Chris Elliot laments the identity politics crowd’s unceasing dissatisfaction:
A “headclutcher” is a type of stock picture often – too often, according to campaigning charities – used to illustrate stories about mental ill health. An example in the Guardian accompanied an article on 7 April with the headline “How not to talk to somebody with depression”. The picture, of a young man sitting with his head in his hands, was changed – following complaints below the line – to one of a young woman looking out of a window, which also drew criticism.
Well, yes. Because you can never
Of course, the ‘Guardian’ has an excuse:
At the time of 9/11 in 2001, the Guardian’s picture database handled 2,000 images a day; now it handles 22,000 – and on days when there is a big event, such as the Oscars, there have been as many as 41,000 images coming into the system from picture agencies and individual photographers.
So while it’s possible for editors to take a step back and spend time considering the choices for the award-winning Eyewitness middle-page spread in the newspaper, there are an awful lot of choices that have to be made in a very short time frame for the other 599 pieces of content.
In this case, it appears that the subeditor or picture editor went for an uncomplicated image that would instantly register despair with the reader. There is nothing inherently wrong with looking for a swift, simple way to get the attention of the reader. But we should strive to avoid cliches.
So the next time the ‘Grauniad’ is in full cry about some ‘racist’ imagery, or something, their target should just trot out the ‘Look, can’t you see how incredibly busy we are..?’ line. It’ll work.