Top news from The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Indepedent and The Guardian newspapers
ARE our adult celebrities able to make their own choices? And do we care if they take drugs in private, even if stills of these shock-of-shocks happenings end up as front-page news on the Mirror and Sun?
Anorak went on Sky News and was invited to comment on how Kate Moss should – as a “role model” – behave in a fashion more in keeping with her status. A model who dates a popstar cannot be seen to be taking drugs, as was alleged.
Anorak agreed. Looking at Moss taking drugs will create a false impression. The young and easily led should know that there is little to no chance that they will look half as good as Moss if they take them. The message should be made clear: Drugs do not make you photogenic. Kate Moss is a fashion model. Not a role model.
You may, however, succeed in looking like Amy Winehouse. But be warned: you may not sound as sweet as Winehouse as you give full throat to her protest song of the century and tell mum and dad you are not, not, not going to rehab.
In the Times, Camilla Cavendish respsonds to the UN’s comments on celebrity drug takers:
We won’t end this violence by jailing celebrities or middle-class users. The only way to take back our streets is to wrest back control of the drugs from the criminals, by legalising and regulating their trade.
Imagine if you could buy coke from Boots. Or the aptly named Superdrug. That would drain the glamour from it more effectively than making a martyr of Kate Moss. I don’t imagine her lovely features would adorn state-regulated packets of white powder, hanging next to the corn plasters. Yes, legalisation would make drugs cheaper, in order to undercut the dealers. Yes, usage might increase. But perhaps not much, because it is already widespread. A third of 16 to 24-year-olds routinely admit to having tried drugs, despite knowing that they are admitting to a crime.
The benefits of legalisation could be enormous. Overcrowded prisons would be relieved of people needing treatment rather than punishment (about 15 per cent of prisoners are in for possession or supply). Addicts would not be forced into associating with criminals. Children could be safe in Britain’s playgrounds again.
Nigel Morris on the celebrity drug culture.
WRITES Seamus Milne in the Guardian: “More than 120 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli forces in the past week, of whom one in five were children and more than half were civilians, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.
“During the same period, three Israelis were killed, two of whom were soldiers taking part in the attacks.The Gaurdaina’s MORE than 120 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli forces in the past week, of whom one in five were children and more than half were civilians, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. During the same period, three Israelis were killed, two of whom were soldiers taking part in the attacks.”
But if Milne is to engage in what bloggers call “stat porn” he may wonder this this disparity is because the Israelis fight as an Army in uniform and the Palestianian militia are dressed as civilians and firing from blocks of flats.
And don’t Hamas want to kill all Israelis, and Jews?
Allah, annihilate them completely and do not leave anyone of them.”
Does this include killing all the children?
“Suicide attacks and jihad reinforce national unity in the ranks….Our voice is one of struggle, of jihad and of suicide….Iraq could win if it equipped its citizens with explosive belts and turned them into human bombs.”
(Sheik Ahmed Yassin, interview with the Muslim website Alskifa, January 10, 2003, translated by Israel Defense Forces)
For the bloodthirsty…
JAMES Lovelock says global warming is upon us. We are doomed. Doomed! Doomed!!!
“It’s just too late for it,” he says. “Perhaps if we’d gone along routes like that in 1967, it might have helped. But we don’t have time. All these standard green things, like sustainable development, I think these are just words that mean nothing. I get an awful lot of people coming to me saying you can’t say that, because it gives us nothing to do. I say on the contrary, it gives us an immense amount to do. Just not the kinds of things you want to do.”
He dismisses eco ideas briskly, one by one. “Carbon offsetting? I wouldn’t dream of it. It’s just a joke. To pay money to plant trees, to think you’re offsetting the carbon? You’re probably making matters worse. You’re far better off giving to the charity Cool Earth, which gives the money to the native peoples to not take down their forests.” […]
He saves his thunder for what he considers the emptiest false promise of all – renewable energy.
“You’re never going to get enough energy from wind to run a society such as ours,” he says. “Windmills! Oh no. No way of doing it. You can cover the whole country with the blasted things, millions of them. Waste of time.”
Yvonne Roberts has been an award winning journalist, writer and
broadcaster in newspapers, radio and television for over 30 years. She writes for the Guardian, Independent on Sunday, Observer, Community Care and the internet magazine, The Frist Post.
