It was a very rare incident

There's a lot about news reporting and media in general which is deeply absurd. The idea that you can get an account of something which has no bias is blatantly idiotic. Everything has a perspective to it. Photographs are defined just as much by what they are not as by what they are. The same is true of writing, film etc. However, when the already strange world of a newspaper piece collides with an actually absurd news story the consequences are poetic. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you the weirdest story I've yet read in a British newspaper:

'Transvestite had sex with a dog at English Heritage castle'

Now, before I get into the meat and veg of this one, so to speak, I want to just skip to the end of the article and point out the "spokesman for English Heritage [who] said: 'This was a very rare incident'". It's almost the punchline to the piece. After the harrowing story of a confused cross dresser who sexually attacked someone's pet dog you're reminded, in case there was any doubt, that this is unusual behaviour for people at English Heritage locations.

This puts the spokesman, who is not named, into the role of either someone who is a bit simple so states the obvious or as one who enjoys using this device, of stating the obvious, for comic effect. Almost like politicians who wait for their big moment to get a prepared joke into the conversation. "My cast iron guarantee has rusted, make sure you print that I said that, it's cast iron and it has rusted!".

Was the spokesman for English heritage really keen to point that out? Did he even exist? I'm getting more and more skeptical of these "spokesmen" who pop up, like 'bystanders' in tabloid newspapers, and say things a journalist might want them to.

Anyway the potted version of the story linked to runs like this:

A cross dressing man was wandering around the dry moat at Pendennis Castle in Cornwall at around a quarter to twelve on a Saturday. A couple of women were out walking their dogs. One of them chased the bloke and when the women had caught up with them they found him having sex with it. Castle staff restrained him and the police were called.

So there we are.

It was a very rare incident, apparently.


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