METROBLOG: The story of Phil Morley and his headline grabbing predecessor

I have a super freaky memory for stuff that really doesn’t matter whatsoever. I can memorise entire episodes of Peep Show that I’ve only seen once or twice…but remember to take my lunch to work? Buy milk when I go shopping? Someone’s birthday? Nope, doesn’t register. This automatic sectioning off of my ability to remember important stuff meant I got average grades at A-level and ended up emotionally jaded against people that got into Cambridge and Oxford. I mean I wasn’t clever enough to get into Cambridge or Oxford but my grades would probably have significantly improved if I hadn’t had the theme from cult 90’s comedy show “The Mary Whitehouse Experience” playing continuously in my head during my English Literature exams.

This happens with news stories as well. The news is pretty much a well established set of stories with interlinking continuity that if you’re not caught up with it, you’re going to get lost. Its kind of like comic books having a massive multiverse that would make your head explode and take years to memorise all of it. Catching up takes time and so my brain sections it off and doesn’t bother with it. What’s up with the Syrian rebels at the moment? Why are there massive protests in Turkey? Why are people afraid of the new Iranian president? What is the reason people give for not really seeing North Korea as the serious nuclear threat it claims to be? What’s Vladimir Putin done recently that’s bound to have pissed people off? I don’t know, I can’t remember anything I’ve read about it and have no interest finding out the hows or whys. However when it comes to tiny insignificant stories that don’t really matter and are just printed for the light hearted fluff of it all; that I do remember. So when I see this:

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Which is talking about an NHS boss called Phil Morley making a cheesy cringy employee motivational video (which can be seen and laughed at in full here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RW3kRj_MCv8 ) to get them to stay fit and healthy at work while dressed as Superman in a shallow desperate bid to say he’s filling his role and justifying his six figure salary, who they’re making out to be worse than Hitler in this story. When I see that then my question is, hang on a second, anyone remember this?

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Yeah, a few months back a guy brought a criminal to a police station dressed as Batman and I specifically remember that most news outlets, including the Metro thought this was all cute and quaint and admirable. I mean yeah it is different, a superhero is a masked vigilante turning in the criminals to the authorities and not some guy in an office making cheesy promotional videos, and yes this Phil Morley twat gets his pay from taxpayer money, but at the same time they’re both doing a job while dressed as superheroes, except one is paid quite a lot for it and one isn’t. It’s an interesting question of where you draw the line.

Admittedly the guy dressed as Batman wasn’t officially employed by the police to turn someone in and succeeded in his role as vigilante, while the NHS boss was…well being a twat and got paid taxpayer money for it. Same time though, vigilantism is technically not okay, as is being a twat, so who’s to say which is right and which is wrong?

Still, we’ve got two of the emergency services aided or annoyed by costumed heroes. The police and the health service; one police related superhero hailed as a decent member of society, one health related superhero completely backfired in his attempt to enthuse workforce morale. Now all we need is for the firemen to dress like the X men and people to go “meh, s’okay I guess” and we’ve got the complete spectrum of the good the bad and the just okay I suppose.

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Alright, yes I will admit spending public money on the people making this dumb video is a talking point. Especially since the NHS is kind of stretched to its limit at the moment with regard to funding. Staff go without breaks, spending cuts across the board, there’s a lot of problems with the NHS at the moment and with a fairer system in place to ensure everyone gets a decent wage, then we’d have less reason to complain about shit like this wasting valuable resources. Yes I agree with all of that but I just find it hard to get pissed off at this like most people calling it an insult to the taxpayers that pay for the NHS rather than an insult to the workforce that are the real victims of NHS cuts as that’s really what affects the people receiving treatment.

Yes it is an insult to the workforce in terms of wasted time, money and effort. Its also an insult on grounds of “hey everyone! Why’re you so unenthusiastic at work! Let’s be superheroes!” Bosses trying to be motivational kind of always backfire for very simple reasons. I’ve been there myself when it comes to qualms with attempts at “morale boosting”. I used to work in customer service and am well versed in the mental middle fingers to people who think that the way to get someone to smile and be happy with their job is to just say “come on smile and be happy misery guts!” because that will make them smile. Really? I can smile? I thought I was supposed to look miserable. Thank you for enlightening me, just telling me to smile has made me so much happier. Ahh, let’s all pick flowers beneath a rainbow, everything’s alright now you’ve just said the words “cheer up you miserable git” its like you exude happiness from yourevery orifice.

