When I’m doing freelance stuff, I have to immerse myself in the press to find out what everyone else is reading – what’s trending, what’s popular and what people are going to want to see. It means I have read rather more than I’d have liked about the iPhone6, the Ebola virus and the ISIS thing – all important issues (well, except for the first one, unless you happen to be Steven Fry) but media saturation about how crap the world is can get you down.
Metro – for whom I write regularly – have a spider fixation. Stories about the autumnal arachnid invasion are all over the newspapers at this time of year, but 2014 coverage seems more extensive than ever, presumably because some of the spiders appear to have evolved or at least been immersed in the sort of growth formula that mutated the Ninja Turtles. If you read my ‘Kill The Moon’ review, you will recall the particular hangup I have about certain eight-legged creatures of the hairy kind, and we will not dwell on that, except to say that I have still not quite forgiven Chris Woodson (not his real name) for repeatedly shoving page eight of the biology textbook in front of my face during those GCSE science lessons. Emily calls me a wuss, and she is right.
However, I did this. Obviously.
Meanwhile, Bob the Builder is in trouble, having been given a trendy new image in the wake of a new series, causing the sort of outcry on social media that makes headlines, at least when bored journalists have nothing else to write about (if we cared as much about terrorism as we seem to about TV remakes or The Great British Bake Off, there would be no wars). Facebook and Twitter ‘exploded’ with criticism, with various social media users saying that the BBC had ‘ruined their childhood’, which depresses me partly because it makes me feel very old, but mostly because it has nothing to do with the BBC at all. This is usually established outright in any news report or Wikipedia article, but it goes in one ear and out the other. It’s not really a big deal, I suppose, but it’s typical of the sort of casual misunderstanding that plagues the British public, who are, I’ve decided, largely quite stupid, or at least more stupid than I am, and that’s saying something.
If this is a little harsh, consider the Peppa Pig story that broke a few weeks ago when an obviously satirical video generated headlines, memes and general outrage, including extensive coverage in several national newspapers who frankly ought to have known better. (That’s non-negotiable. Either they fell for it, or they knew it was a spoof and played off the fears of the British public; either way it’s irresponsible journalism.) This sort of thing doesn’t stop people spreading images round the internet even after all the fuss has died down, because they’re incapable of reading or researching. Most of these folks – some of whom I would tentatively call friends – aren’t stupid, or even nasty. They’re just lazy, and they’ll hear what they expect and want to hear. You know the sort of person I mean; the sort that doesn’t realise that The X-Factor is rigged from day one, who finds it hard to distinguish between a soap opera villain and the actress who plays them, and who actually thinks that there has never been a better Doctor than David Tennant. I’m being harsh again, but I get tired of having to explain this shit over and over simply because social media is only good at spreading the wrong sort of news. I am a naturally forgiving person – perhaps too much so – but people who propagate rubbishlike this should have to shampoo my crotch.
And you’re probably going to see this sort of thing on a far-right Facebook page at some point:
Anyway. We were discussing the character’s new look yesterday, and one of us – I think it might have been Thomas – pointed out that it was a bit like regeneration. And, you know, one thing sort of led to another.
It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for.