Yes, my typos are all over the site, but still…
NEWS from the Telegraph’s Court & Social pages that ALAN Duncan, the Conservative’s shadow business secretary, is to enter into a legal partnership with a same-sex partner, James Dunseath.
An Anorak readers responds:
What a shame that Sir Edward Heath is not leader of the party and so able to see this…
Name and address supplied
WAS William Sahlespear anti-semitic. Nine girls at the Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls School in Stamford Hill, north London, refused to answer questions on Shakespeare because they believe he was anti-Semitic.
As a result the school’s ranking has fallen from first to 274th in this year’s table measuring the progress of pupils between the ages of 11 and 14.
Head teacher Rabbi Abraham Pinter says*: “I think this is very positive. I’m really proud that our kids are prepared to take the consequences of their convictions and I think it is something that needs to be encouraged.”
JON Snow has in an instant shown what is wrong with the self-aggrandizing media elite:
Using the oldest and falsest royal chestnut, he accused the editors who had made the agreement of seeking knighthoods. He must know that, except for a few restricted orders in the Queen’s personal gift, honours come from a system controlled by the Prime Minister.
Then Snow claimed to be horrified that so much fuss was being made to do a special favour to “so small a thing as a prince”. What other free country would connive at such a cover-up, he wondered?
Why, he jeered, did Prince Harry have to be a soldier anyway? “He could do banking.” Were the press so servile, asked Snow, with an absurdity of bad taste, that “if he gets injured or shot dead, the papers wouldn’t report that”?
The three people on the show – the editor who had brokered the deal, a Tory MP and a man who had served recently in the Army – looked at Snow almost with incomprehension.
It was one of those moments when one realised that some media people have no contact with ordinary human feeling. Prince Harry was not being given a privilege. His situation was unique.
PRINCE Harry’s War. Scene II: We rejoin the action on the tarmac at Brize Norton airbase. The UK Media Corps is discussing the news that Prince Harry is returned home a hero after winning the War on Terror.
Now read on…
ALL: THEY say Harry is back. He walks among us…
MEDIA CORPS: Tally-ban!
EXPRESS (Lance Corporal): TARGET HARRY
Shhh! Those “British fanatics” might hear you and take it as a call to arms
MAIL (Lieutenant): TERROR TARGET HARRY
STAR (Private): HARRY IS TOP TERROR TARGET – Prince home but not safe
Quick! To Boujis. It’s a lock in. Hurry!
MIRROR: THE BOY WHO WOULD NOT DIE
They say he is covered in a teflon coating and he has a heart twice the size of a normal man
THE TIMES (Major): The Prince returns a hero and an enemy
TELEGRAPH (Brigadier, retired): Let me go back, please Harry
But, Harry, it’s Boujis. You remmber, Boujis? Oh, how the war changes them
GUARDIAN (Peace Corps): Dirty Harry – dog of war, or prince of public relations?
Harry run. A price is on your head. Max Clifford and the Taliban are after you. Run, Harry, run…
“PREGNANCY rate among over-40s soars as women delay babies for their career,” says the Times. And a piture:
“Times journalist Suzi Godson with her daughter Velvet at their home in London”
A time to put away material possessions…
There are five protestors in all, but the Mail and Telegraph both focus on the youngest female of the group, a 20-year-old blonde-ish woman in a tight pencil skirt and burgundy blouse.
The protestors are demonstrating against plans to expand Heathrow Airport. They are on the roof for three hours.
Says Gordon Brown: “Decisions in the country should be made in the chamber of the House and not on the roof of the Hosue.” This may have been an attempt at humour.
As for the protestors, they are from a group called Plane Stupid, which has a history of telling anyone who flies abroad for their holidays in search of sun and fun that they are stupid.
As such, they have little chance of success. People, in general, do not respond kindly to being called thickos for spending their money as they choose.
And, in any case, their protest is overshadowed by the news that they made it on to the roof “via a spot where Westminster workers go for a cigarette”.
Does health and safety know? And can Gordon Brown be wrong? Is the roof at Westminster the new smoke-filled corridor where business used to be conducted and meaningful allegiances formed.
We should be told!
FIDEL Castro. Crazy name. Crazy guy. Writes Daniel Finkelstein:
I had a strange idea yesterday. I had the idea of inviting Harriet Harman home for dinner. This isn’t a thought that occurs to me often, but I suddenly felt it might be fun.
