I can’t deny I am out of sorts at the moment, and I have concluded that I would have made a lousy Journalist. Of late there seem to have been a lot of very bleak news stories: Breivik, the Riots, Murders in Jersey, and today the death of an RAF pilot in a Hawk Jet of the Red Arrows, to name a few. Since a lot of what I write on this blog relates to news stories, all of these have caught my attention.
My first three examples have really tested my generally positive view of human nature. The riots in particular since the sweeping generalisations of some, set me to thinking about Racism, and I have been doing some research for a longer piece on that subject. As an aside to that, since in essence I was pursuing a ‘story’ of sorts, I began wondering how Journalists cope. For all the four stories I mention above are bleak, there is a Civil War in Libya, which not that long ago was the top headline news. There is of course the Famine in the Horn of Africa which fills me with despair and feelings of helplessness in equal measure. The Democracy protests, and associated violence in Syria. The world Economy slipping into meltdown. And a big chunk of Japan got washed away by the sea, and now glows in the dark.
How Journalists manage to report on any one of these stories day after day, without slipping into terminal depression, never mind managing to hold onto any sense of objectivity boggles the mind.
The Red Arrows story seems the most difficult for me to get my head around right now, since as a family we go down to Weymouth, on the third Wednesday in August and watch the Air display there, and somehow, even if they were to display in three days time, which seems unlikely, it is now both anxiety provoking and more than tinged with sadness. Which has put the dampers on the end to an already soggy summer.
I can’t claim that the news of late has been particularly bad, there always seems to be something going on which is morbid or hopelessly miserable, so the only thing I can really relate my generally dour feelings to is thinking too much about miserable topics.
My mood wasn’t made any lighter, when a respondent to a previous post thought Ken Livingstone and myself using Hitler as an object of ridicule and by implication, (in this persons mind) his crimes, was outrageous. As I argued in an earlier piece humour is in many ways a defence against being overwhelmed by difficult feelings, and a way of getting even. So I suspect that Journalists cope like anyone else in a stressful and challenging profession, with black humour.
So taking advice from Dydactylos the philosopher in Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods whose, “philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools — the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans — and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, ‘You can’t trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there’s nothing you can do about it, so let’s have a drink.’ ”
And here’s some black humour, so we can all feel superior to the rioters.
A man was sentenced today for looting a DFS store during the London Riots, he was given five years to pay the fine and starts his sentence June 2013.
Q: How many rioters does it take to change a light bulb?
One to smash the bulb.
One to smash the shop window, to get a new bulb.
A third to hold back the 500 Metropolitan police in riot gear.
At least one musical instrument store was burgled during the riots,
Apparently, it was an orchestrated crime.
Several violins were stolen
Police believe members of the gang were on the fiddle.
However the owner expressed relief that his period instruments were untouched, saying, “they left the lute.”
A flaw was identified in a leading brand of laptops today, after branches of Comet were besieged by a number of people returning the product and demanding their Bricks back.