Pointing out that someone is unhappy and unfit is not morale boosting, its openly going “NERNER!! I’M HAPPY WITH WHERE I AM IN LIFE AND YOU AREN’T!! NERNER!” I can totally sympathise if you are an NHS worker looking at this from that perspective.

Still though I really don’t think this NHS Superman video is much to kick off about. Especially with the excuse from people outside the miserable underpaid grind of the health service frontlines with “ooh public taxes” you do know that taxes get spent on a lot of really dumb shit, right? And I’m not just talking about the MP’s expenses, porn, moats, bird houses etc, there’s a lot of stuff being spent on by governments across the world that makes this look tiny by comparison.

This is a true story: in the US, five hundred and ninety two thousand dollars of state funding was given to this man

To study and find the answer as to why apes seem to have a pre-conceived compulsion to fling their shit at people………………….taxpayer funded study. Seriously, the guy’s dancing to Tony Christie while dressed as Superman. Calm the fuck down.

 

Stuart would like to note he is a UK taxpayer and also thinks this twat shouldn’t have got money for this. He just thought it was a talking point

 

On a completely unrelated note, I picked up the Standard recently and saw this advert for Game of Thrones:

spoiler…okay has the Metro’s twattish Game of Thrones spoilergate and then crying about people being mean to them about it given inspiration to the Game of Thrones marketing department? Or maybe it was a PR stunt organised between the Metro and the Game of Thrones marketing department. I’m off to send threatening emails and tweets to the Metro’s editors to find out more…

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METROBLOG: The Metro Game of Thrones Spoiler follow up: Insulting your demographic

So yeah, apparently I wasn’t the only one really annoyed about the Game of Thrones spoiler in the Metro yesterday. I spent a lot of last night twitter and facebook stalking their editors and writers who were getting quite a lot of death threats (strangely none of which were from me and I only had a look because I thought it would be funny). So naturally I picked up the Metro this morning to see what their response would be:

scan0003….taking the high road obviously.

Y’know what’s a terrible strategy for a newspaper to employ? Going out of its way to actively insult their readers on their front page. Bravo. You receive the slow clap of complete fucking dickishness……….*clap*…………..*clap*……………*cl*

Yeah we’re moaning but we didn’t “accuse” you of giving away the ending to people who hadn’t seen it you “did” give the ending away for people who hadn’t seen it otherwise people wouldn’t be saying “you gave away the ending for me when I hadn’t seen it” that’s kind of how this works guys…you dicks.

They also published a parody article thing about the supposedly “hysterical” idea of spoilers akin to what I do. Here’s a picture

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……..You dicks. You complete dicks….yes I reprinted it for the purposes of criticism and review, this is a valid criticism. You dicks.

You may call double standards because I write dickish parody newspaper articles akin to this and I’m just moaning because its contrary to my opinion but…well yeah just that. This twist wasn’t as obvious as “Sean Bean dies in everything he’s in” not everyone knew it or saw it coming whereas Sean Bean is the one that dies is obvious because there’s a predecent for it. This episode came out the other day and not everyone is caught up with the books. This pisstake article doesn’t work because its not even a similar line of logic. What I do is take a similar line of logic and take it to the most ridiculous of logical extremes…which is kind of what the original article this is based on did so think of this as parody in reverse.

If you read the article response the Metro put out accompanying this, which is actually available here:

http://metro.co.uk/2013/06/05/was-metro-right-to-spoil-the-ending-of-game-of-thrones-3829249/

It will probably make you want to fling a fistful of dog poo at the Metro editors because its a smarmy load of arse that anyone with two braincells could pick holes in in a matter of seconds but by all means read it. They’re also choosing their words extra smarmily on this one because they want to make themselves look like they already have the high ground when they’re just coming across as utterly smug. You didn’t “reveal the ending to something that had already been broadcast” you ambushed people with it. If it had been a smaller article in the middle, then we could say you revealed it, this was an ambush. We would have accepted an apology but no, you had to be a dick.

The line given is “in the digital age you’re only a few clicks away from spoilers anyway” you are not the internet Metro, you have an internet strand, a website, but this is a newspaper. By nature, people don’t know what they’re going to get. You’ll only stumble on spoilers 1 click away if you type into google “WHAT HAPPENS IN THE LATEST EPISODE OF GAME OF THRONES” you don’t need to do a whole lot to avoid spoilers on a TV show, this is not a justification. No one knew you’d be talking about the other night’s Game of Thrones right the fuck out of nowhere on page 3.

