Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Whats PHat, whats not...

Lately, because of an apparent change in the editorial policy of my local newspaper, my reading experience has been severely marred by excessive coverage of marginal happenings around the world such as the Ramsey case developments, the curious story of the imprisoned Austrian woman, and India's very own Prince falling down the borewell.

I am not to be mistaken as someone who doesnt like marginal happenings - on the contrary, I have sincerely followed the progress of baby Suri since before she was born, pursued the theory of why Atlanta's runaway bride had her bridal gown sewn a quarter inch short, and celebrated the arrival of Britney's second baby (all this, while waiting at the grocery checkout) - but after the Crocodile Hunter's death when my newspaper carried a straight-faced editorial titled "Irwin's death shows animals can be dangerous", I knew the proverbial shit had hit the fan.

Thus I came up with a tool to help me wade towards selective enlightenment. It is called the PH Index, short for Paris Hilton Index. It is readily adaptable to the individual taste of anyone who cares to plug variables into the following equation:

PH = mc /a

mc is magnitude of media coverage (scaled between 1 and 100)
a is degree of real achievement or significance held by the person or event (scaled on a subjective scale between 1 and 100)

A higher PH number indicates that the news can be passed by, and a lower number otherwise. Both individuals and events are amenable to PH application. Of course, the index has been named after Ms Hilton, who holds the distinction of a perfect score of 100.

Henceforth, before I start reading my newspaper, I will quickly scan through each news item, evaluate its PH number, mark it in the margins with a red pen and when all that is done, sit back and enjoy the chosen articles. The covert objective of this strategy is that the sheer tedium of the exercise will kill the joy of reading the newspaper altogether, and push me towards more productive distractions. Thank you, Paris.

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