Um, Shit's Complex, Yo

Talking of fearmongering, my recent bugbear has been the apathy with which the British public has addressed the abuse of children by their ‘betters’.

I’ve gotten into some troubling conversations as of late, my position being that folks in the UK are so broken by a climate of apathy that they won’t come to a consensus of action when the media isn’t telling them to.

These are the same folks who would form mobs and burn down paediatrician clinics when the daily fail was hyping them up into a froth about paedophiles but seem to think it’s gauche and risqué to discuss the abuse of children by politicians and others in power.

“It might be bad for business,” I suppose.


I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.

Not really (although I would get fired), but I can tell you that almost all reporting you read on aircraft accidents is completely wrong. Not my direct field, but I’ve been on the edges of a few major events over the last few years and have been rather disappointed at how bad most reporting was - which at least helped me to realize that reporting on other subjects is probably similarly bad.


So my (extremely brief and amateur) foray into environmental affairs has taught me that most news staff don’t have the time, budget, or inclination to analyze information. A lot of reporting by press-release is done that involves letting the various “sides” duke it out in battle of dueling press-releases. Want to start a media savvy organization? Forget Twitter and Facebook, the new orgs that write the copy that ultimately gets shared on social media will lean heavily on any information you feed them.

Do you find that this is likely the case with the kind of vague things you’re describing? Or is it more clueless people not understanding the jargon and technical information provided to them and in an effort to relate it to the general public have turned it into a mangled hash of facts? Because that was the other thing I saw.

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Really, just really awful eyewitness testimony and clueless speculation from people who don’t know what they’re talking about. So the latter, I guess. :smile:

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There’s nobody hyping them up into a froth over the Westminster politician rapists. There is little decent reporting on the issue at all and that is mainly from Exaro News, a rather small investigatory news agency which is being careful not to froth and hype.

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Yeah, the subtextual chilling effect of it not being properly reported on has been read by the british public, methinks.

Everyone is different and the degree to which people are receptive to the propaganda they are and are not noticing is different but the behaviour of a lot of people is startling to me. They may not have internalised the command not to think about it but they certainly have internalised the command not to ‘make a fuss’.

It’s insidious.


Plus they’re so determined to be “balanced” that they’ll allow a completely unhinged response to stand in opposition to the truth without pointing out that it’s wrong. That frequently occurs in reporting on health issues.

This for example, where a colleague made a very sensible submission to the NZ Herald regarding a maternal death that the family blamed exclusively on the Midwife. Their response —while understandable— was published without comment despite being factually wrong, particularly in relation to their characterisation of the author as being unqualified to have an opinion. The net effect is that the reader is left none the wiser. And that is entirely the fault of the reporters. :angry:


Well that’s um, good to hear, I guess?

Does that mean I should be less worried while flying, or more?

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Okay, here’s where I admit that I pee in the pool.

My highest-level academic training is in theatre history, which can be approached from several angles but because I had a strong interest in cultural materialism and pop culture, I tackled from that angle (along with statistical semiotics, not wanting to risk accidentally becoming one of the Continental theorists who extracts six gallons of conclusion from a pint of evidence).

I also write popular fiction (in the sense of “for ordinary readers”; you may check Amazon numbers as to how popular it actually is).

This means I find myself, whenever I can’t avoid it, in the company of pop fiction writers. Nearly all of whom “know” vast amounts of raw unadulterated flat-out false crap about popularity, quality, etc. There I will be at a table hearing, “Shakespeare wrote for ordinary people and he was a best seller in his day” (for Shakespeare you can substitute Dickens nearly as often, though I’ve heard a good round dozen others, including my favorite preposterous one, Moliere) …

The number of things we don’t actually know one way or another, know not to be true, or aren’t meaningful at all within those quote marks is truly breathtaking.

My other favorite is all the various versions of “all plots are the same” or “there’s a law of plot structure that goes back to the Greeks” or whatever it is that asserts that there’s some one kind of plot that has always been the one kind that’s always been popular (usually with the assertion that the writer who is speaking is therefore “producing the classics of tomorrow”, another statement that contains far more errors than it does individual words). The most common origin of these one-size-fits-all-because-I-think-an-extremely-narrow-sample-in-space-and-time-is-all “rules” for plot is in late 19c playwriting manuals (not the ones you’ll find in antiquarian libraries – the specialized ones that theatre producers handed to playwrights under contract for 2-10 scripts per year), and the most common attribution seems to be to Aristotle.

