The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'daily mail'
The Daily Mail Song, an exposé of the venomously right-wing, outrage-mongering British tabloid delivered in the form of a Subterranean Homesick Blues-style folk song. Brilliant and spot-on.
The Daily Mail specialises in pandering to the unspoken prejudices of Middle Britain; more so than other populist-Right tabloids, it maintains a veneer of middle-class respectability, tutting and curtain-twitching at the decline in public morality and property values, and, whilst officially deploring the BNP and its ilk, putting in the right plausibly-deniable dog whistles that appeal to the proto-fascist tendency. (The fascist tilt isn't just a figure of speech, the Mail notably praised Hitler and his strong leadership of Germany in the 1930s.)
Now, the Mail has outdone itself, publishing an article blaming the death of Stephen Gately, an openly gay boy band member (who, coroners determined, suffered from an undiagnosed heart condition) on his "unnatural lifestyle". The article's author, Jan Moir, almost managed to get away with not being overtly homophobic, by suggesting that the "dark appetites" and "private vice" were some kind of hypothetical celebrity drug culture, though blows any plausible deniability out of the water by saying that Gately's death "strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships.". (What's that you say, Jan? Perhaps had he been socially coerced into a loveless sham marriage to a woman he could never love he'd still be alive?) Anyway, advertisers including Marks & Spencer have pulled their advertising from the Daily Mail.
And here is Charlie Brooker's masterful response to the article.
Police in the UK are hunting a cranky old person who has been sending racially abusive letters, accompanied by clippings from the Daily Mail:
The letters, some sexually explicit in content, have been sent to schools, hospitals, mosques, universities, doctors' surgeries and private individuals, leaving some recipients "extremely distressed".
Similarities between the letters made it likely they had come from the same author. "The cursive script used in some of the letters indicates that it may be the writing of an older person. Repeat phrases used also indicate this, especially reference to 'working for 50 years' and regular reference to pensions."
Commonly used phrases in the text include "English parliament", "Exit Europe", "repatriation" and "BBC shutdown". Clippings from the Daily Mail have been included in many envelopes, which often also include cartoon drawings.The hunt has been codenamed Operation Heron; it's not clear whether this is a Brass Eye reference.
It's December, Christmas sales are entering their third month, and Britain's right-wing tabloids are full of stories about politically-correct do-gooders banning Christmas to avoid offending minorities. The problem is, further investigation reveals the stories to be utter nonsense. Birmingham hasn't ordered Christmas to be rebranded as "Winterval" (the name was used for a three-month shopping promotion in 1998, and never since), the evil secularist LibDems in Luton haven't replaced it with a Harry Potter festival, and as for the millionaire who was banned from putting up a light display outside his home, that had nothing to do with enforcing secularism and everythign to do with the large illuminated snowmen, amplifiers blaring Christmas songs and increased traffic and crime.
So what's going on here? Well, it looks like the "war on Christmas" is a quite deliberate ploy by a loud minority of religious traditionalists trying to claim more cultural clout than today's largely secular society entitles them to.
"There's something very complicated going on here," says Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society. "It has to do with the contest between Christianity and Islam: Christians are becoming very alarmed about the progress they see Islam making in this country, and they fear their own festivals will be overwhelmed. I was doing a phone-in the other day, and everybody who rang in was saying, 'They're banning Christmas!' So I said: 'Who? Where? Who's standing outside a church saying you can't go in? Who's coming and knocking on your door at 6am and asking if there's a nativity set in your house?' It's quite dangerous, I think, to incite this kind of resentment against a perceived enemy."
This year, though, the defenders of Christmas aren't only invoking the fear that nebulous Muslim forces might be about to obliterate Britain's traditional religion. Simultaneously, they have also aligned themselves with Muslim groups, arguing that the real enemy is secularisation. It's a position well-crafted for the historical moment, and for the currently fashionable notion of Britain as comprised of groups defined above all by their faith (even though barely 10% of us regularly attend any kind of religious service).Unsurprisingly, the War-On-Christmas panic is not indigenously British, but, like many forms of religious chest-beating, imported from the Colonies, in this case, America and its culture war:
Then, last year, the War on Christmas received a massive boost when it exploded on to the American political landscape, thanks primarily to two Fox News anchormen, John Gibson and Bill O'Reilly. Gibson had a vested interest, having just published a book entitled The War On Christmas: How The Liberal Plot To Ban The Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought. (A note in the interests of full disclosure: O'Reilly, as I enjoy telling people whenever possible, accused me of "spout[ing] incredible nonsense" earlier this year after I wrote a story about a speech in which he invited al-Qaida to attack the liberal stronghold of San Francisco; previously, he had speculated that the Guardian "might be edited by Osama bin Laden".)(Btw, has the atheists-are-taking-away-Christmas thing spread to Australia yet? I imagine when it does, the federal government will swing into action, using its expanded powers to come down like a tonne of bricks on any officials daring to take the Christ out of
Interesting to see that the Daily Mail's headline yesterday on the Pope's death was "SAFE IN HEAVEN"; in other words, that they presented an article of faith as a fact. Then again, what are tabloids for?
Had the Nazis invaded Britain, they would have had a wide range of puppet leaders to choose from, from the Duke of Windsor (formerly Edward VIII) as king to the Duke of Bedford, and Maj. Gen. John Fuller (a close friend of the owner of the (then) notoriously pro-Nazi Daily Mail), who was tipped to be the British counterpart of Vichy puppet ruler Marshal Petain. Or so a list of potential traitors (to be arrested and interned immediately upon invasion), recently released by the National Archives, says. The list also includes Irish, Welsh and Scottish nationalists thought likely to bet on the Nazis and miscellaneous working stiffs overheard by neighbours making suspiciously pro-German remarks.
Proprietor of the Daily Mail (I think that's one of those ghastly British tabloids or something) Richard Desmond goose-stepped around a boardroom giving stiff-armed Nazi salutes and uttering a stream of Sieg Heils, during a meeting with management of the Daily Telegraph, which is likely to be bought by a German concern. Mr. Desmond, who dropped out of the bidding for the paper, asked if the Telegraph bosses were looking forward to being run by Nazis, and when rebuked, let forth a torrent of personal abuse at the other people in the room. Such, I guess, is the privilege of a newspaper baron.