Sunday, February 04, 2007

Fear and Trembling

There’s a time in the day, for usually about eight thirty in the morning, when the mind is most receptive to bad news. It’s usually before my first drink, when my body’s juices are at their lowest and no amount of effort can get them flowing. That’s why I usually turn on the TV as soon as I wake up. I give myself over to what Kirkegaard would have called ‘the strength of the absurd’. And of course it doesn't do any harm in helping to drown out the sound of a certain Romanian who snores like a bison.

I’m fanatical about knowing the day’s headlines. Knowing how much worse the world has got while I was asleep allows me to decide if I’m going to go through the day fearing something large and unimaginably evil.

Which makes it a bit odd that I head straight for something large and unimaginably evil.

Murdoch owns Sky News but it’s still the first channel I seek out, though these days, perhaps for nothing more than my notorious infatuation with Kay Burley. I find my sympathies towards Sky are lessening with each passing week. They have become too caught up in an endless cycle (or should that be recycle) of the same four or five stories. Which is why I usually then turn on BBC News 24.

The BBC might have their bias but at least it’s varied bias.

Then it’s onto the minor channels, which includes the best news channel of all. EuroNews should come with a guarantee that you’ll see something there that won’t have seen anywhere else. Unfortunately, most of it’s in French and they have too many pieces about Belgium street artists but I do enjoy the variety.

Which brings me on to my point.

Irrespective of the channel, today’s headlines were all about bird flu. It put pay to my usual hard-boiled breakfast. It was Alpen and a freshly squeezed orange for me this morning. Yet as I was chewing my mouthful the sawdust and berries, I began to realise how much of my fear was put there by the media.

The difficult bit about fear is that it happily fills the huge gulf that sits between ‘possibility’ and ‘actuality’. It’s that great imagined somewhere were we get struck by asteroids, the Chinese decide to invade, or Simply Red decide to bring their tour to Bangor. I suppose it’s an indulgence of people who don’t live with the immediacy of a real threat. I can’t imagine what it was to live in London during the Blitz with the real chance of sitting under a bomb sights. What should happen if Mick Hucknall decided to take the flat above?

But I guess we don’t know until it happens. And we can’t know. We shouldn’t know. And people shouldn’t make us feed our fear so they can also provide it’s tonic in the form of hours and hours of reassurance.

For the moment, we should live our life taking some comfort from the insanity of it all. Hucknall probably wouldn’t be able to find Bangor on a map of North Wales. And I should live happy with that fact and the million others they never tell me on the news.


Wirralboy said...

Sounds as if your in a right mood ,maybe Bangor is getting to you , I think most tv news is biased , I get my moneysworth out of SKY by watching ch215 Legal Ch immigration phonein , hosted by a lovely lady with a Welsh lilt , listening and watching to that lovely lady and listening to the callers ,makes my day

Chippy said...

Perhaps Bangor is too small for a man of my many talents, but I like to be near the sea.

I'll have to check it out. I've never discovered channel 215, probably because my Romanian friend usually has the remote control. I'm not technologically minded, you see...

Trixy said...

Too, too cruel putting a picture of the ginger whinger up there. I almost brought up my supper!

My father told me many years ago that I was never allowed to like Simply Red, because they supported the Labour party and were a musical manifestation of everything that was wrong with the party. And you know what, I HATE them. And he was right.

Chippy said...

You are so right, Trixy. And I also don't trust a man who looks like he should only be about five feet two inches but is in fact six feet nine, or thereabouts.