Tag Archives: The Daily Mail

Know your enemy part 3

OK so… wow. Has it been that long? Where was I? It’s like a really bad dream. One where I’m frothing at the mouth screaming at the people around me… running down the street, tearing at my clothes crying… “they’re coming … they’re coming…. the immigrants are coming”.

Then I’m falling… endlessly falling, until hands reach and grab me, shaking me awake. And I’m here. Sat in front of a computer screen. The concerned faces that swam before me are gone. I’m out of the sanitorium and back home. And that was after just 22 pages of the Daily Mail. The Daily Mail I’ve promised myself to try to read cover to cover (well at least what I can manage). The Daily Mail that I found on the train on the 6th March and it’s taken me this long to get 22 pages into because …. because…. well I don’t want to go there again.

This is the least S&M pic of a straitjacket I could find

Page 23 and it’s back to the warm cuddly face of the Daily Mail – the grandmother you still love even though she sometimes says things like “Back in my day there was nothing wrong with calling them gollywogs” because she’s your granny, she loves you… besides, she was born in a different age … and she’ll probably be dead soon.

That’s right… Dad’s Army. Oh.. but it’s a bit sad because someone’s died. Hold it. And he only appeared in one episode of Dad’s Army?! This is actually utterly bizarre. The DM is reporting the death of Philip Madoc but is saying his most memorable role ever is appearing as a German U-Boat commander  in one episode of Dad’s Army? I’m gonna have to let that one wash over me.

Page 24 – Leveson. So in page order the death of someone who appeared in one episode of a sitcom in 1973 is more important than a national media enquiry? Mind you. At least it puts the boot into the met a bit – Go Daily Mail!

The Euphoria doesn’t last long mind. There follows a montage of random fear and loathing mixed in with a heavy dose of opinion that is hard to stomach… Woman poses as boy to seduce teenage girls. Chinese super-rich hunt polar bears. BBC wastes taxpayers money. Ooh pictures of David Beckham with his son! Best friends die at 99 (yes… that is a story). Union reps cost police £4.8m (just to hammer that into your fat kneejerk skull – that’s equivalent to 200 bobbies on the beat apparently – in fact the article, barely a few hundred words, manages to include “bobbies on the beat” 3 fucking times). Ha Ha someone called Rachel Ragg writes for the DM… which is a RAG! Geddit? Geddit? OK – I’m losing it here. Time out!

OOH LOOK – There’s a double fucking spread about … wait for it… no really. WAIT. THE FALKANDS WAR. Seriously – forget the 30 year time gap. The DM is adapting a book in a bid to let the jingoistic nostalgia junkies bask in every British victory ever and sock it to those dirty forruns! Think I’m joking? The piece is entitled “Under the Argentine Jackboot” – How subtle do the DM want to be? This subtle “We don’t ever want to become Argentinian. We are British and always will be – no matter what rubbish we hear from the Argentinians” Ahhh – a home (thousands of miles away from) home. Like Gibraltar… that open sore on the coast of Spain were fat-rosy-faced career criminals go smeared in faded tattoos and old England shirts to buy marmite and crisps and moan about immigration without a hint of irony.

What next? Diana auction… of course! Then its Health – NHS reform gets 2 pages. Page 38 is like a quack page – squeezy balls, muscle pills and superbugs. I’ll skip the puzzles and cartoons if that’s ok… although I do love the massive weight of opinion and angst out there about Fred Basset being the worst EVER comic strip.

HAHAHAHAHAHA no? Me neither.

I try to ignore the horoscopes but I’m caught by the fact that someone has actually written to the resident soothsayer asking what stage in the lunar cycle was best for conceiving children…. WHAT?  No? Really “I hear that the waxing moon is better, but as children grow in the dark I was just wondering?” Seriously. What the fuck is that? The soothsayer isn’t content with writing shite out for each of the 12 star signs… he also kindly adds a premium phone line for each star sign so the feeble-minded and gullible can be exploited further. How kind!

