To A Louse: On Seeing One On A Lady’s Bonnet, At Church

….(final stanza)…

Oh wad some power the giftie gie us,
To see ourselves as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion:
What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
An ev’n devotion!

-Rabbie Burns, 1786

PR Britain.

A nothing-story on the BBC website about how some self-promoter didn’t put an apostrophe in their company logo

My favourite comment?

160. Mick
Surely the BBC is old enough to know when it’s being used as part of a publicity gimmick? If it isn’t, then some sackings might concentrate minds.

It is very hard to find news written by journalists, not Press Officers.

I think I have already mentioned the 2008 book I read- ‘Flat Earth News’ by Nick Davies, the sub-title is “An Award-winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media”. The facts make for a shocking picture of how the way we perceive the world today is openly coloured by vested interests.

I quote a customer review of Flat Earth News that I’ve taken straight off Amazon:

(The author)..cites a Cardiff University study of four quality papers which found that 60% of their home news stories were wholly from wire agencies, mainly the Press Association, or PR material, 20% partially so, 8% from unknown sources, and just 12% generated by reporters. The Press Association reports only what is said, it has no time to check whether it is true. There are now more PR people, 47,800, than journalists, 45,000.

News websites run by media firms recycle 50% of their stories from the two international wire agencies, Associated Press and Reuters; those run by internet firms recycle 85% of their stories from those two. On a typical day, Google News offered `14,000′ stories – actually retelling just 24 events.

The government has 1,500 press officers, issues 20,000 press releases a year, and also spends millions more of our money on PR firms. The Foreign Office spends £600 million a year on `public diplomacy’. The CIA spent $265 million on `information operations’ in 1978 alone, more than the world’s three biggest news agencies together. It focuses its efforts on the New York Times, CBS, Newsweek and Time.

A Guardian blog by Greenslade does well to sum up the PR vs. Journalism situation in the UK.

Now of course, PR’s endemic and should be recognised for what it is.


…Here they were, on the only planetary surface on which you could walk freely, naked to the wind and the sun, and when they had a choice, they sat in boxes and stared at littler boxes, just as if they had no choice – as if they were in a space station – as if the bad old days of the caged centuries had never gone away. They didn’t even look up at the stars in the night. Walking among them, she saw that it was so. Indeed if they had been people who were interested in the stars they would not have still been here. There overhead stood Orion at his angle, “the most beautiful object any of us will ever know in the world, spread out on the sky like a true god, in whom it would only be necessary to believe a little.” But no one looked.

I’ve been immersed in Kim Stanley Robinson‘s masterful and capacious multi-world thriller 2312 for a while now. As much as the science I also enjoyed his poetic descriptions. It’s coming to an end soon (12 pages left) and I wanted to keep a little memory.

He’s not the Messiah!

It’s strange how little things can change your outlook on a subject.

I have been totally against children being given silly names by parents. (I refrain from using ‘kooky/unusual/quirky’ instead of ‘silly’ as some people feel these are always good words) In fact, I’m opposed to the naming of children by un-educated parents.

But today I see a news story from that country of democracy America, where a judge hasn’t allowed a couple to name their third kid ‘Messiah’. On the grounds that “The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ..” See here US Judge changes baby’s name from Messiah to Martin

Now I’m all for silly names!

I guess this arranges these issues on my hierarchy level thus:
Silly religiousity >More annoying than> Silly child-naming.