The Shadow

"Between the idea / And the reality / Between the motion / And the act / Falls the Shadow . . . For Thine is the Kingdom"

07 February 2007

mX - sure to vex and perplex

It's not easy saying no. No, that's not entirely true - in the blogosphere it's not too difficult. But when you're hurrying for the train in the afternoon and some poor, hapless critter in an oversized T shirt stands in your way holding out a free newspaper it certainly is.

As you lift your head, your eyes inevitably meet the plaintive gaze of the paper peddler and all of a sudden, the prospect of something to hold your attention through all the stand-clear-doors-closings seems appealing. It seems like a good deal.

Then you actually try to read the thing.

When you're standing on the platform wondering where on earth CityRail has managed to hide your train, the last thing you want to read is a mass-gripe on the hopeless state of the rail network. It's bad enough waiting without the chorus of complaints. When you're down, why kick yourself?

After the train has finally arrived and you find yourself nestled between an obliging armpit and a metal pole dripping with sweat, the latest goss from the lives of the rich and famous and the latest lies from the sick "don't-blame-us" mob down in Macquarie St don't really hit the mark either.

There are no real redeeming features. The cute snippets of trivia are worse than trivial, and the quirky dog-that-does-long-multiplication-while-juggling-and-standing-on-it's-head story is bad enough at the end of a TV news bulletin - in print it's just dumb. The rag has no substance, it's a complete bore and it leaves you feeling like you've wasted the time spent reading. And - worst of all - it turns you into a real whinger.

Well, you may say, what do you expect? It is free after all. Yes, I say, that is true, and I no longer seek to read it at all. I take a good book with me instead, but that doesn't help me avoid the wretched thing when I'm rushing to the station in the afternoon.

Then I say no. Repeatedly. Every time I pass one of the paper pushers I'm forced to say it and then they all stare back at me with that pitiful, empty gaze as I continue guiltily on my way. It's not easy but deep down I think it's the better thing to do.

Shadow Poll: What do you think? Have your say here. Which is worse - taking the trashy tabloid and reading it, or saying no?


At 1:31 am, Blogger Jonathan said...

I'm not sure how many people actually do pick up the Metro/thelondonpaper/London Lite, since you can usually find a copy to read lying around on the train anyway.

It doesn't seem to be too hard to say no, either. I don't know if the mX pushers are more forceful or desparate than the London variety, but how can there possibly be anythign wrong with saying no?

At 1:32 am, Blogger Jonathan said...

Of course, the other question is whether mX has any decent crossword or su doku.

At 11:53 pm, Blogger Moffitt the Prophet said...

taking it is much worse...but I'm from Katoomba and so have no dignity to lose.

It is an interesting comment on the development of media...that they can give mx away for free and still make a profit. What a crazy world

At 12:07 am, Blogger tdix said...

Nothing really wrong with saying no. It's just that for some strange reason it makes me feel a little guilty or embarrassed. And besides, as I said, the problem with mX (whether you take it or not) is that it turns you into a whinger.

Crosswords leave me cross and I have no clue about sudoku.

As for the media, most publications these days make the bulk of their money through advertising and the more readers you have, the better returns. Something like mX is also seen as a valuable investment because it is a way to get people to reconnect with print in this e-universe.

Hope the finger is not causing you too many problems Matt, and don't sell yourself short; you're not in Katoomba any more. You're part of the Cooks River community.

At 6:20 am, Blogger TimT said...

A mathematical juggling acrobatic dog? Where? Confound that hound! I can only do one of those things! A HEX ON REX, the pooch in MX, sure to vex and perplex! If I ever get my hands on Rex, I'll make Rex ex, I will!

Also, the crosswords in MX are fairly simple; I think they're done by the same company that does crosswords in The Herald Sun.

Why doesn't Sydney have The Herald Sun? You're missing out on some great literature, let me tell you.

At 10:58 am, Anonymous Ben said...

Just do what I do and tell them you are dyslexic, the look on their face is priceless!

At 4:30 pm, Blogger tdix said...

Melbourne has a paper called the Herald Sun that is sold every day except Sundays. Sydney has a paper called the Sun Herald that is only sold on Sundays.

"...the look on their face is priceless!" - So's mX. How appropriate.


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