Friday, September 11, 2009

Horrible Journalism Down Under


We all know that the mainstream media these days has been sucking like time's running out to ever suck again. Suck now, lest ye find thyself unable to suck no more! Or something like that. I have (and still am) been chalking it up to a combination of incompetence and just not giving a fat rat's ass about the story and caring more about how they look on TV. (And by the way, if you're watching Fox News, the "how they look" part is answered with "very, very hot" and "Good Lord, could that skirt get any shorter?".) But having just read the biggest steaming pile of crap article that I can remember in a while, I'm beginning to think that there's another factor at play here in the suckfest that is the world of journalism. I'm beginning to think that the folks that write these articles think that the readers are just stupid.

It's really the only way that I can explain an article over there at something called the Northern Territory News, which is apparently in Australia and seems to consist of many articles that are written like crap. In particular, the entry titled "Celebrating Fallen Star" is about another Michael Jackson tribute concert. Only this time it isn't being promoted by money grubbing, scum sucking, Jackson brother Jermaine. This time it's just some club called the Happy Yess that is having a Michael Jackson night. How hard would that concept be to screw up when writing about it? Not hard at all, apparently!

The atrocity opens with a sentence that easily rivals "It was a dark and stormy night" for worst opening line with "HE STARTED small and beautiful and talented, he wound up weird, tormented and dead, and he won millions of fans along the way." What the hell is that?! It's a pretty good portion of a word salad is what it looks like. "Wound up weird, tormented and dead"? Since we're all going to kick it one day, can you really say that he "wound up dead"? If it had been prefaced by something he was doing to wind up dead, that would have been better, but to just wind up dead, it's a little misleading for those who may not know the story of Michael Jackson (and his fondness for taking enough painkillers and tranquilizers to anesthetize a circus tent full of animals every night to help him sleep).

The article blathers for a couple of lines before throwing in this winner: "The capacity of the Happy Yess club is a bit less than London's O2 Stadium, at which Jackson sold out 50 shows for a tour that will never happen. So Darwin's smallest club will be filled quickly." A bit less? You think?! And the implication that because the shows which were to have featured the real Michael Jackson (well, as much of him that was actually real and wasn't the work of his plastic surgeon) were cancelled, folks will naturally flock to Darwin's smallest club. In Australia. Far, far way from London. OK then. Seems like a stretch.

The article quotes a one Leah Flanagan as saying, "All this stuff would come up in the media and you'd just say 'aww, Michael'. That level of fame would mess anybody up." I don't know if that's what folks were saying when stuff would just "come up". In fact, I don't think it was. Let me try it out and see if I remember it like that. (Let's see....Hmmm...wow! Says here that Michael Jackson was arrested and charged with child molestation. Aww, Michael!) No. No, it definitely was not like that. At all!

It continues with "Flanagan, who will play in the house band, said the tribute would not concentrate on scandal, just on the tunes." Really?! You're not going to have your tribute focus on the scandals? What tribute would ever focus on any scandal? How would you even do that? Stop the sets halfway through and announce, "And now, we'd like to talk to you about child abuse and how you can help your children avoid falling prey to dangerous and manipulative sexual pervert child predators like the one that Michael Jackson was accused of and acquitted of being."?? I don't think you are! Or would you come back from a break and tell the crowd, "And now we're going to be playing a few songs from the scandal filled years of his life. A-one! A-two!" No! You're not!

Ms. Flanagan also throws in, "You can't deny good music." What now?? I don't even know what that is supposed to mean!

But what drew my attention to this ridiculously inane article in the first place was this photo...:


...coupled with this caption: "Dressed up Happy Yess manager David Garnham is easily mistaken for Michael Jackson. " Wait. What now?!

"Easily mistaken"? Why? Because he's white?! Easily mistaken?! I don't even think that Jacko could GROW facial hair! Easily mistaken?! Are there severe eyesight problems amongst the people of Australia that they would think that chap looks like Michael Jackson?! And "dressed up"?! In what?! Those aren't even sequins on that glove! He doesn't have the BeDazzler! No, those look like little stickers that were just stuck on there! It's far from sparkly! It looks like something he borrowed from a gay clown who wasn't using it that day. That dude is a be-bearded, Australian dude and Michael Jackson was an elderly, white woman! He cannot be "easily mistaken" for Michael Jackson. Wrongly mistaken for Michael Jackson? Sure. But "easily"? I think not.

I took a few minutes to read (OK, glance at) a few other articles over there and it would seem that craptastic is their standard. But, given the absence of any real substance or quality, I suppose that settling for consistency might make you feel as if there is at least some quality standard that exists in the journalism world. But if not that, maybe it could help it so that you don't want to hang yourself when you realize this is what it's all come to. Maybe.

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