Sunday, September 22, 2013

Seven days and one week

A round-up of the week's major news stories as seen through the eyes of an inattentive, misinformed moron.

The cutest, little baby-face

The sight of drunken teens puking their collective rings up on the night of their Junior Cert results has become a common sight on the streets of Ireland. But what we often choose to overlook is the fact that many of these revellers could quite easily have been mistaken for street-walkers were they not so flaming drunk. I'm certainly no prude but the get-up of some of the girls - yes girls not women - defies belief. Young lads today don't know how good they have it, back in our day they weren't left leave the house without at least five protective layers for us to work through. But sadly in today's society children are encouraged to ape their elders from the earliest possible opportunity.

At least these girls are almost 'of age', what excuse do the organisers of children's beauty pageants have? I had presumed this was a phenomenon consigned to the States and that the good people of Ireland would never allow their offspring to take part in such tawdry, sleazy activities. It seems I was wrong. Universal Royalty oversee beauty pageants all over the world and the next stop on their tour was Dublin, Ireland. However their attempts to stage what I presume would have been the first pageant of its kind in this country were thwarted by the good people of the Bracken Hotel in Ballybriggan. Once the true nature of the event was revealed: “a beauty pageant for babies, toddlers and teens”, the management at the venue were quick to cancel the booking.

And that was that, or so you'd think. Undeterred a spokeswoman for Universal Royalty said “You better believe there's going to be a pageant.” And so it was that yesterday, somewhere in County Monaghan, the pageant took place. All the to-ing and fro-ing took it's toll on the participants however, just over twenty children strutted their stuff instead instead of the fifty plus that had been expected to enter. But still, that's at least twenty parents who deemed it perfectly normal for their beloved to parade around a stage in a highly sexualised manner more in keeping with Miss World than a bonny baby comp. What are the odds on those kids being prone in the gutter as they celebrate their Junior Cert results in about ten years time?

Don't speak ill of the dead

The death of Elaine O'Hara still remains shrouded in mystery, one can only imagine the torment her family are enduring. And having the whole thing played out in the media only makes things worse. In circumstances such as this it is inevitable that countless theories and assumptions will be aired by those close to the case. Whether they be investigators, journalists or 'experts in the field', everyone will have their say, but can any good come from this? During a report on Ms O'Hara's passing one reporter alluded to her 'alternative lifestyle' on at least five occasions, and this was despite the interview lasting little more than a couple of minutes. Alternative lifestyle? Immediately that gets you thinking, and in my case it got me googling.

But what did I find? Nothing really. Apparently Elaine was registered with a couple of internet dating sites, wow how very alternative. How simple it is to besmirch someone's name, to tarnish it with a few misplaced words. At the mention of her apparently wild and crazy lifestyle I envisaged cults, sex dungeons, all sorts, you name it and chances are I thought of it. And then I looked her up further, a pleasant looking woman, a childcare assistant and a popular employee at her local newsagent's. Certainly not what I'd expected. But imagine if I hadn't bothered to dig deeper. Imagine if I'd listened to the news report and left it at that. “Oh yeah that Elaine O'Hara wan, she was a bit mad wasn't she? Alternative lifestyles and all sorts I heard.”

One lazy journalist, that's all it takes. 

Parental guidance advised

Video games linked to higher IQs in the nation's children.” “How Lara Croft helped me to learn about the history of the Mayan people.” “Chubby teen sheds four stone thanks to Nike Plus Kinect Training.”

Notice anything about those imaginary headlines? They all have something in common, something that ensures they will never see the light of day: they portray gaming in a positive manner. Because you see as far as the media is concerned gaming is bad, and it always will be. And if we're lucky enough to hear our hobby discussed on any of the conventional news channels we can guarantee they're not singing it's praises - the week just gone was a prime example.

Grand Theft Auto 5 is out, have you played it? Tremendous fun isn't it? Did it make you carjack a stranger, shoot them in the tits and run over their kids? No, me neither. Luckily we're well-adjusted adults and can distinguish between fantasy and reality, but not everyone is as fortunate; children for example, they're an impressionable bunch. As usual there were two predominant debates doing the rounds, first up was; does playing these games pollute the mind's of our innocent children? And secondly; if this is an over-eighteens game why are so many kids playing it? Now correct me if I'm wrong but don't these two arguments contradict one another? How can you have one and then the other? Put simply if you're not eighteen years old then you shouldn't be playing GTA. And if you are then it's not Rockstar's fault, it's your parent's, or at a push the retailer's.

But surprisingly there was a slight sea-change in the way the nation's talking heads broached this topic. Yes of course there was still those uneducated buffoons eager to denounce gaming as the work of Satan, but amid all the condemnation was the common belief that there is a need for change, a need to educate. Time and time again broadcasters spoke of purchasing games for their children, grandchildren or godchildren without being fully aware of it's content. Then Junior disappears to his room to get lapdances, ride hookers and pop caps in the asses of several African-Americans. But he's quiet so it's okay.

Then should Junior ever get himself into real-life mischief it's because of those blasted video games. But it's just too simple to blame games like Grand Theft Auto for society's ails; parents raise children, not Sony, and not Microsoft. And if you're going to allow your progeny to have a gaming console then the least you can do is inform yourself about the kind of things he or she is likely to be playing on it. It's not that difficult, honest.

Aim high and shoot for the stars

When asked if it was now acceptable to masturbate in public if you don't direct it towards a specific individual the prosecutor said it was 'okay'.”

That may very well be the greatest line ever written. Read it again, it's fuckin ace. I don't particularly like the idea of being a court reporter but I'm currently having a rethink. Sadly I would have to move to Sweden in order to be privy to such comments. The case in question surrounded a 65 year old man charged with sexual assault. His crime? Masturbating on a public beach in Stockholm. Off to jail with ya you dirty old bugger. Nope 'fraid not. His defence argued that because the perpetrator wasn't directing his activity towards a specific individual he wasn't committing a crime. What the actual fuck? Don't mind me lads I'm just gonna have a wank over here in the sea, you go about your day and don't take any notice of me.

The Swedes, and the Scandinavians in general, are renowned for their forward-thinking policies, how many times do you hear George Hook laud their respective governments on Newstalk? But this is surely a step too far. Where will it end? A bloke knocking one out as he's walking down the street? Some dirty oul' trollop tearing the box off herself in Tesco? A gang of lads all furiously bashing away in your local pub? Whatever you do don't look at 'em that'll only encourage 'em. Best to just turn a blind eye, because if nothing is aimed in your direction then it doesn't concern you. Now if you don't mind I'm off to me local Supermacs for a public display of self-affection; just gotta be careful where I point it....want mayo with them chips love?

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