Diary entry for Thursday, 14 June 2007
Falling flat on ones face while stepping out of the old abode is, quite frankly, hardly the most edifying of sights. Nor is it one of the most expected. Though I suppose that would depend on the why one fell.
It started last night. Mrs Benedict, she of the more Catholic persuasion, held a small soiree for those of a literary bent. I, a small time wordsmith, invited as much out of courtesy as anything else, received my invitation but 30 minutes before the expected event. If ever an action were to lead one to believe that one was “filling a suddenly vacant chair,” then that would be it.
Attached to the invitation was a hastily scribed note requesting that perhaps I might say a few words to the assembled guests about literary experiences? It was one of those things that each one of us was no doubt likely to have to do. However, others of the assembled would probably have a little more time in preparation; for instance, finding out a little about the other guests. If I had sent a lad with a message to find out such delicacies, I would have arrived at the house at the same time as he; so it was pointless.
That morning I had been reading an interview with our dear First Lord (otT). It had taken me around 6 minutes to read at a leisurely pace and yet was billed as a thorough comment on his career prior to his impending retirement. It struck me then that the writer must have left out vast amounts of the original transcript in order to cram this witless little piece into it’s allotted column inches. Further study revealed how what was left so neatly coincided with this particular news journals tepid view of our FL (otR).
Ah! Thought I. A subject for the attention of the guests. I shall enthral them with my observances on the nature of modern political journalism in our over communicated environment.
Things never go as neatly as intended, and an argument over a bent penny with a London Cabby left me running the remaining 5 streets to the home of Mrs Benedict. This was especially galling as she lives but 5 streets from chez moi! Needless to say, I was one and a half courses late into a three course supper and had hardly had time to seat myself and offer my apologies than I was upstood once more to give my short deliverance.
Perhaps it was the fine Porter, but four sentence in I found myself in full flow. I offered up the problems I had had in communicating to the press in assured detail, when they had little time but to grab my first sentence and run. I described the spectacle of a rabid press, a feral pack, so desperate for a story that they ignore much else around them. I spoke of my own inadequacies in communicating clearly. I fleshed out the argument that the partnership between press and politics had become so keen as to alienate the general public. All in all it was a sound performance, well balanced, hardly laying much blame, but simply exploring a most difficult subject.
And then this morning came, and one of those details that I had had no time to investigate rose it’s face in a ten foot high pile of tree pulp, laced with vitriol, inaccuracy, and slander.
As I disentangled myself from the pile of First Editions stacked purposefully on my doorstep I realised that my assembled audience had been none other than representatives of the very media that I had referred to. On reading their comments, not one availed them selves of the balance that I so carefully put forward. Not one was interested in my admissions of failings in my own dealings with the press. All had just picked up on one word, Feral, and had built an entire fabrication around that.
Pah! Ungrateful, spiteful, arrogant lot! And to think I had been so kind, too!
See also: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6748367.stm