John Terry Causes Shit Journalism

Calum wrote a piece on SB Nation today explaining why so much of the stuff written about JT’s trial was rubbish. You can read it here. It’s good (Calum). But it doesn’t name names. So here’s a name: Natasha Henry. Her thing, in the Observer (the actual one, not just the website – though you can find it there here), was the worst. The single worst. The most shit. Piece of journalism.

Graham MacAree, on We Ain’t Got No History, explained in some detail what was wrong with it. He got called a holocaust denier for his trouble. Which is strange. To head that off: the holocaust definitely happened.

What Graham’s go leaves out, though, is comment on the sheer vacuity of the piece. What are you talking about Natasha? What? Just look at this pair of sentences (they’re also, actually, a paragraph all in their own right too; the second last paragraph – the crescendo, if you will – bear that in mind):

How do I explain to my 10-year-old cousin that racially charged language is not OK, when now perhaps it is? Of course, this is based on the fact that it wasn’t said in an insulting manner.

This is so bad. Really just unspeakably bad. The circularity is unbearable. The prose just chases itself. Round and Round. It’s inescapable. So what to do with it?

You could try and answer her question, but I think you’d have some difficulty figuring out what her question is. You could point out that racially charged language is, by definition, said in an insulting manner. That’s what ‘charged’ means. But if you did that, then you’d sort of nullify the presumably rhetorical purpose of the question. Why does she say fact? You could point out that lots of things which are not ok – farting in lifts for example – are not necessarily illegal. You could ask her what the hell she is playing at with her pronouns.

But there’s probably no point. It’s shit and sometimes you’ve got to just call shit shit and move on. It feels better.

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