I Got Algorithm
OMG!!! I may be caught in a ‘filter-bubble’!
That’s the latest thing where the people watching you watching them can select the news stuff you get to see on the basis of what you recently looked at rather than showing you what is actually happening outside.
So, as a serious journalist and newswatcher, I just found myself staring at a page of BBC News that includes the shock-horror content that Funny Girl, Sue Perkins won’t be able to play host in the Great British Bake-Off tent tonight, owing to a bereavement. But don’t worry, ‘cos Sue’s still in the prerecorded section, and she’ll be back next week!
It’s obviously serious, but not too serious. This story is currently running at number two in the popular and widely trusted news site’s main news rankings. (I may be the only visitor to BBC News, as whatever story I’ve just been browsing on always seems to get bumped up the chart.)
There then followed an impassioned thread of Comments from apparently real people about whether or not someone should have been ejected from the tent after baking the ultimate-looking lemon drizzle cake. (Apparently, 10 million people watched the first episode.)
I have no interest whatever in baking shows, but trapped in this algorithm I fully expect to receive urgent news feeds about nothing else from now on.
Actually, it’s quite soothing.
Justin Bieber has apparently broken it off with someone. And then I learned that some highly illustrated US rapper called Chris Brown has been arrested for pointing a gun at a woman who was admiring his friend’s diamond necklace (male friend…), which also sounds pretty serious; especially as Brown loudly invokes Black Lives Matter, a cause devoted to exposing police brutality, whenever he is arrested for… er, brutality.
One in five parents are apparently regretting their choice of baby’s name, according to BBC News, while young girls on social media are increasingly unhappy about their looks, and many women are asking why their gym kit smells sweaty? (Because you’re sweating! Duh.) Clyde the Turtle has been stolen from his tank at the Blue Planet aquarium in Ellesmere Port – police are seeking a topless teenager who may have smuggled the cute reptile out under a sweater.
And here, look, the Guardian wants me to know that Selena Gomez (who she? Ed.) has had to take a career break because she’s having panic attacks (useful info, actually, as I need a break from shopping in Morrison’s for the same reason). Tweeter, phone-in host and cyclo-fascist, Jeremy Vine has posted a video of a black woman abusing him in the street for videoing her abusing him for… I don’t know, the crime is lost in history. And, like, now Justin Bieber is apparently ‘seeing’ someone else!
And following on from the Burkini debate French politicians are arguing about women’s breasts. France’s enduring female symbol, Marianne, is always depicted norks-out. You’d never see Britannia with her jugs on parade.
The big news story of the week for me was the video of Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ bassist, Flea, giving Koko the Gorilla a lesson in playing electric Fender bass. Koko treated the instrument with childlike curiosity, respect and tenderness; unlike Flea on stage, obviously. She also admired his body art, and the pair are now thoroughly bonded.
Of actual news, I can find almost none. Brexit? So yesterday. Refugees? So last year.
This nonsense idea from the marketing baboonery that whatever you did, saw or bought yesterday is what you’re just dying to do, see and buy again today is fixing the world in a kind of Groundhog scenario. For years after I bought my militaristic son the birthday book he wanted on sniper technique, Amazon continued to select for me a choice of reading I feared would shortly get me arrested.
The late, great Humphrey Lyttleton summed it up: you can’t eat in the same restaurant every night.
He was talking about adultery, of course.
Stranger in the Night
So, today already, I see with amaze that this, muh li’l bogl, has received TWENTY Views and it is still only half-past eleven in the morning; barely second-coffee.
What’s going on? Have we gone virile? Only time will tell.
Statistics are all very well, but they seldom reveal easy truths. Each of twenty very old Posts was hacked in the night, by just one – presumably the same – person. Presumably the same person who read 47 old Posts ten days ago – a one-day record. But who is not viewing any more exciting current issues of the BogPo, which otherwise attracts on average half a dozen desultory viewings a week (see Comment below for who I think is doing it!)
There is just one piece I Posted in 2012 that has attracted a thread several miles long. ‘Does No-one Now Remember Comex 2?’ recounts the fallibly remembered history of a disastrous student expedition to India in 1967; and tries to explore the Bergsonian nature of memory.
This piece seems to wake up every September, at about the time the horrid events took place; thus answering the question posed in the title.
More recent upPostings, however, have not proved of any interest; although many of them uncannily predate by at least three days, highly-paid correspondents’ reports and Comment is Free pieces on the Guardian website and expert utterances on Newsnight and headlines in the Daily Mail.
