Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What's the definition of 'news'?

Every single radio and TV news broadcast I heard today, on every station, had Schapelle Corby and her sister and her sister's ex-best-friend, and who smoked what when, and how much of a bitch and a liar everyone was, right up there at the top of the news.

Talk to the hand, I said.

And it's not like it's a slow news week. I don't have any theories about why they might do this, but would love to hear other people's, if you have them.

26 comments:

mindlessmunkey said...

I've got one word for you, Kim: BOGANS.

It's the same reason the Jayden Leskie case still gets dredged up at every available opportunity, ten years after the poor kid got killed. People in this country love a good bogan melodrama/mystery.

Also, these glorified human-interest stories provide something to be provoked by and opinionated about, without having to actually confront the more serious issues facing the world.

&Duck said...

Yeah, I second that emotion. Nothing Australians like more than a good scrag.

comicstriphero said...

It's like Neighbours on crack.

Fyodor said...

I was going to come up with a schmancy-pants pseudo-intellectual theory, but Ducky's just blown that out of the water with her inimitable cuttingthroughfulness.

SCRAG!!!!!

Feckit, I'll tell you anyway, as I'd mentally typed half the bloody thing while reading your post.

Apart from the "Sequel Effect" (i.e. she was news-worthy before, so she's front-page material now, c.f. Sophie Delezio) I put the bizarre fixation on Shhhchhhhappppellle down to the irresistible journalistic tension between the "Damsel in Distress" trope (with the added racial/ethnic twist/frisson: WHITE damsel in distress with DARK men!) and that nagging suspicion she may just be another dopey drug-mule, albeit with drawn-on eyebrows that give her the perpetual appearance of a bunny in headlights*.

On the one hand journalists know that innocents in peril is guaranteed melodrama-fodder, as mindlessmunkey notes, but they (and we) know deep down that her story is at least a little dodgy.

Plus, virtue is lauded in the abstract, but typically hated in person: there's a tremendous amount of Schadenfreude out there about the travails of our favourite bogan. The journos thus get to play between the madonna-whore extremes. This latest scrag is obviously playing to the latter.

* Honestly, What. The. Fecking. Feck. is it with women and eyebrows? Would you just leave them alone, FFFS?

The Devil Drink said...

Because it's fun to speculate and moralise on the drug use of others? Because it's a twist on the old one-smoke-and-you'll-croak marijuana paranoia we've all known and laughed at manically on our lounges? I'm still waiting for someone to say that they didn't inhale, tho'. Go ahead Mercedes, make my day.
Comicstriphero, if you want to see Neighbours on crack, rent out Idiot Box. 'Get a dog up ya': heh.
Fyodor: here are a few letters to improve your as-yet PG rated cussing:
U U U U U U U U U
Keep it real.

Anonymous said...

supporters of Schapelle head to www.schapellecorby.com

there are a bunch of good people at that site

Pavlov's Cat said...

Wow. That is one classy bunch of theories, folks. And probably all true.

Fyodor's postcolonial take is particularly convincing. A Passage to India for Hun readers. Ew.

My usual take on 'Do you think s/he did it?', whether applied to Our Schapelle or Our Lindy or Their O.J. or whoever, is 'I don't know, I wasn't there' -- particularly these days when truth, as per the Gideon-Haigh-on-Google argument, is decided by popular vote (in an online Anna Nicole Smith item yesterday: 'Did she die of an overdose? Yes/No VOTE'). Having said that, however, I think the phrase 'nagging suspicion' is kind in this particular case.

Fyodor's last paragraph made me laugh out loud for quite a long time. Unfortunately for many of us, the eyebrows, they look bad also when we do leave them alone. But it is very easy to screw up eyebrows, as with cutting your own fringe.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Except for Anonymous. But I'll leave that there in case anyone wants to.

DD, Mercedes has already sort of said that.

Love the U's. It's like Scrabble for Potty-Mouths.

