Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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The Made Up News

January 31, 2010

I must admit I have recently taken a drastic u-turn on the topic for this “difficult second post.” Initially my plan was to write some self referential honky about my experiences with an ex girlfriend turned stalker who haunted me over Christmas like the Ghost of Girlfriends Past (look forward to that in post 3 folks) until some hack at The Irish Mail On Sunday (IMOS) made life easy for me.

Many of you will already know the story of Melanie Schregardus (@mrs_shregardus to her friends on Twitter) an air traffic controller who some time ago wrote an innocent blog post describing her experiences and trepidations in the initial days of her unusual job, only to find some months later herself spread across Page 5 of the IMOS under the headline “The male chauvinist pigs of Irish air traffic control.” She was not told that this article was being printed, she was not asked if she would like to comment on the story (read her full response to the article here) and worst of all they had even dredged up a picture of her from some far flung website and slapped that up there too – all smiles on the matter. It was sub-journalism bordering on imaginative writing.

The journalist showed no respect for @mrs_schregardus, had no remorse for the shit storm (the worst kind of storm for air traffic controllers) that it would cause at her work or the difficulties it may cause her in gaining future employment. Well, say I, it’s about time they got a taste of their own medicine….

LAZY JOURNALIST IN ‘I DON’T HAVE TO FIND REAL STORIES, GOOGLE WILL DO THE HARD WORK FOR ME’ SCANDAL

Editor’s criticism rebuffle reveals the shocking state of journalism.

“Its 4pm on a Saturday afternoon and the deadline is getting close. Page 5 is still emptier than Russell Brand’s nut sacks. The advert that was planned to go there has just been pulled as the advertiser has decided that online advertising is probably more advantageous. And we still have no story.”

In the time before the Internet this is where the intrepid reporter would take to the streets to track down that philandering MP, look under the doormats of Big Corporation or (if truly stuck) write about some mentalist’s bellybutton fluff collection. Well not anymore folks. Now all a reporter has to do is type into Google the key big story of the week and hey presto he has his next big scoop. And not only does he not have to leave his office he doesn’t even have to read what he finds as he will just twist it to the story he wants to write anyway. Is this how you want the hard earned money that you spend on your daily periodical used? No I thought as much.

This scenario could be exactly what IMOS journalist Luke Byrne found himself in when he wrote a feature based on the blog of an air traffic controller. Without any actual news to report Mr. Byrne used a few throw away lines from this blog to spin a whole page of print with no actual reporting in it at all. But by sneakily putting a sensationalist headline over the top of the piece to draw the reader into making his own conclusion before even reading the feature, Mr. Byrne could go home for the weekend happy (probably) to his moat surrounded chateaux complete with filthy S&M sex dungeon.

Even his own editor Sebastian Hamilton defended his laziness. When asked to comment on why they didn’t even bother contacting the subject of the article, Mr. Hamilton wrote: “Luke Byrne attempted to contact Mrs. Schregardus by Twitter” thus proving that they are even too lazy to write a comment on her blog, preferring only to write a maximum of 140 characters. Sickening.

You have to ask yourself is this the type of tripe that you want your children reading? Puff piece articles sexed up by the use of words such as “sexed” and a liberal smattering or “inverted commas” and bold type? Personally I think these word rapists should all be locked up and the keys thrown away. Along with the blacks.

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Blogging is dead. Long live The Blog.

January 19, 2010

For the past few days the Internet has been telling us that the medium of Blogging, and especially Irish Blogging is now dead. Well maybe not quite dead but certainly forced into a retirement home by the very kids that it had created. Probably sat in the day room next to AOL and Friend’s Reunited. Having been succeed by it’s faster, more accessible, more immediate cousin Twitter the humble Blog is now obsolete. In fact Blogging is such a product of the Noughties it may as well develop a stutter and call itself Gareth Gates.

Of course this news has coincided with me having a growing desire to start writing one. Figures.

There are many reasons why I have avoided starting a Blog. For a start I simply hate the very word itself. Blog, coined by Peter Merhlolz (thanks Wiki) is a contraction of Web Log and is yet another example of the current obsession with shortening absolutely everything. A trend that reached it’s height last year in the Red Top Press with both SuBo and JedWard – although why they didn’t go with CatLady and CuntFaces I will never know?* However to my ear it sounds more like an abbreviation of what I do to my poor mother’s toilet after a hearty Christmas lunch or an onomatopoeic word for the sound I make after reading some of the self-indulgent literary masturbation that many choose to spunk onto the Internet.

Secondly, people get desperately obsessed with their Blogs. To a Blogger every living moment, every chance encounter is only there to serve as inspirational fodder for their online diaries. To the point that you begin to wonder that if a bear shits in the woods and doesn’t write about it on the Internet, does he really shit? I would rather eat a cock flavoured lollipop than become one of those people who’d end their days laying prostate on the pavement, insides splattered all over some old ladies bumper and their last words are: “This’ll look great in my Blog.”

The final reason I resisted starting one is simply that everybody else was doing it. Yes, I freely admit that this is purely a product of my own elitism. I pride myself on being one of those people who love finding new music, only to disregard it as soon as it enters the mainstream. The minute I hear my favourite song played in a supermarket it shall be stricken from my play list. If the rest of you are in, I’m out.

So why start now?

Mainly due to that scoundrel murderer of the Blog; Twitter. Just like drinking Budweiser is a gateway drug to drinking actual beer, Twitter has been my doorway into Blogging. I originally started Twitter as a business tool for my surf shop but slowly and surely it has mutated into a social platform. At first I was skeptical. The idea of shouting random thoughts at the Internet seemed ludicrous and for a while it felt like I was in blacked out room with a sudden case of Tourette’s syndrome. However the longer I persevered, the more and more wonderful people I met. The type of people who shared the same thoughts as I do. The type of people who are funny and loquacious. The type of people who you’d want at your dinner party. The type of people who would actually take the time to read this. And I liked what they had to say and conversely (and heartwarmingly shocking to me) they seemed to like what I was saying too.

So 5000 tweets later and I feel that I am now at a stage where I want to say more. I want to contribute more to the argument than 140 characters will allow me, so I have started this Blog. I have become the subject of my own vile, a Blogger. As yet I am not exactly sure what this Blog will be, it may be personal, it may be topical, and it may just point at things that amuse me. Or (and this is just as likely) it may simply sit here collecting dust like the double bass I got last Christmas that is currently mocking me from the corner of the room. Thanks for reading.

*Although my hatred of this trend may purely be due to the fact that my name already sounds shortened and often leads to the ‘hilarious’ realization that it sounds like Bent Fart.