I’d invite my Dad too. And then, when we’d given Harriet a nice meal (what do you think she likes to eat?), my father could tell her his story.
He could tell her how the Soviets and the Nazis closed in on his home town of Lvov in September 1939 and how the town council chose the Soviets to surrender to. Then he might tell her how the fathers of his friends were taken to the woods at Katyn and shot by the communists.
He might recount the story of his father’s arrest as an antisocial element, of Adolf Finkelstein’s repeated interrogations leading to a trial in his absence and a jail sentence of 15 years’ hard labour. Then Dad could tell the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party about his own experience as a child, exiled to a remote Siberian village. And how he and his mother and his father never saw their home again.
And, when he’d finished, he could let Harriet speak. And she could explain to Dad why she thinks that Fidel Castro is a hero.
Yet still the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, the Leader of the House of Commons, a member of the Cabinet, is in love with Fidel. When asked, earlier this week, in an interview: “Fidel Castro – authoritarian dictator or hero of the Left?” she answered unhesitatingly – “hero of the Left”.
Bellfield murdered Amelie Delagrange, 22, and Marsha McDonnell, 19, after they got off buses in south-west London. He also tried to kill 18-year-old Kate Sheedy by twice running her over. He used a hammer. The Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe used a ball pein hammer.
Case closed. After months of speculation in such matters as what happened to Madeleine McCann and if the Mad Hatter, Prince Philip or the Easter Bunny murdered Princess Diana, the press can focus on the perpetrator of heinous crime.
But readers are used to playing amateur detective. So rather then celebrating Bellfield’s detection and jailing, they lead with speculation. Did Bellfield murder Milly Dowling? Is Bellfield a Ripper?A look at today’s newspapers:
DAILY MIRROR (front page): “DID YOU KILL OUR MILL?”
Milly Dowler’s parents last night begged bus stop killer Levi Bellfield to reveal if he murdered their girl. Bob and Sally Dowler made the plea over their 13-year-old as Bellfield was convicted of two murders. He is feared to have struck before and will be quizzed over 20 other attacks. Bellfield, 37, is linked to Milly’s kidnap and murder in 2002 by a series of clues.
GLASGOW DAILY RECORD: “Did Hammer Beast Murder Milly Too?”
As Girl With A One Track Mind says: “What strikes me so much about this is not the discovery of evidence of the ‘G-spot’, but of the fact that so much of female anatomy still remains a mystery – to science, men, and, most sadly, women themselves”
Police will be able to seize high-value assets from suspected drug dealers as soon as they are arrested under plans to be unveiled this week by Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary.
If you are suspected of a crime the [police can seize your assets.
Law-enforcement agencies will be able to take cars, televisions, laptops and expensive jewellery belonging to big-time offenders. Such assets can currently only be seized at the end of a criminal process, by which time drug dealers have often disposed of them.
Perhaps the goods are sold to pay for a decent defence lawyer to escape a wrongful arrest? Perhaps Jacqui Smith, who admits to having smoked cannabis, thinks seizing dugs is better than walking the dangerous streets looking to buy them illegally?
A Home Office spokesman said last night: “Our starting point will be that all criminal gains should be removed from offenders. For example those criminals buying commodities to avoid the circulation of cash could have their assets seized before they have chance to disperse them. Seizing ill-gotten gains is critical to reducing the incentives for crime.”
Great plan. Only, how do the police know which is an–ill-gotten gain and which is not? And if the suspect is found not guilty can they sue the police for depreciation of their assets?
DID you know: “Almost 5m southerners have never travelled north of the Watford Gap – and the cultural barrier has become an equal deterrent in the opposite direction”?
The Times (head office in London) has this facts. And it knows why:
“The findings suggest that rather than unify the country, the boom in cheap air travel has reinforced a historic rift as British holidaymakers head overseas rather than explore their own country.”
For southerners, the north is a desolate landscape of derelict mining villages and fish and chip shops, and is dismissed by three-fifths as “bleak” and “unsophisticated”.
No the North of Spain, nor the north of Italy. But the north of England, that pre-budget airline holiday haven…
The release: “Two pupils from every sixth form and college in the country will be able to visit Auschwitz and learn about the Holocaust thanks to £4.65 million of funding’ (DCSF press release, 4 February 2008)
As the Sun reports: “Mr Cameron complained yesterday that despite a £4.7million boost for trips, schools still had to fork out £100 per pupil.”
