Mine's a pint
I've never really understood the value of advertising. Like the dim-witted consumer I am I'm probably not even aware of the subliminal messages being flashed into my brain during my every waking minute, oh look an ad about meat, mmm I'd love a burger now. But when it comes to alcohol I'm acutely aware of the powers of product placement. There's nothing quite so tempting as a picture of a frothy pint, you envisage it sliding coolly down your throat as the busty barmaid looks on lasciviously, the possibilities are endless. We all love drink and it doesn't take much to convince us that getting rat-arsed would be a great idea, even if it is 7.30 on a Monday evening. So why the furore about alcohol companies sponsoring major sporting events?
The official line is that exposing young people to these brands from an early age engenders a dangerous familiarity with the ole boozy woozy. So by the year 2020 there will no more Heineken Cup and no more Amstel (seriously who drinks that shit) adverts during Champions League coverage. I guess it was only a matter of time really, the cigarette companies have been pushed to the sidelines in terms of advertising and now to be a smoker is to be a social pariah. But drinking is different, isn't it? Not according to the powers that be. They have decided that the rise in binge drinking among the current generation can be partly attributed to the ubiquity of alcohol sponsorships. So on that basis it's fair to say that the rise in childhood obesity can be in some way explained by the big golden M of McDonalds which is never far from the screen during most sporting occasions. So why haven't they faced censorship?
Down and dirty
“Eeeww TMI Michael!” we shrieked as we imagined that silver head bobbing up and down between the former Ms Zeta-Jones' thighs. “You mucky bugger, at your age!” Personally I think Douglas was just trying to prove he'd still got it by divulging tales of his sexual prowess, I imagine that once you reach his age (68) you spend most of your time talking about 'that fine young thing I gave it to back in the day'. By attributing his mouth cancer to cunnilingus Michael Douglas gave every man in the world the opportunity to say “sorry love not tonight” and I'm sure he was the curse of many a lesbian get together over the past few days.
But no sooner had he spoken then his words were being questioned by experts in the field. Doctors were quick to quash links between HPV (human papilloma virus) and cancer, and they went as far to say that virtually ever sexually active person alive will have at some point contracted the quite harmless HPV. However more interestingly they went on to say that in terms of HPV “performing cunnilingus (oral sex on a woman) is more risky that performing fellatio (oral sex on a man).” So there you have it ladies in bold print and there's nothing you can do about it. We'd really like to but you know, the doctors said it's dangerous and that so we better not. Now in the meantime while you're down there eh? There's a good girl.
Not tonight lads
One group of people who hopefully have never had HPV are the collective clergy of Ireland. Those poor saps who gave themselves to Jesus at a young age must be wondering if it was all worth it. And surprise, surprise their numbers are dwindling; a vocation which requires a lifetime of celibacy is in danger of becoming extinct, who would have thought it? Thus the calls for a change in the system are becoming louder and louder. Let them marry they say, it's the only way we'll save the Catholic church. And they're right, of course they are. Who among us would have a problem with a priest getting his end away with missus priest after a hard day of massing? I certainly wouldn't. Priests that are getting some = happier priests.
But knowing the Catholic church like we do this proposal will remain just that for many years to come. The Pope and his buddies will dilly dally while bishops, cardinals and priests drop like flies. By the time they finally make up their mind there will only be a handful left, and all of them will be told old to even countenance the prospect of popping their cherry at such an advanced stage of life. Here's a chance for the church to do something good, to brighten up their image, and by Christ if there was ever an organisation that needed some good press it's the Catholic church.
Obama is watching you
So Barack Obama spends his evening wanking over your Facebook pictures, did you know that? Sure he's the most powerful man in the world, he can do what he likes. And when he's not doing that he's reading your emails and plotting how to kill your family. Again this comes with the job so it's okay. Without full disclosure it's difficult to ascertain just how intrusive this 'government surveillance' is. I seriously doubt that anyone within the halls of the White House has any interest in the mundane minutiae of the general public, but in order to track down their targets they may have impinged on thousands of civilian's privacy.
Obama calls it a 'trade-off'. A necessary part of the war on terror. And for once I'm inclined to agree with him. It's not like the US government are installing cameras in your bedroom and watching you undress. They're not looking right at you through your webcam. They're simply monitoring the Internet for signs of the kind of behaviour which has already led to the death of thousands. And besides as long as you're behaving yourself then you've got nothing to worry about have you?
Stephen Fry is my favourite gay man. What's great about Ste is that he doesn't allow his sexuality to define him, his outlook is simple 'Yes I'm gay, but there is so much more to me than that'. So unlike many of his celebrity colleagues you get none of the camp histrionics, none of the smutty double entendres, just an intelligent bloke who's great at what he does. The fact he's a fellow mental health sufferer helps too, awareness of this illness is at an all time high but there are still too few people in the public eye willing to speak out.
So what Fry did this week was quite remarkable. It's one thing to admit you suffer from depression, anxiety or panic attacks but quite another to do what he did. For a man of his stature, a man so admired by so many, to come out and say that he tried to take his own life does more for suicide awareness than a thousand campaigns. Suicidal people often talk of the isolation they experience and how worthless they feel. But here's this witty, charming TV presenter and he's in the exact same boat as you. Thankfully I have never been as low as to feel suicidal but were I ever in that position I think I would take solace, however slight, in the fact that a man as great as Stephen Fry has been in precisely the same predicament.