Few things in life seem to conjure up as much hatred within people as the Daily Mail. It’s a tabloid that toes a fine line between BNP recruiting pamphlet and soft-core porn mag, which provides middleEnglandwith its regular update of opinions to hold, celebs to hate, and what offers they can get this week at Marks & Spencer. It really is a smorgasbord of inconsequential shite.
The paper has taken a back seat recently to Mail Online, which has been a staggeringly successful venture. Largely driven by its signature ‘tits n’ hate’ side bar, Mail Online recently became the busiest news site in the world. Not bad for a webpage that looks like it was created by Jim Davidson on an illegally downloaded copy of Dreamweaver.
The success of Mail Online is down to two reasons: 1) the aforementioned T ‘n’ H sidebar, and 2) The propensity for their articles to go viral. The propensity by which Daily Mail articles send Twitter in a spin, is matched only by an off-hand Tweet about Tom Daley. It’s a very simple process: article annoys people, they send it to others to share in the annoyance, website hits goes through the roof, ???, profit. Pretty steady business model, that.
The traffic on Daily Mail’s website has made the place nigh on unavoidable. Whether it’s a crass, generalised article on immigration or the EU by Peter Hitchens, Simon Heffer or any of the berks on their ‘Right Minds’ page; a cheap and gratuitous article on a celeb in the public eye over at Femail; or even a horrific exaggeration and twisting of a council policy to fit in with the Mail’s ‘Bonkers Britain’ remit on the main site; they have a multitude of facets by which to rile us up, good and proper.
The latest editorial over at Mail HQ to get the country frothing at the mouth like a cyclist in a car wash, was with an article on youth unemployment, in which The Mail suggested that ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’, the motto printed above the gates of the Auschwitz concentration camp, would be a positive mantra to live by for today’s ‘youf’.
The German slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” is somewhat tainted by its connection with Nazi concentration camps, but its essential message, “work sets you free” still has something serious to commend it.
Yeah, ‘somewhat tainted’. Somewhat. I’d say that it being the mantra for a death camp with saw 3 million people die of gassing, disease and starvation probably made it a bit off-limits. Same way that the Buddhist symbol of peace never really recovered from its cameo as the swastika. Now’s probably a good time to inform the Mail that Lebensraum is not a good reason to encourage people to build an extension.
As with any Mail article, responses tend to be made up of four different quartiles.
1) Anger: The most famous of all of the Mail responses, the general public will have an absolute seethe at the paper – a paper known for professing absolutely no moral semblance whatsoever – for printing a crass story such as this. This is the demographic that will circulate the story without cessation, then fire a tweet or email to the PCC (of which Paul Dacre, Mail editor, is head of) and believe that this could be the catalyst that finally brings down the rag. It won’t.
2) Amateur comedians - With Mail articles almost always being beyond parody in their absurd conclusions, they are rife for spoof responses and starting long-winded jokes. This article was no different. Almost instantly, the #SomewhatTainted hashtag started trending, with different users trying to see who could attempt to re-appropriate the most scandalous of incidents.
3) Self-Righteous Commentators – A rising category of your average Mail dissident, these are the people who will jump all over the spreading of articles via social media, trying to lambaste others with their unique and bespoke opinion of “Well done! You’ve just driven a load of traffic to their site! You’re doing what they want!” This category of people tend to rift with category 1, in a battle to see… I don’t know… who’s more left wing. Or something. Everyone else is just trying to think up comical tweets.
4) The Apathetic – This is a category made up of the old timers and weathered bloggers. The people who were initially in category 1, cottoned on to how repetitive these columnists rash opinions were and slipped into category 3, before they saw the futility of trying to attempt to stem the traffic to the behemoth of Mail Online and become category 2, before just losing interest in the whole thing become apathetic to the paper itself. They started life as feisty media bloggers who wanted to be an alternative voice, but then once they realised the impenetrable bubble couldn’t be affected by someone and their blog, spent their days writing book and TV reviews, and actually attempting to enjoy life.
These additional audiences have seen the Mail become the gargantuan media outlet that it has today. One million people buy the paper everyday, which is a lot, but it’s the reams and reams of online shite that gets people in a tizzy which has seen it hit record traffic levels consistently.
As humans we have an intrigue with the unknown. We are desperate to see and understand how the other half live. When an opinion is presented which is so completely opposite what is commonly considered as rational thought, it gets people talking. Documentaries on the likes of the militantly anti-gayWestboroBaptistChurchalways seem to interest and galvanise the country. But why? These people have nothing serious or profound to say. Just a group of hand-wringers who hate Wham records. Yet these bizarre opinions that seem so obtuse still motivate us to find out more about them. How did they become like this? What motivated them to become so hateful? The human brain isn’t just content with thinking ‘nutters, innit’, and getting on with our lives. We are an inquisitive species, and we demand to know how and why; both with nature and society.
BNP leader Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time made it become arguably the most talked about episode ever. But why? What does Griffinhave to offer of any constructive value whatsoever? We’ve reviewed the BNP manifesto on this site, and it’s the stupidest bit of propaganda I’ve ever laid eyes on. Everything from battery farming to traffic is blamed on immigration. You’d get more intelligent political insight from a bar of Toberlone. But that just fuels the intrigue we have in these people. That just makes us clamour to find out more about them. Holocaust denial is one of the most absurd opinions one can have on the far-right, but it doesn’t mean that we so-called ‘rational humans’ don’t want to probe into finding out how someone could draw these conclusions.
And that’s the thing with The Mail. We will always, as humans, be galvanised by the crass and glib opinions which it represents. One can try and pressure people into not reading it or sharing it, but it’s going to present theories and opinions which will make the general public want to find out more. Yes, it will grow to be bigger and bigger, but the fact is that it occupies an area of conscious thought that is like a drug to the curious side of the human mind: outrage.
So what can be done? If handled correctly, it can be a force for good. We should use this paper as a tool, showing the insight in the average mind of your far-right winger. Fundamentally, The Mail is simply pandering to a hate-fuelled demographic of society that would exist with or without the ill-conceived tabloid. Use it as a handy guide to take you inside the mind of a wannabe fascist. Because a lot of people in society think the EU is going to enslave them. A lot of people think immigration is going to destroy their way of life. A lot of people think that the acceptance of homosexuals in society will lead to the downfall of the family. These opinions do exist, and you can ignore the paper all you want, but it takes you inside the mind of a huge demographic of the public, all of which can vote into Parliament people that will decide your fate.
So use the paper as a hand-guide to see what areas of society are still in desperate need of modernising. If the paper runs a slanderous story on homosexuals, then it’s a sign that as a society, we need to continue to re-educate those who still believe Macarthyite rubbish about those of a different persuasion. Fact is, in a perfect society, tabloids wouldn’t exist. But they do, and are a big business, so we need to use the prevalence and popularity of these as a strong sign that modernBritainis fucking miles off where it should be, and much more effort needs to be put into helping to form conscious and well rounded opinions in your average citizens.
So I guess the point I’m trying to make is: Thanks, Daily Mail. Thanks for taking us into the mind of your typical autocratic zealot, and thanks for showing that your existence proves that we, as a society, can’t rest on our laurels, and have work to do to become that modern day utopia that we’ve always talked about. Cheers.