Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Letters to Lillys.

IT'S the weekend so let's dive into the mailbag to see what thoughts The Reader's been having.

First off, stage psychic Sally Morgan turned out not to be so psychic after an audience member overheard her being fed lines by stagehands, something which surprised, er, nobody. Angry said: "A show where you talk to the dead? That's the X-Factor isn't it?" and Kurt said: "I see fucking stupid people."

Then Shadow Culture Secretary Ivan Lewis managed to overshadow Miliminor's conference speech by suggesting journalists be licensed, which was something not a single person thought was a good idea, not even Alan Rusbridger.

Stuart said:
"The more the politicians and others who have been found with their hands in the till, noses in the trough etc scream, the better the job journalists are doing. I don't always agree with every word you write, it would be boring if I did, but 9 times out of 10 what I read of yours is interesting."
Bill added: "If you threw out everyone who had ever been guilty of gross misconduct, particularly after 10pm on a Friday, there wouldn't be anyone left [in Fleet Street]."

Ed: Well, quite.

Carlos Tevez became three times more irritating by refusing to play for the last 15 minutes of a Man City match, leading to this post speculating whether 22 golden Labradors chasing a ball might not be more fun than football.

Darryl said:
"Completely agree, though in his defence he is probably still stripping about not being able to go back to south America to be with his wife and child. Something I believe City did everything to scupper by holding on for more money until the deadline ran out. Still, he should have kept his pride and dignity, and played like a professional instead of acting like a overpaid prima-donna, just like 99% of the footballers these days."
Eric said: ""Outstanding column today Lillys. I'm losing all faith in the game, and today one of our 'role models' is arrested for sexual assault and drug possession. It can't go on."

Ed: And yet it does. 

Then the trial of Conrad Murray over the death of Michael Jackson began, and this post pointed out the case is not so much about getting justice for the death but finding out who will be the target of all the lawsuits from promoters, family and insurance companies.

Alex said: "Brilliant piece that deserves more investigation - the last paragraph is a bit Linda 'Why Won't They Think of the Children' Lee-Potter-ish." And Colin added: "The lawyers are doing just fine. As they always will."

Last weekend Britain marked the 10th anniversary of war in Afghanistan by barely noticing it and this post weighed up the costs and benefits to service personnel, our defence budget and the Afghan population.

Will said:
"I do understand why you're disappointed with a lack of dialogue on the subject of war. Call me a fluffy pacifist, but eventually people have to sit down to talk. Conflict has been around as long as humans, but so has dialogue and solution. Can't help wondering what intelligent life forms watching us from outside would make of it, or generations in future millennia. I have huge respect for human bravery whatever the context but, the military don't have a monopoly. So long as the richest 10% of adults account for 85% of the world total of global assets there’s going to be trouble. Please keep up with your posts."
Then yours truly and a few others had a collective brain-fart over the acquittal of Amanda Knox for murder and this post tried to explain why the Daily Wail's briefly-published online backgrounder was a mistake rather than part of a grand media conspiracy (journalists don't have the patience for conspiracies).

Enid said: "Perfect. You made journalism sound exciting again." Chris devoted a long and detailed post on my Facebook wall to internet caches and who-did-what-when, which I don't have space to repeat and less time to try to understand, but add me as a friend using the link on the right if you're curious to see it.

Nathan wrote: "Interesting what you write about how it all works. I am a big fan of 'human error' being a web-developer myself and continually being asked to 'undo' things. I have a nagging question though - what happened to validating information before committing to screen or paper? I don't mean this accusingly, but am genuinely surprised that your piece seemed to give no real priority to validating facts, the impression I am left with is that 'first' matters - not much else. I used to be in PR and we were great ones for trying to manipulate perceptions, but we were largely held up to account by journalists who were more than weary of taking anything one person/organisation said as being remotely usable."

And Chantelle said:
"I'm the person who first spotted the Daily Mail mistake and posted it to Twitter... As a journalist myself, and one who has written two copies of almost every court story I ever wrote for BBC News, I know full well 'how journalism works'. However, my issue was clearly with the made-up portions of the piece. It's one thing to have something ready, it's another thing to post an invented reaction before the defendant has even had one! Even if they hadn't posted the wrong story, what if Knox had fainted, or screamed, or run out of the courtroom, instead of "looking stunned"? By pressing send the second they heard the word guilty, they were happy to send out something which could be incorrect in a myriad of ways, just to be first. That's why we're portrayed as 'sleazebucket liars in dirty macs'."
Ed: As I say, it was a brain-fart by someone in the Wail office and by a few people on Twitter. The reporter who wrote the article which was wrongly published said he pre-agreed the quotes with the people concerned, it was 'holding copy' meant to be updated before publication, and was furious it was used as was. I believe him. If anything it shows that newspapers need to have the same production values and system of checks on their websites as they do in their print editions, rather than in most cases treating the web as an afterthought entrusted to a handful of less experienced (and cheaper) people.

Jodie Marsh lightened the mood by covering herself in gravy browning and displaying her deep-seated body issues for the world to see. Colin said: "She looks like a Pepparami." Kev added: "Jaysus, that girl is a mess. Her self-esteem is all over the place. I can't judge but agree Jodie needs help. Incidentally who's her agent these days? Clearly they're giving her top, attention/headline grabbing advice."

Neil said:
"Not sure how you've all arrived at the psychological evaluation that Jodie is 'a mess'. Dedicating yourself to a personal goal requires strength. Particularly when that goal is pretty much guaranteed to draw stigma."
And lastly Apple founder Steve Jobs died from the pancreatic cancer he was diagnosed with seven years ago, a remarkable feat considering most patients' prognosis is measured in weeks or months. He was lionised as a loss to humanity so this post pointed out that those sections of humanity which couldn't afford an iThing hadn't really noticed much difference.

Alex said: "But Jobs wasn't in business to combat poverty. Or make pasties. Or play a sport. What he did was all any of us can do; the best we can, using our God-given talents, in our chosen profession. To that end, I'd say the guy did a hell of a job."

Sam said:
"Thank god someone else agrees with me! I woke up this morning, checked Twitter, and saw loads of people going on about how 'Steve Jobs changed the world' and 'Apple made the world a better place'. It's so annoying, as you pointed out they don't stop poverty or illness and only the richest 5 per cent or so of the world can afford any Apple products."
Which is a depressing note to end on, but there we are. Wrap up warm because the weather's turned this week and autumn is upon us. Cold and dry, but at least it's sunny.

Foxy out.