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Saturday, 15 October 2011

Hack Attack
Gaze into my navel,
not around my navel...
Speaking as an ex-journalist, d'you know what I find really fucking irritating about journalists? This stupendously egotistic idea that no one ever really experiences parenthood/ depression/ cancer/ poverty until they have. You know this from the endless stream of weekend features about said subjects with the appropriately stricken hack gawping at you from some double page spread or other.
Christ, it's unbearable. If I have to read Giles Coren banging on about his newborn again, as if fatherhood had been freshly minted in his back bedroom, I'll have to replace my eyes with dung beetles. And there are other journalists I know who have turned their offsprings' development into entire blogs, actually listing - yes, writing lists - of their kids' achievements. As if anybody gives a shit. Chances are that most parents won't have time to read said bollocks because they are too busy weeping over their own kid's terrifying ability to produce a pint of snot per sneeze. 
Why do journalists do this? Or why do editors want to run with this stuff? OK, if said hack has gone through a lightning-strike type of experience, let 'em write about it. Take Melanie Reid in The Times who writes a weekly slot on living with her crippling injuries after breaking her neck and back in a horse riding accident. It's genuinely a window into a world most of us have no knowledge of.
You can hardly say that of a yet another hack's skirmish with childbirth can you? Look, unless you gave birth while swinging from a trapeze during which you have to plead with Iran's Ahmadinejad for your release from captivity don't bother me. I've given birth, I've had depression, I've been broke... your tales of feeling a pinch low because you couldn't afford to host a dinner party just aren't cutting my brand of mustard.
And yeah, I admit that when I was a hack I wrote about myself once in a very, very long while but at least these were justified by my suitably freakish circumstances or relevant to a national issue which formed the bulk of the story. They weren't the prurient outpourings of someone who simply thinks that they are important enough to accompany a random reader's breakfast. Fuck cracking my boiled egg. I'd be happier aiming for Coren's writing hand.

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