The notion of companies paying for “online endorsements” from kids is even more sinister, although parental consent is required. Thanks in part to the media spooking parents into believing there’s a deathtrap full of paedophiles round every corner, kids are kept indoors and bombarded with sales propaganda as it is. They grow up being told, in the most sophisticated manner possible, that products are the ultimate source of self-worth. A recent Unicef report concluded that British kids are desperately unhappy: they have an abundance of toys and products and a lack of attention from their parents.

And we wonder why the ones who can’t afford these products kick in the windows of Currys and Foot Locker, risk arrest for a gizmo, land in jail for the sake of a shoe.

As well as talk of what “values” a “product” is supposed to embody (something that still makes me spasm uncontrollably), there’s also a great passage about pooping.


I’m pretty sick of the constant news coverage about the Norway attacks, so much so that it’s put me off reading newspapers or visiting news websites, a habit that’s so ingrained within me that if I stop doing it for but one day I find myself clawing at the walls and gnawing the furniture in withdrawal.

I still find that preferable to loading up another news site to find the same image of this horrid man posing with a gun. It’s not difficult to imagine why he took such a brazen image. He knew it would be visually arresting and that it would be the ideal image for editors around the world to plaster across their front pages, much as they had done with similar photos of the gunman behind the Virginia Tech massacre, the Kauhajoki massacre in Finland, or with others still. The discovery of these images, after the event itself, gives the story more running time. It draws it out further, adding yet more to the endless analysis, reports, clarifications and updates.

Yes, this is a terrible thing that has happened, something reinforced by the placid and even humdrum nature of Norway, a country so peaceful and sensible that it’s news sometimes had nothing negative to report, a place you’d need an electron microscope to study their crime rate, or to tie yourself to a nuclear bomb to feel unsafe there. But as experts have said a number of times now, constantly showing and talking about the perpetrators behind these kinds of crimes only inspires others:

I would like to forget about this man as soon as possible. I would like news outlets, while acknowledging that such nutjob attacks are horribly tragic, to avoid dwelling on a horrible act and instead move on. I don’t gain a thing from such continued exposure. I’m not sure who does, except this man himself.

If you really, absolutely must read more about the Norway attack, it’s worth noting that there were several acts of personal bravery demonstrated by people when they happened. The same was true of the Virginia Tech massacre, of many others as far back as the infamous University of Texas Massacre. Whenever these things happen, it seems that everyday people are somehow always able to step forward and manifest incredible feats of courage that often save lives.

You have to really search to find their stories, though. They’re never the focus of the news coverage, never the faces on the front page. I’d personally rather these people were the focus of the news, if agencies really feel the need to drag this stuff out, over and over.