Not about Britney Spears

I feel compelled to report on a shocking breach of journalistic standards. On the bus heading to the Olympic media centre today an esteemed member of the pencil press, a reporter from England’s Daily Telegraph, was commenting on the latest edict from head office. Short sentences are the order of the day, and stories should be salted with words that will score high on the Google search engine. “So,” said the scribe, “we are all trying to jam Britney Spears into our stories since she’s the most searched name on Google.”

Really, has it come to this, padding stories with Britney Spears in a tawdry attempt to get more hits on the corporate website? Isn’t journalism the search for truth, without fear or favour? What does Britney Spears have to do with that? This is a new low for the supposed “quality” press of Great Britney. Beside, Britney Spears isn’t even at the Olympics. And even if Britney Spears were here, I, personally, would feel no obligation to write about Britney Spears just because the name Britney Spears might draw traffic to my blog and curry favour with my corporate bosses. Not that I have anything against Britney Spears, it’s just that Britney Spears has very little to do with Beijing, or sports.

Mind you, if flakiness was an Olympic event, Britney Spears would win gold. But it isn’t, and Britney Spears hasn’t scored, medal-wise at least. So, nope, no Britney Spears in this blog.

For instance, here is an item that has nothing to do with Britney Spears. It concerns the inspiring story of how a nun helped win a gold medal in weight lifting Sunday for a Thai woman formerly known as Chanpim Kautatian.

Last year a nun advised her that a name change would bring her luck, so Kautatian obligingly changed her name to . . .  drum roll please . . . Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarak. It’s a nice enough name, more mellifluous than, say, Britney Spears, but one wonders how it even fits on her Olympic ID. You’d wear out a couple of pens signing a cheque with a name like that. Of course, now she can afford as many pens as she wants. Canadian athletes, if and when they win gold, will get a $20,000 award from the Canadian Olympic Committee. Contrast that to Jaroenrattanatarak’s windfall. The Thai government will award her 15 million baht, about US$445,000. And the Thai Weightlifting Association will toss in another 10 million baht. Not too shabby. Even Britney Spears wouldn’t say no to that. 

Looking for more?

Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.