There was something deeply troubling in the recent tabloid coverage around the murder of Joanna Yeates when police called in her landlord. One red top argued that because he, Chris Jefferies, had a penchant for the avant garde – for literature and cinema which was deliberately obscure, challenging and unorthodox – this pointed to his guilt. Tabloids typically have contempt for that which is unconventional, a little different, none more so than the Daily Mail, which professes journalistic objectivity and credibility, partly on the grounds that it does not have a red top, but in truth does little more than appease and enforce the prejudices of its Middle England readers, this majority of decent, proper, upright folk who believe in self- and home- improvement, low taxation, and of course ordinariness. The argument made, that Chris Jefferies was guilty because he is rather eccentric and has unusual cultural tastes, was absurd. It pandered to the narrow-minded and ignorant. The Daily Mail might bemoan the presence of unusual, difficult and provocative ideas, thoughts and tastes – which are contrary to its own ‘ordinariness’ that it is so proud of and will defend so resolutely – yet without them our culture would be stale and barren. I’d rather be consigned to hell than live in the Daily Mail’s ordinary world!

2 thoughts on “The Tabloids Bay for Blood

  1. I agree. This post makes me think of my own attitude to Humbert Humbert in ‘Lolita’. Because, unlike a Daily Mail reader (!), I feel inclined to sympathise with him, and even believe that he loves Lolita, because he’s so cultured, knowledgable, eloquent and rhetorically-skilled. When in fact he’s a perverted paedophile pig. I guess it’s a lesson, in hating red top journalism, not to veer the other way and support all things alternative unconditionally.

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