I ask this question rhetorically……When did the idea of “The News” first come up. There must have been a time before “News”. I guess when cave persons (see how PC I am) were sitting round their roasted dinosaur crumb roasted twizzler, they told tales of the day’s hunting and gathering. Maybe a tribe member had met his destiny under a mammoth foot or a French-cave-lady had discovered a new way to cook lizard gizzard in a wine and shallot sauce.( I bet some Madame de cuisine has already done it). Mainly I guess they told tales of recent history. Perhaps a smooth guy turned (stony faced) to camera and smiled “And now for the Olds”.
Every day on my bus I drive out to my first pick up. I listen to BBC Radio 4. The “Today” programme brings me news and analysis of all those things that are just so important TODAY. I know that when I pick up the kids they’ll be yelling for moooosic. I really resent having to miss all the important NEWS about all those things that I hadn’t realised even existed or were possible. It’s a bit like Alcoholics Anonymous. You have to admit that you are a NEWS addict. Just imagine….the dramatic anticipatory communicatory music fades away – the grave presenter opens the bulletin and says “Today there is no news. Instead we are playing you the new recordings by Pixie Lott and Kelly Clarkson.” Bloody hell – if they are new recordings there is some news! Who produced it, who wrote the lyrics? There must be an expert somewhere to give me some informed analysis. No News…. Sheesh, they had me worried there.
Years ago there was an advertisement on TV for a product called 1001 ( They had a jingle-“A Thousand and one cleans a big big carpet for less than half a crown”. That’s about 13 pence-20 cents ). All that was before I was born – but my father used to sing it when he used the vax. He never had much in life you know. But today the numbers of one thousand to one have jingled and jangled all day on the NEWS. There has been much discussion as to whether or not the release of ONE Israeli man equates to the release of ONE THOUSAND Palestinian men. Some correspondents have kinda viewed it as a deal like buying a car -“Hey, if you’d hung in there you coulda got some alloy wheels. If you’d have toughed it out you coulda got the car for free!” I say – measure the deal in the joy it brings to all those families. Then I say- tell me what joy any slaughter has ever brought to any man. Think of the thousands who cannot return from the dead. What would you pay to rescue one of them if you could? And I’ll tell you something else. The name of the Israeli soldier who was released was known to every soul in Israel and many folk beyond that. You cannot read out a thousand names and so it is a statistic and the deal sounds like betting odds. Mankind can do better. We can. We know we can. Let’s start tonight in the homes and hearts of everyone set free this day to write a future.
And so, to the point where I meant to start my blog. I have never been to war or been a soldier. I am a hedonist saved from debauchery because I can’t afford it. I have scrimped and saved to debauch as much as possible though. This afternoon I finished Bert Carson’s book “Fourth and Forever”. I will admit that I still don’t fully understand American football. What I do understand is that Bert’s breakdown and social analysis of the whole Vietnam War and its aftermath is more succinctly portrayed here than in any lengthy book on psychology/sociology. You see – the guy was there! He was there! Just think about that and the difference it makes. One day there won’t be anyone alive who was there. To a foreigner, the Vietnam War is like a kinda watershed in American political life that seemed to me as a kid to play out like a civil war that divided the USA far more than it divided communism from capitalism. In a few paragraphs Bert clarifies the whole experience of Vets returning to a homeland with no comprehension of what their warriors had been through. Soldiers suddenly lost the bonds of comradeship that had sustained them and returned to a job at the shopping mall with flash-backs of courage and horror to be kicked up the ass by bright shiny executives for day dreaming on the job. Actually it’s amazing that so many of them just got on with it, at least in public. “Fourth and Forever” is a book about coming of age in one sense and about coming to terms in another sense. It is an inspirational story written honestly in a plain word style that Hemingway could not have faulted. While I was reading it I kept thinking of a screenplay for a film…Come on Hollywood, catch this ball and run with it.
Emma thinx: Pin a label on your enemy. Pin a name on a fellow man.