Sunday, 30 December 2007

2007 can fuck off

As we polish off the fag end of yet another year, the 2007th since a carpenter's wife came up with history's best excuse, we're forced to ask the perennial question: was it all worth it? Has 2007 added to the rising tide of societal progress, or has it been naught but an unintended ejaculation of wasted time and energy? Worse still, have we in fact jaded and damaged our civilization, taking a juddering step yet closer to our eventual demise?

Lets take a look at the evidence:

2007 began with Saddam Hussein's slowly chilling body twisting on the end of a rope. Depending on who you ask, this was either a triumph for peace, democracy and international law, or a triumph for Shia extremism, the death penalty and victor's justice. One thing is certain: it was a triumph for the internet viral video.

Within days of an inconveniently placed rope failing to save Saddam from what would have otherwise been just a nasty fall, videos of the incident happily spunking themselves into the eyes of anyone with a web connection and a lack of respect for human life.

Many people were shocked and outraged by the popularity of what amounted to a publicly funded (if not publicly sanctioned) snuff filmed. Nobody was more fucked off than corporate media executives, who were sorely anguished that they, unlike anonymous web hacks, could not televise the executions of war criminals, even on pay-per-view. To a man, and occasional power dressed woman, they vowed to fight back and overcome this injustice by making 2007 one of the most inane, tasteless, disproportionate and exploitative years in media in history.

Always at the cutting edge of new trends, channel four opened the bidding by creating a major international incident between Britain and fellow nuclear nation India, requiring questions in the house, ambassadorial missions and finally a ministerial visit to sort out. In years to come we will probably take it for granted that two civilized countries can be thrown into minor political turmoil over the actions of Jade Goody's mum and a bunch of other fatuous nitwits.

As is the way of such things, it all ended happily: Jade and Danielle both apologized to Shilpa when it emerged that being a racist, xenophobic arsepimple had not been acceptable for the last thirty years and, as a result, their actions were unpopular. Danielle scored a string of modeling contracts for various lad mags and perennially shags footballers to keep herself in the public eye. I seem to remember Jade releasing a line of perfume some time back. She remains a millionaire.

While failing to provoke an international incident, the American media was no shrinking violet when it came to sickeningly vulgar displays, such as the one which accompanied the tragic but unsurprising death of Anna Nichole Smith. While the event could only loosely be described as 'news', it clogged American networks for over a week, garnering a level of coverage easily comparable with that of 9/11. Particularly hard hitting stories included coverage of Anna's "death fridge", endless speculation as to her daughter's paternity and in depth analysis of exactly what could have driven a drug addicted, mentally ill, bankrupt, forty year old former model to commit suicide mere months after her son had done the same. We may never know.

It was one all for sick media hype until, in mid April, a disturbed and lonely student walked into his Virginia class room and started indiscriminately killing his peers, followed by himself. What would have been merely a very large footnote in the annals of terminal American fuckwittery became a massive gooey media circlejerk, when tapes recorded by the killer before the massacre arrived at the headquarters of ABC news, and America went two-one up at half time. Out of respect for the thirty-two victims and their grieving families, the U.S. media showed the tapes once every fifteen minutes for the next three days, interspersing The Cho Show with fascinating insights into the killer's (abysmally shitty) writing, personal life and, er, Korean-ness. This last point was dwelt on with surprising regularity, with news anchors wondering if there would be an 'anti-korean backlash' with a palpable air of excitement and occasional encouraging winks.

The endless, fawning hype afforded to Cho was obviously intended to discourage future would-be-killers by showing how little attention, fame and notoriety is afforded to people who decide to 'go out' with a bang. It was probably this mature, sensitive and responsible approach to reporting that caused a mere fifty five other people to lose their lives in American mass shootings this year.

Things were looking bad for Britain, who were two-one down , with Britney Spear's breakdown and a clusterfuck of a presidential election on the horizon. The mood in the U.K's "disgusting media overreaction" pit was extremely tense. Reporters, editors and journalists were openly despairing as to how they could catch up with the crass, tasteless, irresponsible, over the top, fawning, content free journalism displayed by their U.S. counterparts.

