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Wednesday, August 20

Underground Lairs and The Daily Mail

I tell you (all 3 of you), the place I'm working in this week, it's like the Cold War never fucking ended. It's a big underground ex-missile storage place, out in the middle of nowhere. Nowadays it's used to store a shitload of documents from places like insurance companies and local councils. It's so fucking huge, you can't visualise it properly. It would be an absolutely perfect place to set a Bond villain's secret lair in, it doesn't need any work done to it to get the look. Maybe a few panels with big red "Do No Push" buttons, but not much else. It even has those little truck-things that Austin Powers gets stuck on in a tunnel in the first one of his films. I should get round to seeing Goldmember, I haven't seen that yet.

At my house, we get the Daily Mail newspaper every day. For those non-brits amongst you, the Daily Mail tries to be a quality newspaper, but it still gives over a fair amount of its pages to tabloid-esque stories / pictures of women in bikinis. It's to the right of centre politically, and it hates everything about the current government. I'm in support of the Tories, so I guess it's the newspaper that I should read, but it sensationalises absolutely fucking everything. Every single front page screams out about some random thing. It's favourite (note spelling) subject recently has been about how bad internet chatrooms have been. There's been a couple of cases recently about young girls who go to meet a "friend" from a chatroom who turns out to be a 43 year-old trucker from Hull or something. Therefore, because of 1 or 2 isolated cases, ALL chatrooms should be banned, and nobody under the age of 18 should use the internet. If the Mail were correct, there wouldn't actually be any real teenagers in chatrooms, they'd all be paedophiles trying to score with young girls and boys. Fucking sensationalist crap.

Anyway, the reason I brought up the subject of the Daily Mail is the letters page in today's copy. There were a couple which caught my eye, and here they are:
Who has not noticed the decline in spoken English? The conversations of the young are littered with clipped or shortened words.
All is not yet lost with one word of 16th-century origin that is always pronounced correctly and usually loudly. Pity it's the F-word.

I like this one because it is a typical Daily Mail reader's letter. "The youth of today are horrible;" "It was much better in our day;" And so on and so forth. This particular reader is complaining that the English language is changing too rapidly for them to keep up. Surely language evolves. That's why language is so good. As new words are needed, they are created. The reader even uses two contraction themself: "it's" and "F-word." Did the Daily Mail receive angry letters when those particular "clipped and shortened words" came into use. I think the fuck not. Oh, and I'd just like to point out the common grammatical error prevalent in both spoken and written English today: "Pity it's..." should be "It's a pity that..." If you're going to use clipped and shortened forms of incorrect speech, don't use them to complain about other people's diction and grammar!!!

This one is for Patrick and a few other Yank readers.
[These are excerpts, the whole letter is too long to type out right now. My Mum is moaning that she can't get to sleep because of the noise of the keyboard.]
As a young American travelling the world ... I've had total strangers accuse me of not having a culture... Secretly, I'm ashamed. I feel the truth in what they say.
Our plastic culture is spread out so thinly across the globe that it's no longer recognisable. I'm having trouble escaping from it.
American TV is embarrassing. For every intelligent American featured, there are a dozen Jerry Springer guests who make us out to be a mass of sexually-depraved rednecks.
[Now] is one of our darkest hours as far as political motives are concerned.
I'm not questioning whether or not I love my country. I'm simply questioning how I can hate it so much at the same time.

Most intelligent thing the Daily Mail has printed in weeks...


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