Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Summer Highs and Media Lows

Hi Everyone,

Having major issues with my computer today which has made me a wee bit grumpy, this may be reflected in the content of my blog. Fair warning.

I want to start with some positives, firstly, the amount of colour that people are wearing at the minute is great. I remember getting the tube over the winter and it did appear that many people were mourning the loss of the sun as the colours were sombre and styles were practical. The changing of the seasons has changed the attitudes and the summer wardrobes are being accessed.

Highlights I have witnessed whilst biking around town include brightly chinos (men and women) and animal print jumps suits (just women). A few pics below, not mine though as I can’t bike and take photo’s at the same time.

I also re-discovered an old tune the other day that I thought I would share. It popped on in the office and there was some proper Cheshire cat grins all round.

Something that is bugging me at the minute is the media. I am aware of the slight irony in complaining about media via social media but I’ll explain my points. I checked out a website the other day and apparently two ‘stars’ of The Only Way is Essex, who each recently had new nose jobs have split up. If you dropped your coffee because of the news, I’m sorry, I should have warned you in advance. Why is this news? Why am I being told this? Does anyone really care? I will, obviously not be aware of all the factors in this equation but it appears that this show and other ‘star’ shows e.g. Katona, Price, Hilton, Kardashian... have the sole purpose of telling us things that we don’t need to know. It also doesn’t help that they are so heavily scripted that it’s not even reality. So these people are acting at being themselves for the entertainment of the public.

The main factor is money, but where does it come from? Katona was supported (they paid for her house) by her management agency as she is bankrupt. They then make their money by filming her life and selling it to the TV stations who can then sell the advertising slots. The ‘stars’ also cash in via exclusive magazine deals, which inevitably will mislead you with a headline and then show some pictures of the ‘star’ in a new manufactured situation, more non-information.

Then there is the beautiful situation of an agency being responsible for a number of the ‘stars’ who then have relationships which breakdown when a new book/show/product is released. I feel like I’m watching the most ridiculous puppet show in the world and I’m paying via my time and consequently my anger. Which of course brings me on to my role, if I care so little why am I reading and writing about it? I do hate myself for it, I am justifying it by believing that I can stop other people from being taken in these non-celebs so that they eventually disappear and TV stations can focus on spending time, money and other resource on better TV, real actors and quality journalism.

I am partly to blame for the existence of such ‘stars’ as I do look at the websites in the hope that I will find something that interests me e.g. new film trailers, festival info etc. By using these sites they have an increased number of site visits, the site becomes popular and they require more information to satiate the world’s desire for more information. There can’t be that many things happening at any one time so other stories are required and the ‘stars’ are there to fill the void.

At least in this case the damage is limited to extending or creating an undeserved celebrity status. The desire to satisfy national media is somewhat different and the actions are ultimately (and allegedly) more perverse. The phone hacking situation that has been rumbling along for a while has exploded. Very few eyebrows were raised when a few MP’s and celebrities had their phones hacked. Perhaps it was because they got a large payout or perhaps it was the fact we (the public) believe that as they are public figures that we owned them anyway. However, the new allegations of hacking of the publics’ phones whilst they are undergoing turmoil are causing uproar. In some cases police investigations may have been compromised. Other (read as ‘the competitors’) media response will increase the pressure against News International For example, here is a screenshot from the homepage of News International newspaper ‘The Sun’ and here are the homepages of other news outlets. It may be tricky to see, but suffice to say 'The Sun' doesn't seem to think the story is high priority.

Whilst all this happens, the editor at the time Rebekah Brooks undertakes some ‘Matrix Style’ bullet dodging. The idea that the editor was unaware of the actions of the staff is beyond ridiculous but perhaps I am looking for a scapegoat, ignorance is not an excuse. I think worse revelations and allegations will appear shortly so it may get a bit messy.

I have ended up ranting more than I expected, whoops. I do feel like I’ve gathered my thoughts so brace your selves for a succinct conclusion.

The actions of the press and other media to meet the requirements of the public have changed due to the advent of the internet. As we search for up-to-date coverage, new stories and further information we have created a demand that the media has not been able to meet without taking part in questionable actions. In some cases this results in the generation of ‘stars’ and exploits manufactured situations. In other cases this results in plagiarism, illegal phone hacking and contempt of court. In my case I think I am more annoyed by the fact that I feel that media has enough power to consume my time on things that are so obviously banal. This means that I need to be better at resisting such stories and/or need to accept that the make-believe lives of people of limited ability are interesting enough to warrant time in the public domain.

In order to lighten the mood and as a thanks for reading here is a picture of a pug surfing.



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