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Donkin's World: Pop Bitch

Journalist and author Richard Donkin finds another news source which tells the tale better.

I found something Iíd lost yesterday. It was something I treasured for years in the 1970s. I remembered it well and Iíd been searching for it for quite a while, wondering if in fact it still existed.

And when I found it I realised it had been there all the time, like a neglected teddy stashed away in an old box. I gave it a dusting down and today itís looking as good as new.

Iím talking about the generation gap, that invisible something that divides the values of young people from those of their parents. Itís a force as strong as the repelling poles of magnets and it works in very much the same way, since it exists in spite of the strong bonds that bring families together when those magnetic poles are complementary.

My problem is that sometimes I find my personal magnet has switched polarities, possibly because Iím engaged a little bit too much with the internet for one whose hair is white and who likes nothing more than to go to bed with the crossword puzzle.

I still get the Daily Telegraph delivered every morning, even though I hate everything about it, including its damned puzzles whose compilers should be taken out in to the street and executed alongside those public sector strikers rounded up by the supporters of Jeremy Clarkson. http://donkinlife.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/public-execution.html

This morning I had to look long and hard for the down-page story rubbishing the work of the Invisible Children campaign, committed to the downfall of Joseph Kony, the African guerrilla leader. If you donít know who he is, read no further and get back to your crossword.

The Telegraph story mentioned that some 40m had viewed an Invisible Children internet video in the past three days. That is more than four times the combined daily circulation of all the UKís national newspapers.

You would think that a newspaper interested in attracting younger readers might feature such a story in a little more detail than eight paragraphs. But it did not. It left the middle generation to find out the kernel of this story from their children while the retired stockbrokers in their shires were permitted to carry on golfing in blissful ignorance.

Meanwhile under-worked media junkies slogged it out over the internet trying to grasp the meaning and import of the whole thing, flouncing their black gowns and mortarboards in front of the unruly internet class that had just discovered that Uganda was a country in Africa.

The message of our betters in the media in chalked capitals was, as far as I can tell, that Joseph Kony was a big story once (although not so big that most people knew about it), and it wasnít so big now since he had run away from Uganda and no-one knew where he was. Most of his victims had their faces slashed off years ago so why was everyone getting so heated now?

And there was a lot more stuff that was related not so much to Joseph Kony, but the telling of the Joseph Kony story in that video. http://www2.invisiblechildren.com/videos

But among all the hand wringing some good stuff has been happening. The young people that too many of my generation condemn, have been getting more clued up on the story.

So where do they go to get more clued up? The Telegraph? The Economist? The Guardian? The BBC? No they go to Popbitch which has a better back story on all this than any I have seen elsewhere so far. http://www.popbitch.com/home/2012/03/08/kony-2012/

Looking at the Telegraph online just now I see they're waking up to the story at last, just in time for the chaps at the 19th hole then.

Wandering around the web may indeed be akin to wading in The Shallows, the title of Nicholas Carrís excellent book on internet behaviour. But it doesnít mean that the internet canít educate and inform, it simply does so in different ways. http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Shallows-Internet-Changing-Remember/dp/1848872275/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1331291855&sr=1-1

Iíll confess this much. I had never looked at Popbitch before today. But Iíll try and make a habit of doing so now while keeping the generation gap securely by my side where I need it.


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