For the second year, the French web daily Rue89 has launched the concept of the Most Boring Day of the Year. It falls in the first fortnight of August, when many French people are on summer holidays, and the flow of interesting news events drops almost to zero. The exact date varies slightly each year, for technical reasons. This year, it happens to fall on August 11: today. And, since the early hours of the morning, observers have been astounded to discover that today is indeed an exceptionally boring day in France.
This morning, the media dullness got off to a good start with a perfectly boring video showing the French president Nicolas Sarkozy riding his bike down on the Rivera, and halting briefly to savor a dish of frittered courgettes (zucchini) at a roadside tavern… where a TV crew just happened to be ready to shoot the event.
The instigators of the Most Boring Day of the Year phenomenon were thrilled to find that their media colleagues on the other side of the English Channel apparently shared their enthusiasm for dull news by publishing a perfectly boring front-page story with a photo of the unshaven president and his wife.
For the moment, everything's going fine in France. All the news stories of the day (which I don't intend to summarize) have turned out to be incredibly boring. With a bit of chance, unless a major catastrophe occurs in the next few hours, the day will be a total success.
Naturally, I've been wondering whether this special day could be celebrated simultaneously, in the same exciting fashion, in the Antipodes. A rapid perusal of today's Australian press reassures me that it was a remarkably dull day Down Under. A splendid example was a story about a football player who got mixed up in drug abuse. A dull 30-second video trailer on this subject is said to be "sending shockwaves across the country". Another great front-page news item reveals that a white van hit a woman in Melbourne, injuring her seriously, but failed to stop. Then we were invited to enjoy another boring item of news: a fine specimen of Australian reporting about hugely wealthy individuals and their pricey possessions. We have here, on the front page of today's web edition of The Australian, a photo (accompanied by an article) of a flamboyant 10-bedroom house near Brisbane that can be purchased for just over 8 million dollars:
Now, the trouble with labeling a particular date "the most boring day of the year" is that the day in question immediately becomes interesting, precisely because it's claimed to be exceptionally boring. In the case of the lucky individual who saw that photo and immediately grabbed his checkbook to purchase that house, the 11 August 2010 will surely go down in his personal history as a tremendously significant date. And I would not be surprised if he were to get around to inviting all his friends along to the house for a poolside barbecue, every 11th August, to celebrate this most happy event.