The Devil Drink said...

Obviously I'm not reading the drug news closely enough, I'll have to rectify that. To the dedicated news.com Schapelle feed, post haste! (Scrabble for filthy minds, by the way? You've obviously never played the game with early teenagers).
By the way, Fyodor: for the gratuitous use of the word 'trope' I sentence you to an extra five years in the Critical Studies/Eng.Lit purgatory, where you'll expiate your sins in a cleansing fire of textual analysis. Don't worry, it's not that bad. At least you don't have to actually read stuff.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Nope, he can say trope. Not gratuitous, IMO. Le mot juste.

Devil Drink, have you actually been through the English/Cult Studs purgatory of which you so unkindly speak, or do you just believe everything the anti-Humanities brigade is saying?

Or are you IN the anti-Humanities brigade?

Ungrateful of you, if so. They/we have made a major contribution to your ongoing influence on human life and happiness.

The Devil Drink said...

Being an anthropomorph, and thus having no birth certificate, I'd certainly not be allowed to enrol at any decently run university (though I understand I could probably wangle my way into a full-fee MBA course if I wanted). At the same time, being an anthropomorph, I'm very grateful for humans who can extract meaning out of any set text. Oh, I'm very definitely pro-humanity, and pro-Humanities, have no fear. I encourage all of the pleasant vices, up to and including a bit of extra-curricular jargon.
Forgive me, PC, your blog, your rules.
(But if you think five years for 'trope' is bad, you should see what the punishment is for anyone who uses 'marginal utility' outside an economics tutorial.)

Pavlov's Cat said...

Plenty of anthropomorphs in all the universities I've had anything to do with, I can tell you. Also, the phrase 'been through' can be interpreted in a number of different ways.

R H said...

mindless, and duckperson, child murder is just a glorified human interest story, a melodrama? That's all? Are the Chamberlains bogans? Is Lindy a scrag?

Bogans have a word for you too.

Would you like to hear it?

Fyodor said...

You're in fine mettle today, TDD.

"Keep it real?" Um, dude? I'm an evil clown from a cartoon, named after an epileptic Russian gambling addict and suffering desperately from chronic superiority complex. Try keeping THAT real, budweiser.

In superfluous defence of my Hiberno-Anglicisms, it's my caprice to flit from Hiberno to Anglo as the whim takes me. You might say it's the fault [in more ways than one] line in my character. Moreover, there is an in-joke there for Mme. Pavlova that was not discernible to you.

If it's more "mature" Fyodorflava you're after, I'm sure you can find some in Fyodor's Greatest Shits via the noble art of Google-Fu. I don't do vulgarity on command, even for master practictioners such as yourself.

"By the way, Fyodor: for the gratuitous use of the word 'trope' I sentence you to an extra five years in the Critical Studies/Eng.Lit purgatory, where you'll expiate your sins in a cleansing fire of textual analysis. Don't worry, it's not that bad. At least you don't have to actually read stuff."

Ooh, you know how to hurt a guy. As PC noted, the fact that you didn't grasp that my use of "trope" was not just juste [say that five times quickly], but à propos and thoroughly apposite, suggests to me that you might do with a little literary theory yourself. Reading Goethe over and over again doesn't count either.

The Devil Drink said...

"Ooh, you know how to hurt a guy."
"budweiser"
That hurts. This is what it sounds like when devils cry...
Oh, the extra F? Ummm, yeah. The Mongolian ambassador called, they want their clusterfeck back.
I think you're wrong about schadenfreude, by the way. It's less guilty joy than prurient fascination. You know, the question everyone asks themselves: 'what if they'd found my four kilos of boogie-board bag grass'?

Fyodor said...

"'Ooh, you know how to hurt a guy.'
'budweiser'
That hurts. This is what it sounds like when devils cry..."

You sound bitter, Victoria.

"Oh, the extra F? Ummm, yeah. The Mongolian ambassador called, they want their clusterfeck back."

