Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009: Meta-rage, grumpy old men, the point of letters, Obamamama...

Meta-rage: For that niche of 'journalists' whose 'job' it is to take offence at the content of newpapers and then write it down, the slow news day is that rarest of things, a double-edged sword. Sure, a slow news day means the editors have to scrape the barrel for more ridiculous 'news' stories, featuring people who are fun to laugh at. But then writing satirically about such a story is like deepfrying Palm corned beef: unnecessary and possibly fatal. There's only so much one can say about a crazy cat lady or a dog stuck in a tree. At any rate, for most news-rage journalists - to coin a phrase* - the thrill is in deconstructing the coverage of interesting events. So imagine my delight when, on the second day of this very blog, I opened the Herald to discover a wasteland bereft of news-rage possibilities. Sure, there's Obama, but that's pretty much it - and if there's anything original yet to be said about Obama, I haven't thought of it - I mean, people already made up and published all the good fictional possibilities. So what follows today is, I suppose, the news-rage equivalent of a slow news day - a slow news-rage day, if you will. But I have achieved one thing already: I've made you read a whole paragraph about nothing but raging about raging. Please don't leave.

* I have since Googled "news-rage journalist", and can confirm there were 0 results. Excellent.

Young people these days...: For those of you who, like me, have 'lost' all their grandparents, and thus all their contact with the very old and grumpy, today's Opinion page holds something of a nostalgic surprise. Dovetailing nicely with their 'slow news day' theme, the Herald have published a consummate old-man rant about how people dress too sloppily these days. He starts off with a reminiscence about a man on his bus back in nineteen-dickety-one. This man wore a three piece suit, polished shoes, pocket watch etc. to his workplace, a construction site where he changed into overalls and began 'chipping concrete off boxing', whatever that means. Now, while most of us today would (rightly) consider this a sign of mild mental illness, this display impressed the young Noel Gillespie to the point where he decided to be obsessed with dress codes for the rest of his life. To cut a long, long story short, here are some things that really 'get [Noel's] goat':
  • Women wearing pants
  • Men drinking beer out of a bottle (although this is 'maybe acceptable' at a barbecue)
  • Presumably women drinking beer at all
  • 'Middle aged women wearing jeans'
  • Wearing a sports jacket to the New Zealand Sports Awards
  • Just about everything I wear on a daily basis: 'flop flops [sic], unshaven designer [sic] stubble... jeans ... yada yada'. No mention of singlets, but I imagine that's only because the very thought of them would make him break down in tears before he could so much as dial Leighton Smith.
Now perhaps it's unfair to pick on this gentleman, who after all is hardly unique in his opinions. So instead, I direct my ire to the Herald editorial staff. Come on, we've all met old people before! Tell us something we don't know!

Dear Editor: Hey, what the hell? When did the letters to the editor merge with Sideswipe?? Oh wait, they didn't (yet). All that happened was the letters page started printing people's random complaints about their day. I'm very sorry, R.K. Jones of Takanini, that you had bad service at the supermarket. And I truly felt for you, Pam Dodd of Mt Eden, when you had that nasty run in with a rude motorist the other day. But I have a recommendation for you both. Instead of clogging the Herald letters page - my Herald letters page - up with your stories of woe, how about you write in to That's Life magazine. Not only do I then not have to read them, but you can make up to $600 for each submission! Now that's life!

I heart Obama: My post yesterday notwithstanding, am I the only one getting super-excited about Obama? My heart filling with Western-nation pride? My brain swarming with radical possibilities? My loins stirring with the vaguest of man-crushes? I am even considering staying up all night to watch the ceremonial bollocks (metaphorical). Presumably this is exactly the intended effect of the inauguration/coronation process - seems like I may not be above bread-and-circuses politics after all. Also, if anyone spots an outrageous flame-headed ginger in the crowd, it's probably my cousin.

Headline of the month contest:
'Smelly man hunted after tourist attack'. As if the guy didn't have enough problems...