The following is more or less what I thought for about eight minutes tonight as I ate my tea while watching a film.
I’m watching Definitely Maybe. Again. I watched it a lot at some point in my life where I was a bit sad (boohoo for me). There are some adverts – I am watching it on Film4 (I do own it on DVD but it was there on the telly, live).
I would say I checked Twitter but I ‘check’ Twitter with such a frequency that it’s not really checking Twitter. I’m not sure what I’m checking, if checking is what I’m doing. When you are checking on a baby you might be checking it hasn’t spit its dummy out – that is a pointless thing to check with Twitter, its dummy is permanently spat out.
Anyway, Twitter says something about an explosion in Boston – at the marathon. There are only a couple of things. Then there are a couple more. So, I flick on Sky News. Oh dear, it’s on. If they weren’t talking about it, it might not have been too bad. But Sky News were already showing images on a loop. Oh dear, this is definitely a thing.
Quickly, I grow annoyed at the coverage. I want to know something. I don’t know the name of whoever was presenting Sky News, so I’m not just protecting him or whatever. I just don’t know his name. But he was just saying the same basic sentences again and again.
One of the things he is saying is that he can now confirm there have been injuries. He says this over the footage, that is now on its fifth or sixth loop, that shows two explosions and people clearly injured and with bloodstains on them. You don’t need to confirm that.
I will see a tweet from BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) that says, “LIVE TEXT: Boston Marathon explosions leave unknown number of people injured.” Which is meaningless as whatever the Sky News guy is saying. What does ‘live text’ even mean? ‘Unknown number of people injured’ describes every situation outside of a situation where the number of people injured is stipulated. It’s disconcertingly vague.
There used to be a gap between things happening and it being reported. Now this doesn’t happen: EVERYTHING IS NOW.
Clearly at a marathon there are video cameras and camera phones. The images are instantly on the internet and on news channels. But no-one knows anything. So, there are pictures and now words. But it’s the internet/TV so there will be words. We have reached the point where news is a person vaguely describing what he can see like some macabre, formal, real-life pictionary.
There is a vacuum of lack of knowledge that sucks in speculation. The news channels can’t ignore this kind of thing when they have the footage – Twitter will win if they don’t provide some words. But there aren’t facts, they have no actual information. If there are facts there are the vague kind: some things have definitely happened.
It’s almost certainly terrorism (it’s assumed immediately but not said): explosions in an urban area. Nothing has ever exploded before, it must be a bomb. And when people say terrorism they also tend to think of certain kinds of terrorists. Based on the history of things like this happening, surely people should be assuming it is some insane white dude with a persecution/messiah complex.
I switch back to Definitely Maybe. I have seen more than a man needs to have seen a Ryan Reynolds romantic comedy. Reality is bad for the soul. I Ryan Reynold’s beautiful face and smooth comic timing take me back away from the real fucking pissfuck world.
*Postscript (based on the next few minutes) There is a part of me that gets a bit annoyed at seeing some ‘normal’ people saying their thought and prayers are with the people in Boston. What are they? The fucking Prime Minister or something? What’s up with me? Why would it even bother me. Am I seriously annoyed at people being saddened and concerned about things? Why do I have to think in these terms? (I am thinking people are just jumping on the bandwagon and wanting to say something when they have nothing to say. Don’t worry, the irony is not lost on me as the fat ends of my fingertips prod the innocent keys of my laptop’s keyboard.)
Some people do question how people could target people running a marathon. When it comes to that sentence there is no right answer. People running a marathon are no more or less OK to bomb than people in a catering truck or sketching chess pieces in a park. Again after thinking this I get annoyed at myself. People don’t mean that they think people running a 26-mile road race are somehow better than other innocent people, it’s just a part of the disbelief at something so shocking.