Saturday, 10 September 2022


There are many things being said about the death of Elizabeth II, often elaborations of existing viewpoints as we might expect. To my mind, her extraordinary sense of duty has lobbed a moral depth charge into the public arena which is worth dwelling on because the ripples will soon subside. 

For example, the Harry and Meghan circus now seems to be starkly exposed as a kind of supercharged tawdriness almost beyond the ken of ordinary decent people. It always seemed tawdry, but there is now an additional aspect, a disease dredged up from the sewer of modern life we call the media.

It's a reminder that Harry and Meghan may be ghastly, but were never important and a wider reminder that most media output is not important either. The climate change narrative is not important, it never was until the media made it so. Political gender fantasies are not important and as with climate change, they never were until the media made them so.

This morning, I scanned the top news stories aggregated by Bing and four of the top ten were Guardian pieces. A miserable extremist rag like the Guardian is not important, but the media make it so. They suck in the clicks because they know how. It's a disease and as yet there is no cure.


dearieme said...

The cure is machine-gunners.

johnd2008 said...

Harry and Meghan have been thrown a lifeline,but I find it difficult to believe that they will use it.I for one am tired of seeing them mentioned even though I make a point of avoiding any article that claims to tell their latest attempt at relevance.
What a wonderfully quiet world it was before the Twatterati got going.

Sam Vega said...

Conversely, there now seems to be an attempt to portray Queen Elizabeth, and to some extent Charles, as perfect according to criteria that we value. As if they were the type of boss we would want running our office, or our grandparent. Exceptionally hard-working but family-oriented; dutiful but humorous; wise but down to earth. The sort of people who remember to send perfectly-pitched birthday gifts while wrestling with affairs of state.

It might be that social pressures and training make all of that true, that royals are really like that. But I think it's more likely that we have a need to believe in such qualities, so attribute them to people we will never meet because they are socially remote, or dead.

Tammly said...

Most of the traditional media has always, in my opinion, been fairly useless. I think there is a conflict between the serious study needed to elucidate arising issues and the expediency of timely reporting. The timely reporting usually wins out. Serious in depth revelations take time and money to carry out, that's why we had a few investigative journalists and specialists working in university departments, (before some of them became corrupted). But who now remembers serious articles in NewsWeek about the facts that Aids/HIV was not a sexually transmitted disease amongst heterosexuals but a blood born disease transmitted by the practices of homosexuals; or the Sunday Telegraph Colour Magazine article with carefully researched facts, that the so called Iraqi super gun was not a gun at all.
No, my many encounters with the print and broadcast media (when I was working as a conservator in the 80s and 90s left me feeling abused, used and insulted because of the nature of journalists and the media - trite and trivial.

DiscoveredJoys said...

A miserable extremist rag like the Guardian - is like a student rag mag without the jokes. Several worthy writers have left, or been squeezed out, because they didn't contribute to the echo chamber.

However the Guardian does have a value. Anyone who supports it or bases their judgment on it is immediately suspected of irrationalism.

A K Haart said...

dearieme - quick and clean.

John - I avoid them too, apart from possible blog posts but even that becomes tedious. Yet there is still a compulsion to scan the headlines.

Sam - and Charles has already made a number of mistakes, tying himself to fashionable causes which are emphatically middle class. Hard-working, dutiful and somewhat remote is probably enough, but Charles hasn't remained remote.

Tammly - yes, the timely reporting seems to override everything else because the headlines must be there and must be timely. Lots have people have noticed this, but if there is a media report on something you understand well, then the report is almost always superficial and frequently misleading.

DJ - that's a good point and many naturally sceptical people seem to use the Guardian as reliably unreliable. "Is that true or did you read it in the Guardian?" is more than merely sarcastic.