There is a long tradition in the media about this period of the year. As nobody will fail to be aware, this is (or is supposed to be) the silly season. Nothing worthy of note is supposed to happen. News reports dry up, and the void fills with fait-divers (what was that?) and gossip (about the stars, the earthlings, that is).
As a contribution to that respected ‘tradition’ (which I have followed in previous years), today, the silly season provides the main thrust to this column.
In fact, “silly season” may well be a misnomer (if not just another piece of fake news, a cliché I prefer to avoid here). Maybe, it is even a bit self-serving for the media. What do I mean? Like almost everybody else, media redactions throughout the world, especially in the northern hemisphere, would rather be somewhere else, enjoying what they believe is a well-deserved vacation.
But, then, we are likely to face a conundrum: what’s the cause and what’s the consequence? There is less news because the reporters are not looking (few bird spotters), or the reporters take a break because there is no news (fewer visiting birds)? I ask; it is up to the benevolent reader to decide. I won’t get into that; my editor might be unpleased.
And yet, we know things keep happening, and not all minor ones. It is possibly not by whim that a most influential study on World War One is called “Guns of August.” Things do happen in August! (Wikipedia will tell you everything about it).
You may even be surprised by how many seemingly minor regulations and policies governments around the world ‘prefer’ passing or setting in motion in the depths of August. Summer temptations!
This season might then, just possibly, justify a different approach. Maybe we should look more carefully at what is happening around the world now, when most media, not to mention the average ‘us,’ are not looking (maybe covid changed that?) That might be more justified at times like these.
When we feel that age is closing behind while the outline of a different one is settling, yet undefined, before us. Or, as the bard Dylan stated in one of the most iconic songs of the late sixties (it seems aeons ago), “the times they are a-changin’ “(Google will lead you to the lyrics). Happy August readings.