FEATURE1 February 2010

Diary: Say goodbye to socks, locks and jocks

A look back at what’s been occupying our attention this month.

The gift that keeps on giving

Diary is never afraid to take on the big issues of our time – climate change, the recession, etiquette – especially when a story crops up that sees those big themes intersect. That’s right, we’re talking about re-gifting. According to a survey by Money Management International, re-gifting is “losing its stigma”, presumably because we’re all a bit skint and feeling increasingly guilty about the amount of useless crap we acquire and don’t use. Give away your rubbish presents – that’s probably what the person who gave it to you did, and it’s certainly what the person you give it to will do. The inevitable conclusion of this endless cycle of giving is that one day we all end up with the things we bought in the first place, only all scuffed and broken, at which point we will all reach an epiphany about the futility of materialism.

Hairing grievances

The Dallas Morning News wins the headline of the month prize for this beauty: ‘And the survey says – 4-year-old Mesquite boy should cut his hair’. The story was about a dispute between a school in Mesquite, Texas and the boy’s parents, who refused to cut his hair in violation of the school district’s dress code. A poll on the Morning News’ website revealed that readers had little sympathy with the parents – 68% sided with the school, including ‘Bill’, who commented: “This is pretty much a really simple lesson in what the heck is wrong with this country today.”

Keep your opinion to yourself

Diary spotted a poster on the way to work advertising Britainthinks.com, a new site that seems to be positioning itself as a massive focus group/forum/survey site about, well, everything. It’s fronted by a scary-looking man called Jeff who delivers his introductory spiel from outside a pub. Modern life is pretty stressful, says Jeff, what with all the war and terrorism and financial chaos, but by giving people a venue to air their opinions, we can make the world a nicer place to live. But hold on a second, according to that reasoning, Radio 5 Live and the comment boards on the Daily Mail website should be the world’s most serene and relaxing places to hang out. This is sadly not the case. If more sites like this keep popping up, the idea that the public are entitled to their opinions is going to sound more and more like dangerous extremist nonsense with every passing day.

“According to a new survey from Nielsen, 51% of viewers prefer the ads aired during the Super Bowl to the game itself”

We’ll be back after this short football game

In an era where consumers’ patience with advertising is rapidly melting away, the Super Bowl is a ray of hope. According to a new survey from Nielsen, 51% of viewers prefer the ads aired during the Super Bowl to the game itself. For the less numerate readers out there, that’s more than half. Take that, TiVo! This means we have reached the point where the Super Bowl has become an enormous multimillion dollar advertising binge, broken up by snippets of American football. Will our children’s children be sitting complaining about the strange, antiquated game that interrupts their beloved adverts every February?