Friday, 1 June 2007

Be my guests!

I was listening to Feedback on BBC Radio 4 earlier: among the usual complaints about ‘bad language’, they read out a letter from a listener bemoaning the fact that one hardly ever heard ‘positive’ news on the air.

What ‘positive’ news?

I can’t think of any. Can you? The floor is yours!

If, on the other hand, constant exhortations to be positive make you feel queasy, and you believe, like me, that keeping a positive outlook doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference; that life is for the most part a series of aggravating incidents; that bottling things up isn’t good for you, then feel free to grumble and slap.


  1. I'd like to grumble about people (in the U.S. anyway) who throw their darn cigarettes butts down on the street or sidewalk, etc. I want to literally SLAP them in the face!

  2. Here is some good news for the BBC: my son will manage to "graduate" from 2nd grade this year.

    Other than that, the world is going to hell in a hand basket :-)

  3. Why did that person mistakes the news for entertainment? Silly Iraqis! they should know we don't want to hear about car bombs and kidnappings! We want to hear stories about kittens!

  4. TLP, I read somewhere that people are going to get on-the-spot fines here if seen to throw cigarette butts on to the pavement, after the July 1st smoking ban. I'll believe it when I see it.

    NST, that's very good news. Congratulations to your son!


    I'm not surprised, B, everything has to be entertaining these days. (Just realized I'd already broached this particular subject in one of my posts, two years ago: There are lots of ostriches walking around.

  5. I'd like to slap the woman living below me who drilled a hole through (not into - through) an 18-inch wall without wondering a) why it was warm to the touch and ticked every night and b) why it was a foot thicker than any other
    wall in her flat; and so damaged two hot water pipes, thus forcing me to both work and live in my bedroom for over a week now while they dig out the wall in my flat and that of the person below her.

    And then I'd like to slap the new office I work as an editor at part-time, who gave me a job but have no desk or computer for me so 'would I mind bringing in my own laptop and just sitting on the corner of this table in the sales department in everyone's way and with no space to put a piece of paper next to my keyboard'.

    And then I want to slap my elderly mother's psychopath next-door neighbour, who has just punched the 60-year-old who came to mow her lawn for letting a bit of grass cuttings blow onto the shared driveway 'when I told you not to', and also jeered at the man for having had skin cancer and had most of his ear cut off.

    There. That's better. Thanks, Bela.

  6. L, this catalogue of miseries wouldn't have pleased that stupid Radio 4 listener.

    I would like to add this: on second thoughts, I would like to hear nothing but stories about kittens. My life would be greatly enhanced by them.

    And... I would like to slap the edge of my bath, which broke my fall the other day but also broke one or two of my ribs. :-(

  7. Wait... I thought we just called those positive kind of stories "puff pieces."

    I wish to add, a story about a kitten is nothing! Where's the pizzazz? The viewer hook? Now, get ahold of a whole basket full of kitties (preferably in possession of a ball of yarn and/or ribbon) and now you've got something!

    Sorry for the sarcasm - my brother produces the evening news for a local station, and it drives him nuts with the people calling up demanding more "positive stories." Weirdly, or maybe sadly, he's noticed there's usually a down tick in complaints whenever they run "stories" about Britney Spears or Paris Hilton. I really don't want to think about what that says about the average intelligence of a tv news watcher these days.

  8. i head that show. i laughed my ass off when one of her suggestions for 'happy news' consised of the revelation that many housecats now live 20 years or more. i don't object to happy news, but i seriously object to my time being wasted with irrelevant news, happy or sad.

  9. 'Puff pieces' says it all, K.

    I've just learned there's also a word that describes puff pieces' sisters: 'trivial, thinly researched news stories'. It's called NEWZAK.

    CB, there are so many times when I think, 'Do these people live on the same planet as me?'

  10. Oh, there are some good news, little things that happen all the time (children who recover from weird illnesses, people who go on to study and make a difference in the world, people who take care of other people and make their life more pleasurable, advances in science that just might make our world better etc etc), but curiously no one ever bothers to report them or make them worthwhile in mentioning them. They only do the "fluff" pieces with the cute animals and such.
    I don't know why...

    It seems that human beings do have a morbid fascination with the bad things: violence, abuse, disaster, homo homini lupus. Those are that bring the rating. Even the lightest things (like celebs and such airheads) take on a sinister turn when reported on the news or media. Or even in everyday conversation!

    If I really wanted to slap someone, it would be those people who take pleasure in hurting and spewing venom at others. What is the good in that?


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