The Six O’Clock News: What It Takes to Re-Focus the Media (sort of)

Let’s address the obvious first and foremost and take a moment to appreciate what journalists are doing in certain parts of the world at the moment. While the tabloids are going crazy over Cara Delevigne’s holiday with Selena Gomez, there are people from across the globe who are quite literally the front line of communications in areas where for various reasons events can’t be broadcast to the world as easily as the weather bulletin. Not that the world seems to be listening most days anyway – James Foley is the tenth journalist to be killed in Syria so far this year and the 44th to be killed worldwide, yet the Syrian civil war isn’t even on the main news most days.

So since it’s taken the brutal beheading of a journalist to draw the West’s attention to the shithole that is current middle eastern politics, let’s have a look at how the West’s covered it so far.

Actual Broadcasters

Not long after the news of James Foley’s death broke, James Kirkup over at The Telegraph pointed out that people calling the murder an “execution” are linguistically wrong; execution occurs as a punishment and the only crime that’s been committed has been the murder of a journalist by a group of people who call themselves a state but actually have zero legitimacy. IS isn’t a geographical piece of land with boarders and a government. It does not have the consent of its citizens. It doesn’t actually have any citizens (has anyone actually come across somebody endorsing the things they do? So far every piece of commentary I’ve seen, from all areas of the political and religious spectrum, has condemned IS as a total piece of shit).

The BBC has a nice page dedicated to explaining all that’s going down in Iraq – I had a look at an article about what happened to al-Qaeda (they’re a bit old-fashioned according to modern, hip Islamists) and it has lots of links explaining all the different varieties of ‘violent Islamic extremists’ that are currently besmirching the good people of the Muslim faith.

Shit Broadcasters

The Mail did actually run a story in which there may be some actual reporting, but I couldn’t finish it because I got distracted by the sheer number of scantily dressed women in the sidebar. Well, I know what I’ll add to this site if I ever want to put you off a post…

Conspiracy Theorists

Yep, some people genuinely think the video was faked. The commentators on this mildly depressing Reddit thread cite “zero emotion”, “no blood” and the video’s “fade to black” as reasons why the CIA/IS/US government faked the entire thing. None of those things can have anything to do with the fact that Foley was an experienced journalist who knew he was going to die and had worked in enough war zones to accept the risks… or the probability that the IS guys know their way around iMovie, especially since many of them are from the West.

Social Media

I was quite surprised, both when his name was a trending topic and on a general search just now, that most Twitter commentary has been pretty decent; most people have expressed their disgust at the whole situation. That said, Twitter’s been getting better at preventing total pillocks from airing their ignorance, so maybe we just can’t see the bullshit.

All right, I’ve depressed myself enough for one day. I almost titled this What It Takes for the Media to Give a Shit About Syria but I thought it was a bit too Vice. Any thoughts on the whole rigmarole?

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The Six O’Clock News: It’s Okay, USA

How many of you guys are from Missouri, USA? Me neither man, I’m not totally sure where Missouri is. But I do know that a load of shit is going on there at the moment, in the town of Ferguson. This BBC article has a good (detailed) explanation about what’s gone on – I think that essentially a black kid got shot by almost-definitely racist police and when locals protested they were deemed a riot, so now there kind of is a riot.

It’s brought up another debate about racism in the US – it exists, yuck – and has had relatively little UK media coverage, probably because the whole of the middle east is currently trying to kill everyone else in the middle east. But if Americans were worrying that only their country is home to a less-than-stellar police service, it’s okay! Look what this fortnight’s Private Eye has reported!

Private Eye 1372 Met Shooting

So it’s okay, America. We get you. We have Stephen Lawrence and we all remember what cased the 2011 riots.

From theyuniversity.tumblr.com
From theyuniversity.tumblr.com

But do yourselves a favour and don’t actually have a riot, because they are messy. Maybe stick to vigils and legislature change? I’ve been learning a bit about the US court system lately and you guys seem to be into suing each other – can you take the police to court for dickheadedness misconduct of duty?