And I see what some people have been saying, its free, you don’t need to read it. Problem with this is what incentive did I have to do otherwise? At least people who are into sport know not to look at the back pages if they aren’t up to date. The Metro is a free bit of reading material on the commute to work, at what point was I supposed to think when opening to that page “gee what if its a slow news day and they decided to ambush me with a spoiler for Game of Thrones on the inside cover?”

And even though I didn’t pay for it, I have every right to be fucking mad. If someone knocked me over in the street and shoved his balls in my face then do I have no right to complain because he didn’t charge me for it?

The article doesn’t even work once you have actually seen it, its just reiterating what people who had seen it already knew, its not “discussing” the event its just reporting on it quite massive and right at the front of the paper in an important section. Who was this article actually for? People who aren’t into Game of Thrones and reporting what Game of Thrones fans think about a twist in it? Who would care about that? Who wants to see it in a newspaper? Why is it vital to your demographic?

Your demographic by the way (in case whichever tosspot decided this would be a better stance than actually saying sorry for a dick move) is people who commute into and around London. People with 9-5 jobs who spend at least an hour a day travelling and have time to kill and a newspaper to read. People with families, people with lives, people with other shit to do who don’t always have time to watch Game of Thrones when its broadcast, or they don’t have sky or want to save it for later. It doesn’t matter if it had ALREADY BEEN BROADCAST and…seriously you bunch of fucking dicks. There is no excuse you can come up with that will make me shut up and stop demanding an apology.

And so because the Metro never admit that they’re wrong, which they are, we’re never going to get an apology and are just going to be told to get over it.

I’m still going to keep reading it because 1: its free and gives me something to write about and 2: its owned by the same company that owns the Daily Mail and therefore is more likely to be a perfect example of English tabloid journalism at its absolute worst, most crass and venal.

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Also let it be noted I would still accept an apology if you’d get off your high bloody horse that’s probably penetrated the ozone layer by this point.

METROBLOG: TV spoilers in Newspapers: No it is not okay and here is why

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….see Metro editors, was writing that sentence really that hard?

No seriously, if you’ve invested any emotional involvement in Game of Thrones and haven’t seen the latest episode yet, look away now.

I’m not kidding, major spoiler in the below picture taken from inside the front cover on page 3 of the metro today taking up not just an off handed tiny paragraph article about frivilous entertainment, FULL FUCKING PAGE

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…..gee, thanks for that Metro writers. I didn’t have time to watch the new episode anyway, so I guess it’s just as well that you’ve told me what happens and all the characters that die so I don’t even have to bother. Well done Metro writers for making me seriously stop caring about a show I liked……urgh.

Seriously, the idea of “SPOILER WARNING” has become kind of a pre-requisite when talking about a twist in a movie or a book or something so why the hell did this not occur to the writers when going “hmm, a massive plot twist has been provoking strong reactions from fans, let’s put it on the fucking inside cover in massive font with pictures”.

I mean the Metro have an online presence, surely they’re familiar with the concept of a Spoiler warning. If you reveal a twist and someone had yet to watch the thing with the twist without going “oh yeah spoiler warning”, people are going to grill you alive for it, this is about as obvious as two plus two equals four and that Michael Gove has a face like a squished pumpkin. The fact it was so massive and obvious and you can’t avoid it…it can’t have been an accident. So I refuse to believe publishing a massive article like this was a mistake and they didn’t think people who hadn’t had the chance to watch it yet would have it spoiled for them. Publishing the words “THREE CHARACTERS KILLED OFF IN BRUTAL TWIST” next to a picture of Catelyn with a knife at her throat stood next to Robb…there is no way that was an accident. Seriously was I supposed to just look away the second I reached page 2 and realized it was about Game of Thrones and revealing a massive twist when I hadn’t got to that bit in the series yet?

No. This was an antagonistic move. It must have been. There is no chance it wasn’t. This article is pretty much this:

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Well, the intention might not have been that word for word, but it feels like that.

