Category Archives: newspapers

The erotic adventures of Wayne Rooney

Dalrymple has observed that very few Britishers under the age of 40 read newspapers any more. But those who do, he points out sadly, appear to be

pea-brained prurient vulgarians.

English newspapers, he notes, are chiefly concerned with

developments in Wayne Rooney’s sex life,

about which they run headlines

the size of a proclamation of a state of emergency.

What rich geriatric adolescents are reading

Vulgar supplement of a dopey newspaper: Dalrymple writes that How To Spend It, a glossy supplement of the Financial Times newspaper, ‘suggests what most readers are really interested in and what their tastes actually are, or what the editors and advertisers think that most readers are really interested in and what their tastes actually are. Since newspapers are hardly read any longer by anyone under 40, the supposed interests and tastes are those of an ageing, educated, wealthy, liberal-leaning minority’. The supplement is ‘devoted mostly, though not quite entirely, to fashion, a subject of about the same interest to me as the Costa Rican traffic regulations’, with ‘pictures of terminally-pouting, bored-looking, anorexic models’ and of ‘geriatric adolescents—or is it adolescent geriatrics?’

The tabloids’ attitude to vulgarity

It is, writes Dalrymple,

ambiguous, to put it mildly. They excoriate what they assiduously promote, thus simultaneously profiting from vice and the condemnation of vice.


Dead-tree legacy media

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 10.40.17

The Paris newspaper Libération: aimed at ageing bourgeois bohemians of left-wing persuasion, many of them with ponytails

Dalrymple knows no young person who reads a newspaper. And those few newspapers which survive, thanks to (rapidly dwindling) sales to older readers,

more and more resemble magazines.

He notes that with modern technology, newspapers

can hardly any longer be the first to break news.

As their circulations slump and journalists are sacked in large numbers, newspapers

cannot do much investigative journalism, either.

All that is left to newspapers, Dalrymple points out, is

  • gossip about celebrities
  • explanations of the obvious
  • speculation about the future based on what has happened in the recent past
  • drivel about sport
  • articles catering to modern man’s fathomless narcissism

Newspaper-commentary addiction

Dalrymple writes:

It’s an addiction, reading newspaper commentary, and I don’t really know why I do it except that I’ve always done it and probably always will—if, that is, newspapers outlive me.

For example, he read

a lot of articles about the bombings in Brussels, even though I knew they would be about as illuminating as the economic commentary of the Financial Times, and only slightly more interesting.

One non-pharmacological strategy, of proved effectiveness, for those with sleep disorders is to attempt to read this journal's commentary either on the economy or on world affairs

One non-pharmacological strategy, of proved effectiveness, for those with ordinary insomnia or more intractable sleep disorders is to attempt to read this journal’s commentary, either on the economy or on world affairs. Doing so is powerfully sedative, though side-effects include depression and, in some cases, such symptoms of psychosis as hallucinations (almost always unpleasant), melancholic loss of concentration, drastically reduced sex drive, the wish to commit suicide, thoughts of murder, or the belief that one is being buried alive

‘The circulations of the newspapers for which I have written have halved’

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 01.24.27I attribute no causative relationship.

Do newspapers deserve to survive? Dalrymple says:

They have become ever less repository of fact and ever more sounding boards of opinion. It is not the facts that they offer, but knowledge of what you think you ought to think about those facts. Reading a newspaper nowadays is increasingly like attending a church in which the doctrine is read out to the faithful.

The editor of the Manchester Guardian is supposed to have said that comment is free but facts are sacred. I think for most people it is the other way round. Perhaps it was always so.


Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 03.38.54In the course of a discussion of the increasingly unimaginative, sometimes corrupt and often repellent nature of modern media in general, and of an especially mean-minded and callous report in a French newspaper in particular, Dalrymple states:

Surely a man who has undergone so much pain…who is frail mentally and physically…and at an advanced age…but nevertheless tries to carry out his duty is…worthy of compassion and respect, all the more so as no one denies the services he has rendered his country.

Dalrymple is referring to Juan Carlos I, but he could just as easily be talking about Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Legacy medium

Print journalism, needless to say, is close to extinction, writes Dalrymple, 'as dinosaurs were after the great meteor hit the earth 65 million years ago'

Face to face with its Nemesis, the blog: print journalism is close to extinction, Dalrymple points out, ‘as dinosaurs were after the great meteor hit the earth 65 million years ago.’