If anyone has any suggestions to combat police dickheadedness and/or racist dickheadedness, please share. I’m kind of stuck for intelligent suggestions that don’t involve painting swearwords on people’s houses

The Ten O’Clock News: In Which Smithy Fixes FIFA

I’m not sure how much longer the football world cup is on for so I’d better chat about it while it’s in the news. To start off, I’m with Gerard when it comes to giving a shit:

Printscreened from the Twitter.
Printscreened from the Twitter.

Seriously though, when did football become the biggest sport in Europe? Why has a bloke biting another bloke (which is gross, by the way), garnered such attention? Hopefully because it’s gross, but it’s hard to tell since a lot of big footballers get paid roughly the GDP of some small countries. (I may have invented that statistic. Shut up, I’m on holiday. Sort of.) Actually I’ve been taking a break from news stuff recently because all those actual statistics were bumming me out. Next week I’ll hopefully have regained some sense of typing but in the mean time I think it’s important that we all remember who should be in charge of the England team and probably the 2020 games.

When I was looking for that I found this and it’s flipping brilliant.

The Six O’Clock News: Easter-Themed Post #2

I’m aware that the news hasn’t been brilliantly analytical lately and hopefully this will be remedied when school’s over and I have less on my plate. In the mean time:

The BBC’s got this new interactive-education-scroll-y thing called iWonder, and this one explains the history of passion plays, which range from thanks to God for having not got the Plague to everybody’s favourite musical (I’m wearing my JCS top and cross earrings today. Part of me wants to start a fashion blog based around dressing for holidays or in the spirit of fictional characters). Fun fact: John the Evangelist wrote that Jesus died on Passover because he saw Jesus as the passover lamb for all people/believers. Cool huh? Plus the town of Oberammergau, which apparently puts on a passion play a bit like how the Scots put on New Year, has NATO School.

A school. Which teaches all things NATO. Turns out uni isn’t the only option!

The iWonder thinggy also has a piece explaining why Easter is never on the same day… basically if Church officials can argue over something then they will.

I just realised that there will always be a Six O’Clock News on Good Friday. Bugger, I’ll have to find actual Easter-related news next year. Ukraine’s not got a lot in common with the holiday and neither do east Asian vehicle disasters. Other than the weather – it’ll rain, surprise! – and TV – there will be programmes, surprise! – there aren’t many Easter-specific bulletins. Which I guess is kind of a relief given that the festival is two thousand years old?

Here is my favourite Easter art:

'Christ on the Cross' by Diego Velazquez, found integratedcatholiclife.org
‘Christ on the Cross’ by Diego Velazquez, found integratedcatholiclife.org. I always get Velaquez confused with Jhohen Vasquez, who makes MSI videos. That could be why last year’s RS results weren’t great.

Here is my second-favourite piece, which was painted for a monastery hospital. Jesus has the same illness as the one the hospital treated, ergotism, to make the patients feel better:

The Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grunewald, found
The Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grunewald, found venetianred.wordpress.com. Can’t remember who the dude with the book is supposed to be but he cracks me up. Is he doing a Beyoncé dance?

Happy Easter!

The Eleven O’Clock News: TV Reviews Are Funny (and so is the fact that this took ten hours to make)

This is so not-at-six-o’clock because every time I went near anything Sherlock-based online I either tried to lift everything from Sherlockology for The Webways or sat watching Benedict Cumberbatch interviews.

Hardest name I’ve ever had to type.

Very interesting in interview.

Anyway, I had so much fun reading reviews that I decided to highlight them instead of just a round-up. Television reviews are a weird and wacky type of writing… the hyperbole and metaphors are like how I imagine Fifty Shades to be.

The Guardian

Guardian1

Guardian2

Den of Geek

I had never previously heard of Dan of Geek but I might go back to see if all the language is as… bright.

DanOfGeek1

DanOfGeek2

DanOfGeek3

The Daily Mail

Here we go.