The Metro have actually published an article related to this, it says it was published yesterday so it must have been written as this editorial decision was made so yes, their intention was to ruin it for people because hell, was it utterly necessary this ran in a massive eye catching article on page 3 where you can’t avoid it if you happen to want to?

http://metro.co.uk/2013/06/04/after-game-of-thrones-red-wedding-when-is-a-spoiler-a-spoiler-3828216/

The gist of the justification for this is, if you care about a series enough to avoid spoilers you should have been up to date with it and anyway and besides, in an online age, you’re just one click away from a spoiler so if you don’t know about it and are pissed off, pftt, sucks to be you NERNERNERNER!!!! Seriously what twats.

I’m okay with papers going “oh my God did you see Game of Thrones last night?” Its a watercooler talking point yes and its okay to discuss it in a newspaper but….well yeah, this is a newspaper…its supposed to, y’know, talk about important things….especially right at the front in a massive headline. If this was in a small article in the entertainment section where its easily avoidable if you want to avoid it then fine but LOOK!!! THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS!! IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET THEN YOU’RE OBVIOUSLY AN IDIOT!!

Yes, if you’re invested, you should be up to date…in principle, but that demands the concept that people who are invested don’t have…um….FUCKING LIVES? I get barely enough time to sit down and have a cup of tea over the week as it is, let alone sit in front of Game of Thrones for an hour, I’m surprised I’m as far through it as I am. “oh you’re gonna run into spoilers anyway” yes I see your argument but that doesn’t mean you should fucking provoke it by out and out shouting “LOOK AT THE DEAD CHARACTERS!!” you don’t NEED to publish this in this place in the paper, it is not vital you publish it here even if your vapid excuse that everyone who cares will have already seen it did hold water, because it doesn’t. This aired a couple of days ago, there is no fucking excuse for this.

This was an ambush. How the fuck was I supposed to know that a major spoiler for Game of Thrones would be right there in my morning paper you stupid pricks?

In a perfect world, the amount of complaints that the Metro should rightfully get over this, tomorrow their page three article should look like this

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I mean yeah I’m going to keep reading the Metro to write my stupid blog about it but seriously, this was not okay and…actually no I’m not backing down on this one, they should publish an article just as big tomorrow saying “WE ARE VERY SORRY”.

And you may say I’m overreacting because hell, the book’s been out since 2000 and I’m doing the lazy thing watching the series first. I am reading the books though, I’ve finished watching season 2 and saving season 3 till I’ve at least finished the second book (of which I’m about a quarter of the way through at time of writing). I’m just catching up and so are lot’s of people and this wasn’t fair.

Alright, I will admit that I am culpable for spoiling stuff in the past. I have openly mocked people with spoilers for the Harry Potter films because believe it or not some people were actually watching the films without having read the books. I did that because the Harry Potter books are easy reads, you can get through all of them in about two weeks, it took me a weekend to read the seventh one. It just boggled my mind that people could be so lazy as to not bother with the books but bother with the films when without the books, the films are really kind of weak. Game of Thrones is a different matter as for one thing both books and series are equally strong, and Game of Thrones doesn’t have the appeal or similar audience as Harry Potter and is mostly growing in popularity recently because of the TV series and spoiling it like this….seriously, who the hell decided this was a good idea?

Its not as though they thought “oh yeah, everyone invested in Game of Thrones at the moment will know that Catelyn and Robb die” because this twist isn’t well known or famous like some twists are. Some twists are famous for being well known and spoiled, like say the ending of Planet of the Apes….the twists’s kind of right there on the poster.

Hmm…I wonder what planet this Planet of the Apes might be?

And yes, I get the argument that when does it stop becoming a spoiler as noted in this article of stupid base crass generalizations. How long should you leave it? Should I be annoyed if someone spoils say the end of the Sopranos, a series from years ago, that you haven’t got to yet? The article says no…it doesn’t offer any concrete reason for saying no but I on the other hand say that if someone was midway through a series boxset and didn’t want to know the end then I’d probably show some common fucking courtesy if people still haven’t got to it yet and keep quiet about it to them. Its not about “if you’re invested you’d have seen it already” its about being fucking polite.

Yes I would put a timestamp on it. If something like Planet of the Apes has such a famous twist and has been out for nearly half a century, its okay. If something came out the other day and you’re ambushing people with it on their way to work; that’s what makes you a dick. Fuck you whoever decided this was a good idea and fuck you for this pathetic justification for it. This article was just going “NERNER!! You haven’t got there yet slowpoke!”

Eat a bag of dicks you dicks.