We are bombarded with bad news. In these latter days more than ever. 24 Hour news channels that seldom have anything but doom-laden bulletining’s of scandalous regard. War, Politics, terrorism, the celebrity death race, more war, scandal’s, police killings, mass shootings, the rise of the far right, natural disasters, sex scandals, rapists, paedophiles, global warming, global warming deniers, Brexit, Syria, Trump, Russian aggression, North Korea, racism , homophobia, sexism and lastly good old fashioned war because there is always more than one of them….. 24 hour a day, day in day out, week in week out. Year after year. A never-ending treadmill of the worst of humanity paraded out before you on your TV screen, through your radio, through social media and trending on Twitter, all the bad news, all day every day…
And I am as bad as anyone else, I add to hurricane ‘Betty Bad News’ with the occasional post on politics or mini-rant on Facebook and elsewhere. I could be writing a post now about everything I perceive as wrong with Trumps Administration, With Mays deal with the DUP, The root causes of the Glenfield fire, and pile opinion like oil upon the bad news waters of the world. After all, that’s what everyone else seems to do. I may think there is too much bad news out there, but if I start writing blog posts about the bad news all I am doing, in the end, is adding to the darkness… So, to put politeness aside for one moment, screw that…
Instead, here is good news, happy news, news that will hopefully bring a smile to your face, or return some semblance of hope at the very least. As with all attempts at a regular ‘Good News’ slot that isn’t linked to the literal translation of the Latin word Gospel, it is no doubt doomed to failure. There is the famous allegory of the ‘Good News Show’ (most probably an urban myth, but one I have a fondness for). A station manager sick of nothing but Bad News made a show that would only give out good news, many applauded the idea, no one watched it, the sponsors pulled out and so it lasted only a couple of weeks. Humanity it seems prefers its news to be of the bad, preferably terrible kind.
I have a couple of motivations for doing this all the same. The first being that it’s nice to give out some good news, and the second being that if I do this every week, I will have to go and find some good news every week. Which regarding my occasional battles with depression can only be a good thing. Imagine what the world could be like if we all sought out some good news to tell people about each week…
Well yes, okay, the world would still be an unmitigated mess, but it would be a start at least.
Without further ado then, or at least no more meandering wittering on, here is this week good news bulletin.
The Giant Panda. So long the butt of erectile dysfunction jokes. Is no longer an endangered species… Yes, Mr and Mrs Giant Panda have been getting it on, enjoying relations of a charnel kind, have indeed, been dancing the naked tango in the among the bamboo, getting jiggy with it, enjoying each other company in intimate ways, having, not to put too fine a word on it SEX… Yes, this famously fringed species has thawed out enough to produce some babies, quite a lot of babies. So many that the symbol of the WWF (the wildlife charity not the American wrestlers) may have to change from the old black and white teddy bear.
This is, in my tinted view at least, good news for the planet as well as the pandas. In order to save the Giant Panda, it has taken the work of conservationists, governments, and ordinary people giving a crap, working together to bring back a species that has been on the brink for the entirely of my forty-seven years on this planet. Breeding pairs in the wild were almost unheard of in the seventies, though not bothering to breed pairs were less of a problem to find.
So well renowned was the issue of panda mating habits (or the lack of) that watching Giant Panda ‘not’ having sex in zoo’s around the world became a bit of a public obsession. Not that long ago due in one attempt to get the London Zoo female panda Char Char ‘up the duff’ to used a London colloquium, was the subject of a regular slot on Radio 4’s drive time show PM. The laboriously named, ‘The Char char the London zoo panda, pregnant or not pregnant update’ slot was broadcast at about 17.35 each day. Where in the name of the slot was read out followed by a ‘pregnant’ pause before the announcer would say “not pregnant,” pause again and then conclude with “That was ‘The Char char the London zoo panda, pregnant or not pregnant update’.
(Note for Americans and other lifeforms alien or otherwise – No, I didn’t make that bit up, that really was a BBC Radio 4 drivetime slot on the PM program, it ran for about seven months. It was considered to be vaguely humorous and not in any way was some weird, quaint piece of English eccentricity. Radios 4 is considered by many to be the finest radio station in the world, mostly by people who like updates about the pregnancy or lack thereof, of London Zoo giant panda’s, and to listen to the Archers…)
But back to what I was saying, good news, the giant panda is no longer an endangered species, merely a vulnerable one… both thanks to, and equally according to, the WWF
Okay so Vulnerable is not a word which inspires great confidence in regards to species, but all the same, it’s good news for the Giant Panda, even if it will be less of a boon to afternoon news slots on Radio 4
That news of the pandas’ retreat from the brink broke in this article in September last year, and it took me this long to be aware of it says much about the news media, and indeed new media’s attitude to good news. …
Adios for now from the good news desk….
( oh and Manatee are apparently no longer on the endangered list either, so that’s nice too….)