Tuesday 23 December 2014


Antidote to Television News
Yesterday I went completely mental and started shrieking that someone turn off the news. In the end I just rushed out of the room.

"Scary wife," said B.A. later, which was a very unwise thing to do.

The BBC, as usual, was describing the plight of the poor Yazidi while ignoring the poor Christians. This time, though, it was describing the "slave markets", with such loving details as how the blue-eyed girls would cost more and how how much virgins would go for. They showed footage of excited young wannabe rapists giggling with excitement about the next day's "slave" sale: inshallah this, inshallah that. The BBC called the Islamic State the "so-called" Islamic State, perhaps so not to offend the Islamics at home.

I'm too downcast to look up "rape and Islam" online. Besides I know perfectly well that this will turn up a thousand repetitions of the Koranic verse about men not being allowed to have sex with anyone but their wives and slaves. Critics of Islam will say Islam is therefore an incredibly rapey religion, and Islamic missionaries will assure the reader that rape is completely forbidden by Islam.

So never mind that for now. How are we supposed to respond to television news? The BBC is happy to give you the gory details but stops at suggesting what  you, the viewer, could do to stop the atrocities they are bringing into your cozy den. The presenters are often as handsome as actors. The footage is high production. The message is carefully crafted. For example, these people are Yazidis, completely unlike you or anyone you know; these other people say they are Muslims and occasionally they  appeal to Muslims in your country to attack you, but they aren't really Muslims. It's a humanitarian disaster, naturally, like a flood.

This sort of thing slowly drives me crazy. Thinking about what happens to thirteen thousand or so "unwanted" fetuses in Scotland (population 5 million) every year would drive me crazy, so I don't. I don't want to know the details of what is happening to the victims of Islamic State because it kills me that I can't do anything about it. Sending money is all very well but it does not rescue THIS girl or THAT girl from an excruciatingly painful and disgusting ordeal.

I also wonder if the British media isn't loving this story because of the sex elements. Rape sells tabloids. The tabloids love rape. I understand that British journalists show up at war zones yelling "Anyone been raped?" And not only is there a LOT of rape in this story, there are real-life slave markets. Wow-wee!

I won't watch films  or televisions with rape, but it's amazingly difficult to avoid them. The other evening we tried out my new computer by watching a film with elderly actress Charlotte Rampling. Well, wouldn't you know. Charlotte gets orally raped, and we see it all. Why do people think such things are at all necessary or appropriate in 90 minutes' worth of entertainment?

B.A. keeps telling me to stop blaming the BBC and that I would be equally angry if they didn't broadcast stories about Islamic State. But I think I am equally angry at television news and what it has become: entertainment. For our entertainment last night, the Scottish media made sure it interviewed as many people as it could about a road accident in Glasgow yesterday, offering sound bites from politicians about their thoughts and prayers. A "bin lorry" (garbage truck) went out  of  its driver's control and rushed down a busy shopping street, killing six people and injuring eight others. That's very sad, unthinkably awful for up to fourteen families affected, but it was over the top for the reporter to go on about how Glaswegians are resilient and they will come together as a city and come to grips with this horror although naturally Glasgow will never be the same again. That was the entertainment part, and it was disgusting.

I realize that this is not Christmas fare, but I am trying to get it out of my system so I can on with the preparations.


  1. "...it was over the top for the reporter to go on about how Glaswegians are resilient and they will come together as a city and come to grips with this horror although naturally Glasgow will never be the same again."

    Yeah, I often feel that way about the news. As sad as this tragedy is, Glasgow actually will be the same again. It just will -- for their sanity, Glaswegians will process this and eventually more or less forget about it. The people whose family members have died will not be the same again though.

    I watched some of the footage from the funerals of the two who died because of the Muslim gunman in Sydney. At one of the funerals, the victim's mother pleaded that we not forget her daughter. And honestly, we will forget her. Her family will not, but the general population will. If we never forgot anybody who died, we'd be catatonic with grief all the time.

  2. I stopped watching TV and following the news several years ago and have since been much happier. I have concluded that when something really important happens I will hear about it from other people. This news story sounds quite interesting: like they are trying to find the balance between reporting on the issue and not offending the local Muslims.


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