Monday, 19 March 2012

Reading newspapers is highly inconsistent.

So often the news is yada yada yada, riots, famines, rebellions, corruption - none of it trivial, and all of it commonplace in it's terribleness. Then you'll see a bunch of stuff that's really striking.

Big photograph in today's Times of a footballer wearing a shirt with the words Pray 4 Muamba on the front. A young footballer had, unknowingly, a heart defect and collapsed and is in critical right now. There was a caption about his life being in God's hands, which is very striking for a newspaper that's not overly sympathetic to God.

Then in the supplement was printed an except from a book by the (then) 17 year old sole survivor of a plane crash in South America. The description of the plane entering a storm, being shaken around, her mother in the seat next to her saying "this is it then" and suddenly finding herself falling through the air, alone and still strapped to the bench seat is the stuff of high temperature nightmares. She awoke in the jungle underneath the seat, injured but able to walk eventually. After 4 days she came across another seat like hers, buried deeply in the mud with other passengers still attached and their legs sticking up. She had to look at them to make sure her mother wasn't one of them, only remembering afterward that her mother had been sitting next to her.

And then finally, a story about a young guy, a new graduate all full of ideas about women's rights and values, going out to Marbella with his father to set up a strip club. After a short period his father goes back to England and he's left to run the thing on his own. Now he's touring, talking about the experience as a sort of standup act, but not exactly comedy. Some things were funny, like being taken to a lap dancing club and his determination to show the woman dancing that he refused to objectify her and will only look into her eyes - she got cross and wanted to know why he won't respect what she's doing and look at her bum.
His conclusion was that it damaged a lot of people through its deceptiveness, since in essence it gave the customer the expectation that one day they'll get to sleep with the girl, but of course that day could never arrive since he would stop being a customer. There were some love affairs, but they ended quickly and badly because the fantasy presented was never real, and outside the club the women were just normal and sat around in tracksuits etc. The girls also wanted to come in, work for a month to make some money and leave, but after 6 months they would still be working without a clear way out. He's been left unable to trust either women or people in general. I'm sure the story has been tweaked slightly for pathos, of course.

So an interesting selection of stuff today. My mum finds the Times boring, and sometimes she's right, but there's often little gems to dig out as well.

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