Friday, 6 March 2009

Is it just me?

Am I swimming against the tide?
Have I got my priorities wrong?
Am I turning into a grumpy old woman? Answers on my comment page, please!

If I asked the question "Which is most important, how you look or who you are?" I would expect ninety percent at least to say that it was far more important what kind of person you were than how you looked. So why is it that the media in general - newspapers in particular - preach the opposite philosophy?
I already find watching the news on television awful. I am sure we all know by now that there is a World financial crisis, but the news bulletins tell us every night about it in as many different ways as they can, with as many different graphs and graphics as they can come up with (wonder how much some of them have cost to produce). Certainly to me most of what they say is pretty meaningless. Apparently Tony Benn met Norman Lamont at the Bath Festival this week (Lamont was one-time Chancellor of the Exchequer). When Tony asked Norman how he would fix the economy, Norman replied that he didn't know - adding 'nobody knows'. So what chance have I got of understanding it all?
But to return to newspapers. Three things I have read this week lead me to believe that media reporters (and as they reflect what the public want to read, by implication most people) think how you look is much more important.
First there was a photograph of Gordon Brown landing in Washington for his first meeting with President Obama at The White House. Was he looking out of the window at the scenery? No he was having his face made up as he sat in his seat, so that when he stood in the door of the plane he would look fresh as a daisy.
I ask you - if the Prime Minister is looking shattered after his six hour flight, during which he probably worked. If he is weighed down with worry about the Afghan war, the credit crunch, his falling ratings in the poll, etc., etc., wouldn't you wish to see that in his face when he got off the plane, rather than have it rouged and tinted like Chairman Mao in his embalmment?
Then, when Gordon Brown arrived at The White House there was consternation because his right trouser leg was caught in the top of his sock. If it had been Mrs Thatcher with her dress tucked in her knickers I could understand it (that situation is every woman's nightmare I can assure all you male readers) - but did it really merit almost a column exhorting Gordon to put his socks on before his trousers in future, so that there was no chance of it happening again.
I ask you - does it really matter all that much?
Then we have a photograph of Sarah Brown meeting The First Lady. They are sitting together at a table, chatting. What does the paper say? Firstly it says that the photograph has been taken from an unflattering angle, to make Mrs Brown look fat. I ask - do we care? Then the article goes on to say that although the Browns bought TopShop dresses with matching necklaces for the Obama children, all they got in return were two helicopters modelled on the President's helicopter as toys for their boys.
I ask - weren't we taught to say thank you for any gift we were given and that never, under any circumstances were we to question what the gift was and how it compared with what we had given the person?
As I say in the title - is it just me - or should I stop reading the papers as well as listening to the news, in order to keep my blood pressure down to normal? Answers - but not on a postcard please.

31 comments:

Sal said...

We all know that the rubbish in the news is designed to sell newspapers...so...best to ignore it all and concentrate on the things that are important in your own life.
That's what I try to do!
Have a good weekend ;-)

Leslie said...

I avoid news in general whether it be on TV. newspaper, etc.
My blood pressure is a problem at best. Looks are not that important but, the person I am does matter to me.
I think you are on the right path.
Hugs~~~~Leslie

jinksy said...

Papers only end up in the recycle bin, anyway, so never buying another one has to be good for the planet, as well as your blood pressure! x

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Oh dear - I wonder if I should get my neck brushed and powdered before posting my pictures on the blogosphere?!

EB said...

Hm, news. We wake up to the news on the radio, but I put Radio 3 on as soon as I get to the kitchen. The Wold Tonight programme at 10 o'clock is my favourite source of news: the time of day seems to make it more civilized and thoughtful. We never watch television news or read a paper, any more, but when I did I found the Financial Times the best, oddly enough.

I completely agree with you about looks. I do like to dress up but the time in between gets longer and longer!

Kyfarmlife said...

Nope not just you! I really try to avoid the news except for the weather anymore. There is very rarely anything positive on anymore. I think that the disturbing news is what the views want, and we are all so desensitized to all the crime and fully worthless things...body image is atrochous (sp?)for not only teens but all of us. Its disgusting and its disgusted me for a long time. Sad what the world has come too, I feel we are near the end myself. I saw on the news last night that they were talking about the last few presidents who have colored their hair!!!! Taking away the grey, they said americans dont want to see an older president..fools whatever! Its not their appearance that runs the country. The way americans have put Obama in the spotlight and "spoiled" them and their kids with "things" is disgusting. I loved your last 3 posts....especially farm posts!
;-) Okay I've said alot and got off on my soap box! Sorry so long!

