Monthly Archives: February 2011

“vomited on a situation”

This will be a short blog post raising a point about certain, specific coverage of a certain, specific situation, yet has relevance in a wider context as the what both the media see as newsworthy, and what the media thinks the public sees as newsworthy. And in turn, what how I perceive these perceptions, disagree with them, and then try to raise a hopefully valid point that will cause agreement hums of around 1.2 on the richter scale. Agreed? OK, let’s begin.

Watch this video.

And read this story from the BBC.

“A so called ‘polite robber’, has been filmed on CCTV holding up a petrol station in Seattle.

The robber, who appears to be armed with a gun, asks the cashier, “Could you do me a favour? Empty the till for me please and put it right here. I am robbing you sir.”

A man is currently being questioned about the offence by the police.”

Can you see some misplaced priorities here?

Of course you can, because you’re not an unfeeling zombie of a journalist out to create a story suitable for liking and linking and tweeting and lolling.

You’re a compassionate human being who, though of course entirely unaware of the full situation, can at least begin to not only observe, but perhaps even comprehend, the desperation of this frail, pathetic man, who, in his own words, has children to feed.

You may notice his unusual manner in approaching the situation – in that his words and tone are not aggressive, and he engages in some amount of pleasantries whilst he takes part in an action during the course of which every shake and stutter he makes indicates he regrets to the the fullest.

This is not ‘politeness’ though. What the BBC have done is, like a fly, vomited on a situation of some substance, to dissolve it down to a pathetic, but digestable, lump of laughable shit.

What would be the point in expanding the article to remark upon an awful situation that represents the human impact of wealth inequality and the horror of mass unemployment in a country where ‘social welfare’ makes half its population’s blood run cold with the thought that everyone has the most basic of rights to food, shelter and healthcare.

No, let’s keep our words short and free of empathy or relevance, and create some hilarious internet meme, where everyone can laugh about how nice that old man was, as he probably awaits sentence to spend time being polite in some miserable jail while his family carry on in poverty.

He was funny when he forced those words about feeding his children from his terrified mouth though? Wasn’t he?

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“like Walt Disney leading the Borg”

I’ve failed miserably in keeping this daily (like a Christian), mainly as I have nothing interesting to write about. I’m a bore that way. Other people write my thoughts far more articulately than I do, so why bother?

As it is, I ended up in Dudley today.

I got there by train – a journey fraught with worry and fear concerning the train ticket I purchased last night, which happened to be a non-peak fare one for a Young Person. My journey was at 7.23am. A PEAK TIME!

What was I going to do if they didn’t let me on the train?

I’d miss my important meeting and not be able to write my report and be left with the £40 bill for the train journey to pay myself when I have fuck all money as it and then I’d have to explain to my boss I made a mistake and I’m awful at my job and and shouldn’t be allowed to go visit places like Dudley on my own, or indeed at all, and she’d explain to her boss how I’ve ruined a good product and pissed off potential clients and she’d tell the MD who’d look at a history of failure, mistakes and incompetence and have no choice but to fire me.

They let me on the train.

I liked the journey. I had been awake since 5.45am (I plan for things in the future thinking I’ll likely be dead by then so i won’t have to get up early – no such like) so I closed my eyes and let the Midlands roll past without a care.

I was talking to people in an NHS Direct institution about telehealth – which is quite a simple, nice idea of installing machines in people’s homes than can monitor the important health signs like blood pressure, heart-rate et al in people with chronic conditions so they don’t have to continually visit a GP, or not realise how they’re own health is looking, leading to an increased risk of being admitted to hospital.

I like this idea. I approve.

I was shown around by polished PR people, shined up to the eyeballs with glee and a passion to assimilate, like Walt Disney leading the Borg.

They offered biscuits and tea and egg wraps (egg wraps!?!?!). I accepted.

I talked to a man with COPD and diabetes who was attached to oxygen 24/7, and had been so for three years. He couldn’t walk or hear without aid. He loved his grandchildren.

I don’t really have a point there. Or in any of this. I’ve written it now though. And you’ve read it. We can’t change the fact. deal with it.

The realisation that a lot of people in this game are just as clueless as me also filled me with some joy today. Of my fellow journo sorts on this outing, only two looked above 25 (including the health editor of The Times, who looked at me like I was on idiot when I made a joke about a mound – “ooooh, look at me stuck behind my ivory paywall”) and none seemed any more clued up than I was on the rise of generic competition over the next few years, and the complete dismantling and building back together of a UK health system.

The only thing that gives me confidence is other people’s lack of knowledge.

That is what I learned today.


“shit hot diseases like breast cancer”

I had some leaves, lettuce, croutons, cheese and sauce for lunch today. It cost €15 ($22ish?). It was okay. It was the only meat-free thing on the menu.

I dined at the Hotel something something in Paris. Paid for by some business people who deal with healthcare professional databases and research, with a view to selling specified information to pharmaceutical companies so they can market their products to the most influential clinicians who can then be ‘brand ambassadors’ for dimazaponeova or whatever it’s called, leading to other (lesser?) clinicians wanting to use it too (and then maybe media organisations getting wind of it and demanding “WHY ARN@T OUR DOC SCUM USING IT TO GIVE THIS WOMAN EXTRA 2 MONTHS SHITTING IN A BED!!!” pressurising government organisations to with fast-track approval processes, with drugs coming to market before full-effectiveness is determined, or money is prioritised to purchase new mega-expensive treatments for shit hot diseases like breast cancer over treatment (and care/support!!!!) for other diseases, including those horrible chronic ones like Alzheimer’s and diabetes that can take decades of constant support, but no-one really seems to die from them all the time in films and things so nobody cares).

That was written for myself so I could understand it. And how pointless and amoral it is. I’ll never get over profiting off basic human rights. But that’s me!

And only me it seems in the world of smart suits, fast talk, engorged brains, €30 hamburgers with no chips and a menu with ONE vegetarian option, as I mumble my questions and shake hands that must somehow feel I’m a idiot out of my depth and hypocritically indignant in my moral outlook.

I looked good though. Tie, sweater vest, blue shirt. The works.

It was my first time on a Eurostar train too. The St Pancras departure lounger reminded me of Rigsby in 2001: A Space Odyssey, all low, modern seats with curves and patternless surfaces. My coffee was on expenses. It tasted the same.

Paris was not mine to explore though. By time and budget, I was confined to the Metro, the Gare du Nord and the hotel.

In a state of extreme cold and confusion though, desperately searching for an elusive rue (a bluffing boulevard?), I stumbled on my old friend General Koenig. We first met as I exited a bus two and a half years ago wondering what Paris was all about. He was a safe guide then. Shit now though. Making me 30 minutes late and blustered by wind. He’s changed.

It was a happy encounter in any case, as memories of the loveliest times of all came back, involving people and art and talking and 30 cent baguettes and things you know. Not indulging in sorbet in a glass while literally being told the biggest deals in pharma are made on a golf course.