When journalists actually spoke to human beings to get their stories, rather than simply harvesting them from the newswires and ctrl+C and ctrl+V-ing them from press releases and Google searches, there was a bit more of an emotional connection between the person doing the writing and the person being written about.
A criminal in a court was someone a reporter had looked in the eye, for example. The hack had seen their emotions. They may have spoken to their brief and found out a couple of things about them - their history, their background, the reasons why they might have ended up where they ended up. That gave some colour to the whole affair, but also a closeness, an intimacy; it personalised the human being who was at the heart of the story. Time was when newspapers even talked about 'human interest'.
Today, for better or ill, there is a great deal more detachment, emotionally and with distance itself. Reporters may not have seen the people they write about at all. They're sat tapping away at stories chained at desks. They never see the folk they write about; safely tucked away in their offices, they don't have to confront grieving relatives, angry subjects of stories or take a call from someone who doesn't agree. They're hived safely away from the consequences of what they do.
So a story like this one in the Metro, a newspaper that relies entirely on the web and the wires for its stories rather than by using real journalists actually speaking to other human beings, (I apologise for the slowness of their website, which trundles along like an asthmatic snail wading through porridge) well it seems at first to be pretty funny, I guess.
Mad Cow woman in 'suck my udders' shame
A new case of mad cow disease was discovered when a woman dressed up in an udderley strange costume started chasing kids around a theme park.
Michelle Allen was arrested after she was caught causing chaos in the streets.
The drunken 32-year-old even urinated on a neighbour's front garden and asked people to 'suck my udders.'
Textbook concealing of the location by Metro, who never reveal that these things actually took place in the US (or wherever) until well into the story.
She had been hired to wear the outfit to advertise for a local "haunted trail" theme park.
But she left the job to go on a drunken two-day binge.
Judge Mark Wall at the Mooonicipal (sorry, we mean Municipal) court Ohio sentenced her to 30 days in jail for her own good.
Mooonicipal! Eh! Do you see? Do you see what they did there?! Eh! Hoho! But hang on a minute, this jolly tale of hilarity is about to have a slightly darker edge put into it:
"Michelle is pretty well known to us. She's 'struggled,' to say the least," he told the New York Post.
People who are well known to courts are often those with mental health issues - certainly it would appear that this woman has a problem with alcohol. Still funny to take the piss out of her, is it? Still a right old jolly laugh to point at the pisshead mentalist and make fun of them, is it? Still OK to call her 'mad' and rip the shit out of her when there's a strong likelihood that she could well have mental health issues?
Cunts in the comment box:
Looks like she's cheesed off!
No wonder; she looks udderly ridiculous!
It's quite a dairy-ng outfit, though!
I'd definitely "Steer" clear of her!!
...I stop now, I don't want to milk it.
- Xena, Worrier Princess, London
Sounds like fun. I'd love to yell "Suck my udders" at someone. Even in her mug shot she looks amused. It looks like a picture to put on Christmas cards!
- St, Ohio, USA
I really don't want to milk this but I have a real beef with this udderly silly story.
- Calvin, Peterborough
Haha 'Udders'... my boyfriend always calls me this!
- Katrina, London
She could have at least taken off the hat lol!!
- Katy, London
Doesn't look like she's been cow-ed by the experience.
- Carmen, LONDON
Pfft! Funny eh? Eh? Funny, no? Funny?
She needs help. This was her 15 minute of fame that went all over the country. I hope in the 30 days they will seek professional to help her.
- A Mother, Middletown, Ohio USA
Aha. Yes, there is someone who has actually thought this through. Sure, it might be funny to find someone dressed as a cow, pissed off their nut, asking people to suck their udders. Sure, that's intrinsically funny. But then the human being part of you should then start asking questions when the tittering dies down - why did this happen? If this person is well known to the courts, are there other issues? Perhaps this isn't really that funny if this is another person's life unravelling in front of their eyes and they have been put in jail for their own safety?
Those are the questions that are safely left alone if you're a Metro drone tapping away at hackneyed old puns from the comfort of your office several thousand miles away from where this woman endured her humiliation. Nah, fuck it - let's all laugh at the mentalist!
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Hello. I'm a Bristol-based writer and soon-to-be-redundant journalist. You can read more about me and the Enemies site here, or follow me on Twitter. Email me if you like - antonvowl at live dot co dot uk
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