Grumpy old men and tsunamis

How do you feel when you wake to greet another day? Any different this morning to, say, ten years ago, or fifty? To answer my own questions, most of the time I feel pretty good. Eyes open - feet on carpet - kettle on - open curtains to look out on the world sort of thing. Blinking sleep from eyes, with a growing sense of excitement I can sense the true potential, for me, in the day ahead. 

Trouble is, one minute's exposure to the TV news changes the mood. I don't know if I've turned into a grumpy old man. To be frank I refuse to worry about it for I am, as they say, what I am, which is what my ancestry and my own life experience have made of me. As with you. And personally, I do not do very much by way of navel gazing.

But I find myself becoming more and more critical of most of the media and of all advertising (heavily linked), because a predominance of that which the BBC calls 'news' is not news at all. It's the media man's / woman's opinion about things either inconsequentially 'celebrity' or inconsequentially 'political'. You know the sort of thing: man in raincoat under umberella stands on the green outside the Houses of Parliament and tells us that some grade four celebrity in there is rumoured to have used our taxes to buy a duckhouse. Really? Show me a businessman or a media man who would claim innocence on the expenses front under a lie detector test. Please. Folk who live in glass houses / houses of parliament should not throw stones and if they do, who has ever cared unless the stones hit them.

Occasionally there's a real story. I do not here refer to day twentyseven of a squabble over who runs some tinpot state in the Middle east, I mean the threat of a nuclear explosion following an undersea earthquake. Suddenly our publicly owned news channel is despatching their boys and girls half way around the world in waves almost as significant as the tsunami on which they are reporting. The pictures are shown again and again accompanied by carefully modulated estimates of numbers dead. It's a kind of sponsored voyeurism. Serried ranks of nuclear energy 'experts' rally to the cause - the cause being that nuclear generated energy is not only good, not only essential but essentially safe. I have not seen a single opponent of that view since Thursday even though every single viewer must be wondering whether he/she wants his/her money to be spent on buiding plants that could ....

Of course not! If we cannot satisfy our needs for such nonsenses as street lighting and refrigeration and central heating in cold countries and criss-crossing whole segments of populations meaninglessly around the globe without the life threatening engineering of atoms we should bloody well learn to need less power. Easy.

Yes, the reason for we old men being grumpy is simple. As you near the end of your span you know damn well what really needed and still needs to be done in favour of a future for this marvellous species and its habitat - and you know damn well that you, personally, did not even try to do it. Worst of all, with escalating certainty you can see that so pitifully few are trying to stem today's oncoming tsunami.

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