Misinterpretation, Eavesdropping, Delusional, Insipid, Antagonism
Suggested Audio Candy
 Public Enemy “Don’t Believe The Hype”
 Public Enemy “She Watch Channel Zero”
If there’s one thing consistent about me, then it would be my sunny outlook on the world and most of its seven billion tenants. However, every once in a red moon, I feel it necessary to exhibit my fire and brimstone side and, if that means cracking a few skulls between my thighs like walnuts in the process, then so be it. Generally I consider myself to be a peace-loving cat but there are a few things that boil the very blood within my ventricles and the media is one such malefactor. The unscrupulous way in which news is presented and blatant disregard for feelings, views and the truth is one topic which prompts me to unsheathe the Crimson Quill in furious fashion, particularly with regards to the tabloid press.
I studied media at college and, at the time, had visions of grandeur aspiring to a long and lustrous career in the industry. However, for all of my wide-eyed vim, this coincided with the undertaking of something of a personal vendetta as I discovered just how much I loathe much of what is peddled. Underhanded executives set out every day in an attempt at steering us towards their contorted way of thinking. They bank on us buying into their vile bullshit and I, for one, have run out-of-pocket change to support their treacherous cause. That’s right Grueheads, if you haven’t already guessed, things are about to get rather messy as I have a can of whoop at the ready.
Daily tabloid publications run by malevolent moguls, bereft of a solitary crumb of integrity, spout slanderous bile on a regular basis. These cretins too often supply minimal factual relevance and, instead, pad out their column space with fictitious waffle just to outfox their rivals. Often pre-lobotomized graduates who have already had the individuality smacked out of them by following rigid curriculum, these charlatans are little more than cannon fodder for editorials that demand you relinquish your soul upon signing their work contracts. Pressured deadlines and the promise of riches leave these sheep deluded, stripping them of their unique voices, and the worst thing is that they are enabled by a general public who fritter their pocket change on the misery rags we call newspapers. Society affords them the twisted pleasure, folk buy into this fox shit in droves, forming opinions through their one-sided leanings and vilifying those picked upon as the news of the day.
I’m generalizing of course but the sentiment still remains. The lion’s share of these publications are trash of the lowest common denomination and have no limit to what they’ll print to grab that daily edge over their competitors. To say that it rattles my cage is akin to proposing that a bear may well excavate its bowel in the foliage. Of course it does unless said grizzly is fortunate enough to have integrated with society and happened across a small condo on the lower Eastside of course, in which case it likely still commutes back to the woodland to do its daily business. So much of my bubbling vitriol is aimed towards these infidels; how do they sleep at night without choking on their own noxious bile? It appears the temptation of exposure is too much for some; integrity doesn’t buy you a Porsche Boxster after all.
The gutter press aren’t the only ones at it though, they just form the lowest echelon of a media intent on glorifying claptrap. I don’t personally offer news bulletins my precious man hours, and this will doubtless divide my audience, but I hold no desire to be subjected to a laundry list of despair every breakfast, lunch, dinner and suppertime. I’m quick to point out that I do hold an interest in current affairs. But I’d rather cherry pick than follow their dubious pecking order. If I need to learn of a natural disaster or global development then I merely need to open a new search tab. Therefore I sidestep the substantial drivel that fills in the gaps. Newscasts customarily start with a natural disaster or two, moving swiftly on to a headline about economic collapse, before throwing in a murder case to keep things spicy, and ending with a quaint little human interest story just to encourage we tune in the very next day. By the end, we are left swooning over the domestic kitten that has learned how to flush a toilet, and expected to forget that the world is in rapid decline and on the verge of capitulation. Talk about hoodwinking.
Another bugbear, and a particularly loathsome example of media at its most cancerous, are glossy trash publications which print utter codswallop in order to promote the current vogue. We all know of what I speak, ten steps to being size-zero, current hot couples harassed to within an inch of their lives and photographed airbrushed until they look plain preposterous, the general low-rent silage. This fucking garbage pulls in bloated readership figures and it leaves me more than a little befuddled. Where’s the honesty? Nowhere to be discerned; that’s where. So long as those million units are shifted to their target demographic then it matters not one iota whether a banana or two is crammed into our tailpipes. How the hell do they sleep at night? Hate mongers, misery leeches, shit shovelers, the lot of ’em and all too often lacking a solitary redeeming feature. So, yes, it pains me that society still laps it up and invests in such low-rent trash.
Certain washed-up media celebrities desperately cling on to any semblance of popularity by selling their blah stories to anyone still interested in giving them the time of day and, to nab a larger wedge of the monopoly, some begin their own reality TV video diaries for anyone who loathes their own existence enough to invest in theirs. Meanwhile, the whole reason why they suffered any fall from grace in the first time is usually down to the news. We have plenty of offenders in the UK and, for as much as the likes of Katie Price and Kerry Katona make me wish to gnaw my own face off in anger, the blame can’t really fall squarely at their doorsteps as they’re merely playing the game before it plays them. Media is a most potent tool but, in nefarious hands, can be totally destructive and put a shameful message out to young impressionable minds.
