‘Recycling’ or how extreme capitalism works

One of the frequently recycled stories that appear on the Mail website that really bothers me is the one where person x wears item x of clothing for a second time. Sometimes this is referred to as a fashion ‘faux pas’ (one of the favourite phrases of Mail hacks), sometimes as recycling but it is always looked at as if such behaviour is absolute madness. It seems to me that the Mail Online team must have a massive database of celeb photos that they check each day to see if the new photos coming in demonstrate any clothes matches. If a match is found the Mail Online team have some kind of twisted Eureka moment and start hammering away at the keyboard about how celebrity x also wore this item of clothing whilst opening a village fete in 1995 so they’re some sort of freak for wearing it again.

I’m not quite sure what pleasure people get from reading this kind of article – again, it comes back to this modern freak show in which we are encouraged to laugh at such fashion faux pas (for in order to sell endless tat fashion must always change way before one season’s clothes have worn out from any kind of wear) yet surely we wear our own clothes more than once? How can people not see the extreme version of capitalism that jumps off the pages, slaps you around the face and calls you a disgusting pauper if you dare even think about wearing the same item of clothing a second time? As the world heads swiftly into the complete destruction and depletion of natural resources it is an insult that a: the Mail Online exists solely to deliver an endless stream of celebrity drivel and b: that this comes with huge helpings of obscene consumerism.

Today’s pointless story is this: ‘First Kate Middleton and now Katherine Jenkins is recycling her clothes. The classical star dazzles (again) in a stunning red gown’. The idea that wearing an item twice is ‘recycling’ is just obscene – even more so when you actually consider the cost of such clothes in the first place. The mocking tone of the article and the idea that in wearing an item of clothing twice:

She clearly wants to get her money’s worth out of the stunning floor length dress

Is just strange. Yet it seems to work.

Pierce Brosnan has OTHER things on his mind apart from his waistline!

Eric Pickles is not the only man on the Mail website being pointed at today: ‘Diet another day: Pierce Brosnan makes no secret of big belly as he piles on the pounds‘. The shame, the shame – he ‘makes no secret’ of it, when clearly he should be hiding until he gets rid of it or wearing really loose clothing so you cannot tell:

The GoldenEye star made no effort to hide his burgeoning belly, wearing a tight white shirt that emphasised every unflattering bulge.

How dare he, and what is worse Brosnan doesn’t even consider his OWN WEIGHT HIS TOP PRIORITY:

These days, the actor seems to be thinking more about environmental issues than his increasing weight gain.

Yes! Imagine that, it is almost as if there are more important things in life than your waistline.


A favourite tabloid word, and rarely used in its proper context – for example, when over 24,000 people complained to the PCC about Jan Moir’s Gately article the word was not used by the Mail or any of the tabloid press. However, if the BBC has 7 complaints out of an audience of over 6 million for an episode of Top Gear then ‘outrage’ is inevitably used: ‘Jeremy Clarkson outrages viewers by announcing on Top Gear he’d seen saucy underwear beneath Muslim woman’s burka‘ – interestingly the URL shows that originally the over favourite word ‘fury’ was used originally.

Viewers is rightly plural, but rather than the hundreds or perhaps thousands that you would assume would make the story newsworthy it turns out that it was in fact just 7 complaints. The article soon turns towards the issue of the Burka, retreading old ground with the ‘debate’ about whether it should be banned or not – a debate that increasingly seems to be taking place only amongst the tabloid press and a few right-wing MPs. It is almost as if the Daily Mail are testing the waters, getting a feel as to whether they should launch a ‘Daily Mail campaign’ to ban the Burka.

Top Gear wasn’t the only show sparking ‘outrage’ today, ITV is also having to field the fury of a handful of puritanical viewers: ‘Emmerdale causes outrage over crude and offensive shopping list in the Dingles’ kitchen’. Not just ‘outrage’ but also ‘offensive’, which is a bit strange because when the tabloid press invents something that has been banned or criticised because it could ‘offend Muslims’ it is PC gone mad and ‘them’ taking over, yet here we have an offensive shopping list which causes people to be rightly ‘outraged’.

