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Archive for January, 2013

Controversy Over Journalists’ Rights

Grudge

Controversy rages among writers this week in the wake of a series of horrific journalistic outrages.

As readers will know, the past seven days have witnessed not one but a series of incidents, in which large numbers of innocent people have been hurt.

Officers from the National Union of Journalists’ Tactical Support Unit, who have attended each of the crime scenes, confirm that it has still not been possible to count the numbers wounded, although one entire community is said to have been peppered by high velocity rounds.

An officer, speaking off the record, said that the lethal wordsmiths were believed in each case to have been women … stressing that this can only be fully confirmed once detailed genital and chromosomal examination of detainees has been completed.

We were assured, however, that both main suspects are in custody, in the NUJ’s maximum security bar in Soho.

Questions

The ease with which these atrocities were carried out by lone writers, and the regularity of such events, has raised questions again about the almost sacrosanct ‘Second Amendment’ to the journalists’ unwritten Constitution.

Those who haven’t been raised as journalists will probably underestimate the power of the peoples’ Constitution, famously set down by the Founding Fathers in the tea houses of fleet street.

Those opening words, confirming the hierarchy of benign dictatorship from owner to editor and all the way down to tea boy, have been augmented by many hard-fought amendments over the years, all regarded with the same reverence accorded to religious sacrements.

The First Amendment – The Right to be Published – is probably one of the best known aspects of this creed. Whilst challenged on several occasions, it has stood the test of time, whereas lesser Amendments – such as the Right to a Byline – have been modified and have fallen by the wayside.

But it is the Second Amendment – The Right to Bear Grudges – which concerns us here.

Defence

Historian, Professor Roy Greenslime, explains the origins of this provision.

“Back in the olden times, journalists needed to be able to feed and protect themselves … especially cut off from civilisation, in the regions”

“The need for carrying a grudge was part of everyday living. A well aimed grudge could fell a local politician and provide food on the table for a week.”

“When threatened by wild public relations consultants, or renegade journalists (operating outside the PCC code), it was accepted that a lone journalist could take aim with a grudge to defend their scoop or family”.

“The didn’t call it the ‘Wild East End’ for nothing”, adds Greenslime.

Anachronistic

Whilst this historical need for bearing grudges is well understood and accepted, it doesn’t translate well to the modern world, where journalists live in cities or high-walled citadels, with private security guards.

Some journalists insist that shooting off grudges is still a fine sport, which every red-blooded hack can enjoy in their down time.

Hand held grudges can be used in target practice and a variety of easily obtained weapons are available … from the sneaky ‘spit in their coffee’ to the powerful ‘claim they stole your story’. There are no restrictions on the right to bear such grudges.

The important aspect of these small grudges is that only a small number of shots can be fired without the journalist having to stop and reload. In that time HR and compliance teams have time to take the offender down.

In recent years, there has been a worrying increase in the fashion for holding more dangerous rapid action assault grudges, with large magazines. These have the capacity to harm many more people.

It is these rapid action assault grudges, of the kind normally employed by senior government officials, which have been responsible for each of the last week’s atrocities.

This has fuelled calls for action to limit the holding of such powerful grudges.

Lobbying

Legislating to curb journalists’ rights to bear any kind of grudge is likely to be hotly resisted.

The most important lobby, the National Radfem Association (NRA) has close links to the manufacturers of grudges and argues stolidly against reform.

NRA activists also have powerful allies.

This debate, which has run for years, is unlikely to resolved soon.

Meanwhile it is only a matter of time before copycat atrocities occur.

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Absolutely Fatuous

AbFab

Mindful of the immense success and affection for its long running comedy show, Absolutely Fabulous, the BBC is planning a new spinoff, insiders claim.

The new programme will feature different characters, but will draw on elements that made “AbFab” so popular with viewers.

The working title is Absolutely Fatuous.

The setting for the show is a basement kitchen, in a house where potty-mouthed freelance journalist Judy Burpsill, her transsexual daughter Brazilia and Burpsil’s mother are visited in each episode by outspoken itinerant dilettante columnist Suzy Zane.

The part of Judy is to be played by Frank Kelly (Father Jack Hacket in Father Ted), wearing a bad wig and obvious signs of staining on the lower parts of ‘her’ pantomime dame costume. Bad language will be part of the comedy appeal.

Suzy will be played by Joanna Lumley, retaining the characterisation she has already perfected in the previous show.

Lots of ‘in’ jokes are planned. Suzy and Judy are heavily into Bollinger and Lobster … their oversize fridge sporting rotating racks of both.

The axis of the humour is built around the audience knowing that both characters are yesterdays news as writers, not very good, and increasingly driven to desperate attempts to seek attention.

Brazilia’s constant struggle in every episode is to reign in the excesses of parent and friend, in a comic role reversal.

Filming begins when the commissioners have stopped laughing.

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Transgender Lobby Search for New HQ

LobbyHQ2

Leaders of a shadowy Transgender Cabal have been spotted recently, viewing potential office space to accommodate their unstoppable growth.