Part of why I try to avoid my fellow writers in too large and inescapable doses. It’s like being a biologist who studies human nutrition at a an alternate health conference, or a planetary scientist among astrologers.


But didn’t the Globe have a bear-fighting pit?


I do believe this is in the spirit of this thread, and my precious I loves it.

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I’m trying to stop spewing my knowledge like a broken lawn sprinkler. People almost never change their view and it just kills the mood at a party, dinner ect…

I either sound like a know-it-all douché, or just a confrontational a-hole. Usually both.
Others I’ve know can do it nicley but they’re pretty rare in my experience.


I’ve found a neat angle is the philosophical standpoint; we all want to enjoy our lives, so figuring out how to use our brains is fairly paramount… but how many bother to try? Maybe start by identifying some of the most salient facts, etc…

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But in Star Wars doesn’t Chevkovs Gun always go off in the direction of Marvin, played by John Travolta?

(I’ll see my surreal ass out)



It didn’t exactly have a bear-baiting pit; the ground area was used for bear-baiting, along with various other non-theatrical things. For those purposes the stage was removed or possibly used as front row seats. The area where the “groundlings” stood during plays was the area where the animals killed each other during baiting.
(Very few people would have enjoyed being “groundlings” during bear or bull baiting).

Popularity is another one of those hard to define things because no one ever counted up how many aristocrats, merchants, apprentices, etc. were in the theater for any of the London theaters in the relevant period. They let you in for one fee, and let you go to each higher class of seat for an additonal one; as it happened you could probably hear best in the cheapest “seats” (standing around the stage) and the most expensive (sitting in chairs behind the actors).

Were the audiences for bear and bull baiting the same as for Shakespeare (or for his lower-browed competitors)? Probably. Was the audience for Oklahoma! and the Dodgers the same? Also probably. How much did each have to do with the other? For the 40s, you could try to establish it. For the Elizabethan age, it’s lost. We just don’t know. There was a vast amount of entertainment outside the theatre door – on play and other event days there would be food hawkers, street performers, preachers, all sorts of things. Some of the plays were written for higher-priced indoor theaters during the winter and then transferred to the summer main season; were any parts changed, or were they written with transfer in mind?

There’s an infuriating abundance of periperheral evidence and very little direct. Hence my point: the picture of Shakespeare’s audience as having “best sellers” or of him “working for the common people” isn’t established fact, but a somewhat plausible speculation, which has not and cannot knock other speculations out of the running. So us modern hacks who wish to claim that our stuff has artistic value despite being enjoyed by un-artistic fans would do far better to just say that, rather than to try to recruit the dead to our cause.


Do we have to propagate them in an anarobic environment, and can we tease more than two at a time?

Wait, did I have another psychotic break? Is this Questions?


Ugh, I was in the emergency room (waiting area) recently with a terrible example of that particular kind of assmunch. It’s one thing to complain to no one or oneself, or to a friend or acquaintance at a dinner party, that’s gauche but people b dum about something.

This guy was actively engaging people in the waiting area complaining about the wait time & how number 85 had gone in now but his own number was 78 and how we should just ditch socialized medicine yadda yadda. Every other person he talked to he’d triumphantly ask with no hint of realization “Could you explain that to me?, You can’t explain that!

Everyone declined to explain because duh we’re in emerge? I wanted to tell him about how #85 had clearly had respiratory distress and his busted ankle didn’t rate in assessment much less triage and he was going to wait a lot longer because it gets busy when the cottagers are here and that by any visible or audible measure there was no way in hell he would have medical coverage in the States and he’d suffer at home before coming here to get his ankle wrapped or drained because it wouldn’t effectively be free it’d run him way over a grand…

But since he never made it to my corner of the room to complain idiotically I had to be content with his glaring at me, #89, as I went in to be treated

Too bad I couldn’t take time to set him right tho, the bastard probably votes.


Even if you’re short on stories you must have heard some great last words right before your patients pass out. I know when I got the pins taken out of my arm the last thing I said to my anesthesiologist, just as I was wheeled into the operating room, were “Huh, this kind of looks like my high school shop class.” When I woke up several hours later I felt kind of bad about it.

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