Sunday, October 17, 2010

Reminder to self: Don't read the Daily Mail

It's the sort of thing you'd have thought would be obvious. If you don't want to annoy yourself don't read the Daily Mail. After all that's what the Mail does, not just to people like me who are diametrically opposed to everything it stands for, it's written to annoy the people who agree with it as well.

The typical Mail reader would feel short changed if they finished the paper with a benign feeling of love and goodwill towards their fellow citizens. They buy it to help feed the bitter seeds xenophobia and bile that lie deep within them. It's deliberately written to get readers in the mood to re-enact Kristallnacht by the time they're through.

It's no surprise therefore that top of the website at the moment is a piece praising a German leader for attacking immigrants. As Labour's Bob Piper pointed out on twitter "Merkel says multiculturalism has failed in Germany. Surely she knows the last time they tried monoculturalism it was hardly a major success."

I should have known better than to flick through a copy earlier, but if there's a paper there in front of me I'll read it. The thing that most impressed me was the piece by Peter Hitchens which is possibly one of the most exciting things I've read for years.

The title, and I assure you this is true and not a parody, was "Is university really such a good thing? I spent three years learning to be a Trot."

Read that again, "Is university really such a good thing? I spent three years learning to be a Trot." Beautiful isn't it? As a piece of writing it would be hard to more succinctly summarise the absolutely bizarre brand of misanthropy and paranoia that is the Mail.

He goes on to denounce "creepy sex education", "parasites" (students to you and me), he announces that "college is a corrupting, demoralising experience" where they teach "anti-Christian, anti-Western, anti-traditional material" and that you can be summarily condemned for "thought crimes" like "homophobia". Oh the woe that is the modern world.

I was particularly interested in the Hitchens thesis that the Iraq War was caused by the modern university. It's undeniable that those who made the case for war had all *been* to university, but then again they were almost all married men, but that wouldn't fit with his view that there is also a "war on the married family" from the same people.

Talking of students, this wasn't in today's paper but I notice here we have the perfect picture combo of a super-model, Cambridge university, the scruffiest student in the world and Trotskyism. However, the caption says it's a punk trying to get an autograph when they are clearly a Socialist Worker seller getting someone to sign a petition... but let's move on.

When the Mail is not spitting chips about people learning things or not being married they're gossiping about Labour politicians.

I discovered that Ed Balls plays football (pictured). I found out that Ed Miliband once shared a house with Yvette Cooper, and, stop me if you think this is far too informative, that brother David used to go out with Ruth Kelly... double shudder.

It's like they're as compulsive-obsessive about politics as I am but they're from an alternative evil universe. For instance, they're quite excited by the news that fascist Brigitte Bardot is thinking about running for French President. I can see why they like this; it combines animal rights, sexy pictures, homophobia and racism.

They do have the good-grace to describe her as 'controversial', although I suspect they might mean that as good thing. Personally I think close friendships with far-right politicians and having a string of convictions for race hatred goes beyond 'controversial' .

Anyway, my statement of the bleeding obvious of the day is that we shouldn't read the Mail, it's designed to make you angry. It's like being shocked when reading a Melanie Philips article that she turns out to be ideologically putrid or Julie Burchill and discovering she's fundamentally puerile. Just don't do it because you know what's coming next, and it ain't pretty.


Cathryn said...

I find this very useful, and much nicer.


My mother is a white, rotund lady built in the late 1930s. She seemed like everyone elses mother to me until she and my father started taking the Daily Mail at which point she became a tad nazi - it's a wrinklies thing I feel.