Are you The Devil Pedant today, or what? Feck you and the witch you rode in on, Beelzebubbles.

"I think you're wrong about schadenfreude, by the way. It's less guilty joy than prurient fascination. You know, the question everyone asks themselves: 'what if they'd found my four kilos of boogie-board bag grass'?"

That's very generous of you, Devil Dude, I wouldn't have thought you'd be so optimistic about human nature.

However, as most Australians (I'm guessing here - you'd know better than me) DON'T carry 4kg bags of Mary-Jane into Indonesia, I'd suggest that their fascination has very little to do with empathy, and more to do with the spectacle and opportunity for judgemental infotainment. There's a definite whiff of schadenfreude in the enjoyment of many in this bogan melodrama.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Anyway, DD, textual analysis is the one where you do have to read stuff. Sadly, it has gone out of fashion. I say 'sadly' because I always enjoyed it more than the 'Take this apart five different ways ideologically, pirouette self-righteously, and never mind that you can't write for toffee yourself' school of literary criticism. Ideally they would coexist with the bad bits of each removed, but they have been constructed (sorry) as mutually exclusive, quite wrongly in my view.

The word Schadenfreude is following me around lately -- it came up in a class last week. I remember explaining it to another class many moons ago, the week that Ayrton Senna was killed, by saying it was probably how Alain Prost was feeling at the funeral.

On the Anglo-Hibernian thing, I'd make a joke about ffecklessness but there is nothing ffunny about that. Um, or so I hear.

The Devil Drink said...

'However, as most Australians (I'm guessing here - you'd know better than me) DON'T carry 4kg bags of Mary-Jane into Indonesia'...
Not the smart ones who know the cheapness of the stuff in Indonesia, don't, certainly. Travellers: it pays to do your research and plan ahead.
In any case, when it comes to bogan decline-and-fall morality tales, after all, who hasn't worried about their stash? Who hasn't wondered what their relatives'd say about them if they were arrested on TV? Who hasn't had their only child eaten by a dingo in central Australia? You know, in your early 20s when you were telling your parents you were 'experimenting'?

Pavlov's Cat said...

Youse are gonna get me in trouble if you keep this up.

Anonymous said...

The Schapelle family are really well known for scoring off in QLD!

Fyodor said...

That's not all, Nony. Apparently Shhhcchapppellle is ALSO a lesbian lipsniger. Tell your friends.

Bernice said...

Can I add - Reasons For:
1.How could anyone be that stupid?
2. Kath & Kim factor (see above)

audrey said...

It's all just a bit embarrassing really. Do we need to know that Jodi Power has gone into hiding because she fears for her life? It's a bit like a terrible teenage poetry website where occasional enemies/mostly friends write tropes to each other declaring their love/hatred. Not that I ever spent a good amount of hours reading such rubbish while I should have been working, no sirree.

Mercedes/
You know that it's true/
Why do you lie?/
When you/
Definitely/
had cocaine/
and smoked/
shaboo.

hasarder said...

That's strange.
I get all my news off the ABC website, and I don't know what the hell you're all talking about! THey haven't mentioned Schapelle all week!

Serves me right for renouncing the telly and the radio.

hasarder said...

And surely you know the rules of journalism?
Close to home ranks higher than further away. Single person ranks higher than faceless millions. Something that people can argue about ranks higher than plain facts.
So, for example, a dog getting run over by the person he bit, in the town where you live, will be further up the news ranks than thousands of people dying overseas in a freak accident.

Pavlov's Cat said...

It's having the radio on in the car that does it. (Radio National though -- and there were Schapelle & Co at the top.)

Yes, I've heard that journalism theory expressed as 'Nothing important ever happens further away than a donkey ride.' But by that criterion, surely there was more important stuff happening in Australia this week (ie even closer to 'us' than Indonesia) than what Jodi said about Mercedes?