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Friday, 2 November 2012

Another Daily Fail

Today, in a well-earned lunch break, I read an article on the Daily Mail internet site about the supposedly maverick and independent Conservative MPs from the 2010 intake.

Why? You might ask. Why did you subject yourself to the Daily Mail? You would be right to ask. I can only say, in an anguished wail: “I just don’t know. There was a link to it in a morning briefing email. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and now I don’t know how to un-read it!”

It is so depressing that this is one of the most read newspaper sites in the whole world. Their casual bullying of anyone who doesn't fit in with their stereotype of “normal” and “British” and “traditional” is just appalling. If it wasn't so horrible, the facile and baseless commentary from (presumably) educated adults who should know better would be funny. But people take this tosh to heart. So it’s not funny, it’s sickening.

The article was  ostensibly praising and supporting these MPs but there were so many back-handed and offensive slights based on the physical and personal characteristics of the MPs being “complimented”.

Pity “bespectacled Mark Reckless” who “has a computer geek’s voice”. Oh, come on. What does that mean? A “computer geek’s voice” isn’t even a thing. I’m not even sure computers are a thing anymore.

The article declined to elaborate any more on what this comprehensive assessment of the timbre of his voice actually meant, but it did state that he was “physically awkward” and that he was “previously known best for being a late-night tippler”.

I’m therefore assuming that having a “computer geek’s voice” means “this MP sounds like Steve Jobs and therefore could potentially be in charge of a company so successful it has more money than most small countries”. Successful business people should now include this on their CV as shorthand for success and authority:

“As I speak with a computer geek’s voice, I am therefore adept at coming up with new ideas,  floating companies for public listings, and making myself the youngest self-made billionaire on the planet.”

Or could it mean that the Daily Mail is characterising people who work in technology as having poor people skills, not interested in sports, and borderline alcoholics? Or is this some kind of snobbish shorthand that implies he didn't go to Eton, because who would ever get into technology after having a private school education. Perish the thought.

I know not. We will never learn how the Daily Mail imagines a “computer geek” speaks, nor what kind of insult they were intending with it.

The article went on. Two female MPs were described in the context of their marital status and motherhood:

“[Tracey Crouch] lives for politics (she has yet to find a husband)”
“Sarah Wollaston, 50, another rebel, is a doctor and mother of three”

So, when Tracy Crouch does find this elusive male, he will immediately complete her life and she will step away from the men’s world of politics? Seriously? WTF?

And why is Sarah Wollaston specifically singled out as a mother of three? Do none of the men have children?

I could go on, but I’m now so disillusioned with the state of the press that I actually want to vomit. I should have stopped at the picture entitled "Computer-geeky Mark Reckless".

I can only say, please don’t ever make the mistake I did. If anyone ever sends you a link to a Daily Mail article, even if it is to share in their righteous fury, please don’t click on it. Please don’t help validate their bigoted bile by increasing their page views. And if nothing else, do it for your own sanity. I wish I had followed my own advice.


  1. Someone pointed me to an article yesterday where the Daily Mail took a break from writing about paedophiles to run a story about a 14-year-old actress showing off her "womanly curves". It's a vile rag.

    1. That's pretty appalling. More fuel for the fire. *sigh*