By Elliot Adams
There’s plenty of newsvomit around today concerning the annual occurrence of ‘Blue Monday’, supposedly calculated as the most miserable day in the year. So far it’s passing has been piously observed by The Sun, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Mirror, The Sunday Times and legion uniformed bloggers who’ve plagiarised whatever publication they happen to have read today.
Churnalism of the highest order, ‘blue monday’ was not – as some have claimed – based on reasearch at Cambridge University, it was nothing more than a publicity stunt dreamt up by Sky Travel seven years ago. Sky’s pet ‘academic’ picked this date using a dubious formula with ‘debt’, ‘weather’ and other grim factors written arbitrarily in it – he has gone on to make a habit of selling similar concepts, for instance, the happiest day of the year formula he created for Wall’s ice-cream.
This year it is claimed that the date of Blue Monday was derived from a peak in demand for counselling services. The problem is that the claim is now being made by mentaline.com a company that sells – suprise, suprise – online counselling services. Several other corporations are tagging along to sell similar products; although perhaps one could find ActionAid’s bandwagon jumping less repulsive as it is in a good cause.
Obviously the asinine formulae and studies drawn up to support these faddish PR events are uninformative, deceptive and wholly driven by people whoring themselves out to corporate money. Which is all quite comic really, but aren’t they more dangerous than that? Because these alarmingly frequent stories hold a considerable share in coverage of medical or scientific issues, and as such, are clogging a valuable space, where the press could be fulfilling it’s informative social purpose, with meaningless drivel and fluff that only undermines the legitimacy and authority of science, medicine and journalism. The 17th of January stands out as the laziest day of the year for those employed in the art of regurgitating corporate press-releases and damaging the reputation of the press, but that’s it.