Says a Tory spokesman: “School trips to Auschwitz are a brilliant idea. However, by announcing these trips without providing the necessary funding the government has – in classic fashion – hidden the detail in the small print. Under a Conservative government these trips would be funded in full and schools would not have to find £100 per pupil from their budgets.”
Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, issued his won press release:
“This is a truly disgraceful remark by David Cameron and he should apologise immediately for the offence he has caused. Anyone who has seen the horrors of Auschwitz at first hand knows what a life-changing experience it is. To call the announcement I made of £4.65 million to fund visits by school children over the next three years a ‘gimmick’ just beggars belief. In trying to make this issue into a matter of party politics, David Cameron has shown once again that he not only lacks judgement but also a basic sense of decency.”
It’s not about party politics, says Ed Balls in a, er, Labour Party press release.
Arbeit Macht Frei. Even the Germans can do irony…
Guido Fawkes: “The Tories now say that they support the educational Auschwitz trips and that they would fully fund them via the Lottery fund. Whatever the substance of the matter, somebody is going to get a bollocking for the original press release…”
RedBox: “Almost unbelievably, as at 2.40pm, the Tories are trying to defend its inclusion. They say the funding annoucement doesn’t add up and they weren’t trying to say the trips themselves were gimmicks, just the government spin. Doesn’t matter: they put “Visits to Auschwitz” under a list of “gimmicks” (itself a gimmick). They should have seen the politics of this
Earlier today CCHQ emailed out a list of “gimmicks” associated with Gordon Brown’s time as PM:
Community kitty for every neighbourhood
Funding for flooding
Honours for sportsmen
Trips to Auschwitz
New Border Police
Reversing 24-hour drinking policy
Police to confiscate alcohol from teens
Engaging the public in policy making
1,300 new train carriages
Protecting Public Spaces against terrorist attacks
British jobs for British workers
Deep Cleaning of hospitals
Screening tests: cervical cancer
Screening tests: C.difficile
1,000 troops home before Christmas
Deportation of foreign nationals
Tenants forced to work
Five hours of culture a week
Netball to be introduced for the 2012 Olympics
A NURSERY for junior. Alice Miles achieves a notable first in the Times:
The pack then refers parents to additional policies on demand: a Student Placement Policy, Staffing and Employment Policy, Special Educational Needs/Disability Policy, Health and Safety Policy, Food and Drink Policy, Equipment and Resources Policy, and The Non Collection of Children Policy, which involves social services. It would have been hard to make the nursery sound less welcoming, but Ofsted ought to like it – fingers crossed.
We are due a visit from it shortly. We had the early years person round to check all was in order. She looked through it all, nodded her approval, paused. “But you haven’t,” she said, “got a Going Out For a Walk Policy.” No kidding.
Amazing stuff. Not once in the article does the writer mention the name of her child or children.
Peaches Geldof is rumoured to be “well impressed”…
This is a “huge brain drain”, says the paper. “The exodus is revealed at the same time as concerns at home grow about record numbers of migrants arriving to find jobs in Britain.”
These facts are absed on a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Says the Telegraph: “We already knew, courtesy of the Office for National Statistics, that emigration from this country is running at higher levels than at any time since before the First World War, with 200,000 British citizens a year departing these shores.”
“So why the exodus?” the apper asks? Better pay? Wunderlust? Cheaper housing? Less chance of meeting Noel Edmonds?
No need to guess. The Telegraph knows: “Scratch an expat in any of the 100-plus countries that have sizeable British communities and you will rapidly find out… One thing will be mentioned more than any other: that unchecked immigration over the past decade is creating a country many Britons no longer feel comfortable in.”
The brainiacs are leaving the UK to live overseas because they don’t feel comfortable living among foreigners.
And they’re the clever ones…
PRUDES. Banstabation. Prigs: “Some social critics go on about The Permissive Society, but what we are really facing is The Priggish Society currently being created by busybody politicians and other authority figures… Going out for a night in a bar with close friends is now denounced as “binge drinking”. Smoking an occasional joint means you are a “drug addict”.
The Telegraph says that other “veteran television journalists”, including Anna Ford, Angela Rippon and Selina Scott have also accused the BBC of sexism in relation to older presenters. Ford rose to fame as the BBC’s first obese female newsreader. Miss Rippon was known for her pot-marked face and monobrow. Selina Scott was TV’s “black Jimmy Hill”.