Derrick said...

Now Weaver, you mustn't let it get you down!

I know what you mean about the cult of celebrity and it revolves around looks more than talent or intelligence!

But whether we like it or not, when it comes to appearance, there are a couple of places on earth that we will usually compare unfavourably with the natives - Paris and the USA. The style, gloss, perfect teeth etc. leave us a little way behind, so comparison is inevitable. In which case, don't have your trouser leg caught in your socks!!

Mad Bush Farm Crew said...

Weaver - You are not being a grumpy old woman. If you were I'd be standing right beside you being a grumpy middle aged woman. I'm in media and looks sell newspapers and stories. In a world full the word Recession pretty people are being used to make magazine sales.

It's the person that matters not the look. I have a use for newspapers with pretty people - weed suppressant for my gardens very useful. I don't care who has the latest designs or what face cream they've used in the last 24 hours. I care about people and that's all that matters. So on the people thing - number one is the person not how they look.

Take care
Liz

Heather said...

No dear Weaver, you are not a grumpy old woman, or if you are then I am too, along with many others. I scarcely bother to read the papers any more - they are full of rubbish and no longer print what actually happens, and seem only interested in the more sensational events rather than the really important issues of the day. Every story has to have an 'angle' these days, which often distorts the truth of what really happened. I try to keep up to date with one news bulletin a day, usually at breakfast time and have long since come to the conclusion that what I think wont make any difference to anything. Oh dear, I seem to have had a rant - sorry!

Heather said...

I didn't even answer your original question. I believe what we are is more important than how we look. I do like clean and tidy though.

The Solitary Walker said...

Agree with you, Weaver, one tires of celebrity and superficial outward show and presentation - but don't let it get to you. It ain't going to go away. Relax and have a glass of blackberry whisky.

SW (Fellow Grumpy)

Reader Wil said...

Appearances seem to be awfully important. With women it's important how she is dressed and which couturier designed the outfit of the lady. Male politicians are quoted and female politicians are said to be well dressed or looking pretty, but it seems to be less important what she has to say.But why spill so many words on the PM's sock??

Jenn Jilks said...

No, Weaver, you are an informed, sentient human being with life experiences that over qualify you to visit the media in this day and age. I did a rant about the media, too. It is ridiculous.

/also a grumpy old woman

Leilani Lee said...

Preach it sister, preach it... I'm getting grumpier by the minute with news, media, etc.

Dominic Rivron said...

There was an interesting item on the Today programme about this this morning. They were asking how it was that investigative journalism had almost become a thing of the past. Ironically, this discussion -a journalist interviewing a journalist- occupied several minutes of the programme. However, a few interesting points were made. One of them was the fact that the vast majority of the media are now owned by big corporations. All they are interested in is grabbing the audience's attention as cheaply as possible.

Dubois said...

Listen only to Radio 4 News in future, forget about newspapers and TV; with Radio 4 you nearly feel you are back in the old days of a "newsreader" instead of the over-sensationalised so called tv news read by someone who likes to call himself/herself a "journalist".

Woman in a Window said...

I think we have all gone and lost our heads. I think we are all a big gaggle of idiots.

I don't watch the news anymore except to get quick information. I don't read the papers. I've had to tell my husband to stop listening to public radio because it got him all insane. I still listen, because I like it and I am not insane. However, much of the world is.

You have delicious posts this week!

Totalfeckineejit said...

'The bad news is that I buy a newspaper every day.
The good news is that I do not read it.'


This by one of my favourite poets, Paul Durcan,from his 2007 book 'The laughter of mothers'(highly recommended)

HelenMHunt said...

Hmmm, I think some news reports are best avoided if you want to keep your blood pressure on an even keel.

Cathy said...

MOst everyone with half a brain left is with you. I only use the newspaper for the crossword anymore. The news is mostly for the simple minded why else would they focus on celebraties and recipes than more news. The weather channel here gets my attention more than anything. It's a sad world and we have to teach our children how to make it better because the powers that be at the moment are the media and it needs to change.

acornmoon said...

Newspapers only print what they can sell and I daresay that on a human level people are more interested in the minutia.

