Now I’m no writer (clearly, I mean just look at this site) and I don’t want to act all mean spirited (not all the time) but there are some things I can’t let pass without comment and by ‘comment’ I mean ‘bile and fury’. Feast your eyes on this rubbish the Guardian’s website had proudly displayed in the upper right of their homepage today:
So alright it’s a fluff piece, we have them from time to time fair enough. But this one exhibited such slack-tongued inanity that ‘fluff piece’ would be on the whole a little generous. Tim Dowling lists some reasons why we ought to be cheerful and completely misses what I might assume are some easy chances for a pretty funny article. I’ll try and keep this brief because god knows he’s had it pretty bad in the comments section already but… ah hell I can’t help myself.
Exhibit A) ‘The skies are dark, the weather is terrible, your job isn’t safe, the economy is in a trough, the planet is heating up, the Tories are about to win an election for the first time in 13 years…’
First sentence, impressive. How many newspaper pieces have you read this month that start like this? How many do you think you’ve read in your life? How many do you reckon have been printed? Now add them up. Do we need another one? Everyone thinks January is miserable okay fine but we’re told this every bloody year alongside those irritating ‘this is the most depressing day of the year’ reports that are always guaranteed to depress you. I should be thankful that he isn’t…
Exhibit B) ‘…yesterday was officially the most depressing day of the year…’
…Jesus wept Tim.
Exhibit C) ‘Johnny Depp is alive!’
Oh good. Mind you so is Alec Baldwin, Julie Andrews, Macho Man Randy Savage… oh I’m sorry I thought we were just listing people who were alive. Turns out he’s referencing an internet rumour that he had died that was apparently tearing people’s lives apart over the weekend. I hold my hands up to not knowing about this but this clocks in as his number 4 thing to be cheerful about which is a bit weak for 4 points in mate. He even admits ‘If you hadn’t heard anything about the rumours in the first place then this isn’t particularly good news’. Kind of shooting yourself in the foot there aren’t you Dowling? The Guardian considers this so important to our happiness in fact that they ran it as part of the title and deemed it a reasonable excuse for including a Pirates of the Caribbean era picture of Depp to suck in the girls I would imagine. I shouldn’t be so surprised they put so much stock in an internet sensation really, this is the paper that can’t publish an article without sporadically inserting the word ‘Twitter’ every ten words or so.
Seriously though I am happy Depp is alive obviously, the longer he stays alive the longer he has to figure out how to play a role as anything other than just ‘Johnny Depp but a bit high’.
Exhibit D) ‘At first we thought it was going to be a mild winter, meaning councils had thoughtlessly stockpiled way too much grit. Then we had all that snow, and it suddenly looked as if we had far too little grit. Then, as stockpiles dwindled to nothing, the snow stopped, so we ended up stockpiling more or less the right amount of grit.’
That honestly looks like he has transcribed a six-year-old’s account of what every ITN News broadcast condensed into one sentence would sound like. His 14th point is that we’ll see the sun again some time soon. Having used all the ideas offered to him by his local primary school he continues…
Exhibit E) ‘Tony Blair is going to give evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry On Friday… if nothing else, it should prove the most dramatic daytime television viewing of the month.’
I cut out the bit that talks about how he has to face some awkward questions about the legality and timing of the Iraq war because I want to make his quotes look stupid so to be fair to Tim, yes that will be interesting but a reason to be cheerful? Watching the former leader we elected squirm under a grilling about his decision to take our country to a war where many young men and women died and continue to die is a reason to be cheerful? More like a reason to drink copious amounts of hard liquor. He should have called this article 25 Reasons to Leave the Country.
Exhibit F) ‘A 76-year-old Polish beekeeper, Jozef Guzy, collapsed while working, stopped breathing, went cold and was pronounced dead by a doctor, but just as they were sealing him in his coffin someone noticed he had a pulse. He was then rushed to hospital where doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with him. Obviously, there’s something terribly wrong with him, but it’s still a nice story.’
No sir, no it is not. It is a horrifying tale the stuff of which urban legends are made out of. I think I’ve seen this story in a black and white Polish film accompanied by miserable violin solos. That actually sent a shiver down my spine, what kind of messed up ways do you get your jollies Dowling?
There are many other reasons to be angry at this pile of puckered arses in text form but this isn’t fun anymore. I realise it’s all a bit ‘nod and a wink’ but it’s so smug and gleefully meaningless I wanted to grab the monitor and shake it until the stupid fell out. The worst thing is he has some pretty good reasons to be cheerful mixed in here and there that are quite interesting. If he had maybe researched a little harder and filled the article with entries like the man who survived being trapped under rubble in Haiti for 11 days and the news released today that officially we are coming out of a recession this would have been a much less nauseating read and I would have a much less nauseating lunch hour and you wouldn’t have had to read me get angry at the Guardian website for a thousand words. Are you happy now Tim Dowling? Look what you’ve done!