Then there are soap operas and don’t get me started on them. Supposedly the most benign of all the offenders, these bi-daily doses of “reality” offer a little escapism from our mundane existences and the nation tune in religiously to invest time into a bouquet of largely immoral characters, none of which bear any fidelity, sleeping with each others’ spouses, siblings, and domestic pets, while generally weaving a web of lies as they go about their skulduggery. Any kind of festivities normally spell catastrophe with some unnatural disaster or rampage, just to boost those figures. I shit you not, there are a number of British soaps which command wide audiences, and not a single character in possession of any moral fiber. My case in point is this; on Christmas Day we are provided with a festive omnibus whereby one of the central protagonists invariably either rapes a senior citizen, is hit by rush-hour traffic, sets fire to the local tavern, or reveals the long-running secret that their brother slept with their wife while they were making tea in the next room, before heading off on the retribution trail.
Whilst I abhor such turgid snot, it probably represents the lesser evil as, admittedly, writers do throw in the odd social dilemma or taboo subject to spark debate but, for Keeper, they do so often without the requisite sensitivity or any grounding in reality. It’s ultimately horses for courses of course,the producers of this banal shit do give folk respite from their own hardships, and it does provide a source of escapism I suppose, but that doesn’t stop my blood simmering every time I hear those grating theme tunes. Even more infuriating are daytime chat shows which prey on the lower classes and offer them the chance to wash their dirty hosiery on national television. The headline usually goes a little something like this: “I know what you did last summer with my best friend” and culminates in a lie detector test as public humiliation becomes the order of the day. A hefty slice of shame meringue must be reserved for the dimwitted lemmings that actually believe their lives will improve by making an example of their insignificant others in front of the entire free world. It’s a circus I tell you and it makes me ashamed to slip on my clown shoes.
Advertising is a cheap shot. Last weekend I tuned into a children’s network to offer my five-year old son a little down-time from running daddy day care ragged during his stay. As we reached the commercials we were introduced to a relentless stream of tantalizing campaigns all designed to pad out his festive wish-list. I’m not blindsided enough not to see the relevance of pitching these teasers at their target demographic but it does smack a little of opportunistic brainwashing and shows again why the media plays such an integral role in the position we find ourselves now. I know the wheels of industry must turn, everyone ultimately has to keep food on the table, and those with enterprise cannot be held culpable for taking advantage of a system set in place to chisel away at our individuality. They’re only human after all. It’s the underhand manner in which these syndicates operate which needles me most, at the spearhead of any of these corporations is a morally bankrupt suit reaping the benefits of others’ woe. Silly rabbits!
It is the reason I remain doggedly single-minded in my pursuit to preserve Rivers of Grue as an organically grown entity and sidestep the bullshit which litters our sidewalks. Should I deem necessary, then there are a number of shortcuts available ,but I’m disinterested in selling my soul to the highest bidder or gargling corporate cum to reach for higher ground. Integrity is far too vital a commodity to squander and, if there has been one thing which I have learned during my tenure as Keeper, then it is that a revolution need not be televised to prosper. Not a solitary red cent has crossed these hands since I gave up full-time employment and ploughed every waking moment into realizing my passion for prose. I may currently be financially destitute but, emotionally, I feel more well-to-do than I’ve ever felt.
When my pet project becomes a global leviathan in years to come it will not be because of the media; indeed it will be in spite of it. My five-year plan is this: for Gruehead Films to become fully self-financed and able to fund its own productions, as well as offering support to other good eggs looking to do the same. The studios churn out a lot of trash in pursuit of the almighty buck and the horror industry, in particular, must be held accountable for it own slipping standards. Should you approach executives and present them their vision then they’ll invariably lure you in with a lousy five-figured sum, make you their bitch for the next decade, and pay you peanuts while they tear your dream apart. By the time your film actually hits the screens, it will have had an extra kill shoehorned in at the thirty-minute mark just to keep audiences on their feet, include a plethora of jump scares, and resemble precious little of your original concept. Meanwhile, you’ll receive your peanuts fee but no pat on the back to make your bad medicine any more palatable.
This needs to change, like, yesterday. These morally corrupt media terrorists have been afforded the deciding share for too long and it is time to wrestle it back from their vile clutches before passion and enthusiasm towards one’s craft becomes a thing of the past. Sometimes it’s preferable swimming against the tide, indeed, it’s the only way to reach pastures new. Nobody else need tell us how to poach our own eggs; we have full editorial when we set out and there’s no reason that should ever be vanquished if we just think smart and steer against such swirling currents of indignity. It may appear tantalizing when you are offered that fast-track away from anonymity and I would never charge another for taking the path more traveled as we all have to put food on the table and wedge those size nines into the door somehow. But I think I shall continue following the path of virtue and see where that leads me. Am I therefore a fool? Perhaps martyrdom beckons? Whatever comes of me my liberty will remain intact. That means more to me than column inches and bloated pay checks any day. And you can print that in your hate rags.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2013
Peeping With Tom
This simply couldn’t be considered a Director’s Cut without a little parting gallery and, in honor of soap opera, I think it only correct to end with a cliffhanger of sorts. While it is customary for me to close with a gaggle of glamorous geese in various states of undress; it doesn’t feel in-keeping with the media theme. Having said such, I already named this Peeping With Tom so I guess I’ve backed myself into a corner. What else could I feasibly conclude with? A bunch of distressing newspaper clippings? Perhaps some shots of executives plundering their secretaries in the stationary cupboard during their lunch breaks? Upskirt shots of celebrities climbing out of their chauffeur-driven rides, with a little air brushed cellulite added to court controversy? Negative, that isn’t likely to shift any units here. Thus, I am going all voyeur with my roving lens and supplying optical candy in the form of the fairer sex. Should you have any complaints, then take them up with editorial, and I shall file your grievances under “things I couldn’t give even a solitary hoot about”. Right now, it’s time to clear those inboxes.