The following is an excerpt from my article in the May 2018 issue of iScot Magazine.
It’s on the news. There’s been an explosion. It was in one of those countries that you couldn’t find on a map, even if you didn’t keep getting it mixed up with that other country that you couldn’t find on a map.
You don’t recognise the unpronounceable name of the actual town where this incident happened. You know it’s not one of the places that have become familiar as a site of atrocities because, on the news, they’re referring to it as “the town of…”. A prefix reserved for places they think people won’t know is a town unless they’re told.
You wonder if there’s some rule that governs when that prefix is dropped. Is it after a certain number of atrocities? Or is it after a certain number of mentions of the same atrocity? Is there an algorithm that takes account of a range of criteria? Maybe there’s an app. Maybe a computer works out when to drop the prefix and it just ceases to appear on the autocue.
You wonder if the person reading aloud from the autocue notices the change. You wonder why you’re wondering about such stuff. There’s been an explosion. It’s on the news.
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