Blimey. The health section goes on for ages… and it’s awful. Skits on orange juice being unhealthy, a letter to the doctor where the good doc gets on a soapbox and whinges about a lack of compassion among nurses. There’s even a special regular section called waterworks about urinary problems… Dentures. The ubiquitous cancer page (good news this time… they’ve cured colon cancer… tomorrow it will probably be that colons cause cancer). There’s even a mini-health interview with Kelly Osbourne (yeah… the one whose dad is famous). Of course… the entire health section is decked out with ads for various gadgets and books. My favourite is “The saltpipe” – it’s a porcelain inhaler for salt. INHALE SALT – IT CURES EVERYTHING. A snip at 30 quid….

Of course… you know the health section is coming to an end when you see a full-page ad for electronic cigarettes. Mmmmm nicotine and water vapour…

Blimey. Is that the time? I’ll have to finish this off another day. I’m starting to get to the juicy bits.

To be continued.

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Know your enemy part 2

 OK so Lets GO! This is what the Daily Mail – our NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR looked like on 6th March when I dragged a used copy off a train seat to take it out the “news-pool”

Front cover – Ooh heart pills. Eh? HEART PILLS? Is that news? Well actually – I can’t be too critical here can I – after all – the Express ran the same headline (mind you – the Express is running a headline today about how Aspirin beats cancer for fucks sake). It’s not like there was much else going on in the world is there. I mean apart from Harry Lusting after Katie Perry (the Star) or benefits cheats (the Sun) or transsexual con artists (the Mirror). Oh… and a massive crackdown on protests in Russia and the ticking time-bomb of Eurozone debt…. but forget that foreign rubbish A HEART PILL is what counts.

News – Well what did I expect? It seems that even-numbered pages are about the serious agenda driven stuff and odd-numbered pages are about fluff. So page 2 is about Israel and the US. Page 4 is all about cutting child benefits and Page 6 is devoted to the Mail campaign against secret court cases, with a cameo from old school Tory poster boy Ken Clarke… you know the one. Justice Secretary, the bloke who categorises rape into “serious” and “non-serious”! Anyway by the time page 8 rolls around we reach what a lot of broadsheets put on the front page Putin’s crackdown….

 Meanwhile  Page 3 runs with a story about Prince Harry’s shoes. Yes. His. Shoes. Page 5 has a saucy picture of some Oxford librarian temptress and page 7 is a pictures feature comparing SamCam’s appearance in different pap shots taken while she’s out running.

Still with me? You’ll wish you weren’t. Whenever I get past a certain mark in the Mail (and that’s very rarely, train seats come at a premium you know) I get hit by this sudden completely overwhelming depression and sickness. It’s usually when you’ve braved the first few pages and the news becomes less fluffy and more agenda driven. OK so… Sam Cam, Ken Clarke and Prince Harry are hardly subtle hints at the political leanings of the DM – but if you’ve passed the initiation the views of the paper seem to hit you in the face a lot harder the further into it you have the courage to delve.

On page 9 the agenda ramps up with a rant by Dame Joanne Bakewell about how teen magazines sexualise young girls. Never mind the reality that it’s usually when people are in their teens that they start getting curious about sex – it’s WRONG for teens to talk about sex.

Maybe the DM has a point here? Or maybe it’s rank hypocrisy given the massive overt sexualisation of EVERYTHING when you browse the Daily Mail online. A cyber-world where DM paps relentlessly pursue FIVE-YEAR-OLD Suri Cruise for bikini shots. In fact the Daily Mail website is bikini obsessed. A search for the 6 letter word turns up 5,699 results. I’d show a screengrab but anything from DM online is virtually NSFW these days.  We only have to fast forward a few pages here and the Mail is discussing a Gina Ford suggestion that mothers should “grin and bear it” and have unwilling sex with their partners soon after giving birth…. So sexualising teenagers is wrong – but pre-teen bikini shots and forcing yourself to have sex when you don’t want to are fair game… yeah?

Anyway the massive hypocrisy of the Mail when it comes to moralising is a common theme. Onwards – before I get bogged down too much.

By page 14 I actually do feel physically sick. The paper has 80 pages – and I’m sick by page 14. That’s how bad it is. Maybe they should put something on the cover about how reading the DM gives you ulcers as one of the many health scares they gleefully try to terrorise their readership with. On page 14 there is a Quentin Letts rant about the “loonie” “left-wing” quango the Equality & Human Rights Commission. It’s awful.  Here’s a quote

Oh, and they happily spend millions of pounds of public money — your money, taken from your wages — on propaganda officers specialising in race relations, militant secularism and transgender rights outreach.

