Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Yellow, Yellow, Dirty Fellow

It is often said that, No news is Good news. Such a situation, in this age of communication, seldom happens. The converse is however, true: Good news is No news. The dailies, periodicals and broadcasting media thrive on bad news – bombs, scams, scandals, crime, crises are all magnets for eyeballs. Election time brings a televised crossfire of mudslinging between rivals which is a little more dense than at other times. The entertainment pages are rife with scoops about celebrity couples headed for splitsville and who is jumping into whose bed. The readers’ interest fades when an affair ends in marriage, only to revive at hints of brewing trouble. I am reminded of the delightful Oscar Wilde who wrote, "I really don't see anything romantic in proposing. It's very romantic to be in love but there's nothing romantic about a definite proposal. Why, one might be accepted! One usually is I believe. Then the whole excitement is over. The very essence of romance is uncertainty.”

The lively portions of history books are the war periods. Peaceful reigns are boring with wells getting dug, roads being made or irrigation canals being built.

Bad news is sensational. The detailed report of the TISS rape victim in the TOI brought forth a volley of protest from the public. The editor’s half hearted apology, defending the tabloid's deliberate attempt to ‘create awareness’ through explicit description of the victim’s experience sounded hollow. The real purpose of the item was served – the spate of protest was proof enough. What is strange is that the conclusion of such cases seldom see the light of day. What happened to the culprits? Well, who has the patience to follow the course of (in)action? Public memory is short-lived anyway and other sensational happenings distract them.

Anybody can capitalize on the public’s appetite for the unworthy it seems; you have iplplayer-fake/real bloggers providing the inside commentary on the titillating itsies and bitsies about players, managers, owners and glamour girls at the ipl circus. The idea apparently changed their life, going by the thousands of comments that the webpage attracted.

The interest in the negative, morbid as it may seem, is quite natural, for nothing can equal it in terms of shock/ excitement value.


AtomicGitten said...

Everybody loves bad news- there's so much more to speculate and tsk-tsk about.I guess misery loves company :P

Materialmom said...

It is something to talk about for those who aren't the sufferers of the bad news

Anush said...

True. Its kind of bugging to read about such stuff all over the paper. Even papers like The Hindu devote their front page to this stuff.

I really wanted to see if the papers make a difference to the lives of people who have it tough. People like prostitutes, transsexuals, the noose guy, old people abandoned by their children, etc, etc.

The purpose of running a newspaper is not just to spread the news. Its for inciting a rebellion against injustice. Thats how we got our independence.

Materialmom said...

Actually The Hindu is the better of the lot. And the press is helpless, the system has to offer what sells.
And they do serve society by bringing to light all the bad things. It's up to the people to take up frm there. But then most of us are passive.

If the fourth estate were as vibrant as it is now there wouldn't be any great person in history books.