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English Newspapers: News, Nudes and Naughtiness...

Updated on January 11, 2012
Oyez, Oyez...
Oyez, Oyez...

All The News That's Fit To Print...

Being a good son, I call my mother fairly often. This is how I find out about what is going on in England, which is of course far more accurate than, say, the BBC World News or the Internet. This is because my mum reads the Daily Mail, and in her world there is no bias, no twisting of the truth, the Daily Mail is gospel.

Which is great for the Conservative Party and the Royal Family, because the Daily Mail loves them. Not in a, ‘Fox news, everything GOP is perfect, you’re either with us or an America-hating-commie-pinko,’ way (we have the Daily Telegraph for that), but a uniquely self-effacing nationalistic way.

There are principally two types of newspapers in England, populist (tabloids) and the heavies (broadsheets). The populist papers are physically smaller and are not too far from pure gossip. The “Heavies” take themselves very seriously indeed. The unspoken delineation, as to which paper you purchase, is one of class and upbringing.

Working class (oxymoron with over 10% unemployment…) Labor Party supporting, union supporting, men and women, read the Sun or the Star. The Sun, held this position solo for many years, but the upstart Star came in by limbo-ing under the shockingly low bar set by the “journalists” at the Sun. Slithering into the British consciousness by delivering more sleaze, more sex, more scandal, and more shock than it’s rival, it quickly became a player by never over-estimating the tastes of its readers. The Sun did not lie down and die. It sent it’s writers out into the underbelly of our great land with well padded checkbooks, and discovered all manner of naughtiness going on in modern Britain.

(If, dear reader, you are of a sensitive disposition and think England is one huge village with Miss Marple riding around on her bike, or just pretty castles and the like, you may wish to read no further. Buy some more of those cute little ceramic cottages and obtain all images of England directly from PBS.)

The Sun has for many years given the working man his daily eyeful of a young buxom lass with her kit off. (Topless photo of nubile wench…) This being on page three of the said publication, led to them being addressed, collectively, as the page three girls. Titillating (literally), but not exactly pornographic…

The Star responded with larger, younger, sexier…Oh yes, this is what passes for news in the British tabloids. On Sundays, the bar is further lowered by the News of The World. The world of who-is-doing-what-to-whom is explored in salacious detail, with accompanying out-of-focus photos. Oh, and the horse racing form for next week.

The Daily Mirror is an interesting beast, a little less salacious than the Star-Sun-News of the World, but not quite a serious newspaper. Down a, very small, notch from the Daily Mail, which is positively Victorian in comparison to the scandal sheets. It considers itself politically middle of the road, but leans rather more right than left. It loves scandal as much as the next chap, but has an air of prudishness that is both disturbing and charming. It believes it is relevant in today’s world and makes rather pompous statements that, if read correctly, are downright hilarious. All the tabloids offer garden center coupons, and fill their back pages with sport.

The last of the tabloids is one that would deny being one with its dying breath. The Telegraph is written for those who still think we have an Empire. (Or we bloody well should have...) It is right wing and obstructionist, and would love the GOP if it weren’t over in America. It staunchly denies that Britain is in Europe, and would be boring to read even if it contained a nubile lovely on every page.

The Telegraph believes it belongs as the conservative counterpart to the left leaning ‘heavy’, The Guardian. The Guardian is the darling of pinko liberals and in order to be taken very seriously indeed, has almost no photographs and very long-winded writing in tiny print. Along with the other ‘heavies’ (The Times and the Independent) it produces a paper on Sundays that consume entire forests each and every week. You literally need all of Sunday to read it. (These Sunday papers, and their much-vaunted supplements, are very popular with the homeless for their excellent insulating properties.)

The Independent is the newest of the ‘serious’ newspapers, and tries to balance the left and right politically, and sees itself as the voice of reason, pro European, pro American, pro gay rights, and an all around good chap. It is spectacularly PC, and manages, in a huge waterfall of words, to say absolutely nothing that could offend anyone. That is to say, it says nothing of any value at all.

