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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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Category: media issues [ home ]


Posted by Tim on Thursday, November 10, 2005 | Permalink

I'm usually undecided in which I hate the most: The Sun or The Mail. They are both right wing rags full of bigoted opinions; The Mail likes to incite moral panic among its middle aged, middle class readers and The Sun is cliché-ridden so that its younger, trendier and more working class readers don't have to put too much effort into reading it.

Today however, the award for the scummiest paper goes to The Sun. Their front page story - under the headline of "TRAITORS" - concerns Blair's defeat by "TREACHEROUS MPs" who "betrayed the British people last night by rejecting new laws to combat terror."

The article continues: "They IGNORED the wishes of the vast majority of Britons and HUMILIATED Tony Blair by inflicting his first Commons defeat. Gutless Tory MPs were joined by up to 47 Labour rebels as they wrecked the PM's bid to hold terror suspects for 90 days without charge."

The Sun have supported Blair all the way with this, pointing out how evil terrorism is and how it must be defeated. Fair enough, but I myself think that the whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing is kind of important. The way these journalists are frothing at the mouth seems to imply that they think that all suspects are automatically guilty.

They have even "named and shamed" the MPs who voted against the bill. This strikes me as a little odd - such information is hardly a secret, and these people were the ones in the majority!

Incidentally, it shows how far the Labour party have moved to the right if the Sun - a Thatcher-endorsing paper in the 80s - supports them.

One final point, just in case someone from The Sun reading this: dramatic sforzandi WORK in Beethoven symphonies but are really - fucking - ANNOYING in CRAPPY newspapers.

UPDATE 12/11/2005 - This is well worth a read, especially if you support the whole 90 day thing.


Defending Auntie

Posted by Tim on Sunday, July 24, 2005 | Permalink

Recently - especially since the London bombings - I've noticed that many people writing on blogs and message boards are accusing the BBC of a left-wing bias. One commenter on the BBC's have your say (on BBC policies) seems to thing that they "have the same editorial slant as The Guardian". I've even heard one person say that the BBC actually supports terrorism because it uses the factual term "bombers" rather than the more tabloid-esque "evil terrorists".

It's complete bullshit though. The BBC - at least more so than any other organistation - report the news. No opinions, just fact - which is how the news should be reported.

"The right" (apologies for generalisations here) seem to have the opinion that if you're not with them you're against them. If the news doesn't come with a heavy dollop of right wing, patriotic opinion then it automatically has a left wing bias.

The Beeb is often accused of dumbing down, and this is exactly what they would be doing if they reported the news in the style of the tabloids where every story is full of trite statements and bigoted opinions (I don't need to be told by someone less intelligent than myself that terrorists are evil. I especially don't need the word evil to be in bold type, just in case I miss it. If the people who write this sort of crap spoke how they wrote they would have to shout virtually every other word. "Sforzando speech" I call it).

(no comments)


Pots, kettles, filthy rags and Red Ken

Posted by Tim on Tuesday, February 22, 2005 | Permalink

Ken Livingstone is a man I'm not quite sure about, but I support him in not apologising to the Daily Mail Group for comparing an Evening Standard reporter (who just happened to be Jewish) to a Nazi concentration camp guard. There was clearly no anti-Semitism intended, just an personal insult to an individual who probably deserved it.

The Daily Mail demanding an apology - isn't that just a tiny bit hypocritical? Livingstone sums it up himself:

To the Daily Mail group, no-one in Britain is less qualified to complain about anti-Semitism ... In truth, those papers were the leading advocate of anti-Semitism in the country for half a century. Whilst it is true the Mail group no longer smears Jews as bringing crime and disease to the UK it is only because they have moved on.
After a decade of pandering to racism against our citizens of Black and Irish origin they have moved on and now describe asylum seekers and Muslims in similar terms.
For the Mail group the victims may change but the intolerance, hatred and fear pervade every issue of the papers [full statement].



Posted by Tim on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 | Permalink

I wasn't initially going to bother writing about this - plenty of people have beaten me to it. But I can't help but be amazed by the effect that something so small and insignificant has had.

I am referring to Charlie Brooker's Screen Burn column in The Guide from last Saturday's Guardian. The final paragraph is what has caused so many right-wing American bloggers (see here for an example) to start foaming at the mouth:
On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?

Ok, it was in poor taste and not actually very funny (us Brits do have a very dry sense of humour) but surely it must be obvious to anyone with any degree of intelligence that it was only a joke? After reading some of the reactions to the article you'd think that the Guardian had actually put a price on Bush's head!

Someone guy asked me how the British public would feel if an American had asked where John Bellingham was when we needed him (I had to look this up - apparently Mr Bellingham is the only person to have assassinated a British Prime Minister). Frankly, I don't think many Brits would really care. As I pointed out to the afore-mentioned person, we'd probably just shrug it off and think "Tosser!". And then go down the pub.


Eight-month-old girl guns down men in dark glasses with KF7 Soviet

Posted by Tim on Friday, July 30, 2004 | Permalink

New blog added to my links - Mail watch - keeping an eye on the Daily Mail.

The Mail's front page story today, under the headline Ban these evil games:
A high street electronics chain has withdrawn a bloodthirsty video game after it was blamed for the horrific and brutal murder of a 14-year-old boy by a teenage friend.

Warren Leblanc faces life behind bars for repeatedly battering Stefan Pakeerah with a claw hammer and stabbing him to death after luring him to a local park. The 17-year-old pleaded guilty to murder at Leicester Crown Court yesterday.

Outside the court, Stefan's parents said Leblanc, of Braunstone Frith, Leicester, had mimicked a game called Manhunt in which the players score points for violent killings.

His mother Giselle claimed her son's "inherently evil" murderer was "obsessed" with the game and called for it to be banned.

So ..... Warren Leblanc was a perfectly well adjusted kid who became a bloodthirsty murderer (killing his best friend in all the world) after playing a video game? Are the writers of the Mail really that stupid? I strongly suspect that they are not - they are just backing up the conservative politicians who make up problems then promise to tackle these problems in the hope of getting votes from gullible people.

I was reminded by James of a previous Mail story about a one-year-old being addicted to playing Goldeneye.  Now, I'm a Nintendo freak. I have played through Goldeneye many times - it's one of the best games ever made. And there is no way a one-year-old could play it. They would not have the slightest idea what was going on, let alone be able to control the action.

The ironic thing is, I have a photo of my daughter, taken in 1998 when she was eight months old, playing Goldeneye! Ok, the photo was set up for a laugh, but it looks like she is really getting into it (N64 controllers seem to fascinate babies) and you can clearly see the game on the TV screen (it's the first level in the Bunker).

I was seriously tempted to post the picture here, but eventually decided it wasn't such a good idea. The wrong person could stumble across it and before long it would be all over the net and the afore-mentioned conservatives would be saying "Look! We told you so!".

By the way, my daughter, now nearly seven, has not become a deranged killer. She does play Banjo-Kazooie a fair bit though, which features a bird living in a backpack worn by a bear, a witch, and a shaman called Mumbo-Jumbo.

Games featuring witchcraft and black magic ... being played by children ... quick, ban it before more kids become crazed psychopathic killers!


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.