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Sunday, 3 April 2016

A tree - i.e. a thing that newspapers used to be made from. 
Is it a good thing to 'have news'?
For fairly lengthy spells in the '70s  I lived in parts of the Highlands where you didn't have news. You'd access a TV maybe once every few weeks and a paper maybe once a week.  You might have a radio and get the odd snippet from that, or someone would mention something in a pub.  That would be about it.
'News' as we now know it didn't really exist.  It happened somewhere else.
I'm still aware of what occurred back then.  I have a sense of the history of the time, I think. I don't remember ever feeling I was missing out.
You didn't worry about 'the news', as such. You kept in touch with friends by letter and occasionally by phone. It was enough.   Nowadays your every move is tracked on Facebook, which is why I don't use it.
'I see you've been here.  Seen that person.  Liked that thing.'
Sod off and mind your own business.
It's beyond my comprehension.  As people say now, 'I can't even.'
But that's a digression - that's the personal side of news.  In terms of proper 'news' - 'news' news, or perhaps rather, 'the' news - we now have local, national and global news, 24 hour news. You can now get 'news' on a watch, for pity's sake.
How did we manage before?  Why do we need to know all this STUFF?
We don't, of course.  It's simply put in front of us, larded with targeted adverts and cookies and other tracking devices.
I find it quite addictive sometimes.  It can be gripping following dramatic events online.  On the other hand the rolling news on TV is dire, especially their inane, flailing questions when they desperately try to fill in time.
Can you imagine if there had been Twitter during World War Two?  Nobody would have done ANYTHING except look at their timelines.  Hitler would surely have run even more amok.  Well no, perhaps not.  Someone would have started a petition to stop him. LOL.
And it concerns me that we don't know if what we're ingesting online, news-wise, is accurate. Who's answerable if it's not? Everything's so fast, so plastic, so disposable - it's almost as if it doesn't matter who says what because it's gone in an instant.  Gone before you know it.  It used to be said of newspapers that they were tomorrow's chip wrappers.  Virtual news seems even more transitory and perhaps that might sometimes be a good thing;  if you're the subject of an intrusive news story of course you want people to move along quickly, nothing to see here - yet there's something unhealthy and invidious about it, as if the awfulness of it all doesn't really matter because it was only awful for a short while.
AND I really don't like that it's all chosen for us, all this rubbish.  Who's behind it all?  I'm pretty sure it isn't usually a human being. Of course there are still 'proper' newspapers, of course there are, and thank goodness for them but they're being increasingly squeezed into a corner as all 'news' seems to meld together in a gelatinous squelching mass, produced and prioritised by algorhythms and..er...stuff that I don't understand and am not quite sure I want to, although I think I really should.  Perhaps an algorhythm is an improvement on Bob Maxwell or Rupert Murdoch,  I really am struggling to decide.
If you look at what is fed to people in the guise of news on Facebook, especially, it's astonishingly crass and shallow.  And cynical.  Can the people who produce all this tripe be held responsible - sued, even - for inaccuracies - not to mention for intrusions into people's personal lives, in the way that newspaper editors and owners formerly were?  Will apologies be published to the person who was pictured parked badly in a disabled bay at Tesco, or with their bumcrack on display as they bent over to pick up their shopping in Asda?  I doubt it.   I worry that people don't trouble to look beyond all this.  Why should they?  Their lives are busy enough.
Move along here, nothing to see.
Well - nothing I'm prepared to admit to online anyway.

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