Dead Men Left

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Aaargh The Guardian why dear god why?

Yes, it's lazy Islington/Hampstead liberal dinner-party conversation-filler to bang on about how terrible their favouritest paper is; but the Guardian, I mean really, what is the bloody point? Mere days after the cringingly embarrassing Clark County voting fiasco, The Grauniad, presumably running scared after their junk-mailing campaign elicited a ferocious response from US Bush fans ("FUCK YOU LIMEY ASSHOLE IF IT WASN'T FOR US YOU'D BE SPEAKING GERMAN" etc) has seen fit to issue an apology for Charlie Brooker's column on the President. Brooker's thoughts on the US elections, no longer available on the Guardian website, are mirrored here.

Time for a bit of context, because somewhere amongst all the profoundly, desperately humourless harrumphing and scrambling for moral high-ground, the context seems to have got lost somewhere. Brooker's "Screen Burn" appears every Saturday in The Guide, the Grauniad's handy pocket-sized TV guide supplement - well, it plugs clubs and theatre and probably opera and whatnot, too, so it's a TV guide with pretensions - and usually what I do - after tearing open the plastic bag they seal the whole Saturday Guardian in, squealing excitingly (it's like Christmas come early) and throwing away all the drossy interview/lifestyle guide/sport/business sections that make up approx 90% of total Saturday Guardian content - is read The Guide in the following fashion: 1. that bloke on the back, "Ariel View" or whatever it is 2. Jacques Peretti's two-page spread, if available 3. Charlie Brooker. That's in ascending order of reliable amusement, you see (Peretti used to top Brooker, but, alas, his appearances have been so infrequent of late that I am forced to push him down the list.) You're then free to dispose of the Guide, safe in the knowledge that there will be nothing but wall-to-wall pap on the box for the next seven days; as Brooker himself is nearly always keen to point out.

Do you get me? Brooker's opinions are a) self-evidently amusing and b) appear in the sodding TV supplement which ought to lead to conclusion c) they shouldn't be taken too seriously, and short of using eiter d) exclamation marks! to show this isn't serious! hey, we're only joking here! (annoying isn't the word - but it'll do!) or e) prefacing the column with a disclaimer, along the lines of "WE'RE ONLY JOKING, FOLKS! HA HA HA! fuckwits", neither of which appeals, I really can't see how this not taking it seriously business could be made any damn clearer.

Ye gods.

Still, as someone, somewhere pointed out, Brooker used to work with/still does work with/once met Chris Morris, himself no stranger to the inspiration of controversy amongst the dull-witted - cf the Daily Mail's reaction to the Brass Eye paedophilia special, all of which made the whole thing all the more amusing. So I suppose I ought to appreciate this controversy for brilliantly exposing the timidity and hypocrisy of a supposedly left-leaning, liberal newspaper... no surprises there, really. (I might even follow this man, and write a stiff letter of complaint to The Guardian about The Guardian, thus ironically subverting the most developed form of protest amongst British liberals.)

It's further proof of the Guardian's immense problems with the US, too. I think they see Americans as something like the rest of us see spiders: fine when behaving themselves and sitting quietly in the corner, but bloody terrifying when zooming around unpredictably at high speed, with no easy option but to stand on a chair and scream. It's not an unreasonable fear if either beast should arrive with guns, I suppose, but the best thing to do with the particular breed of Republican spider the Guardian has run foul of is to follow the traditional rememdy: trap them in a box with a piece of paper and throw them outside the front door; or, failing that, end the occupation of Iraq.