The needle returns to the start of the song and we all sing along like before. Don’t we? My view is that the death of the News of the World is largely a much-needed rebranding exercise, a fresh start before everything can return to as it was before and the clean slate can be smeared with fresh filth.
What interests me is how people have reacted. Those celebrating simply highlight their naivety since the crucial thing about the News of the World was that people bought it and they are now waiting passively to be sold the replacement product. And those rolling their eyes at the naive should perhaps ask themselves why things are the way they are.
For to select a position (such as my own view that it is rebranding) is only part of the issue and the focus of the issue is surely why does our society have machines that appear to run without us?
I posed the idea on twitter this afternoon that perhaps the smooth marketing of TED that unnerves Jennifer Jones is hiding an Icke nightmare of lizard elite. I share Jones’ view that TED can be a little unnerving but ultimately the idea of secret ruling classes is silly. Such conspiracy theories fail to ever really account for complexity and instead take nuggets of ideas and simplify and package them until they are digestible by the type of people that read the News of the World.
But while the majority of people ignore conspiracy theorists, a great many nevertheless seem to believe in a certain inevitability of power structures. Perhaps that is why so few vote and why when offered a chance of change, more voted for the status quo of first past the post than something that might actually shift the construction of political power.
I’ve made my peace with the situation. I’m not an activist but I do vote (and voted AV). It’s a middle ground I’m comfortable with for the most part as I’m not ashamed to admit that at least on a day to day basis I’m more concerned with what colour to decorate the living room and writing the copy that will pay for said decoration. If I was to feel more strongly then I’d enter politics and do something about it. This is the usually the point at which someone who has never done something about anything chips in and says it’s not that easy. And yet all the people I know who have stood up and done something (truly and with genuine effort) have felt they’ve influenced change at some level.
It’s hardly surprising that those who believe in inevitability are those that haven’t tried. It’s an excuse they can comfort themselves with I suppose (not that I’m buying it).
This needn’t be grand scale stuff, I hasten to add. If we step back from national politics and dodgy publishing and look on an individual level, those that have faith in change and see a world full of possibilities tend to be the people who have travelled, who have taken risks and who have refused to live a life within the narrowest of parameters. Those that believe in inevitability are those that don’t try; subscribing instead to self-fulfilling prophecies of failure.
The interesting thing about failure is that these two camps of people perceive it differently. I said to a co-worker this week that I thought I failed well in that when things don’t work out I learn from the experience and move on. She shares my outlook and argued that perhaps rather than referring to it as failing well, one could simply talk of realism. Such is the talk of those with faith in change and their own power to create it. I’m sure those believing in inevitability would stick with the word failure and probably not even think of the possibility of failing well.
The brilliant thing is that if you want to cross over from inevitability to change, you have the power within you. The fiancé comes from a culture of inevitability but has embraced the notion of being able to create change in ways that have amazed me. He inspires me with his ability to pursue his potential. Are we changing the world? Of course not. I think Rick said it best in Casablanca when at arguably the highest emotional point of Ilsa’s life he points out that ‘it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.’ For me there is freedom in that, since nothing matters much anyway, why not pursue the great path, the exciting path, the romantic path? What are you waiting for? Permission from Rupert Murdoch?
I don’t mean to make light of the phone hacking. I don’t think anything has sickened me quite so much as the idea of someone deleting personal messages from a missing girl’s phone to make space for new messages. It reflects a callousness that is horrifyingly apart from true evil and must require the kind of emotional distancing from an act that I can’t begin to imagine.
Perhaps because I feel so thoroughly sickened I can’t write about the topic directly. I shirk few topics but this I just can’t manage. It’s unimaginably horrible.
The positive is that few of us will have to deal with having our lives intruded on in such a way and for me that is another reason to set out and pursue the life path I want. I’m lucky in that I’m neither famous nor newsworthy.
As it happens I did had my privacy invaded this week when someone decided to slash the soft hood of my convertible in order to ascertain that yes my stereo was as unimpressive as it appeared from outside the car and yes, the glove box is indeed too small to have anything in. I love my car and between the incessant ringing of the phone at work and the ever presence of the fiancé at home (I can’t really blame him, he does live here), my car is my refuge. Whole months go by without anyone else so much as sitting inside it. It is a cocoon of ripped CDs, spearmint chewing gum and very little else. Small, tidy, me. And somebody tore into it, rummaged around and cast it aside. I feel violated.
But it wasn’t personal and I need to keep it in context. It’s not big bad world in action so much as an impulse act by someone whose life I’m blessed not to live. And the needle will return to the start of the song.
So what will you do differently this week?