This week in class we discussed Georges Perec’s very brief writing “Approaches to What?” from his book “Species of Spaces”.
This slight text is a catalyst for much deeper thought.
"The daily papers talk of everything except the daily. The papers annoy me, they teach me nothing. What they recount doesn’t concern me, doesn’t ask me questions, and doesn’t answer the questions I ask, or would like to ask".
Perec is caustic towards the scandal that papers report. He demands why the mundane scandal of poverty is not addressed, but the car crash is.
The text has been my shadow this week. Today I see that the Guardian is reporting that there was no violent crime in New York this Monday. This is much more worthy of headline news, yet sadly still it is notable because it is remarkable, not banal. The Guardian also reported demonstrations by a group of women complaining against sexism in the media. One held a placard "We want news not boobs", an attack on the UK tabloid “Page 3” in the The Sun newspaper. However well placed this argument is, the sexism of The Sun permeates every page, and the sensationalism of its reportage highlight that eradicating “Page 3” will do very little to counter sexism, or deliver news of any quality.
A friend has told me that his father-in-law regards all news a simply the modern equivalent of watching gladiators at the colosseum. It would appear that there are plenty that would agree with him.
Perec’s evocative passage has been picked up by many a blogger. I shall leave you with a few entries I found from a simple search.
I found this posted online too.