Monday, 28 July 2008

Reality, Media haven't met in years

If you read the newspapers, you might conclude that when walking the streets of England you'll be stabbed to death by drunken youths on every street corner.
Britain is in the grip of a "Knife Epidemic", apparently - although if you stop being stabbed for a minute and look at the figures, crime is dropping, including stabbing all over the country. Last year there was no epidemic, this year, with less stabbing, we have an epidemic.
What's behind this?
Today, the "superpoke" application on Facebook has come under fire for having a "shank" your friend option (to shank is to stab, I discover). Not actually shank your friend, but send a "virtual" shank. It's not particularly big or clever, but the response is most definitely neither.
"..the CEO or directors of Facebook should be arrested for inciting violence." Rages uncle of stab victim.
Incidentally, when you need a balanced reasonable point of view, as a journalist, the only responsible thing to do is ask someone wracked with grief and anger over the loss of a loved one. They will almost without exception (if you find said exception, find someone else) rage blindly about retribution and revenge. Being a relative of a victim makes you an expert on the causes of the crime to which your relative was a victim. No?
Er, no, but protocol is protocol, and the above uncle rages as he is expected to. I took that quote from the Daily Hate Black People, which also printed this picture:

I don't need to explain that do I?

Anyway, Facebook apparently 'are targeting the kids who are on street corners carrying knives.'
'Why the hell would a social networking site for teenagers put something like this forward?' froths Mr Knox, showing a remarkable lack of knowledge about social networking and how facebook works.
Why the hell indeed, and I don't know. Something else I don't know, is reading Mr Knox's comments, he obviously doesn't really know what he's on about, so how does he know about it at all?

Could it be shit stirring social panic arsonist journalists at The Bum? Could it? They write like monkeys, too, but it's potent material in the hands of their (VERY SORRY) idiot readers who can't reason. Just juxtapose "stupid internet game" with "KNIFE VICTIM!!" enough and the link will form, even if the two things are not causally linked.
Remember, knife crime has fallen, not risen.

I was reading about the Gin epidemic, which really was an epidemic, and found this quote, 'The campaign against gin presented a simple solution to the problem of poverty: gin by itself was responsible for the poor health and poor behavior of its users. People were poor and destitute because they drank gin and not the other way around.' Social moralisers often present links back to front or upside down, either through stupidity or malice. Why whipping up public concern over knife crime is necessary I don't know, but the reporters and editors involved must know they are creating a phantom menace, and also that the cure from social problems is never as simple as they make out.
So, banning facebook will have an effect on knife crime? Of course not.
The gin epidemic in Britain in the 18th century looks like the binge drinking "epidemic" in Britain today, too. Both occurred in a time where there were huge wealth gaps in society, combined with cheap alcohol; but none of the morally outraged of the past or today will champion the abolition of wealth gaps as a cure for society's ills, either because it's complicated, or the outraged person in question is rich.

No comments: