We are hardly into the second week of the Roman New Year. Most of us are dragging ourselves into the offices again, some still on holiday mode. But alas, as the world turns, you get older and you must work to pay your dues and the Astro subscription you signed up for while on a drunken stupor across the mall that day, although you know you only use it to watch football and you know you only watch football to avoid talking about your feelings with your significant other. That’s what WhatsApp is for.
The media are no different from any other profession out there. We have our objectives – to inform the public, to be the voice of the unheard, to even topple governments. But fundamentally, we have to turn a profit or the plug gets pulled. It’s a real scary time for traditional media that grew up in the print age. Now, everyone wants to be an iPhone-swiping millennial.
Today, making money in media means sizable viewerships so that brands can be courted to advertise. Unfortunately for you Dear Reader, that means you’ll have to deal with crappy news for now because nothing exciting ever happens right after the New Year. Right? Well, that depends on what you consider exciting.
Here’s a roundup of the most clickbait-y news pieces produced so far (not out of the necessity for news, but out of the necessity for views) by the media this year. Hey, those newsfeeds don’t fill themselves up, y’know?
Mohd Faiz Subri
After receiving the Puskas Award for Best Goal of 2016 from FIFA, you would think that footballer Faiz has got it made. But all the prestige from the world’s most loved sport can’t save him from the trolls, zealots, and fame-hijackers. If all sportsmen were natural born speakers, they might be politicians instead. TMJ was quick to call out the hypocrisy saying, “This is a good achievement, but we must ask, where does the national football stand in terms of corruption, international standing, and team management in comparisons to teams like Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, or Indonesia that are on a constant or rapid incline.” And our favourite redshirt Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos wants to run as President for Selangor’s state football team. What a wonderful sport indeed. Now, casual commentator who can’t keep it in ’til next week’s game, just STFU and watch this amazing, physics-defying goal-kick.
That CNY Mercedes-Benz Ad
Although light years ahead of their catastrophic ‘Nenepok’ Breast Cancer Awareness PSA, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia has done it again with a series of awkward (in a bad way) Chinese New Year videos. In one episode, two begrudging brothers meet at the end to either exchange words or punches. Cliffhanger, it is not. Maybe the local market is not matured enough to enjoy ads done by Wes Anderson, but at least keep the dramatic acting in check.
Meryl Streep and Mark Hamill
In the States, the #WarAgainstTrump is growing, now with Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep calling out President Trump’s humiliating antics against a disabled journalist while Mark Hamill (the original ‘70s Star Wars’ Luke Skywalker), who voiced the Joker in the animated Batman series, animated films, and videogames, read out President-elect Donald Trump’s New Year Tweet in the Joker’s own deranged tone.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) January 8, 2017
Monkey Fucks Deer in Japan
Interspecies foul-play is something that will definitely get publishers views. Just ask The Star, whom apart from putting this piece of ‘news’ out there for us to consume, also gained views from publishing gory images of a man who had fallen to his death during the holiday season. Well, at least it’s kinda cute to watch these animals get at it. Kinda.
See? Nothing much happening in the world right now, let alone Malaysia. But that’s not going to stop the legions of online publishers from feeding the masses their opium, err, content.
If you think about it hard enough, the reason why most New Year’s Resolutions don’t work out in the end is because we aren’t prepared for the long haul. Blame some Roman dictator named Julius Caesar for forcing us all to kowtow to his calendar system. Maybe one year should not be just 365 days; maybe it should have more days, maybe less. Maybe the fact that we can neatly package each year of our lives in such a manner and completely wipe the slate clean every 365 days is at the root of our misery. Like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, we’re doomed to live in a perpetual loop. Maybe that’s why we all look forward to a new year, so we have one more chance at doing good in life.
If you believe everything that you read in mainstream media, it’s only going to bring you down because the media has to sell the news, the headlines, the sensationalism. So instead of using their headlines as a barometer of how bad or good the year is going to be, or turning out to be, why not have a reality check? After all, even Julius Caesar was eventually killed by his #2. And that’s what happens when you live in the news of the moment.
In before everyone deems 2017 as the Worst Year Ever by the end of it.