18 July 2011

News of the World

Since at least the age of eight I was a big newspaper reader. They helped me learn how to read once I was bored with Dr. Suess and was on my way to reading a new Hardy Boys adventure every weekend. Newspapers were my entryway to the world of men: sports figures, politicians and other suits, union activists, entertainers and, occasionally, the everyday people that really matter: The people who die in car crashes and industrial accidents every day.

Mostly I read the afternoon Sun at home. Sometimes it was the Columbian. On my many trips to the library I would sometimes read Dope City's morning paper, the Province, and look through whatever other newspapers that were available for free.

When I went to school in England a whole new world of newspapers was waiting for me. Which newspaper you subscribed to or bought at a news stand with your spanking magazines seemed to say something about the buyer. No one I knew well was a Times man, though some of my school chums read the Times in hope that one day they might become a Times man. Times men thought they were intelligent and many of them were. Intelligent enough to seek out the most parasitic occupations to support themselves and their families. Like working for the fucking government.

Most of the men and women, who had recently been given reading privileges, I knew read the newspapers for people of slightly above average intelligence and social standing. I remember the Telegram, not the others. They were good newspapers. Well written and thought provoking.

Working people and some of the others read The Sun, The Mirror, the News of the World and similar such papers. Everyone who read the other papers had their nose in these papers as well if for no other reason than to gawk at a topless woman or read about whatever the editors of the papers thought the country should be disgusted about at the time. Punk rock atrocities and whoever the Queen's children happened to be fucking at the time.

The News of the World was the bottom of the barrel. Worse than America's National Enquirer in so far as I could tell, but it had a bigger and more loyal customer base than its American cousin, the front page of which would soon have undead Elvis competing for the cover with the usual space aliens and Hitler sightings.

I did not understand the appeal of the News of the World or The Enquirer until I read George Orwell's 1984. People read them because it keeps their mind from straying, as far as possible, into thought crime, into thinking at all if that is possible.

I am glad the News of the World is gone but it really does not matter. All the other newspapers have long since joined them as being nothing but a waste of trees. Newpapers, once designed to provoke thought occasionally and uncover the ineptitude, deeply and unnecessarily authouritarian policies and generally evil ways of the masters of our universe, rarely, if ever, perform this vital function. There are too many of us ordinary people sleep-walking through life, unconcerned with current events that matter to us and our families, enough to raise shit about them.

The News of the World is no longer necessary. The important is important no more. Support the troops; support the cops; support the rich getting obscenely richer at your expense; buy, buy, buy with what money you have left; and most important of all: shut the fuck up unless you see a Sasquatch, Elvis, an alien or a boatload of ragheads trying to sneak into your country.

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