Archive for March 23rd, 2020

In order to keep my news columns reasonably consistent in length, I keep them to a minimum of nine news items and a maximum of thirteen, and I try not to let the number shift by more than two in either direction from one column to the next.  So if one column has ten, I try to keep the next one to no more than twelve; since they’re written half a week to one week in advance of publication, I can see how the queue is stacking up and move items from one column to another as needed.  Well, when I started working on “In the News #1022” on the 12th, it had twelve items, but on the evening of Sunday the 15th I realized that one was a duplicate of an item from #1021 (same story in a different source) and that there were only seven items in #1023.  So I eliminated the duplicate and shifted two items to #1023 to even them out, and as I started slotting stories for #1024 I noticed it was also probably going to be lean.  It didn’t take me long to figure out the reason:  COVID panic has pushed “sex trafficking” hysteria off of the internet’s “front page”, so to speak.  Usually about a third of the stories in any given column are directly related to “sex trafficking” hysteria, but in the past week and a half those have all but dried up; #1023 would’ve only had one such item had I not shifted two of them from #1022.  Now, it may be that this is only a temporary respite, and that once governments stop these dress rehearsals for martial law we will once again be inundated with crude sexual fantasies about pubescent “sex slaves” abducted from Ikea and raped by dozens of men a day.  However, the last round of “sex trafficking” hysteria ended in the UK because of the First World War, and in the US because of the Great Depression; it wouldn’t be at all surprising or unprecedented for this one to be killed by a pandemic.  We’ll have to wait and see, but if this indeed turns out to be the case, the dark cloud we’re all enshrouded in right now might well turn out to have a silver lining.

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