Thursday, 16 April 2015

Modern Times.

I continue to find social media strange and somehow alien. Oh, certainly, I post stuff on Facebook and indulge in arguments there with former students about whether it is more valid for people to post pictures of where they are than pictures of their babies' progress. (As far as I am concerned, both work as a way of keeping your friends (real friends) up to date with what you are currently doing.) But I haven't got my head round tweeting. I read today about someone who tweets pictures of stuff he finds in ancient manuscripts in his work at the British Museum: ancient pictures that look like Yoda from Star Wars, for example. And then there's a shepherd who tweets about his work out on the hills with his flock. At first he was amazed to find he had 700 followers. Now he has around 7,500. All interesting stuff. 

And then there are the death threats. It appears to have become the norm for people to send death threats to famous folk who do something that offends them. Sack Jeremy Clarkson: death threat! Be a possible replacement for Jeremy Clarkson: death threat! Make almost any statement about anything at all: death threat! How did expressing your displeasure at something or your disagreement with an opinion change into the need to threaten violence? Why is that acceptable? Some of these messages are so horribly explicit that they are truly disturbing and the recipient has to withdraw from tweeting altogether. Are the people who send these messages the sort who would resort to fisticuffs in the pub if someone said something they disagreed with? Surely not all of them! The amount of money wasted because the police have to investigate a fair number of these threats and provide protection for the recipients must be quite considerable. And of course, if they ignored them and something happened to one of the high-profile receivers of threats, there would be a major outcry. We live in a crazy world! 

Over in Cannes, where they are gearing up for the Film Festival, they are trying to reduce the number of selfies taken during the proceedings. They are trying to put a limit on the number of selfies that can be taken with the Palais du Cinema in the background. Quite how they will do it is a different matter altogether. You would think that the famous would not need to take selfies but apparently some do. Surely they have enough pictures taken by the paparazzi! 

My lack of understanding of social media and how they work does not stop me from finding bits and pieces of stuff that amuse me. Here is a link to an article about expressions in modern everyday usage that are really annoying to its writer - and to me, for that matter!

And here's another thing that I have been getting a little stressed about recently: sloppy use of language. Today a certain Ben Jacobs was writing in the Guardian about Hillary Clinton and her attitude to same-sex marriages. Suddenly I came across this: 

"While first lady, former president Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act (Doma), which prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages." 

Now, to my way of understanding things, that sounds as though Bill Clinton was once First Lady. Really? Was he? Did this happen in an alternative reality? Of course, what the journalist meant was " While Hillary Clinton was First Lady ....". However, that is not what he has written. This isn't even a case of my being pedantic. This is just plain sloppy. And it is not the first example I have come across. 

What is going on? Is there a younger generation of journalists who never paid attention in English lessons at school? And where was the editor, or at least the sub-editor, when this was allowed to go to press? 

Ok, another rant over!

1 comment:

  1. As I have no babies... am I allowed to post where I am? :p