Meanwhile, on Tumblr…


Alistair Campbell’s course in attention seeking, lesson 41

Oh, the irony of posting this, to promote my other blog (and as such myself)… or perhaps I’m just a good learner?

Hashed! Alistair Campbell's course in attention seeking

Not by a Long way…

(As previously posted on Tumblr.)

Terrible headlines like these do draw attention – well… my attention, anyway. You may have spotted it yourself, as the article carrying this atrocious headline appears to have been syndicated all around the web.

Personally I thoroughly dislike comparisons drawn this way – “person X is nation Y’s person Z…” …Errr, no. They’re not. People are who they are, not someone else, even if they’re actually trying to be.

Which brings me to my second point and that is that I am always very weary of the origin of any such comparison. Blame the media if you wish, but personally I tend to suspect that these poor comparisons usually originate from the entourage of the person subjected to such a comparison (e.g. an agent or representative or whomever trying to ‘market’ the person concerned), or from that person’s ambitions or other sentiments expressed at some point (based on which a journalist might write a headline like the one in the article pictured), or possibly even from the person himself/herself.

Now I am not saying any of that is the case here; I am merely expressing my suspicions based on my experiences and aided by the bits that I linked to in the previous paragraph.

Bottom line: I would be totally fine if Josie Long had come out expressing, for instance, that she would love to emulate the kind of work (and success) in the UK that Lena Dunham has accomplished in the US. But even then that wouldn’t have justified drawing a comparison like the one in the above headline. She is not Lena Dunham, and Lena Dunham isn’t her.

Any self-respecting writer or editor (critic Bruce Dessau? Editor Sarah Sands?) should – in my opinion – steer well clear from poor, incorrect (and generally lazy) comparisons such as these.

But I do also point the finger at those subjected to such comparisons: even if they had no hand in making them up (which I personally don’t believe, but that aside), they and their entourages do get to review copy based on interviews they’ve given before publication (not with current affairs comments that have to be published straight away, but certainly with feature articles like the one highlighted here).

Perhaps Josie Long still hasn’t quite figured out where or how to position herself ‘in her market’ (like her recent appearance on Have I Got News For You, which was errr… awkward… to say the least, and not just in my opinion) or she is being advised poorly by her agent or whoever it was who got her booked onto that show and allowed the above headline to go through.

Time capsules?

As previously posted on Tumblr

This picture of a Paris apartment, along with its accompanying story, keeps turning up. Which is not terrible if it’s done by every-day social media users or unpaid amateur bloggers like myself, but when paid hacks start regurgitating it with headlines including words like “revealed” or “new”… that bothers me. To put it more bluntly: it bothers me when people get paid for (online) bullsh!ttery, and that’s when I post about my annoyance online.

A quick Google Image search instantly reveals that this picture and story have been going around since October 2010, that’s coming up to three years ago.

The first wave of publicity seems to have followed publication in The Telegraph (image here).

Then around a year ago, a blogger picked up on it (image here) – which I don’t necessarily object to; I mean, I don’t like it if people don’t date their stuff appropriately, but let’s consider bloggers are amateurs like myself and don’t get paid for their content).

Then yesterday, roughly a year after that blog post and nearly three years since the Telegraph article, the Daily Mail featured the story (image here) (which is not surprising from tabloid trash but still… a bit silly).

Imagine my surprise when today, ‘serious’ newspaper The Independent published the same pictures and story with a headline “Revealed: Eerie new images… etc” (mirror here) – surely that’s embarrassing to say the least?

I get it, the Paris apartment left untouched for 70 years harbouring a treasure trove of art and antiques makes for an intriguing story with beautiful pictures to accompany it. But for paid staff at commercial businesses to recycle something this way… that’s journotism to me.


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