A writer under attack about her choice of subject matter on the satirical news website TheSpoof.com, has revealed she spent 'a long time' yesterday reflecting on the meaning of the word 'insignificant'.
The woman, who only spoke to me on condition of anonymity, said that she ruminated on the question for "at least 4 minutes", which might not seem a long time to many readers, but to others it is an eternity.
"Just think," reasoned she, "if that period of 4 minutes was the amount of second-half injury time added by official timekeepers at a World Cup game, where team A are leading 1-0, but team B are piling on pressure, and are threatening team A's goal. Those 4 minutes would seem like an eternity for team A and, indeed, their coach, not to mention their fans."
She went on:
"If you were unfortunate enough to have been involved in a grisly road traffic accident, and you were laid in the gutter, in great agony, covered in blood, guts and filth, crying for your mummy, but then someone shouts in your face that they've already called for an ambulance which will be on the scene in about four minutes, those next 240 seconds might seem longer than that, by no small degree."
"Or if, after visiting your friend in the countryside one day, you were waiting for a bus home at an isolated bus stop on a hill, in driving rain and sleet, having come out of your own house whilst the sun was shining wearing only a thin cardigan, and you look at your watch and see that it is now 3:41, but the bus isn't due until 3:45 - in another 4 minutes - you might consider the ETA of that bus to be some considerable time in the future.
"So, as far as the time spent thinking about the meaning of the word 'insignificant' is concerned, and whether or not it would be fair to use it with regard to spoof tales on a website such as TheSpoof.com, I don't think it was particularly excessive."
As for the significance, or lack thereof, of her material, she asserted:
"I think it's fair comment that someone might say mundane stories are insignificant, because those stories may well be insignificant to them. Other people, who may be predisposed to laugh at the quirky nature of mundane everyday happenings, might find them a refreshing change from the slightly-more-serious issues that currently fill our world with strife, but each to their own, of course."
"I'm sure that, if readers consider a story 'insignificant', they are acutely-aware of the significance of the term 'free choice'; its application here, with regard to whether or not they choose to read the story or article, was never more significant."
And, with that, she turned and walked away in a show of mild defiance.