This entry was posted on
Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at
10:30 am and is filed
under Old Media.
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I’m hearing noise about pending/current legal action from the corner of Derek Lambie, editor of the Scottish Sunday Express.
For example, this claim appeared on the Popbitch board day before yesterday:
I wasn’t sure if this was entirely true at first. It could have been part of a joke by ‘celtiagirl’, or even a little joke by Derek Lambie. Or, it could’ve been a genuine/empty threat from a man who would rather not have his Facebook account cherry-picked for compromising data.
Point is I wasn’t sure, so I asked him via email, and received a ‘read’ receipt, but no reply…. and not for the first time.
You may recall this vague threat from last week:
“I hope the personal attacks on paula murray will cease or further action will be taken.” – Derek Lambie (source)
Despite relevant questions being raised twice, Lambie never did get back to me about what personal abuse he was talking about and what action had been taken, if any.
Maybe he’s not at liberty to say for legal reasons. Maybe he just wants me to think that he’s taking/considering legal action (see: Dean Godson). Or perhaps he has me confused with another blogger.
Actually, judging by this comment, he does appear to regard us as some sort of organised gang:
“As you are no doubt aware – thanks to mass bloggers on the Internet – we have been inundated with letters and comments. Many of them have been extremely personal. ” – Derek Lambie (source)
Because it’s our fault, this. Without us “mass bloggers”, no-one would be outraged. We all ganged up on the poor, defenceless staff of Express Newspapers and invented this anger and outrage. It’s not real or genuine or spontaneous at all; it’s engineered outrage. It’s Russell Brand and Jonathon Ross all over again (and again). So whatever it is that you think you’re feeling right now, you may as well put it away and forget about it, because Lambie thinks you’re having him on, and you’re wasting your breath. Oh and your criticisms are buried under a neatly arranged scattering of personal abuse, so you should be happy with the two letters he printed and shut the hell up.
Anyway, as I was saying, the vague legal threat is still hanging in the air, there is talk of it being repeated (which Lambie is doing little to discourage, at least), and I want to take the precaution of reminding Derek Lambie and anyone else who might be reading just why we’re here…
I don’t entirely trust my own memories of the Dunblane massacre. As you may or may not be aware, it was the sensational media coverage of Dunblane, particularly the portrayal of the killer, that was the trigger for a young man who turned away from thoughts of simple suicide and instead decided to take a whole bunch of us lesser humans with him, on 28 April 1996 in the Port Arthur massacre. In short, for this little black swan, the two shockwaves overlap with the bonus of some justified anger at the media that I’d really rather not going into right now. So, instead, here’s a student editorial from 1996 to bring us back into focus:
AT 9am on Wednesday 13 March 1996, Mrs. Mayor’s class arrived at the gates of Dunblane Primary School, many of them never to return home.
The senseless slaughter of the infants in Dunblane is one of those events too horrifying to comprehend. A nation still mourns the lives of sixteen young children and their teacher, it is doubtful they will ever stop grieving.
It is hard to comprehend that this has happened. It’s numbing, and still the shock has no worn off. Standing outside of one of the school gates was one of the most harrowing experiences I have ever encountered.
Our thoughts are with the families of the victims, and with the town of Dunblane. They will never forget. Never forgive. Their hurt will never ease, their loss never brought back. Words cannot express our thoughts, our emotions, our sympathies. We cannot begin to comprehend. We could never understand the great sense of loss.
Nothing can bring the children back, and for the families this grief will never go away. Forevermore, they will be hammered by the callous, cold and calculated killings at Dunblane Primary School. The hurt is too raw, the grief is too deep, the shock is too mind-numbing.
That’s from the lead editorial of the March/April 1996 edition of BRIG, the official student newspaper of Stirling University.
Derek Lambie went to Stirling University, and I know you shouldn’t believe everything you read on Wikipedia, but it says so on the page about Derek Lambie that was created by Derek Lambie (and is, so far, Derek Lambie’s sole contribution to Wikipedia).
Anyway, I’m getting off the track, and my point is that Derek Lambie was at Stirling University in 1996, but he’s not acting like a man who read that editorial.
Which is a crying shame, because he’s actually the man who wrote it.
That was written by Derek Lambie, then-editor of BRIG, as part of a 7-page spread on the Dunblane massacre. It’s in the Stirling University newspaper archives (go see for yourself), and this discovery comes to us courtesy of one of those idealistic student-types that hangs around campus scanners and photocopiers and imagines that they are angry about petty opportunistic attacks on blameless victims of horrific violence. Turns out there’s a few people like that.
Again, getting back on track…
Right now, keeping in mind the gravity of this issue and the emotions Derek Lambie experienced when he stood outside those school gates, what I really want to know is when exactly Derek Lambie plans of getting on with it, and suing us bloggers in the name of the victims of the Dunblane massacre.
Because surely he gave that article by Paula Murray the main front page headline because he was trying to protect these people from themselves. Surely he’d only be intending legal action that would help those victims to move on and forget the pain. Let’s not forget that “forevermore, they will be hammered by the callous, cold and calculated killings at Dunblane Primary School” (and maybe a tabloid hack or two, because that’s clearly their right).
There’s no way he’s be suing anybody for selfish reasons at all. You know; because he has to cover his arse and/or Paula Murray’s after he gave that reporter free rein and a front page to have a go at vulnerable young adults, allowing them to be singled out and attacked (again!) just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time 13 years ago. Such a thing would be unthinkable…. and quite unconscionable.
So obviously there’s some key element I’m missing that makes me wrong and him right.
Therefore, in the name of the dearly departed and the remaining victims (families, loved ones, survivors and even those shocked bystanders standing outside the gates), I beg you to please take me, and take me now, Derek Lambie.
I surrender willingly to your superior force. Come and sue me. Smite me if it pleases you.
Or go see the wizard*, face your critics, take your lumps, and rejoin the human race.
Here, let me turn the artificial emotions up to eleventy while you think about your decision.There’s no need for you to think about it too much, mind. After all, you’re an important editor of a major regional newspaper; you couldn’t possibly be wrong about this:
[*see: brains, heart and courage]