The Daily Mail is fast turning into my favourite online comedy resource. Forget all those bawdy joke sites and funny videos involving cats, if you want real genuine lowbrow entertainment, there’s no better place to go than the Daily Mail online – the masters of the slow news and non-news story.
Simply by scanning the DM’s home page, it is quite clear that if even if the most pointless story can in some way elicit a lurid headline, they’ll run it. There are a number of common threads than can be found – first there is their somewhat morbid obsession with Hitler and the Nazis (OK, so I’ve done that one to death here) and another is their fascination with the “bikini bodies” of Z-list “celebrities” while at the same time preaching about how young children are being corrupted by the media. That’s right – right next to the parable on the evils of the Internet you’ll find the latest upskirt shot of some Z-lister performing an undignified exit from a limousine.
Meanwhile, while one of their scribblers babbles on about the alleged evils of Facebook and Twitter, you can find a number of “share this article” links at the bottom of the page. Their editorial team must really be a bunch of fuckwitted imbeciles – well either that or they are smoking something.
One rather lurid piece that caught my attention has a headline that speaks for itself – How spending too much time online ‘can increase the chances of your teenager taking drugs’. Erm, right. The DM takes some half-baked study – for this, read student dissertation – and turns it into an excuse to bleat on once more about the evils of the Internet. The truth is that if a teenager wants to find drugs they’ll find them, and if they want to take drugs they’ll take them; I’m so sorry to disappoint anyone who might think otherwise, but this sort of thing was happening way before the Internet was even a tiny pixel in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye.
According to this “research”, there are six ‘multi-risk behaviour’ including smoking, drunkenness, cannabis and illegal drug use, having unprotected sex and not using seat belts. A truly spectacular list, so spectacular in fact that one doesn’t even need the bloody Internet – all of these things can be found in something as commonly banal as an episode of EastEnders or an American drama series.
Research author Valerie Carson, said: ‘This research is based on social cognitive theory, which suggests that seeing people engaged in a behaviour is a way of learning that behaviour.
Erm, no shit Sherlock. This is how children have learned things since the beginning of time – it matters not one jot whether they see it in their own home, on a television show – or even on the oh-so-scary Internet.
The subject of drugs leads me to the next story – the death of a London teenager who for some bizarre reason saw fit to consume what turned out to be a lethal cocktail of illegal substances. I have often been accused of being unfeeling and cruel, but now I am going to push the boat out a little bit – I really can’t see what the fuss is all about.
This was not a story of some young genius in the making who was mown down by some drunk driver or glassed whilst minding her own business not in the street by some thug, but an idiot whose life appeared to revolve around drugs and drug-addled so-called celebrities. So should we blame the Internet for this silly girl’s death? Yes, lets – after all, most of the reading she did on her druggie celebrity heroes and heroines was done online. The party was in all likelihood organised online through some evil social networking site. Even the drugs were probably parachuted in by that online resource oft-used by lazy journalists and other ne’er do wells, ecstacyiscool.com. Yawn.
No. I’d actually be looking a little closer to home to locate the source of the problem. This girl was openly posting up photos of herself consuming not insignificant amounts of alcohol – yet her parents, teachers and the authorities saw fit to do little or nothing about it. Coz dats wot teenagahs do, innit. Dey smoke an’ drink an’ take de drugs. She was fifteen, for pity’s sake.
Jaye Williamson, who was Isobel’s English teacher at Chiswick Community College, in west London, said: ‘she was into the kind of things that teenagers get into, but she got hooked on the worldwide web. She was part of the Myspace generation. She got caught and we are devastated.’
The “Myspace generation”? She got “caught” in the worldwide web? What was she, some sort of fucking fly? Well, maybe – she clearly had the brains of your common bluebottle, as does her equally witless English teacher. If this is the best line of reasoning that someone in the educational establishment can offer, I really do feel sorry for all of those other brainless shit-eaters that are buzzing around out there surfing the evil worldwide web.