellchecker keeps zonking out.

In Which I Make Lame Excuses for Not Blogging

The funny thing about half term is that some days I literally only watch television so have nothing interesting to write about. Others I’m rushed off my feet doing stuff I’d love to talk about, but don’t have time. Odd, that.

This weekend has been of the ‘rushed off feet’ category, so although I’ve finished two of the three My Chem pieces, had three separate makeovers and seen the new Pirates of the Caribbean, I haven’t gotten round to thinking about it all. Or collecting photographs. I also remembered late last night that I have a German speaking GCSE thing on Tuesday morning and haven’t learnt the required German, so please give me until midweek to catch you guys up on a) the awesome hairdo and eye makeup combination the girls did me, b) the My Chem pieces and c) how much I hate Ikea, where I went on Tuesday.

I haven’t seen this week’s Doctor Who yet, so if anyone tells me what happened tomorrow, I’m going to be pissed.