Thursday, 16 December 2010

A shit article

The Daily Mail is, without exception, the worst national British newspaper in print. I know that attacking the company is rather fashionable, and I hate to jump on a bandwagon, but I write this to tell you why it is both inferior and more dangerous than all the other newspapers. I shall do so in a rather droll – yet I feel accurate – analogy.

The Sun and the News of the World are, in my eyes, pieces of shit. Everyone can see they are shit, and they know themselves that they are shit. They look like shit, smell like shit, and whenever you pick them up, you are just holding a pile of shit. However, shit is also quite funny. It appeals to our basic sense of humour, and whenever we can’t be bothered for anything intellectual, looking at shit can be both comical and undemanding. These newspapers make it absolutely clear that nobody should take them seriously, as shown by the bright red panels and decisions to daub Katie Price all over the front page. They are essentially telling everybody, “Don’t take us seriously! We are sloppy shits!”

The Daily Mail, however, is a pile of nutty shit in a cheap suit. The black font and elaborate crest on their logo gives off the illusion of an up-market brand. Unlike The Sun, they don’t suddenly put the odd word in caps-lock LIKE THIS, and it seems that they are able to use correct grammar. Hence our subconscious wants to think that these are informed people writing such articles, and that we can trust the ideas that they churn out. Alas, in these cases we are not looking past its superficially presentable suit, and that the most important issue is actually the pile of revolting smelly shit that sits underneath. 

Their attitude towards science is reprehensible, and usually factually wrong. They publish any nonsense story from either an untrustworthy source or misleading piece of data and blast it across the pages to scare us. The readers then believe this fetid narrative because it is written in a paper that gives off the impression that it knows what it’s talking about. The public learn to mistrust and fear one of the most magnificent, inspired – and let's not forget profitable – establishments on earth, which is, of course, science. They then turn the page to the Horoscopes section, only to be told that they’ll meet someone special because Jupiter is crossing with Pluto.

Their conservativeness is almost satirical. I am neither liberal nor conservative, as I feel every issue requires an objective viewpoint, but if you are a conservative then you should hate this newspaper most of all! They extrapolate the conservative stereotype to a shameless degree, allowing your position to be so easily mocked, which it very often should not. Conservatives frequently have brilliant ideas, but deceptive piles of shit like the Daily Mail tarnish you all with the same brush, which can only be destructive to your position.

Newspapers really do influence people’s opinions, and so the Daily Mail needs to work out what it is. Is it a respectful entity in a Calvin Klein suit, or is it a pile of proud, wet steaming shit that we can all recognise and enjoy? It really does matter, and they have a responsibility to the opinions of millions of voters. Because right now, the Daily Mail is a sweaty turd wrapped in a £10 Primark jacket, with shit quietly oozing through the buttonholes like rancid toothpaste from a decrepit tube. It spews out nonsense similar to The Sun, but merely with correctly constructed sentences and an appealing aura of intellect.

The Daily Mail can be personified by The Apprentice’s very own Stuart Baggs. He did fool us for a bit and, sure, he may still convince some people now. However, Lord Sugar eventually saw past Baggs’ deceptive appearance, felt humiliated at ever being taken in by it, pointed at him and irately exclaimed, “You’re full of shit, basically.”

Let’s all react this way to the Daily Mail.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

The Glory of YouTube

My appreciation and understanding of the natural world can be attributed to one thing above all else: YouTube.

This may sound odd for a medium that is used primarily to watch sneezing pandas or X-factor clips, but YouTube is genuinely the most incredible educational tool. Think of virtually anything– from Quantum Theory to DNA splicing – and there will probably be a fascinating short video discussing it. There are videos for all levels of detail and presumed knowledge. There are discussions and debates to learn about related issues. It really never has been so easy to learn about the world we live in. I only did physics up to GCSE, but countless videos explaining the Higgs Boson and String Theory means I feel I’ve got at least a decent grasp on many rather complex issues. I promise you, the more you learn, the more you appreciate this incredible cosmos.

You don’t need to go out your way to find a book, or even be alert enough to bother reading. Just type in a word you think may be interesting and there’s likely to be an American professor explaining the issue to you from the comfort of your bed. That, if you ask me, is truly amazing, and something which the internet doesn’t receive enough credit for.

People think that reading makes you a more intelligent and interesting person. This may well be true. But it’s not reading per se that is significant: it’s the information. You can read crap books forever and still be remarkably stupid. Equally, you could watch fascinating concise clips on YouTube and listen to absorbing Podcast debates and lectures, teaching yourself masses of data whilst kicking back and letting technology do the work. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it should really be encouraged.

Never before have we been able to learn so much in such a languid manner. For inherently lazy yet curious people like me, it really is tremendous.