The offending items are: ‘jam rags’ and ‘piles cream’, they appeared on a black chalkboard in the background of a shot. Only a few people would have noticed it, most sane adults would have perhaps allowed themselves a wry smile. Sadly a few adults – assuming they haven’t simply been made up by the reporter, which is not unlikely – feel the need to complain (the only reason I can see why anyone could complain about this is that they lack the intelligence to distinguish between what will or will not harm them / their children or society and therefore complain about anything). One ‘outraged’ parent claimed:

‘I couldn’t believe my eyes when it appeared on screen – it’s not the kind of language you expect to appear in one of our oldest soaps.

‘I had to cover my young son’s eyes because I didn’t want to have to explain that kind of crass language to him at such a young age.

The whole story is really silly, and the irony is that hardly anyone knew about this supposedly offensive shopping list until the Mail published a story on it. What about the young children who read the article, who will cover their eyes? Those watching the show would have been unlikely to have seen the shopping list, now it has been screen-grabbed and repeated for them. It is utterly pathetic that the Daily Mail will give news space to any puritanical idiot just because they like using the word ‘outrage’ and pretending that every form of media is amoral apart from the Daily Mail.

This explains the hypocrisy of the Daily Mail writing about Jon Venables and his ‘1200 upskirt photos’, whilst featuring an upskirt photo of Alesha Dixon right next to the article. As the brilliant Charlie Brooker pointed out, TV – even the worst kind of reality / Victorian freak show exploitation TV – is a million times more sanitary than the tabloid press:

if TV broadcast the kind of material you see in the press – if it paid women in lingerie to recount graphic celebrity fuck’n’tell stories, or shoved its cameras up the skirts of girls exiting taxis so viewers could wank to the sight of their knickers, or routinely broadcast grossly misleading and openly one-sided news reports designed to perpetuate fear and bigotry – if the box in the corner smeared that shit on its screen for 10 seconds a night, it’d generate a pile of complaints high enough to scrape the crust from the underside of Mars.

But as we witnessed with Jan Moir and her Gately article, a record-breaking 24,000 complaints against a tabloid newspaper merits a wall of silence across all of the tabloids. Whereas 7 complaints about a presenter who purposely courts controversy (for which the Daily Mail loves him) just because he happens to be on TV generates an article; as does the words ‘jam rag’ and ‘piles cream’ when shown on TV. If the tabloid press wasn’t such a influential, toxic mess it would be funny.

The Mail Obsession with Christine Bleakley

Yesterday The Daily Mail Reporter scribbled a hatchet job on Christine Bleakley: ‘Ten shameless steps to stardom – the Christine ‘Look At Me’ Bleakley way‘. The author argued that Bleakley would take on any job – ‘no matter how low rent’ – in order to claw her way towards fame, whilst at the same time ‘trading up’ partners to achieve or consolidate increasing fame. It also tries to imply that a previous tabloid scandal – the baseless allegations that she was having an affair with Adrian Chiles – did her no harm, as scandals are all about raising your profile. It then continues with a series of petty allegations about how Bleakley conducts herself, all of which rely solely on intense paparazzi footage, which shitty and pointless tabloids like the Mail then like to over-analyse and dress it up as somehow being news.

The final point sneers:

How unfortunate that photographers should be on hand every single day of her holiday with Lampard.

But is there a clue in an interview she gave to Glamour magazine in 2009, in which she complained about being snapped looking less than-perfect while on holiday?

‘I have made the acquaintance of Darryn Lyons over the last year, the now famous Aussie paparazzi bloke,’ she said. ‘He was extolling the virtues of the set-up pap shot…

‘He gets the shot and the person in it looks like they want to look. How pathetic, I thought at the time. . . but never say never.

