Having been an avid consumer of international news for as long as I can remember, my sometimes overloaded and news-hungry brain becomes confused about why certain stories or people are being so prominently and perpetually covered by global news media houses. An example arose last week with headlines everywhere about pictures of an elected political leader happily dancing the night away while dressed in eye-catching attire.
This may possibly have been a reasonable lead story had the politician been Nancy Pelosi, the octogenarian Speaker of the US House of Representatives, provocatively shaking her bootie alongside septuagenarians President Joe Biden, Senator Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump and a few others of their geriatric ilk in Washington, DC.
However, the focus of this global news story was the attractive 36 year-old Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin, simply enjoying a weekend night out with friends and family. Apparently, someone attending the private event decided to leak a short video recorded on a cell-phone to Finnish media, and it went viral, as the saying goes. The young politician was forced to defend her perfectly normal actions against unfounded accusations that her hip gyrations and movements suggested that she was on drugs. A couple of days later, she appeared before a ravenous horde of media cameras to deny ever taking drugs, and to notify that drug-test results were pending.
It’s never been a trait of mine to defend politicians, but to anyone with a few functioning brain cells it’s obvious that Finnish PM Marin should in future demand that those attending any private social event with her, must leave their cell-phones in a secure place under lock and key. It also shows that international media houses will go to any lengths to fill their 24/7 schedules, and is an unwelcome reminder of the all-pervasive power of the cell-phone if it is in the wrong hands, as is so often the case.
Back in 2018 in neighbouring Sweden, a 15 year-old schoolgirl in pigtails was photographed protesting Climate Change outside Stockholm’s Riksdag Parliament Building. The girl was cutting class and playing hooky to make her protest, thus foregoing an education that countless millions of teenagers around the world would crave. The pictures soon went viral, and the sometimes perplexing and stunted child, Greta Thunberg, became an instant global celebrity influencer; so willing to voice her opinion to all and sundry, whether they were willing to listen or not, and given incredible platforms from which to do so.
That’s the awesome and awful power of viral videos in this somewhat crazy interconnected world that we all try to navigate. Some folks may love being the centre of all the attention, and in a few cases may even be worthy of it, while others may simply just want to be with friends dancing the night away.
Bernie Smith, Parksville