Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Silly Season Reaches Peak

Health and Safety
on the case?
There has been much talk on some other blogs about the arrival of 'Silly Season' where the summers absence of the usual more serious fare for the media to get their teeth into, especially in the field of politics, promotes second rate stories to unwarranted prominence, or forces them to make a feast from the few scraps their more regular sources still offer up. This year silly season seems to have been somewhat abridged by the floods and the reemergence of Foot and Mouth disease, but with these having left the front page silly season seems to have got underway with a vengeance. I therefore offer up my favourite couple of stories from the mainstream media yesterday, both of which would have appeared anyway, but seemed to have a bit more prominence on the respective websites than would have otherwise been the case.

First up, Sky News. Sky is not above a succumbing to the odd bit of tabloid appeal in its coverage at the best of times, but once it has made it to the Internet it tends to be tidily filed away in a section called 'Strange News' as any newsfeed addict will know. This however made the main headline news section yesterday:
"A dwarf performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe was rushed to hospital after he glued his privates to a vacuum cleaner.

Daniel Blackner performs in the Circus of Horrors as Captain Dan the Demon Dwarf"

Source: Sky News

It transpires that an 'special' attachment on Mr Blackner's vacuum cleaner had come loose and a hasty attempt to repair it with superglue went wrong. Readers will be relieved to know that after a valiant effort by nurses at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Mr Blackner and his appliance (the hoover) were finally parted.

Everyone who has been to the Edinburgh Fringe knows that genitalia based physical theatre has become a bit of a recurring theme in recent years. While I always passed on these shows when I was there, I do still value free expression and I've got a sneaking fear that some half witted Health and Safety officer's eyes will have lit up on seeing the story.

The last word must go to Mr Blackner:
"It was the most embarrassing moment of my life when I got wheeled into a packed A&E with a vacuum attached to me.

"I wished the ground could swallow me up."

Source: Sky News

I think Mr Blackner is fortunate, he knows now that he almost certainly has faced the most embarrassing moment of his life, given how hard to top it will be; for the rest of us it could still be just around the corner.

The Guardian, much as I might dislike its editorial line, is a usually a more serious voice than Sky, and its contribution to silly season is indeed on a much more serious subject, that of an 'armed' robbery:
A robber who held up a bookmakers with his girlfriend's vibrator was jailed today.

Nicki Jex concealed the Rampant Rabbit sex toy in a carrier bag and pretended it was a gun during the raid on the Ladbrokes shop in Leicester on December 27 last year.

Source: The Guardian

This is not to take anything away from the serious nature of any armed robbery, even with simulated arms. It is still a traumatic experience for the victims, and it appears that a customer, Mr Wayne Vakani behaved very courageously, following Jex to a local pub which led to the police collecting enough evidence to link Jex to the crime.

I can't help feeling though that the the nature of the simulated weapon did manage to creep in to the story more often that it normally would, and it certainly pushed the story way up the running order yesterday. I'm at all not convinced that the sentencing phase of a trial over charges on a robbery in December last year would have headlined quite so highly if say, Mr Jex had used a realistic replica weapon, doubtlessly a more frightening experience for the victims.

It just amusing to see that some of the more serious voices in the mainstream media can succumb to the same basic instincts as the the rest of us!

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