Says Flanders, a one-eyed, hooked nosed, spotty 39-year-old: “Having lived there [USA], I am struck by the comparison with the US, where the likes of Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer can carry on – admittedly, still incredibly glamorous women.”
She adds: “I feel strongly about this and hope that the perception that you can’t advance beyond 50 will be seen as nonsense.”
We’ll see how Ms Flanders looks hold up…
The wife of Tommy Sheridan has been charged with lying under oath during the socialist politician’s high-profile libel trial against the News of the World.
Gail Sheridan, 44, whose testimony formed a central part of her husband’s case during a 23-day trial in 2006, was charged with perjury after six hours’ questioning by detectives. Her father, Gus Healy, 71, who also testified at the trial, was also charged.
The move comes two months after officers charged Mr Sheridan with perjury…
Within the past 10 days three more of Mr Sheridan’s colleagues – including a former MSP – have also been charged. Rosemary Byrne, 59, who lost her seat in the Scottish Parliament last year, Graeme McIver, 39, and Jock Penman, 58, were charged with perjury after voluntarily reporting to police for questioning.
All three testified on Mr Sheridan’s behalf and are now members of his newly formed Solidarity party.
In a statement today, the party repeated its claim that Mr Sheridan and his colleagues were the victims of a “political witch-hunt”. A spokesman said: “The only crime that Tommy Sheridan is guilty of is the crime of speaking truth to power.”
Is that the sound of laughter from the NOTW offices?
THE SUN: Jenna Parry’s face looks out from the cover of the Sun
“ANOTHER MYSTERY TEEN DEATH,” says the paper. “17 hangings, 13 months, 1 town, 1 question..WHY?”
Above a picture of swings, a see-saw and a climbing frame, the legend: “Place where shadow of death stalks the young”
“The stunned people of Bridgend found themselves living in the shadow of death yesterday after yet another young suicide victim was found hanging from a tree…While police and politicians maintained there was no link between Jenna Parry’s death and SIXTEEN previous hangings in the area, local people feared otherwise”
Who needs facts and the results of a police investigation when you have “fear”. And the shadowy internet
Michael Bennett found Miss Parry’s body as he was out walking his dog, as is ever the way of things. “In an apparent reference to Bebo, he added: ‘Youngsters need to talk to people like their family, not spend all their time on computers or watching television'”
Reports the Sun: “Like many of the others, Jenna had her own pages on teenage social networking website Bebo. Police will examine her computer.” Rachel White, a friend of the dead girl, says: “Her Bebo site will probably be turned into a memorial as well”
David Morris, Assistant Chief Constable of South Wales, “admitted the cluster of suicides in the Bridgend area was unique because of the ‘exceptional’ numbers involved. But he claimed there was no evidence of a mass pact”
“A number have access to social networking sites such as Bebo and MySpace. But we have not found any suggestion of any links or influence from these sites to have encouraged these young people to take their lives. These are vulnerable young people and there is a view that taking one’s own life may become an acceptable option, but we have found no evidence of any link between them”
Not to worry, though, because the Sun is on the case, and it has one line of questioning
DAILY MIRROR: “SUICIDE No 17 IN THE TOWN OF NO HOPE – JENNA, 16 FOUND HANGED.”
“There is only one topic of conversation amongst a group of teenagers outside an off-licence in Bridgend – the apparent suicide of Jenna Parry,” says the Mirror’s man on the scene, stood by a group of teenagers who – and this a bonus – are hanging out by the booze shop. If reporter Nic North can mention the teens’ weight – and let’s pray to god they are obese – and their smoking, his story will have the lot
But before he asks them for their views on Iraq, he brings the economy into it: “Young people are pessimistic for their Jobs in local retail parks or fast food outlets is the best they can hope for.” Pretty much all teens, unless you’re Peaches Geldof, a Royal earning a crust, a model of a footballer, are pessimistic about the low-paid work they are offered
Gareth says bleakly: “I can understand why they’re killing themselves. It takes a trigger, a row with your girlfriend, another job rejection, to push you over the edge.” He says the mood in Bridgend is “fear”. He explains: “Every morning, you’re waking up thinking, Who’s it gonna be today? It’s got really freaky. There’s a sense that the place is cursed, a losing town’s curse.”
A curse! Now the Mirror is getting somewhere.
