Immigrant paedophile MRSA-carrying terrorist aliens wrote my headline

News of the World’— misnomer or too ridiculously vague to be a lie? You decide. The tabloid bearing that name does, I admit, carry news. And what it covers does take place in what one might loosely think of as ‘the world’, yet the name troubles me. That’s not to say that I think The Sun, brings light into our lives and helps us to grow (and, er… photosynthesize) or that The Mirror reflects things exactly as they are, but seriously: ‘News of the World’? I admit I have to question whether the Guardian guards, say, right-wing politicians or the other paper of its ilk is really Independent of the business interests of the corporation that owns it, but NOTW seems a bit over the top.

Take this Sunday’s issue.  The picture exclusive, underlined and in bold, gave us the shocking news that Britney Spears has had a haircut. I mean, if they hadn’t printed photos, I just don’t think I would have believed it. ‘Britney Shears—shocking photos that prove tormented star needs help’ shares the front page with a story about young Jazz singer Amy Winehouse’s apparent cocaine problem and a footballer beating the daylights out of another overpaid sportsman with a golf-club in a karaoke bar (a ‘horror brawl’, apparently). To be fair, Britney has actually shaved off all her hair. But aside from those of us who feel it is a just punishment and warning to all others who collaborate with the forces of bad music currently occupying the West (I call it Vichy-Popworld), the only person who should give a monkeys about this story is Sinead ‘bald like a pickled onion’ O’Connor—and only for style copyright purposes. The Amy Winehouse story is equally perplexing. A singer whose major hit single goes: ‘They tried to make me go to rehab but I said no, no, no’ takes cocaine? Really? Well flatten me out, fold me up and file me under ‘S’ for ‘shocked’.

In the same week the latest issue of Adbusters magazine went on sale. In the place where a magazine like Cosmo would feature a picture of a semi-nude model designed to make women everywhere feel inferior and buy more beauty products, Adbusters featured a large graphic that said: ‘While 79% of university entrants in 1970 said their goal in life was to develop “a meaningful philosophy of life,” by 2005, 75% defined their life’s objective as “being very well off financially.” What happened?’ A page later it analyzed declining European birthrates and asked whether it was the product of social breakdown or ‘unconscious collective suicide’ reacting to a life without meaning. Now I’m not saying that reading NOTW sucks so much meaning out of life that you have no choice but to kill yourself. That would be simplistic, not to mention libelous. And I’m not just trying to push up Adbusters’ subscriptions (for a nice little commission)—its content, style and politics are not for everyone. But, in a week when the possibility that Chad could turn into another Rwanda in terms of genocide is trumped by a haircut, Christians should probably be wondering how the information they consume helps them meet the need for answers and the hunger for meaning they will find in their non-Christian friends.

I’m not saying my lads or music mags are any better than your fashion or gossip tabloids. I’m saying that thinking about what is edifying and renewing our minds is not just about reading James Dobson and avoiding porn. If we believe Christianity holds some answers we should probably be paying some attention to the big questions.

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One Response

  1. Great Stuff

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