I am an avid newspaper reader. Probably not as avid a some because my er…avidness (is that a word) only exists on the weekend. Oh yes, and only with two newspapers. The Guardian and The Observer. That may not impress many in terms of avidness but it drives the memsahib wild.
Every Saturday and Sunday the floor in our house (the living room – you know, the room where the tele is) is littered with every section of the appropriate newspaper. The journal, the magazine, the TV what’s on this week section etc. Never the sports page as that goes straight in the bin along with the Business and Travel pages. Everything else gets read er…avidly.
I should make it clear that I read these particular newspapers not because I am some left-leaning hippy. I read them because I find them relatively easy to understand. And to my mind, if there is an agenda it is not craftily hidden away.
The news is always presented clearly and what bias there is I find, only slight and am able to handle without exploding. Very unlike that arse-wipe of a ‘newspaper’, The Sun that through its use of black magic and voodoo has discovered the algorithm that makes readers angry before they even pick it up. The Sun and that other rag, The (fascist) Daily Mail are in my view, the equivalent of taking a hate pill first thing before breakfast. (I have always hoped sincerely that one day (before breakfast) the haters that write that shit, will be bought to book).
However, the Guardian and The Observer let me make clear, are not the offspring of Mother Teresa.
Some of the contributions especially in the ‘how we live now–type pages’ do tend to spring from an imaginary place where everybody is incredibly healthy, wealthy and hip. The la-la land fashion pages obviously believe that all their readers can afford shoes at £300 and often nip down the road after brunch to the local store for a T shirt at 40 quid.
(At this point can I recommend ‘Fruit of the Loom’ T shirts in various colours. Priced from £3 to around £8 in light and heavy versions. Available on Amazon).
And as for the dining out/food pages…pull the other one it’s got bells on it.
To be honest around these parts it’s a well-known fact that I have what’s known as ‘an uneducated pallet’. I was brought up on lard and eggs and bacon on a Sunday. Rice was foreign and therefore a definite no-no and if it wasn’t for the efforts of the memsahib, pasta would still be a mystery to me. I am, as far as food is concerned, still a Philistine. But even so, even with the memsahib’s wonderful knowledge, The Guardian’s food pages are a wonder to me. So many foods, fruits and otherwise that I have never heard of and so many ways of cooking them.
I wonder at Jay Rayner as he spends a fortune on a mystery dish that although a torrent of amazing colour barely covers the plate. My moth drops open in astonishment as he devours a plate of something that has tentacles and declares it delicious, (or not). And I am astonished as a small team of highly paid and obviously well-fed food critics, ruin willy-nilly, another hard-fought for career and living, just because something was under-done.
Which I suppose brings me to my point…
Every now and again I’m reminded that no matter where our loyalties lie politically or otherwise, our newspapers, tabloid or not, all have an amazing amount of power to direct us in the way we live our lives. It’s like advertising insomuch it does have an effect albeit hidden and under the surface.
However, I do believe that newspapers etc are and have become a necessary evil. And as with all ‘necessities’ that wield enormous power we must always stay alert to manipulation.
Always, take everything they say, no matter how much it appeals with a pinch of salt. Ask questions and never, never take your eyes totally off the ball. Remember who you are and where you came from. Hold hard to your roots and remember, these people are not your friends. Their main concern is not your welfare. Their main concern is to sell newspapers.