Which brings us to the big daddy of them all. The Times. I have to disavow my American friends from committing the social faux pas of calling it the “London Times”. Any other ‘Times’ from anywhere other than London might need to add its location, but not the venerable, the original, (it would say, the only) Times. The Times is the paper of the establishment. It should be printed on paper made from the crushed stones of the Parliament building and Windsor Castle.

It is outrageously pompous, encouraging all who read it to look down on everyone around them. The most Times-y part of the Times is the editorial, followed closely by the letters to the editor. It speaks as if what it says actually matters, and manages to do it such an offhand way, as to annoy everyone not of the privileged classes.

It reports on the machinations of government with an insider’s familiarity that indicates that all concerned went to the same schools and had the same jolly good japes and wheezes, what-what…

And rounding out the rich landscape of English Newspapers is the Financial Times, which is printed on pink paper for some reason lost to the mists of time. It is, as the name suggests, the financial cousin of the Times. In this case the establishment is the moneymen of London. It is crushingly boring to read, as well as permanently depressing. Leaving us with the anachronistic “Racing Form”, a newspaper fully dedicated to gambling on Dogs and Horses.

One tiny island, so many ways to read all the news fit to twist. Oh how I miss them…

Dear Hub Reader


If you enjoy this hub, please check out my book,

Homo Domesticus; A Life Interrupted By Housework,

A collection of my best writings woven into a narrative on a very strange year in my life.

Available directly from:

http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/homo-domesticus/12217500

Chris


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    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Nell,

      I am still not a fan of the news media in the US, they hyper focus on the local to a quite amazing degree, and world events are sidelined, if spoken of at all.

      I love newspapers and when back in the UK devour them all. I love their idiosyncratic worldviews and oddities. Sadly the papers are in their death knells out here, and great journalists are subsumed under a wave of know-it-all talking heads on TV. Some have great blogs but it is somehow less accessible than the tried and trusted Newspaper coming to your door.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, I think you got it all right there! it all depends on what mood I am in, but I tend to stick to The Sun or The Star, purely because it is so stupid I have to laugh! I tried reading the Times once, but fell asleep! The daily mail is probably my favourite paper that can be serious but sometimes interesting. The one thing I did hear about American newspapers from a friend who visited there, was the fact that they never post any news from abroad! In fact my friend said he was talking to someone and they asked where did he come from, he replied, London, and they asked, where's that? South Africa?... Oops! lol cheers nell

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 6 years ago from TEXAS

      Aw, shucks, Chris, thank you, kind sir! Your hubs are invariably readable and fun! So I'm a hooked follower!

    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Nellieanna,

      I love that you drop by so regularly and leave such great comments. You, for sure, have class!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 6 years ago from TEXAS

      Chris - I loved reading this! Such wry wit to provide a Texan a sense of seeing some of the British world from "inside out". I laughed heartily off & on and smiled broadly the remainder of the time of reading it. Those scandal sheets sound much like the ones here which are displayed prominently at the loading ends of grocery store checkout counters.

      Personally I gave up newspapers several years back. Too much washing newsprint from fingers and hauling out the remains to the trash, and all for the sake of the crossword puzzles! hehe

      Another oxymoron associated with "working class" might simply involve "working" and "class", might it not? Of course we in America claim having a classless society - but. . . . '-> Where REAL "class" may have been born or at least may have flourished from out of the surges of northern barbarians who originally populated that island over there, CLASS has a distinct heritage which seemed to be primarily modified by the antithesis of "working". Just caught my attention and I couldn't help myself. LOL.

      Great article, Chris!!

    • ChrisLincoln profile image
      Author

      ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Lilly,

      That was fast!!!

      Thanks for reading and commenting,

      Chris

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      I enjoyed this Hub, thank you for sharing this part of life in the UK, or England, sorry. :0)