Thursday, May 5, 2011

And if you were still in any doubt about the decline of newspapers as we know them ...

... then you obviously haven't seen the subject line of today's online update of The Age that just arrived in my mailbox:

Nixon, teen had sex: report

Showing my age, I responded initially to this as though it were some sort of long-repressed "news" about the behaviour of Richard Nixon. (Remember Richard Nixon?) Then I thought Gee this looks like the headlines I used to give my first-year Rhetoric students to re-punctuate in order to teach them how vital punctuation is to meaning.

(Nixon: teen had sex report
Nixon teen had sex: report
Nixon? Teen had sex! Report

For those of you not up with these vital matters, the headline refers to one of the AFL's more high-profile serial sleazes and that girl who publicised those photos of Nick Riewoldt's willy, and who cannot, apparently, help herself to stay out of the news.

Osama bin Laden is dead. President Obama's chances of winning the next election are up through the roof. The Tories have just had a similar boost in Britain. (Now that really would be news: 'Millions of Brits look happy!') Victoria has just had its state Budget announced and the federal ditto is just around the corner. Global warming is on the rise, as is resistance to it, and countries in the Middle East are falling over one by one like dominoes. Africa continues to horrify. Greece and Portugal have gone broke. (Just typed 'borke': that too.) Which reminds me: the sacking of subeditors by Fairfax is major news in the sense that it marks a major stage in the decline of, erm, yes, oh right. And so what's The Age leading with? 'Nixon, teen had sex.' Given that subeditors are responsible for, among other things, writing headlines, perhaps in some cases their decline might be ever so slightly less of a bad thing, but not much.

You know what really drives me crispy about this one? (Apart from the decline of, etc etc.) That word 'teen'. Anyone who has ever seen any p*rn with actual words in it knows that 'teen' is right up there with 'panties' (EEWWWW) as far as the lubricious p*rn vocabulary goes, which Goddess knows is not very far but that only makes it worse.

I Do. Not. Care who had sex with whom, in any context, and I never ever want to hear about it ever again ever. Shag your socks off, people, with whomever or whatever you choose: just make sure it involves a nice hot cup of STFU at some point, and I mean for everybody.

And I don't want to hear it about anybody at all, much less Ricky Nixon. Being faced with the image this headline conjures up is not what I require from my broadsheet newspaper. But the whole notion of a 'broadsheet newspaper' is now a thing of the past anyway.


Lord Sedgwick said...

Nowadays a 'broadsheet newspaper' equals a broad spread over an Actil banging uglies (and he has them in spades) with Tricky Dicky Ricky Nixon. ("Or am I being too harsh Roy?")

Fine said...

I know there was a stop work meeting at 'the Age' yesterday because they plan on out-sourcing their sub-editors. Soulds like no-one was doing the job last night.

A personal story re Ricky Nixon. I did some freelance work for him about three years ago for an event he was scoping (eg: would it be profitable). Anyway, I have to say he was a very good person to work for. Courteous, intelligent and a quick payer. As a middle-age woman who certainly doesn't fit in with his culture, I had no problems working with him. Maybe he's gone downhill since then, or maybe I just saw another side of him.

Casey said...

Fine, I know, I know, I don't care either, I don't care - but did you see him on TV? On that interview? He has COMPLETELY lost his mind, let me just say. I really was expecting him to say that it was aliens what abducted him and lefted him in his underpants. That's what happened cause he certainly did not take them off by himself.

wV: ablame. No shit.

Ablame the aliens.

Sorry Pav, right. That's my contribution. And I will leave now.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Casey, you are always welcome here!

Casey said...

Oh thank you. I don't like to be polite where I can.

Your WV scares me: hoging.

Casey said...

Well that was stupid.

I LIKE to be polite where I can, don't like to be out of order on your site.

Bless you for putting up with me.

Fyodor said...

Haven't they just copied the faux(ked)-tabloid style from the SMH?

The two papers have been sharing copy for ages and it looks like they're close to total homogenisation of content, with token prioritisation of "local" news. Thusward, AFL-related stuff leads in Melbourne because of the predominant cult in Mehico.

Chris Grealy said...

At least it wasn't the ex-police commissioner, which was my first thought. I'm pretty sure Tricky Dick is dead now.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Oh, good point.

Mindy said...

Yes my first thought was that they had dug something up on Richard Nixon, then perhaps they were desperately trying to smear Christine Nixon again (what smear a prominent woman, as if!). Ricky Nixon didn't even cross my radar.