It’s like I’m on a boat. On the Congo river. Descending into some malarial right-wing feverishness.

Thank fuck then for pages 20 and 21. THANK FUCK. Because we get to a part of the paper called “life” which I think is targeted at women. Why? Why would they call a section “life” and target women with it? How Do I know it targets women? Well. You see. It features 2 pages of photos. 13 pairs of photos of male celebrities. 26 pictures. 13 of them are with beard and 13 without. And the reader gets to decide which is sexier. Beard.Or.No.Beard.  Does this seem strange? Well yes… a bit- but compared to reading the spew of Quentin Letts and the DM Comment column it’s like someone’s injected helium into my cranium and I’m floating away gently. More vapid pictures of men in beards PLEASE.

You get the idea

Shit. On page 21 it’s back to Letts. SOMEONE KILL ME. He’s reviewing the day in parliament. How very proper. Not the place where you’d expect a columnist to throw around personal insults eh? Hold it – how does he describe Ed Milliband?

For once, it was possible to watch Ed’s snorky, honking, spit-sploshy, gawky-geek style – arms lashing around like spaghetti in a tornado, teeth forcing themselves past those lips like the rocks off Land’s End breaking through the foaming briny – and admire young dobbin Miliband for his sheer persistence and stamina.

A good day for Parliament’s leading trainspotter! Triumph for the man in the flapping trousers! He glowed as he may not have done since his days as a Rubik’s Cube prodigy at primary school.

When Mr Miliband sat down he was sweetly pleased with himself. His tongue licked itself all over after making such an effort. His nostrils flared, two open drainpipes. His pigeony chesty heaved and he gave a sealion bark of laughter, so caught up was he by the excitement of the hour. He took on water like Thomas the Tank Engine or a camel at the last oasis before the M4.

So basically it’s not a review of what happened at parliament – it’s a right-wing columnist throwing a series of personal insults at the leader of the opposition. Well done to the NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR.

Jeepers. Letts has given me a brane haemorrhage. I didn’t realise that simply reading the NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR would be so stressful. I actually need a break before I pass out.

To be continued – after all – I’m only up to page 21

Dictatorthon

Ok so.
I was watching teh internets the other day. By watching I mean it like people might watch noel’s house party or beiberphiles might stare at #beiber on twitter while it endlessly threw up beibertweets like binary but with Lols! This means I was basically staring blankly at my computer screen clicking on random shit when BOOM! I actually learnt something new. Teh internets did what it was supposed to for once and imparted shared wisdom.
 
“What did you learn” I hear you cry (‘you’ being one of the many voices occupying my troubled brane). “I learnt of Godwin’s law” I shout back into the void (at this point strangers on the street stop and regard me with confusion). “that’s shit you dullard” the outside voice echoes back at my inner ear “everyone knows Godwin’s law”. Well fuck you imaginary pedant. I learned Godwin’s law. Better yet I learned Reductio ad Hitlerum.

For those of you like me who are basically idiots with little or no room in their lives to doggedly acquaint themselves with internet philosophising Godwin’s law is defined as: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1 (100%).”Reductio ad Hitlerum has been around a bit longer and describes how people will use even the most tenuous similarities to Hitler to attack someone’s argument.

Do these ideas sound familiar? Ever been in an argument and someone’s been like ‘Hitler liked dogs! OMG! U have a dog! LOL. U’re just like Hitler PMsL?’ or ‘You want civil liberties for all? Man you’re like some sort of extremist civil liberty Nazi?’. They should be familiar. It’s a tried and trusted form of journalistic argument and can be seen smeared like a dirty protest regularly across the pages of our papers.

Ok so the art has evolved, and it’s not always Hitler who gets thrown into the mix but the principle of making completely inappropriate links to demonise a person or argument is the bread and butter of opinion-based journalism.

