17 August 2007

Broadcast news and tears

My little weep yesterday evening at the end of a very long and stressful day reminded me this morning of Holly Hunter in Broadcast News. Hunter plays Jane Craig, a hard-bitten TV news producer who locks herself in her office several times a day, has a hearty cry, then pulls herself together 5 minutes later to go and bark orders at reporters William Hurt and Albert Brooks again.

I never understood why she was so weepy. For her, it was a routine part of her day. Undoubtedly, producing news is high-octane, stressful work. TV is also unbelievably shallow and fake. Broadcast News showed this 20 years ago: more recently, there has been a slew of stories in the press about faked TV programmes and crooked phone-ins. But why cry so much? I remember thinking at the time that the excessive crying by Hunter's character gave a rather skewed impression of females in the business.

I've never worked in TV and have no intention of ever doing so. Working in print is stressful enough. But I rarely cry over writing. What really stresses me is editing, when I'm not getting the right support at the other end. Hence yesterday's tears. I cried for a couple of minutes, long enough to destress, and then stopped. I have moments like that maybe half a dozen times a year. Sometimes, a good weep is the best way to let it out, then crack on.

Mind you, I can swear for England when I'm really stressed. I'm not going to repeat the filth that fell from my lips after I dried my tears, but suffice to say it would have made our troops in Iraq blush.

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