Thursday, March 10, 2011

In this day and age

I found this story astonishing. In the year of my birth,  about a mile from where I lived, a teenage girl was being sectioned under the mental health act for the crime of having a baby. That boy, a few months older than me, was adopted, and has never known his mother.  I thought this kind of barbarity had stopped before the war - it's a shock to know it was still going on in my lifetime. There's a happy end, of a kind - but as the woman's second-born son says, she's the victim here.

Chinese Whispers

An interesting example of how stories are distorted in the telling, and how 'news' is created. Yesterday, at my place of work, there was a power cut. It happened around lunch time. I went out of my office to see if it was just my room, or more general. It was quickly apparent that the whole campus had lost electricity. Soon, a helicopter, a fire engine and two ambulances arrived. People on the corridor were immediately speculating as to what had caused the problem. In the space of three minutes I heard that construction workers on site had cut through cables, that there had been an explosion in a lab, and that there had been an explosion elsewhere, that the helicopter was there to take someone seriously injured to hospital. The local press reported it as a major incident.What had actually happened, it transpired, was that a power cut in the area had caused a distribution board to short-circuit, making a loud bang. Maybe whoever called 999 had been a little over-dramatic in describing the event. I imagine that person is a bit embarrassed.
The campus was not evacuated, classes were not particularly affected (especially as not that many classes happen on a Wednesday afternoon) and things were back to normal by mid-afternoon. Nothing to see here, move along...
Image: DailyPic