Before the internet, before social media, before electricity itself, there was the newspaper. If you want an exemplar of F—book in print you only need to look in the Social Pages of an early twentieth century newspaper. Invaluable for family historians looking for details of their more well-heeled ancestors, in too-large doses they can make your eyes bleed from the sheer inanity of the detail — mind numbingly minute descriptions of the garments worn by the ladies at certain occasions. — Slavish preoccupation with the bland ritual of day-to-day formality. I love Trove, Australia’s magnificent repository of our printed heritage, but if I never have to text-correct the auto-translation of a past relatives’ wedding or dignitary-heavy funeral on Trove again I would shed no salt-laden tear.
In more general reportage, the conduct of a meeting—who chaired it, who attended, how the meeting was conducted is given far more column space than the ideas being discussed or the decisions made. But every now and then, real issues bled through into the reportage of social events, to the utter bewilderment of the gatekeepers of the social order.