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The Revenge of Winston Smith

Observations on the absurdity of everyday life interspersed with rambling rants against religion · big brother government policies · conservatism · right-wingers and obsessive capitalists · xenophobes, racists, sexists and bigots in general · tabloid journalism · the Daily Mail · self-professed moral guardians..... and much much more!

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Bigoted views strung together with clichés

Posted by Tim on Friday, July 02, 2004 | Permalink

After reading (and commenting on) a post on Insert Joke Here I did something I have never done before and probably will never do again.

I went to my local newsagents and - in great embarrassment (having to explain it was for research purposes only) - purchased a copy of The Sun.

My mum used to buy this "newspaper" in the mid 80s when I was still at school and I would often read it. I used to find myself getting aggravated by it even then (an article that stuck in my mind was one comparing Ben Elton unfavourably to Jim Davidson, which says it all really).

The style has changed little. It is still written using language that the average eight year old would have no trouble with, and is still littered with clichés and "standard phrases". An exclusive story is always something that "the Sun can reveal today", popular songs that are selling well are always "riding high in the charts" and everyone has their ages given as if it is in some way relevant (although they seem to have stopped printing women's vital statistics). Headlines and captions aren't quite as cheesy as they used to be (there don't seem to be any of the same-letter-phrases like Lusty Linda, Busty Barbara, Saucy Sandra's sinful secrets etc.) - although the page 3 girl (topless in a rather pointless cheeky, non sexual way) had her opinion on the day's events next to her picture under the caption "News in Briefs".

The views of the writers are not so much bigoted as simple minded - I was almost amused by Richard Littlejohn's attempts to justify the homophobia of a Scottish landlord - although there is an underlying current of xenophobia, particularly in the sports pages (I'm sure this would have been significantly more pronounced if I had have bought a copy of the paper a week or so ago, when England were still in Euro 2004). England's own sportspeople seem to get a rough ride if they don't win though; Tim Henmen was rather childishly offered free tennis lessons.

The thing that worries me is that this is England's best selling daily paper. One of the reasons I don't believe in democracy as such (more on this in another post) is that the average person - probably a Sun reader - is stupid, bigoted and ignorant, having strong opinions on things he/she knows nothing about. These people make up the core of the voting population.

The paper can be commended for one thing though: taken from The Sun says regarding a new "intelligent speed adaption system" -
The real worry would be: what next? Once every car, van, lorry and motorbike in the land is linked by satellite to a Big Brother computer, they've got us. They can track us, control us, fine us and snoop on us.