Saturday, January 26, 2013

People I'd like to sue - an abridged list

I just read that some purchasers of Cyclie Armstrong's books are trying to sue him for fiction.  Who would I like to sue if I was remotely litigious and the operator of hot and cold running lawyers?

1.  Breakfast cereal manufacturers and other purveyors of misleading crap

Lets face it, there are bucket loads of marketing bilge spread all over the packaging of many food products.  You would never think from the cover that the contents are so low in nutritional benefits and so high in sugar, fat and (my favourite surprise inclusion in sweet food) piles of salt.

I mean, we could be generous, and consider a phrase like "<sporting event involving men in tinky bathers and funny hats>* food" to mean that unless you are a participant in such an event, this is not the food for you.  You need to run around all summer and swim your little tail off to process a product that is over 30% sugar and has a similar salt content to the same weight of salted crisps.  And obviously these particular athletes don't need to sh*t because there is bugger all fibre.

2. Authors and critics who give overblown quotes used on the covers of mediocre novels

We have all fallen for it - parted with hard-earned shekels for a book from some unknown author on the basis of a quote from someone whose opinion we used to respect.   I say used to because by the time you have read the first chapter, skimmed the next couple and thrown the book into the "take me to the op-shop" pile, you are pretty confident the quote on the cover is the result of interchange of little folded pieces of paper and not as a result of genuine literary delight at the sparkling contents of the book.  

I must be an optimist.  I have recently purchased a book largely because of the cover quote, which is "This is just the book to give a girl if she is a loud, dirty, boozy girl".  If this is a fizzer, Dylan Thomas will be lucky he has been dead since 1953 because otherwise, it would be sharpened lawyer time.

3. People who write opinion articles and dress it up with dodgey science

Ten years ago there was a terrible fire here.  Five people died and 500 houses were destroyed.  A week ago someone wrote an article claiming that if people did not have native plants in their gardens and native street trees the number of houses destroyed and threats to life would be minimised.  This week several academics wrote a rebuttal drawing on the scientific analysis of the fire.  The cause of the damage was essentially extremely bad weather causing an extremely bad fire.  Further, the debris causing most of the ember-based fires came from a pine forest, not from garden debris.  I am sure the original article will be the one most remembered.  

Lets not get started on major media coverage of climate change science.  I would have to scream.  

It is just a terrible pity I don't believe in suing people and I can't possibly afford it.

*Apologies for the rectitude but there is not much point writing an article on those whom I would like to sue only to get sued myself.

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