DAILY EXPRESS: “More suicide mystery”
Says David Morris: “The link between the deaths isn’t the internet – it is the way the media is reporting the news”
“Jenna belonged to two websites,” says the Express. “Experts warn of internet link”
Says the Express of Mr Morris’s comment: “This is nonsense. Many of the deaths occurred before there was any news coverage.” But then many suicides never make into the pages of the national press. Maybe when they did, impressionable teenagers read about it? Maybe all 17 suicides read the Daily Express?
DAILY MAIL: “The tragedy of Jenna, suicide town’s 17th victim”
It’s the town that’s killing them
THE TIMES: “Schools on alert after 17th Bridgend suicide”
Says the paper: “Experts are to be sent into every school in Bridgend as part of an urgent strategy drawn up to halt the spate of suicides in a small area of South Wales that claimed a 17th young victim yesterday.”
Says David Morris: “These are vulnerable young people. Taking one’s own life may be becoming an acceptable option to young people for issues that they are facing.”
So no curse? No Internet plot? But this mass suicide is a phenomenon, Bridgend is like Jonestown with a broadband connection?
Notes the paper: “Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 20 people – 14 of them young men – took their lives in the Bridgend area in 2006, while Merthyr Tydfil had 10 suicides and Rhondda Cynon Taff 18”
Jenna Parry is the 17th suicide in Bridgend since the start of 2007
THE INDEPENDENT: “Task force considers the ‘Werther effect'”
The Sorrow of Young Werther is the story of a young artist who shoots himself after an ill-fated love affair. “Following its publication in 1774 there was a series of reports of young men who took their own lives in the same way, which led to the book being banned”
Was Master Werther on Bebo?
DAILY TELEGRAPH: “What hope can we offer Bridgend’s teenagers?”
Jan Moir pictures the scene in her mind’s eye: “It is hard to imagine what kind of despair inched each of them towards the thought and then the deed: to fashion the knot, to slip the fixings before the final swing into oblivion.” Is it so hard? “Teenagers are emotional creatures whose taste runs to the gothic,” says Moir. Was she ever a teenager?
“In each case, the method was the same; only the location changed. One youngster strung himself up from a washing line, one in a park, yet another from a tree; terrible and strange fruit hanging in the Welsh valleys. Most were hanged in their own bedrooms; the worst of surprises for a parent opening the door on to an unforgettable scene… Exposure to suicide can lead to what psychiatrists call contagion, and the fear is that more vulnerable teens will succumb to the death talk in the air and copycat-kill themselves. Is this what happened yesterday?
The more excitable newspapers have a weakness for outrage. Together they make an uncomfortable alliance. Certainly, the repeated and sensational suggestion that the dead youngsters are part of a internet death pact or cult is particularly unhelpful. Apart from anything else, if it were a cult, the deaths would be more ritualistic and flamboyant, there would be more of them and they would have happened in a shorter space of time for maximum impact”
Moir does not try to imagine how cult members might kill themselves. But Anorak readers can feel free…
On Saturday I stood at Warwick University’s union bar. I had been speaking at a rather excellent student conference and the organisers had invited me to join the students for the evening. Large numbers of the 400 students present were standing without anything to drink, unable to afford the highly-taxed lagers that were on sale. As a result, students stood in straight lines listening quietly to the live band. No one was smoking, which of course would have been illegal.
Pills. Give us the pills…
But as the case of Max Gogarty shows, there is no presumption of civility or community spirit online. His fate should be instructive to politicians. He was flamed because he was perceived to be bogus. Self-selecting judges ruled that he had no business writing for the Guardian. The message was transmitted swiftly, sometimes eloquently, sometimes wittily. His travel diary was extinguished. As an expression of mob will, it was very efficient. But that does not mean it was fair.
What’s not fair?
Cultural Revolution aside, we would venture that the “recent pillorying” of young Max happened to be because readers felt insulted that the Guardian tried to put one over on them. First of all, they hired the kid of a former travel writer write a lame travel blog about his gap year. Secondly! The kid’s writing had an almost unparalleled skill at being annoying.
“There’s no point debating anything online. You might as well hurl shoes in the air to knock clouds from the sky. The internet’s perfect for all manner of things, but productive discussion ain’t one of them. It provides scant room for debate and infinite opportunities for fruitless point-scoring: the heady combination of perceived anonymity, gestated responses, random heckling and a notional “live audience” quickly conspire to create a “perfect storm” of perpetual bickering.”