So you could be reading it here first, for free, and more amusingly; but you’re not, more’s the pity.
Seek and ye shall Find
It’s the Editor’s fault.
The BogPo doesn’t go in for Search Engine Optimization, that I am reliably informed is the translation of SEO. We are editorially opposed to the ‘keyword’ culture that subordinates content and meaning to a system of signs intended merely to bamboozle Google, which (like Gordon the Green Engine) is a very clever and wise engine.
Nor would we pay for ‘paperclip’ deals or provide extra Lynx to other people’s dreadful websites in order to gain the attention of their readers, who have their own loyalties I’m sure.
No, the BogPo is a chthonic organism that will one day blossom and, indeed, fruit.
Until then, I shall continue to do my best to hide in plain sight, as despite obviously being a billionaire entrepreneur I remain a notoriously shy individual who seeks no temporal recognition or thanks.
Herr Professor Doktor Ernst von-und-zu Bogl (By appointment), Senior Editor-at-large
Aboard the BHS Arcadia, Boglèry-sur-Mer, France-Sud (32⊂, sunny).
Red Nose Daze
Readers of this, muh bogl, may recall some years ago I commented satirically, and with tongue firmly in cheek, on a news story about a consultant from Texas (a ‘Texpert’?) who was over here, ‘training’ British policemen at great expense in how you can spot a paedophile by the clothes they wear.
I suggested the police could catch more paedophiles then, by planting suspicious cardigans on the racks in charity shops and following home the dirty old men who bought them.
Although it obviously is a serious subject, nonetheless the proposition seemed utterly absurd and (in my belief) were it not for the hysterical atmosphere that has been whipped up among credulous village baboons in the wake of the Savile affair, this self-promoting expert Texan bigot might have been denied a visa on grounds that we don’t let fantasists and conmen into the country, where wasting police time is an indictable offence.
Now, however, I’m not so sure.
Women residents of a warden-patrolled apartment complex in Greenville, North Carolina, have reported seeing groups of men dressed as clowns hanging around in nearby woods, ‘whispering and making strange noises’; while children have reported that ‘clowns’ were attempting to lure them into the undergrowth.
One resident told police she was walking to her home on 21 August in the early hours, when she saw a large clown with a “blinking nose” standing under a lamp post near a rubbish bin, local news channel WYFF4 has reported. She said the clown waved at her, but did not speak or come near her. – BBC News report, 30 August
Greenville police reported finding no evidence, but the warden has warned residents to be on the alert and to observe the 10 pm ‘curfew’ imposed on minors (only in America!).
‘Colurophobia’ is a semi-officially recognised condition affecting people who have a genuine terror of clowns. I have actually met someone who had a similar phobia about puppets; a friend who is a puppeteer says it’s not that uncommon. A lot of people just find clowns creepy and desperately unfunny.
As one of the latter, while not an out-and-out phobic I suspect I must have had a bad experience being taken to the circus as a very small child. I certainly remember my grandfather running a red light (nose?) and crashing the car en route.
Of course, people having private conversations with man-sized rabbits are not uncommon. Aliens from outer space, too, like to hang about in woodland, whispering and making strange noises. Nuns high on wheat ergot tend to see sexually aroused demons in the convent. Donald Trump hears Muslims and Mexicans plotting the downfall of the US together with senior Republicans in his sleep.
But I’ve never heard of an outbreak of suburban mass hysteria involving false sightings of large, taciturn, paedophilic clowns with blinking noses gesturing satirically at housewives from behind the garbage bins. That’s a new one.
And children never lie when they get caught breaking curfew.
Could it have anything to do with the widely reported pandemic of adulterated heroin abuse in America’s rust-belt communities, that is causing hundreds of tenement dwellers to OD every day?
We may never know.
However, it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that strange men going about dressed as clowns could be classed as a danger to children on the basis of their obviously sinister outfits, excessively silly make-up and furtive sylvan habits; circuses R-rated as a precaution.
Best be on the safe side when it comes to menswear.
Photo: Google images
By Lifestyle correspondent, ©2016 Gwyneth_Platform, @whereits@
“…for men the wearing of brown shoes with a business suit is generally, though not always, considered unacceptable by and for British bankers within the investment banking division” – Social Mobility Commission report
Question: what do you mean, ‘though not always’? Blue suit, black shoes. Always.
Time the hobbledehoys at the Social Mobility Commission employed a proper style consultant. Preferably a real man, educated at Eton and Oxbridge.
I am putting the Editor forward, forsooth!!