Sunday, 10 July 2011

Day 280

The ex-staff of News of the World will finally get a good night's sleep. Before waking up to unemployment just like the rest of us.

I sympathise with them. We're all in the bullshit industry. We advertise products we'd never dream of using ourselves – scripts we've never read, events we've never been to. We stir up interest in things we have no interest in ourselves. A footballer cheated on his wife. It's scandalous, it's juicy, it's pleasurable, it's fascinating and entertaining and remarkable and surprising and controversial and NO IT'S NOT. No it's not. It's not any of those things. It's just bullshit, but we have to sell it.

And if we're not selling actual products, we still have to sell the company we work for. Our company has integrity, we have strength; we care, we have principles, we have backbone, we're determined, we're alive, we're contemporary, we're now, we're NO WE'RE NOT. We're bullshit.

And even if we're not selling a company, we're still at least selling ourselves. The biggest pieces of bullshit in the world. I'm ambitious, I'm sharp, I'm enthusiastic, I'm experienced, I'm professional, I'm a people-person, I'm a team-player, I'm independent, I'm young, I'm dedicated, I'm keen, I'm NO I'M NOT. I'm sleepy and weird and obsessive and it's kind of unlikely that I want to spend any time with you at all.

Marketing words have lost their real meeting. I can't tell you the number of times I've typed the word “remarkable” in my career. Every word has been bastardised, and claimed by us bullshitters.

We're all staff at News of the World. But some of us have given in so staunchly to the power of BS that we've started to believe it ourselves. It's such a common phenomenon. I've always used that phenomenon to explain introversion and extroversion. If you act confident all the time, and say you're confident, you'll be a confident person. And if you act shy all the time, and say you're shy, you'll be a shy person.

Similarly, if you say you believe spying on innocent people in order to splatter their private lives across the nation to be in any way excusable, and if you act like you believe it's excusable, then you're going to start believing that it really is excusable.

But the people who say it's excusable may be bullshitting. For marketing reasons, of course. They have to sell themselves. They have to sell those they work for. And to keep what sliver of self-respect they have left, they have to believe that somehow the nation will see through the bullshit and realise that, on the inside, they don't believe in what they're selling.

That is indeed pitiable, but it's also the very definition of unprincipled. And if you live by it, you might end up looking like this:

There are many figures that deserve condemnation for the hacking scandals, but Paul McMullan is my favourite. Because he's exactly what evil journalists were like in films when I was a kid. Snide, snotty, conceited, humourless, manipulative. And quick-thinking. Always with his top button undone. Looks like he smells of unclean flesh.

Him being pinned by Hugh Grant was bizarre and kind of fantastical.


We know who's going to be playing Hugh Grant in the movie of all this, then.

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