Sunday, 29 January 2012

We need more weird and wacky news

The urinal that gives as good as it gets
Now that it seems to be a given that the future of newspapers shall be online, the circulation - read site hits - wars have begun. The result is that headlines are becoming more sensationalist and faux-outraged than they used to be in their attempts to grab our attention, even on the more respectable broadsheets like the Guardian and the IHT.

Reading an online paper these days can sometimes be like being in a pub full of half-drunk punters and listening to their pet peeves and rants. Tiresome? You bet.

So that's why I visit 'weird news' sites and blogs regularly. They offer a welcome break from all the aggressive and depressing articles to read in the general news sections of the papers.

Take Huffpost Weird News and its story about South Korean activists sending cargoes of socks to their North Korean brothers in hot air balloons in order to help them get through the harsh winter for example, or the post about a Russian scientist who claims that there is a scorpion-like alien on Venus.

Next up is Stupid, and the story of a woman in St. Louis who robbed a policeman who visited her as a result of a complaint she had filed against her boyfriend. We also learn that two teenagers were arrested after breaking into CNN's Atlanta newsroom to check their Facebook accounts.

French site Orange is also worth a visit from time to time. Current stories include one about a British coffin design company called Crazy Coffin which has satisfied an apparently ever-increasing number of clients who wish to RIP in coffins of various shapes, such as a plane, dancing shoes (dancing shoes?) and a train carriage.

Then there's The Telegraph's Weird News page, with its warning to those dog owners in Hyndburn in Lancashire who like to walk their pets after nightfall. It appears that undercover wardens are now using night vision goggles to identify and fine pet owners who allow their dogs to foul in public places. Meanwhile, a 13-month old Israeli toddler has chewed the head off a poisonous snake, killing it. His mother was apparently preparing his milk at the time. Maybe she will prepare it earlier from now on to satisfy her son's healthy appetite?

None of these stories are of any real significance whatsoever of course. But that's precisely why I read them. Yes, I am aware of the latest news from the murderous Syrian conflict, yes, I do keep abreast of the latest developments in the Labour party's struggles to gain credibility on economic issues, and yes, I am most certainly aware of the current Eurozone crisis and the real risk of Greek default.

But surely there should be more to reading the news than that? Does it all have to be doom and gloom and cynicism? I have decided that it doesn't. After all, I learned long ago that the world can sometimes be a cruel and vicious place, but as I said, that's just "sometimes", and there's so much elso going on too, with much of it being fun and thought-provoking. It proves that news can be stranger than fiction, so long live weird and wacky news!

No comments:

Post a Comment