@ Fine - that's the thing about these guys, they do come across as nice. To somewhat stretch the analogy Ivan Milat's neighbours thought he was quiet and kept to himself. That's probably harsh on Ricky Nixon who seems to have just made some really bad choices, but he's old enough to know better. It is, however, good to know that he respects some women at least.

Fred said...

It will be interesting to see how the outsourced subeditors on the subcontinent (yes, my journalist friends at the Age tell me it's true) manage Australian place names and terminology.

Ampersand Duck said...

I just want to press a big fat LIKE button.

jeez, even the WV wants me to work: opsymora

Link said...

WV: hympug

I have come to like the fact that for the most part, I have no idea who anybody is talking or writing about anymore. It makes me feel smug in my ignorance. There are way too many people one need not know about.

Fine said...

I suspect that he has been inhaling some substances he really shouldn't be. But when I did some work for him, he didn't seen at all weird.

Marshall Stacks said...

Richard, Christine, Ricky ... quite clear to me that 'Nixon' as a name is not lucky and needs to be nixed.

WV: dropla right in it

Helen said...

I do'nt know why your'e so conserned abot sub editors geing sacked i never had on and it never did me any hram

Helen said...

But seriously, when I read the item about sub editors, my reaction was "you mean they still have any?"

librarygirl said...

I cancelled my week day Age subscription a couple of months ago, after reading it daily for thirty years, and don't miss it at all. It's not the paper it was, sadly. Still have the weekend editions delivered for the crossword, book reviews etc.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

I sometimes wonder if their sales wouldn't go up if they published a paper that consisted entirely of puzzles and book reviews.

Helen: quite.

Mindy said...

"published a paper that consisted entirely of puzzles and book reviews."

Yes please! Once you've finished sorting out the literary prize world can you get right on this?

*runs, hides*

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Oh, I'm just trailing along in Sophie C's wake re the literary prize world.

Casey said...

See, now that's activism, that prize thing.

Brilliant women, all of you.

WV says you take us hyter and hyter.

paul walter said...

That was a genuinely interesting article to include and it also got me over to Crikey, for an update on Fairfax.

sarah toa said...

I don't care
about some sad footy agent on a downward spiral caught f*cking some wannabe sports star who found it a sideways path to fame ...

Well, okay. Maybe I do.

WV press (true)

Anthony said...

yes, Christine Nixon. Not such a name to conjure with as our old Commissioner, Kel Glare, whose name I always took as French for "What a sunny day!".

I still get The Age delivered primarily for the breakfast table ritual. Ben Andersen wrote about dispersed people reading the same morning newspaper as a kind of secular morning prayer. Is people logging on to a continuously updated website the same thing?

Anonymous said...

Heh heh. Richard Nixon: after all these years, still living in your brains, rent-free.

When I was a kid I used to tell people that when I became a billionaire (shucks, only part-way there at present) I would use my evil zillions to buy the New York Times, simply so I could force them to run tabloid-style headlines every day -- like if the Knicks won a crucial basketball game, the whole front-page above the fold of the Paper of Record would scream YES! YES!! YES!!! In thousand-point type, just to rub it in.

But alas, Carlos Slim beat me to it, and all the really great subbies are now either out of a gig (in Oz, apparently), or else they work for Variety (in the States).

I imagine it's possible that the legendary hed "HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR" may have crossed the Pacific in its fame, but you'd prolly need Yrs Truly to translate "ATAS FETES KUKLA SKEIN" for ye. Eheu, fugaces, etc.

The artist formerly known as japerz

Pedant's corner said...

Well listen old boy, I've heard about HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR and it's pretty good.
But here's our entry: BILLY DIES ON THE JOB, front page of Melbourne's 'Truth' announcing the sudden death of a well-known politician in a motel room bed whilst in company of a woman not his wife. Juggle that with your Corn Flakes buddy!

JPZ, I have always loved your comments.

Link said...

Still patiently waiting for headline that reads simply:


(I'll buy that one, am prepared to wait)

Note today at SMH, Wills & Kate are going on honeymone.

paul walter said...

In the wake of the Girl's announcement ( ABC teev footage showing rear end of Girl walking away, in black mini) that she didn't blow drugs or Nixon, you must be feeling a bit prophetic.
The Girl remains the Gift that Keeps Giving, for tabloid afficinados.
I'd love to be a fly on the wall at some of the closed meetings between the silks, but..