Sunday, 4 January 2009

A new game for journalists

One of emerging trends of credit crunch journalism is the ‘look, it’s all going to be rather difficult, but keep thinking positively and it will all be fine’ articles. There was one in The Times ‘Body & Soul’ section on Saturday and a larger one in the Sunday Times today. Yesterday’s was all life coachey: ‘if you become negative, negativity will come into your life’. NO LAUGHING AT THE BACK THERE!
Today’s was Brian Appleyard, baby-boomer journalist par excellence, whose sycophancy over Bob Dylan’s autobiography (‘member dat? How quickly, these days, ‘momentous cultural events’ disappear without trace) and prediction that the baby boomer generation would ‘abolish death’ are just two things that promote sardonic laughter in me. Appleyard started off by saying how much good the coming slump would do us all. True, if it really means goodbye to the crass, consumerist, greedy Britain we’ve known for the last decade and more then I will be more than happy and so will many others. He said we’ll all be slimmer and more grounded and healthier (but anxiety, depression and suicide rates would – ahem – rise).
It was a load of space-filling waffle, like most newspaper content. But what gets me about this new trend is that the people writing it, the usual suspects of yummy mummies and overpaid feature scribes, won’t be affected by it, it’s a refreshing new abstract for them to spin features off. None of them will see the inside of a dole office and a fortnight’s wait for a payment and a diet of canned food and value bread. None of them will lose their houses. None of them will have to hustle alongside ex-Woolworth employees – and the three million migrants new Labour assured us we needed – for crappy jobs in grim towns where the whirligig of time has brought in his revenges on all those bien pensant ideas the liberal political class have forced through school, town hall and court. Now these Blair-believers fulfill the role of New Labour outreach workers and priests, offering guidance and benediction to the ordinary people who allowed themselves, or had no choice, but to get washed away as the ship sinks. I find it unseemly.

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