Platform Blues

It’s all about platform. Katie Price is more important than you and I. Why? Because she has a platform. Katie Price’s thoughts on the government would be listened to, noted down, and widely disseminated. Likewise her thoughts on religion and evolution. Katie Price matters. It doesn’t matter how wise or clever you or I are, how incisive our analysis, how breathtaking your insight, because… well, no-one’s listening; no-one cares; no-one, to adopt a Heselteeny, a shit gives. I don’t matter, and neither do you. You need an audience to matter. It is better to be thick and have an audience than to be bright without one. If you want to be heard, that is. If you don’t mind not being heard, then you can be as bright as you like. It doesn’t matter. Someone will know, sure; you’ll be paid for it somewhere, but you won’t matter as much as Katie Price. Fame is the name of the game. Imagine Simon Cowell holding forth on politics in an interview. That would be headline news. And the Bieber boy’s asinine antics, his every vacuous utterance, attracts the pens and microphones of the world’s media. Imagine if he held forth on quantum mechanics…

Okay. Elongated, Paxmanesque Okaaay. A question: do you buy the above sketchily sketched thesis? Here’s the bit I purchase – that you need a platform. You need a platform to be heard. That much should be, and is (I hope), obvious. The rest of the thesisette is, to say the least, speculative. Where lies the cause and effect? Wherefore are the whys? Dear Katie! How long would she hold her platform if she did, indeed, hold forth on the NHS? Ah, there, as Shakie might have remarked, is the rubbette. Maybe the roles are pre-decided, and the likes of Katie and Simon are just actors successful in the business (the getting on business) of auditioning for them. There probably isn’t a role for a busty babette to hold forth on the issues of the day. Imagine Katie, with a curious look on her botoxed face, remarking, “Isn’t it funny how we always have to be bombing someone. I mean, weird or what. Still, thinking about it, what else are you going to do with all that military hardware?” No, I don’t thinks so. Our Katie would simply stop being heard. The amplifiers know how to put people in their place.

Things only matter when other people say they matter, and they have to be persuaded that they matter. So – obviously – most of Africa doesn’t matter. Doesn’t get reported, no-one who matters talks about it, so it doesn’t matter. It only matters when a BT Ratter says it matters – when it’s celebrity endorsed. That’s the way of the world. It’s a struggle – possibly an impossible struggle – to be heard on one’s own terms, though independent media might fleetingly create the illusion that it’s not. It may be that once you’ve been heard, heard enough to guarantee that the next time you utter you’ll also be heard, that your message has already been corrupted. You’re heard because someone, some floating agenda, wants you to be heard, not because there was anything intrinsically valuable about your words or utterances. Every idea with currency has someone with an agenda giving it currency. Notice how no-one talks about Nationalization any more, not even Katie Price or Simon Cowell. It’s not an idea that anyone wants to be heard. Agenda has decided that that idea is buried, interred, unresurrectable. Mentioned, if at all, by political zombies uninterested in the important business of being elected. You can always speak the truth, so long as you don’t care about being heard. Why did America invade Iraq? Oh, yeah, oil. Not if you want to be heard, it isn’t. If you want to be heard, it was to promote democracy. Feel free to debate whether it went well or not, whether it was a good idea or not, whether it went wrong in the execution or not, but don’t, if you want to be heard, suggest it was anything other than the promotion of democracy. This is how we got America, the victim, in the Vietnam war.

No-one on mainstream media is ever going to suggest that Donald Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney are evil, though they most certainly are – either that or sociopathically deluded to an extent that makes the distinction in terms of outcomes and effects near meaningless. The BBC won’t be commissioning any programmes that suggest that the USA is the major problem in the world or the principal aggressor – that’s simply not going to happen. The bigger the platform, the less likely you are to hear the truth. When you have a big platform, you become risk-averse and mediocre. Protecting the platform becomes the name of the game, keeping the audience. Why risk alienating anyone, especially if you can be accused of abusing your privileged platform position if you do? A rogue voice might get through on a live broadcast, but you can be sure it won’t be repeated in subsequent bulletins. Didn’t happen; move on; now for some sleb news. “Tom Cruise is in town today to promote…” OMG!. And here’s some more click-bait to keep you stupid…


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Writer, Test Analyst, born in Scotland half a century ago - now living in England with my partner and cat.

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