Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
Christopher Jackson
Features Writer
9:14 AM 17th March 2020

Tune in, Take in, Tune out!

Apologies for my lengthy absence - my temperament of late would have created content on which my editor might have voiced an unequivocal demurral.

But I can contain myself no longer. A concatenation of nonsense has left me affronted and unable remain silent. A headline today shrieked ‘Save our Elderly’ whilst on TV this week’s publicity round was all about the film Misbehaviour - a biopic based on the 1970 Miss World contest. And what is the common denominator here? - that’s easy, it’s my unutterable dismay at the nonsense we are now subjected to.

Miss World 1970
Miss World 1970
No one doubts that the Coronavirus is a serious issue, but the media are working towards making it the biggest self fulfilling prophecy of all time.

Fact - deaths from flu England in 2017/2018 were 26,408. ( Source Public Health England )
Fact - Road deaths England 2018 - 1770 - serious casualties 26,610 ( Source UK Government)
Fact - Deaths from Prostate Cancer 2018 11,700 (Source Cancer Research)
Fact - Deaths from heart attack 2018- wait for it, 170,000!

So as a 67 year old (now close to being curfewed!) who has just had his PSA test, takes statins and drives, it’s a wonder I dare climb out of bed. Oh yes and I’ve just been on a cruise around Hawai’i. I maybe the biggest pariah in Yorkshire.

With 24/7 news, a million channels and smartphone media hitting us every second, it’s unsurprising things get overblown. The news channels fill each day covering this singular story by cutting it from every angle, dissecting it every which way, and wringing from it every juicy horror they can. So as the header says Tune in, Take in, then Tune out! Trust me on this, to do otherwise is to compromise your mental health. Discriminate and grab hold of your common sense - your country needs you! Brad Pitt in army fatigues will not be toting an AK47 in your street.

And Misbehaviour? - in case you missed it, it’s a film chronicling the 1970 Miss World Contest which ended in amusing chaos having been hijacked by women’s libbers. Forgive the colloquialism, before I’m pilloried, but that was the term used then. I make no comment other than to note that the indignity exhibited by the protesters contrasted totally with the willingness of contestants to take part. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m unaware of any contestant being press ganged into it. There was also a racist / apartheid issue raised about Miss Africa South ( as opposed to Miss South Africa) a title offered as a token to ensuring a Black Women could take part. Anti apartheid protesters were understandably outraged, but Pearl Jensen pragmatically determined it was a way out, and an opportunity to be a successful model. My point is that it’s rarely as clear cut as it appears. As for women finding it degrading I recall it was family watching - would you believe 25 million viewers, half of them women. Taken in the context of today’s social mores, one can see how anachronistic and seemingly Neanderthal it might appear. But hey, linking the launch of the film as prescient vis a vis Harvey Weinstein and underpinning #metoo is a leap to far. Ok - you disagree? Well at least consider the ludicrous paradox of claiming we’ve moved forward from those misogynistic days, with the millions of teenage and young adult women who spend hours using clever Apps to tweak their selfies before posting on line to get ‘likes’. If Miss World objectified women then what on earth are these doctored photos doing? And guess what - no men involved in this one.

Moreover, there’s another take on Miss World. Back to common sense perhaps. What about Mr Universe - men in budgie smugglers posing unashamedly. Surely a dreadful objectification of men .... and yet I fail to recall reading about men throwing their jockstraps on stage in disgust. Ok, I can accept the comparison is hardly waterproof and may be full of logical holes, but it’s close enough, is it not, to beg the question. My point is this, there are times when we need to ease up and not take things so seriously. And, to cut to the chase, aren’t we all selling something. Success for each of us ultimately comes down to utilising the talents and physical gifts we’ve been given. Being beautiful and clever are certainly not mutually exclusive - but is using ones beauty to further oneself, somehow less admirable than using ones brains? I don’t think so, and if so, who is claiming the moral high ground?

So indulge me with an invocation of Henry V and some ‘Once more into the breach ‘ tautology.

Tune in - take in the info you need - then tune out and enjoy the day the best you can. To paraphrase - ‘Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, show some common sense and do some good’.

With apologies to William Shakespeare.