Perpetual Motion Machine
Tweet Nearly every Sunday, through one circumstance or another, and despite not buying it, I end up exposed to the Sunday Independent or something in its pages. It lies waiting around the house for me like a coiled foe in a dungeons and dragons computer game. I hate it, but always end up reading it; normally while on the bog after a hard day's roast beef. To assuage the self-hating fits the paper induces in me as a reader, I've determinedly decided to write a pointy blog having a go at it tonight. And what do you know, such is the embarrassment of plain wrongness contained within its disingenuous broadsheet format, that I've found it hard to specifically take a pop. I mean where do you begin with such a grotesque, knowingly evil, ruptured haemorrhoid on the arse-starfish of Irish journalism? Ignoring Barry Egan for sanity's sake I'll have to randomly cast my die and start at Niamh Horan, who is behind a troubling story about thin women buying diet pills in spite of regulations saying said drugs should only be sold to obese people. This should be a well-meaning piece of investigative science writing, shouldn't it? Oh Nelly, let me count the ways in which it is not. Apparently, according to the Sunday Independent, "Irish chemists are selling a new 'over the counter' diet pill to healthy thin young girls -- despite reassurance by the drug's manufacturers that staff will only sell the drug to people who suffer from obesity". So far, so hmm. But how do we know this? Well, the roving Sindo doorstepper decided to find out for herself. Her sensationalist non-story proudly asserts that she is "just" eight and a half stone. Below, is the picture that accompanies her courageous piece. Now imagine, for one minute, the Guardian's (handsome) Ben Goldacre thrusting his sexy bod out at you on a weekend morning to illustrate a serious story about HIV retrovirals. Does that image work? No? Well, that could be because he has honourable reasons to modestly substitute an image of himself with a picture of Frankenstein's monster when he is writing objective science journalism. If this woman, or whoever asked her to write the story, really gave a hoot about eating disorders, why in the name of God is she posed, hand smugly attached to hip, like she is a glamourous celebrity advertising this fuckin' stuff? Why are we given her exact weight? Surely, if you write a piece about eating disorders, and have properly researched said piece, you might conclude that this level of unnecessary detail might be questionable when addressing such a media-sensitive psychological disorder? You might consider that vulnerable people could possibly ignore the story and see the glamorous, successful journo's body-weight as not only the real hook but a target to hit and go beyond? This sort of transparently insensitive, self-serving shit does not just sicken me but makes me die a little on the inside every Sunday. I know Sindo journalism is a self-fellating spectacle at the best of times, but this pushes their writer-as-story shtick to a new, distasteful level. Also, because it really does matter, it would be more interesting to see the nuts and bolts of what peer-reviewed studies make of the specific claims surrounding the so-called "wonder drug" (claims so unquestionably reproduced in this cynical piece that it reads like a subversive advertisement for the ropey product it ostensibly attacks)? Maybe the real story is right there. And don't even get me started on the fucking Herald.