‘Put it this way: if you see me looking anything like flawless on a beach it will have been set up, a long time in the planning. . . and the subject of diligent airbrushing supervised by my good self.’

The thing is, Daily Mail Reporter, the paparazzi only exist because a market for this inane drivel exists. The Daily Mail website returns 278 results for Christine Bleakley and – no offence to people who perform her role – she is merely a person who looks pretty and reads an autocue whilst looking as inoffensive as possible. That is it. She isn’t determining government policy, she isn’t a philosopher offering us a chance of self-reflection in an ever more consumerist, noxious world. She is a TV presenter who has a boyfriend. The recent holiday with Frank Lampard has led to daily coverage in the Mail, we had an article complete with 9 photos just to cover when Lampard returned from the World Cup and they were reunited for Christ’s sake (another giant turd dropped from the fruit of Richard Littlejohn’s loins – Georgina Littlejohn). Followed by:

Christine Bleakley unveils her svelte bikini body as she cools off poolside with Frank Lampard
Christine Bleakley and Frank Lampard share first public kiss as they holiday together for first time in Sardinia
More wine, darling? Christine Bleakley and Frank Lampard lap up the sun with drink in hand
Christine Bleakley and Frank Lampard take their summer lovin’ for cruise around the bay
Life’s still a beach for Christine and Frank as their holiday idyll continues

As well as a typically bitchy mention from Amanda Platell who refers to Bleakley as ‘the gormless One Show host’ who:

traipses half way around the world to be with her man, then appears in a succession of glamorous ‘paparazzi’ holiday shots that cynics might suggest look almost posed.

In the self- promotion stakes, she makes Cheryl Cole look like an ingénue. She may be defecting to GMTV, but when it comes to Ms Bleakley, it never stops being The One show.

Self-promotion? Even if she posed bollock-naked for the paparazzi no ‘self-promotion’ could occur without tabloid rags like yours Amanda being willing to shell out money for the pictures. If you have an issue with a ‘gormless’ celeb getting loads of attention, why not whinge to your editor who seems happy to pay photographers a great deal for shots posed or otherwise?

Just taking in a quick scan of the Daily Mail website shows that they’re writing at least two pointless articles a day about Christine Bleakley, someone of no importance to a single person’s life outside her family and friends. What have we become as a society when there is a market for celebrity drivel like this? If men want to see attractive women, log onto any of the billion porn sites on the Internet, see the proper thing, not grainy long lens photos of people trying to be left alone.

What annoys me more than anything is the little dig at Bleakley wearing different bikinis (they do this with all female ‘celebrities’). As far as I understand most women wear different bikinis on holiday. Yet the Daily Mail suggests that ‘Marks and Spencer must be wondering if Christine Bleakley is dropping hints to be the new face of their swimwear collection after she debuted yet another bikini’. Yet, whenever a celebrity wears the same dress or bikini more than once – even if it is years apart – the Mail reports this as news. It acts as if it wearing the same article of clothing more than once is a huge celebrity faux pax. So, as usual with the tabloid press: whatever you do they’ll criticise you.

This whole Christine Bleakley thing is self-perpetuating bullshit. The Daily Mail and their celebrity gossip team print page after page of inane guff complete with numerous pictures of Christine Bleakley, great, lots of hits on the website, editor happy. Then follows up with the typical bitchy articles bemoaning self-obsessed celebrity culture, great, lots of hits on the website, editor happy. In so many ways the celebrity waffle in the Mail should annoy me least of all, because it is essentially meaningless and harmless. Yet it does piss me off because it is wasting a huge cultural space and filling a passive audience with all the wrong messages. It invites people to sit back and bitch and moan about the world – or at least a very elitist, selective part of it – but they bitch and moan for all the wrong reasons. They don’t want to consider the system that creates obscenely wealthy – but extremely talentless – people, they’d rather take issue with what they are wearing or how their behaviour can be interpreted through a grainy tele-lens photo.

And that, after all this rambling, I think, is what really pisses me off.

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