I take solace in the animal world, sometimes dogs are better company. Their joie de vivre is infectious.

Pam said...

Grumpy and proud of it. That's me.Welcome aboard.I used to get me knickers in a knot watching what you've described on the telly. Now to truly trivial stuff, I say out loud "Who cares"..."Get a life..." etc. I think I'll be a nightmare in the aged care home...or else they'll wheel me over to the crochet corner when the news comes on, or face me to the garden.If my hearing's O.K., I'll still be shouting "Who Cares!! to the daffodils.

Janice Thomson said...

I don't watch the news for the very reasons you mention. I could care less about someone's sock or the angle of a photo. But I'm guessing there are those that do hence that's the way the news is reported. No wonder we have a messed up world - our priorities seem to be out of whack :)

The Weaver of Grass said...

Well - to that enormous response all I can say is that if we all stop buying the newspapers and watching the news - goodness knows what will happen! Glad to hear that you all feel more or less the same. Don't brush and powder your neck Raph - we wouldn't see that fantastic pattern - as usual Derrick provides us with a voice of reason - let's all join Solitary walker in a glass of blackberry whisky - I'll drink to that. (recipe - 1 btl whisky, 1 pound blackberries, 1 pound sugar - if you don't like whisky (I hate it) I assure you the finished product (keep for three months) is delicious and tastes of nothing but blackberries. Cheers!

Derrick said...

Weaver!

I hope you've got several bottles on the go? Let us know when it's ready and we'll be round! Hic!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Weaver, I can hardly watch the news without commenting constantly on how and why they present the things they do... and I cannot watch commercials.. the media has lost something and nothing seems to matter anymore to them except SHOCK... or so called Entertainment...

Actually because of this disappointment we have canceled our cable channels and watch no TV anymore... Once in a while I miss just casually sitting down to watch a show, then sadly I remember why we canceled it... It is not the old days of innocence or careful thought anymore... it is very sad what the whole thing has turned into...

in fact,even our National CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Radio system is just as bad... I turn it off more than I turn it on now... ... I think the media is being run or produced by people who have not lived real lives yet... it is all just stupid now..
or is it because I am 53 and have heard too much of it now.. I can't understand the state of it and how it is allowed to continue.

Arija said...

My dear, a friend just sent me an email of an older woman who had her ribs removed for a hour-glass figure. I don't know what else she had removed, probably half her innards as well. She dressed up in dirndlmore befitting to Snow White, and her fave looked like the witch. Her waist was no more than 10". To borrow a word from my teen grandies, she certainly looked gross.
If the TV is on the news I too have blood pressure issues. Between doom and gloom and sport, local, state national international, I do like a good cricket match now and again but American gridiron...I ask you!

elizabethm said...

You just have to pick your choose your news reading and watching weaver! Absolutely no Daily Mail, seriously bad for the blood pressure. No redtops - bad for the soul. A bit of the Independent, some radio 4, some BBC on the website. Any more and the irritation quotient is on the rise.
I utterly agree with you about our obsession with looks too.

Bdogs said...

Trouble is, no one cares what we think (except us and our friend) whereas how we look influences how we're treated on our daily rounds of activities. It also affects how we think of ourselves, at least in my case. If I'm in my sweats working at 1PM and a deliveryman stops by, I'm embarrassed. At least put on lipstick my mother would say.

But on to the news--desist from watching the news for a while. There is no news that can appear positive now, nor for at least the rest of this year. I don't blame Brown for trying to look better than he probably feels. No point in scaring the populace further, really. Think of Winston during WWII. Positively cherubic, pink-cheeked, upbeat no matter what the day's disaster might have been. Of course, instead of make-up, he used brandy--maybe good advice for all of us who drink...
Check our Maureen Dowd's column in today's (Sunday) New York Times for a nice barbed response to the comments about those gifts to and from the Obama girls.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I try to limit the amount i read in so called newspapers, to be honest, even the serious newspapers are dumbing down at a speedy rate these days.

The helicopter toys actually sound as though they are the more exclusive gift there to be honest, i mean probably loads of children have the identical Top Shop dresses but who else has the helicopters....?

Poet in Residence said...

Here's a bit of advice for PM Brown & Co.:
"Never believe in mirrors or newspapers" - John Osborne.
Today's synchronious commentbox codeword confirms this. It is: nosessne (anag: nonsense)