Mail1

Mail2

Mail3

Mail4

You’re welcome. Now I’m completely excited for Sunday night (best man speech!) and dreading Monday (school! With a day spent  not homeworking but on a fansite or watching the shitty Percy Jackson film! Not you, pre-Charlie Logan. The screenplay. If actual Annabeth could see film Annabeth she’d launch into some moves with her knife. Ugh).

I would also like someone to give Mark Gatiss an award for publically complaining about Les Mis. Holy shit I thought I was one of maybe five people who can’t cope with the child death and utter lack of hope. Or not if you’re a theist/character, but whatever. Happy Friday.

The Six O’Clock News: a Report on Reports on Kiddie Fidling

Since I’m seeing MSI play roughly at time of publication, I thought I’d do a post on paedophiles.

No. Wait. (Don’t sue, there’s a link if you keep reading!)

We Asked Lostprophets Fans How They Feel About Ian Watkins’ Confession

Vice asked some Lostprophets fans if they were still Lostprophets fans and the general consensus seems to be that the rest of the band doesn’t deserve to be dismissed, and maybe neither does the music, but separating Lostprophets from Ian Watkins is easier typed than done.

Peaches Geldof’s Ian Watkins tweet could be investigated

According to the BBC, Peaches Geldof did a Tweet naming the women who were involved with Watkinsgate (that’s a nicer term than the one in my head), and could now be prosecuted. You would think the context of the Tweet would suggest that there’s been more than enough Internet-based sharing, wouldn’t you?

Vigilante jailed for killing man he mistakenly thought was paedophile

  The Guardian has dedicated a nice long article to discussing the fact that some people got a man arrested on suspicion of being a paedophile, then one of them murdered him when he was released because, get this, he wasn’t a paedophile. There is now some talk going on about how the victim, who moved to the UK from Iran in hope of a better life (he was disabled), was trying to document antisocial behaviour on his estate when residents assumed that the photos he was taking were for reasons other than law enforcement. So if you think about it, one bloke tried to stop antisocial/illegal behaviour and another also tried to stop it, but because the first bloke was slightly different from the second, the first bloke got killed horribly.

What is wrong with people integrating and discussing and not making assumptions?!

The Six O’Clock News: Some Men Still Live in 1800-and-Something. Happily, Some Don’t

The Case Against Female Self-Esteem

So there’s a man named Matt who has a blog and on it he likes to be rude to people. In this particular post was recommended to me by Chloe (who did some guest blogging a few weeks ago). It’s hard to see through the bullshit and work out what he’s actually saying, but I think essentially he wants all women to a) pander to his every need, including matters of “banging” and b) pander to all men. Apparently there is not a single woman on the entire planet who secretly wants to be told what to do by men, because secretly all women know that men are superior in every way to women.

This dude is a serious contender for the Ignorant Fuck Award this year.

I think if I met him I’d be all “sorry, can’t talk to you because I’m not insecure enough to sleep with you or pretend that you’re not a fucking tosser.” Or I’d make him say to my face the things he’s written, and then I’d let all the ladies within a two-mile radius do their thing. He also censors the comments on his site. I feel really quite sorry for the women in his life.

Ah, the crosses we must bear to uphold freedom of speech.

Anyway, the day I read it I went on the BBC site and saw this:

100 Women: What chance does a young girl have?

Ah, the irony.

I’m a male feminist. No, seriously

There’s hope though. Yay!

Please

Olympics III: the Blues, Boris Dancing and, Basically, a Review

The YouTube videos won’t load either because iPhone files are enormous, or because the Internet’s being slow, or both. So I’m going to talk some more about the Olympics while they load pathetically.

I’m really bummed out that the Games are over. Not quite ‘sad’ or ‘upset’… I feel kind of… ‘blue’. It’s not a phrase I use much, because I think blue is actually quite a happy colour, but I think it fits. Today I missed watching the morning session in my pyjammas, torn between getting dressed and doing exercise and hanging on while they interview Mo Farrah. We’re watching Jonny English this evening instead of becoming experts on a sport we’ve never heard of and will never take part in. The news was on at six. The actual news, not just Olympics 2012 Continued With a Bit About Syria At the End.