Ho ho ho - one kills people and one organises football games

Take yesterday’s Sun for example. Did you see the picture of Sepp Blatter being compared to Gadaffi? Ha ha! Cries the general public. How topical. Here we have the unopposed head of FIFA, how similar he is to Gadaffi! Ho ho ho!
Except there are actually zero similarities are there? I mean really? Gadaffi is head of a North African state fighting a civil war against his own people. He’s shelling towns, imprisoning or killing people and being bombed to the stone age by the British and French military. Sepp Blatter meanwhile is the head of FIFA. A body that governs world football. He’s just been voted back in unopposed. No-one’s dying, no refugee camps, no bombs. Just football and money! The only similarity you could draw is that the both have pudgy faces and appear to be quite disliked at the moment. That’s pathetic! Chris Moyles has a pudgy face and seems to be quite disliked – no-ones compared him to either Gadaffi or Blatter.

Getting a ticket for illegal parking... Nazism in action

Of course, for some journalists there’s no point in shifting the comparisons to modern-day baddies. For some people only Hitler and the Nazis will do when making facile arguments railing against whatever annoys them. A couple of weeks ago the mail ran a piece about “parking Nazis”. The piece discussed h0w these “Nazis” issued a fine to someone who had overrun their parking time. No death camps. No pogroms. No holocaust. They gave the bloke a ticket cos he’s parked illegally. And he got his money back. The link to Nazis here is presumably that parking wardens wear uniforms?

Nazis here, Nazis there. Nazis all around

But the Mail is no stranger to this is it… I mean everyone knows of Littlejohn. He’s a popular hate figure for any press commentator. His column is badly written, ill-informed and full of hate and rage. He is also capable of taking Godwin’s law into the stratosphere. Where other journalists may resort to it as a last resort or throw it in as an aside, Richard Littlejohn makes a crude artistry of it. He daubs Nazi references across his column like Jackson Pollock mauled his canvasses with thick acrylic paint. Someone raises workplace welfare concerns – they’re an “elf’n’safety nazi”. Someone tries to deal with perceived discrimination they’re an “equality nazi” If you do a google search of the daily mail site for “littlejohn” and “nazi” you come up with over 7,000 hits.

That's a lot of Nazis!

There may be some double counting going on here. And I’m sure some of the references will come in the “comments” bit – but it’s still mental! The waters on Littlejohn are further muddied by his own constant references to Nazis in the “correct” context. He’s obsessed. He recently wrote a column about how people going to a WWII re-enactment weren’t allowed ot wear Nazi uniforms. He’s always making mention of Britain fighting the actual Nazis in WWII. It’s like a fetish or obession for him. He throws the term about with wild abandon, like some sort of “Nazi-word-using” Nazi.

This obsession is upsetting for so many reasons. I fail to see how you can genuinely use the term Nazi to describe bureaucratic procedures unless those bureaucratic procedures are somehow enforcing genocide. If “elf’n’safety” Nazis were packing people into ghettos or “Equality Nazis” made people wear special armbands then maybe the arguments would be something other than trite and lazy – but they aren’t, so they are, so there!

Nazis in Australia - Designing PLAYGROUNDS

This is a dangerous and global contagion.  The Australian Herald Sun has just run a piece on “Safety Nazis” and the South African Mail and Guardian also ran a piece comparing Blatter to Gadaffi. 

The joke spreads to the South African press - ho ho ho

In America Bryan Fischer of the “American Family Association” has been calling gay people “nazis” (because of course gay people weren’t at all victims of the holocaust). It will probably end with childrens TV presenters calling each other Nazis on yoof shows – y’know. Just for the craic like! How long before Iggle Piggle from “in the night garden” calls Maccu Paccu a Nazi for going to sleep before him.

Along with Godwin’s Law and Reductio ad Hitlerum I’d like to add a new one. “Niemöllerising”. This is a favourite in the insane realms of Have your say and comment is free and all the other places where idiots think that, in filling a white box, they’re able to influence the world around them. It refers to making reference to Martin Niemöller‘s classic poem “First they came…”  but for completely inappropriate comparisons.  eg “First they came for the smokers….” as though stopping people from smoking indoors was somehow tantamount to sending them to a fucking death camp. How long before we see Niemöllerising becoming a regular feature in Littlejohn rants?