Wednesday 24 July 2013

Yesterday's Papers

The upper middle-class Upwards whinge when all the press gives huge coverage to events like Wimbledon, assuming that everybody in the country likes the same things. Upwards are always trying to assert their difference from the rest of the country, and they have never really got over the introduction of 24-hour news (about 25 years ago).

They adored the royal baby watch, using the word “fawning” in every sentence and grumbling about BBC flannel. Upper-class Caro sheds a tear and pours herself a gin and tonic, middle-class Eileen Weybridge and Jen Teale share a baby watch party and love every moment. Working-class Sharon goes to Kensington Palace and leaves a cuddly toy and a card.

Journalists, Upwards and Weybridges agree, get everything wrong, write sloppily and are despicable human beings. This doesn’t stop all Upward graduates trying to get a job in the media. And if you are a journalist, people assume you write for one of the broadsheets (not for one of the hundreds of magazines that still exist despite the web – 3.7m sold every day, says, and spend all your time meeting celebrities and going on free trips abroad. (So when do you fit in door-stepping the bereaved, stalking the royals and rehashing press releases?)

Whenever snow is predicted, the middle classes will panic because they think everybody is going to panic – or even whinge. And they’ll go on about it too much. (Translation: the BBC will try to be prepared and tell us about it in advance.)

Upwards and Weybridges spend a lot of time moaning that newspapers and news programmes are full of stuff they aren’t interested in. They like to say:

Newspapers? All opinion or trivia. Haven’t contained any news since the Anglo Saxon Chronicle. Are full of ads which will hypnotise you into buying things you don’t want. Are full of porn. If a newspaper writes about anything you know about, you’ll find it’s got the facts wrong. Only need to capture the attention for a day. Ephemeral. Yesterday’s papers wrap today’s chips. Print media is dead!

This is a quote from my mini ebook Clichés: A Dictionary of Received Ideas ("Everything you need to know in order to be accepted as a member of polite society" Flaubert) A paperback version is now available.

More clichés here.

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