The leaders of this secretive but very powerful group, which constantly plots new and increasingly devious means to attack law-abiding people, are believed to have access to immense wealth, and to hold considerable power.

Their rise is a threat to the peaceful and law-abiding journalists, social commentators, clinicians, neighbourhood youths, publicans and taxi drivers whom they target.

Militaristic

The transgender lobby has occupied the top six floors of the Canary Wharf tower in East London until now.

From there, crack teams of ‘activists’ have trawled the Internet with sophisticated search tools, looking for any hint of a word out of place, which they could take monstrous offence to.

Field squads are also controlled from this point. The job of these operatives is to walk down streets, use buses and generally inhabit public spaces where they can cause annoyance by getting in other peoples’ line of sight.

Specialist operatives target doctors’ surgeries and ask for outrageous privileges, such as consultations and ‘treatment’.

Mysterious

Nobody knows who is behind this powerful cabal and few newspapers have yet managed to put a name to the leaders.

Little is known of their ideology, except that their mission appears to be to want to occupy the spaces that people use.

The motivations for their hate campaigns are equally difficult to figure. Nobody has been able to determine why the cabal recently decided to target a gentle and peace loving feminist writer … to the extent of driving the poor woman from the online sphere where she was simply minding her own business.

Phallic

The transgender lobby is thought to favour large and frankly oppressive buildings for headquarters. The squat enormity of the Canary Wharf tower can be viewed as a metaphor for the transgenders’ world view. Big and in your face is the clear message.

Commercial property agents we have spoken to (but which beg not to be named) have confirmed to our researchers that top ranking officials in the transgender lobby … the ‘genderals’ as they are known … have viewed space in both the Gherkin and the Shard.

The Shard is thought to be a particularly likely choice, owing to the phallocentric imagery which it holds, although it is believed that floors may need to be strengthened to bear the weight of the lobby’s PhD library.

Growing

The success of the Transgender Lobby is of particular concern, as it appears so far unstoppable.

The insidious nature of the lobby was first felt when it forced workers to share factories and offices with transsexuals.

Not content with this outrage, the lobby ploughed on and imposed itself on our beloved NHS, insisting that ‘trans people’ should have rights to have bits lopped off or sewn on just because of their whim.

Next the lobby set the evil European machinery of state on a defenceless British Government.

And, as we’ve seen recently with high profile media ‘hits’, no dissent is tolerated.

This story will be continued when we have investigated why our editor, Dave, has returned from lunch wearing a twin set and pearls.

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Notes From the Time Police

Time Clock

Weird things are happening around here at the moment.

Earlier this afternoon a large blue Police Call Box appeared in my garden and a couple of police officers  jumped out, without a hint of irony.

Apparently they’re from 2038 and were (will be?) here gathering evidence for an enquiry.

Time Travel was (will be?) apparently perfected in the year 2063.

The devices caught (will catch?) on fast.

Unfortunately the inventor, a frenchwoman named Qui, will have omitted to patent her device.

Several large multinational conglomerates would have rushed to corner the market.

Patent wars will ensue.

And those will have continued acrimoniously until one bright young lawyer will have had the inspiration to travel back 25 years to pre-patent the device themselves … obtaining an immediate bulk order from world’s police forces in the process.

The Police Call Box design will have been just a masterstroke of ironic branding.

However, as I say, the irony today was lost on the officers who stepped out into my flower bed.

Investigations

The officers weren’t saying much … although they did apologise for flattening some recently planted cyclamen.

From what I could gather, however, the “People’s Committee” in 2038 will have decided to finally hold a full enquiry into the events which will have led to the revolution of 2015.

The time travelling police officers are part of ‘Operation Justice’, gathering evidence. 2013 is considered significant.

From what I can gather, few members of the actual Government in 2015 will have survived. Several will have been summarily executed in the first few bloody days. Others will have succumbed during lengthy spells in jail. (The ‘Yesterday’ channel will be full of old documentaries about it all, I’m told).

The 2038 Police weren’t looking for those at the top, however. Their mission, I understand, was to find the people who carried out their orders and take them to the future to face trial there.

Suspects

I couldn’t get a full list of everyone the officers were looking for. Obviously they didn’t have too much time to stand and chat. However, I gather they are particularly looking for investment bankers, employees of ATOS involved in Work Capability Assessments, civil servants in the departments of Education and Health and BBC correspondents.

They are also looking for Unix programmers … but that’s a separate investigation.

The Police came back after a couple of hours with two suspects in handcuffs. Apparently that’s all they can get inside the rather cramped quarters inside the box in one go.

They assured me they had been back though … in 2010.

Small talk

I made my visitors some tea before they left. It seemed the least I could do. Apparently, tea is something they won’t have after some awful catastrophe in 2020 … so it was regarded as a treat.

I gather they have a lot of trouble with the right case when working on a case too. This is a big joke among future police I’m told.

Before they disappeared one of them asked me for my autograph. His colleague was really annoyed about that and muttered something about paradoxes. Not sure I understood that bit.

But they seemed like nice boys.

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