Tag Archives: newspapers

Normal Service is Resumed

I’m back. Did you miss me?

I was off last week but, as I said, wasn’t going anywhere, so I fully intended to keep posting, as I knew my massive readership (no, I’m not calling any of you fat) would pine away if I didn’t.

I did Monday and Tuesday, went to see Inglourious Basterds on Wednesday (with a friend who loves the movies and who needed cheering up. I hate violent films and still can’t get some of the images out of my head – and they weren’t even the gory ones, coz I had my eyes closed for them), came home, wrote half a post about the film, had to turn the computer off for some reason, and didn’t turn it back on for the rest of the week. Instead I watched the Ashes cricket all day and the World Athletics Championships all evening, and I’m only back at a computer now because, well, I’m back at work.

There wouldn’t have been a lot to say, anyway. Life with the Tinsons, while Mrs Tin & Tingirl were away, consisted mostly of  monosyllables and pizza, and we’re at that time of the summer when there is no real news in the paper to get animated about. At this time of year newspapers have about ten pages less than usual in them, though costing the same amount, and contain variations upon just three different types of article:

The Human Interest Article:

A letter posted to Mary Murphy of Swinford, Co Mayo in 1943 has been delivered to her – sixty-six years late. The letter, from Joe O’Toole of Kiltimagh, Co Can’t-remember-what-county-that’s-in-and-can’t-be-arsed-looking-it-up, contained a proposal of marriage, as the two were “walking out” at the time. Mary, a spinster, has decided to accept the proposal, which is unfortunate as Joe by now has a wife, five children and seventeen grandchildren. “Well, I thought the old cow had ignored my letter,” explained Joe.

Or, the Scientific Claptrap Article:

New research has shown that toddlers who throw a tantrum and lie on the floor screaming in supermarkets are more likely to dive on the pitch feigning injury during football matches. This is due to an unusual gene, which scientists are calling “The Ronaldo Gene” (he’s left United, so he’s fair game).

Or, the Weather-Related Article:

People who have complained that this is the wettest summer on record have been told  to stop whining by the Met Office. People who decided to have a (wait for the horrible new word) “staycation” (aaargh!!!) in Ireland have moaned about the ordeal of being stuck in a tiny caravan staring out at the rain, while surrounded by four squabbling children and a dog. Met Eireann have pointed out, however, that there have been worse summers, citing in particular the one where a Mr Noah and his family spent a six-week staycation stuck in a tiny ark (it should have been bigger, but none of them had been sure what a cubit was) with two of every creature and, by the end of the holiday, 46,000 rabbits.

So, it’s just as well I didn’t post anything.

There are Naked Women in this Post

Because headlines have to give you the gist of a story in very few words, they can sometimes be taken up wrongly.

For example, Nicolas Sarkozy is currently at the funeral of Omar Bongo (nah, me neither – apparently he’s President of Gabon). I know this because my attention was grabbed by a headline on the BBC News Website which read ” Sarkozy jeered at Bongo funeral.”

Christ, I thought, that’s going a bit far, even for Nick. I had visions of him sitting sneering in a corner saying “You call ziss a palace? – we have maisons de chiens bigger zan zis palace. And your vin is merde, it tastes like lion’s peess. And I am much, much taller zan ziss Bongo was.” (Zat, sorry, that last part would be true. Mr Bongo apparently wore built-up heels to make himself look taller. As a shorter Omar Bongogentleman myself who was a teenager during the Platform-sole 70s I could have told him that this doesn’t work, and this -> photograph provides further proof).

But of course when I read the article I realised that it was Sarkozy who was jeered, by sections of the crowd (always a good move when the leader of one of the nuclear-capable states turns up in your tiny country).

While my misunderstanding in this case is not the BBC’s fault, headlines can often be deliberately misleading, as Holemaster recently pointed out. Unscrupulous sub-editors will often use a sexed-up headline to encourage you to read an otherwise fairly dull article.

I frown on such tactics.