Roxy asked on Twitter if it’s too much to ask UK citizens to keep being polite and friendly, and continue on with the spirit that made the Olympics great. I really, really hope it isn’t; but I’m a realist, not an optimist. The weather in this country is usually shit. So is the government, the council, the traffic, the cost of living, modern music, etc. We find it hard to get out in the sunshine before a) It’s too hot for our wee internal thermostats or b) it rains. So how the hell are we going to continue inspiring a generation without winning a gold medal every Saturday night?

If someone mentions Simon Cowell or a dancing dog, I’m going to ban you from this site.

Seriously, though. Since the Jubilee I’ve had increasing pangs of patriotism. From the Queen nearly crying in June to the opening ceremony to athletes crying their eyes out on the podium to Freddie sharing a stage with the Spice Girls and a giant inflatable octopus… I’ve started saying ‘we’ when I talk about Britain. Me, who pretty much disowned the island when I got fed up with incorrect grammar in official documents and being mistaken for an Asian person by ignorant prats.

I think they missed a few capitals from names in the menus of the fish and champagne restaurant (hail modern standards!) and my grandmother pointed out that a volunteer saying “Goodnight, have a safe trip home,” as we left the park was probably because he thought we were foreign… But nothing’s perfect, and I took it as a testament to my suntan.

I’m off topic. Blame my Queen dancing into the small hours. My point is, the last fortnight has given these tiny grey countries something to be proud of. We don’t have to duck our heads in mild embarrassment when we’re abroad and can only speak to locals via hand gestures and nodding anymore. We can stand up (fucking) tall and remember that this is the nation that not only spawned David Bowie and Voldemort, but also the friendliest, brightest and most dramatic Olympic Games since Ancient Greece. Which is pretty damn excellent.

We just need to remember that.

So I’ve compiled a list of pros and cons of the 2012 Games, as a reminder that we’re pretty cool. I’ll start with the negatives, because there’s less of them.

Cons

  • The logo. I thought it would grow on me. It didn’t. I thought the branding was trying too hard to be hip and cool and would have been far nicer if the font had been old English… Or ledgible.
  • The mascots. Should have been a lion and a bulldog. Or perhaps a sheep for kicks. They should have been named things people immediately know, like Posh and Becks or Dellboy and Rodney.
  • The ticket system. Actually, it was great in that security was so tight. But it was a shame to see empty seats when I knew so many people who wanted to go.

Pros

  • The Mo Bot.
  • The volunteers were absolutely lovely and knew exactly what to do.
  • The BBC’s coverage was excellent.
  • So was the atmosphere. I can’t even describe how happy and excited everyone – from the spectators to the organisers to the athletes – was to be there.
  • I was surrounded by hundreds of thousands of strangers but felt safe. The Army, Navy and Air Force did a great job, and so did the behind-the-scenes team (I suspect there was a pretty large one).
  • While competitors from China were crying over a silver diving medal, Tom Daley leapt in the pool with his friends after getting a bronze.
  • The who Saudi Arabian runner got a huge cheer after finishing after everyone else because she was decked out in a hijab.
  • The food and merchandise wasn’t completely extortionate. The merch wasn’t cheap, but it was no worse than most band merch – and it was distinctly cheaper than a lot of crap we’re told we can’t live without.
  • I hate most sport, but I thoroughly enjoyed the athletics and have been really inspired to get out of the lounge and into my new shiny Team GB trackies.
  • Through an ‘Olympics 2012’ thread I created on MCRmy.com, I discovered this video and Zoe Smith’s blog And Zoe Smith, now I think about it.
  • This GIF (which I am so sad won’t load directly).

I’m sleep deprived again. When the YouTube videos finally load, I might add some more to this. Like a fancypants final paragraph. Or a picture of me in my trackies doing some exercise, holding up a sign saying ‘IF THE OLYMPICS CAN INSPIRE ME, YOU HAVE NO REASON NOT TO GET OFF YOUR ARSE’.

Oh, God, there’s a thought. I’ll link the Rwandan team at a bus stop, instead.