Dulltown, UK: Today’s existential angst is centred around the sound of the word bathyscaphe…
I may have mentioned this before in these pages, but I do find the British Broadcasting Corporation a bit cocky and annoying…
‘Oh god no! What is it now?…’ I hear you mutter.
Well, a while back, on the BBC’s World Service radio station they introduced a new-style news programme; they called it Outside Source.
Outside source? What the hell does that mean? Outside where? The street in London where their studios are?
The only difference you could hear between this new thing and a normal news broadcast was the noisy distracting hubbub of a busy newsroom in the background as they told us what’s been happening in the world – I suppose this was an attempt to make things more ‘exciting’ and ‘real’ and ‘up to the minute’ for the listener.
Outside Source – it must be a bit of journalist jargon that I’ve not encountered before.
The BBC folk these days are desperately trying to be ‘cool’ – well – plump, smug, middle-class journalist cool – it’s a bit like when your grandparents buy themselves bright expensive trendy training shoes to go round town in. They are relentlessly promoting themselves (the BBC, not your grandparents) along with their programmes and their news output. And they are trying to convince us that all their journalists are modern heroes and heroines, putting themselves in danger daily, all over the world, just for us. Every hour or so on the BBC TV rolling news they show us a montage of video clips (with stirring throbbing 120 BPM music) of their plucky people wearing Kevlar vests nervously doing ‘pieces to camera’ with explosions, smoke, sad-eyed children, and some nice ruined buildings burning in the background…
Ah, but back to Outside Source – I suppose the idea of that title is to encourage us the audience, to enter into the wonderful world of journalism and its odd vocabulary – so that we can be ‘cool’ too:
‘Hey Bob, I heard a very interesting thing on Outside Source yesterday…’
‘Did you Jane? What’s Outside Source?’
‘It’s what the BBC are calling their new news programme Bob.’
‘I don’t know… Maybe it just sounds better than “The News”…’
Breaking News… Breaking News… Breaking News… Breaking News…
Well, not really – but recently I noticed that they seem to have suddenly abandoned calling it Outside Source.
‘Really Dave? That’s very odd. What do they call it now?’
Well, it’s now called ‘OS‘.
‘What does OS mean?’
I suppose it’s the initials of Outside Source – they probably think that we have learned that piece of jargon by now, so they’ve made it even cooler sounding by trimming it down to OS.
‘Hey Bob, I just heard something very pithy on OS.’
‘OS Jane? What’s that?’
‘It’s the BBC news Bob.’
‘Sure it’s not BS Jane?’
‘Oh, you’re probably right Bob… Yes, it’s been going that way for ages – oh, what a pity…’