Madeline McCann went missing from a Portuguese holiday resort on May third, 2007.

Every year 77,000 children go missing in the U.K. Unlike most of them, Madeline McCann was white, four years old, in a foreign country, and had fit, middle class parents. All this meant that, rather than being totally ignored, Madeline's disappearance was the most reported news story of 2007.

That's right. In a year when America came very close to attacking Iran, Turkey invaded Iraq, Pakistan practically imploded, terrorists attacked, and Russia re-targetted its nuclear missiles on Western cities we spilled more ink over the McCann case than anything else.

It would be nice to say that this was something positive - that people warmed to Madeline's story because they felt they could do something to help, or out of a general sense of empathy for her parents. This line would be easier to two if every second story hadn't focused on 1.) blaming the McCanns 2.) Blaming the Portuguese police as racistly as U.K. hate crime laws will allow 3.) blaming the McCanns 4.) Blaming half a dozen or so Portuguese sex offenders who lived in the area, one after the other, on infinite loop 5.) blaming the McCanns 6.) blaming the McCanns friends 7.) finally blaming the McCanns and their friends, accusing them in fact of outright murder.

Lets take a moment to explore this last bit, shall we?

Ext: An Al Fresco restaurant at a resort in Portugal

A group of eight or nine friends are sat at a table, chatting and joking

Friend 1: But i don't understand how you can go to Rome and not visit Vatican city

Friend 2: Or the Coliseum

Friend 1: Or the Coliseum. They spent almost the whole time in their hotel room

Friend 3: but that's Jane and David - every holiday's a honeymoon

They all laugh

Friend 4: Why couldn't they come again?

Friend 2: Oh, David's just started a new job and their both terribly busy at the moment

Friend 5: Shame

Friend 1: Yes, it would have been nice to have them along

Kate McCann returns from checking on Madeline and takes her seat

Kate McCann: I'm terribly sorry to be a bother, but it seems that we've given our daughter an overdose of sedatives and killed her... I don't suppose any of you could give us a hand disposing of the body, could you?

Friend 2: What are you like? Go on then.

Friend 1: I'll get a shovel.

They all laugh, and the credits roll

Just felt like sharing that with you.

So, I think we can agree that the media have excelled themselves at being utter cunts this year. But what else happened?

Rhianna made us all seriously contemplate murder when she repeatedly offered the use of her umbrella. Later we cursed the power of irony when the entire country flooded in June.

We gained a new prime minister, who managed to make himself less popular than Tony Blair in an astonishingly short space of time by teasing the media with talk of a general election before cruelly 'canceling' it. To put what Gordon Brown did in perspective , promising journalists an election then not having one is rather like holding a packet of sweets out for a child before pulling it away at the last second. To put what the journalists did in response in perspective, it's rather like getting that same child's hand, repeatedly smacking them in the face with it while saying, in a whiny voice "stop hitting yourself" over and over again.

Terrorists attacked. They were shit at it. Despite being brain surgeons, they apparently thought that driving a car into an international airport would make it fall down (hey... if crashing a plane into skyscraper works, why don't we try crashing our car into Glasgow airport?).

The Government lost all our data. Britney Spears got her head shaved. California burned down, Arnold Shwazzenegger's metallic endoskeleton survived. Alan Johnston was kidnapped and then returned. Fiftenn British sailors were kidnapped and then returned. Gillian Gibbons was kidnapped (kind of) and then returned. A lot of people discovered that British people do not make good pets.

So, what is the verdict on 2007? Sad to say, it is a big thumbs down. People seem to be almost wilfully gettign stupider, be it Big Brother celebrities, teddy bear hating Muslims, politically autistic prime ministers, retarded journalists or, most importantly, George W. Bush. Human progress seems to be going backwards. So, fuck off 2007, I say. Roll on 2008.

Madeline McCann remains at large.

1 comment:

Ms W said...

It's Rhianna, not Rhianon. She's not Welsh :P xx