The neurological deadline in media
is unutterably severe. When a fact-
check or a copyright citation can
mean the difference between a hy-
pothetical lawsuit and missing the
entire Baltic plain on its way to
work, not a few of us have made a
concession or two, to bring timely
solace to downtown Vilnius. But of
course, that is not what I mean.
Nor is St Petersburg to blame.
No. It turns out, that in churning out the news and such comment as it may require (and coming from our Gothic culture in particular) one has no more than 5.5 seconds, tops, in image hang time, to register a clavicle before the reader's gaze. And it had better be a good one, or demand only spirals for ever costlier cuts. But can we, dear reader, shape our news as Mr Murdoch does, to suit the compulsive habits of a certain clientele, at the expense of all sanity?
We all have our Shetland memories of a kinder, gentler media world. If any of one's readers happened to be looking at the time, I think we would all be ever so glad if they would step forward now, to identify what precipitated this abrupt and, may I say, almost arbitrary demand for clavicle imagery, which has now become a baseline of expectation in our neue sachlichkeit of cognitive consensus. Was it to balance a flock of Falwellian blondes in Addison's and Steele's old perch, for which the once-proud pectoral parapet has been press-ganged into reportage? I shudder to speculate; but as I temporise on the side of truth, dawn encroaches upon Oslo ..