When news just isn’t news

I like the Sun-Herald and I read it every Sunday. But I didn’t like the fact that slap bang on today’s front page was Kristy Fraser-Kirk and her fiancee and the headline, “EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Kristy Fraser-Kirk on marriage and life after DJs”. It’s one of those stories that you would expect from trashy tabloids like New Idea (together with a massive cover photo). I do wonder, does anyone still care about a person who hogged so much of the spotlight last year? I’m sure we’re sick of hearing about her.

The Fraser-Kirk update wasn’t the only story that irritated me. On page three, there was another un-newsworthy story about Juanita Phillips, the ABC newsreader. Yes, a newsreader is a fascinating news item! It turns out her marriage is on the rocks and her husband is in hospital suffering from bowel cancer. As the ABC said, it’s a private matter, and also it’s none of anyone’s business.

Perhaps it was a slow news day. but how depressing to think that good ratings depends on stories like these.

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Pop music’s obsession with sex

Checked out the iTunes Singles or the ARIA Singles Charts lately? You won’t be surprised to know that many of the songs that feature in the top 20 are just about sex with not much subtlety.

Let’s look at the iTunes Singles Chart (as of January 30). First place is taken by Rihanna’s S&M. In case you weren’t aware, that’s short for sadomasochism. Number two is Wynter Gordon’s Dirty Talk. No prizes for guessing what that song is about. Katy Perry’s Ryan Tedder-esque E.T. takes fourth place, and it’s basically a song about Perry’s sensual love for an extraterrestrial alien who she begs to “take me…wanna be your victim, ready for abduction”.  Enrique Iglesias’ terrible track Tonight (I’m F***in’ You) comes in at number nine. (The censored counterpart that replaces the f-word with Lovin’ is at number 25.)

Then there’s Avril Lavigne’s single What The Hell at number 10 and from the surface you would not even guess that the song was related to sex at all. Well, if you google the lyrics – as you do with all songs – you notice that the ex-sk8er girl is telling off her boyfriend for wanting a monogamous relationship. “You say that I’m messing with your head All ’cause I was making out with your friend. Love hurts whether it’s right or wrong I can’t stop ’cause I’m having too much fun”.

What else is there? Oh, there’s Usher’s More at number 13. I haven’t actually heard this particular track but upon doing a quick Google search, I found that once again it’s just like the songs I’ve already mentioned – sex, sex and more sex in wonderfully descriptive language: “I’m a beast, I’m an animal, I’m that monster in the mirror, the headliner, finisher, I’m the closer, winner. Best when under pressure one second’s left I show up.”

I’m not done yet and I am only at number 15, which is taken up by The Lonely Island’s I Just Had Sex. No explanation needed again. Little Red occupies the 18th spot with Rock It, a track that isn’t quite clear about what it’s on about. Is the band singing about dancing all night long or something else? Hmmmm.

Lastly, Britney Spears’ new single, Hold It Against Me is at number 19. The song has no artistic quality at all, but as a pop music enthusiast, I quite like it despite its shallow lyrical content courtesy of Max Martin and Dr Luke. It’s like her last single, 3 – complete trash, but terribly catchy and addictive.

That rounds up the iTunes Top 20 Singles Chart. I hope you won’t hold it against me – definitely not in the way Britney is insinuating – and think that I hate pop music because I think it’s all sex-driven. I confess that I do enjoy pop music. I even admitted that I liked Britney’s single. But perhaps you will be a bit more conscious of the lyrical content of songs you listen to when you turn on the radio or iPod.

2010: another year of sex scandals

Have you lost track of how many sex scandals have been exposed by the media during 2010? No doubt you would. 2010 was another year filled with plenty of scandal to keep the media happy. In Sunday’s Sun-Herald, Matt Golding published a witty cartoon that summed this up. I thought it was hilarious especially with the dog staring directly at “Canberra Raiders Lewd Act With Dog”.

Notice the pun used- “naughties”. I thought this was a very clever and accurate way to describe the decade that has passed. We like to talk about it as being a time of great technological advances thanks to smartphones and social media. But along with their popularity, we have seen a surge in the number of sex scandal stories to the extent that it might as well have its own section in the news.

Crikey recently published an interesting article describing how things have changed dramatically thanks to smartphones and social media. In the past, those whose dirty secrets were exposed were just unlucky. “The two Aston Villa stars made a VHS video (remember them?) in 1998 with four women only for “Joe Public” to “find” the video in Yorke’s garbage and hand it to UK tabloid The Sun,” writes Leigh Josey.

Nowadays, you don’t need to dig around someone’s trash to find a sex scandal because there is Facebook and Twitter, or better yet, the Internet where anything and everything will viral. There’s no point thinking about policing this because it’s impossible. Plus, you have to be really stupid to let people take photos of you doing something like having sex with a dog.

Unless these celebrities finally get the point and learn to think (I highly doubt this), we can only expect more sex scandals in 2011 and in the next decade.