Sunday, 1 November 2009


No-one likes to work on a weekend, so for newspapers it's always a good time to just take loads of material from a book, reprint it verbatim and fuck off back to the Cotswolds to see your secret children. The Mail has done something similar with Fads of the chattering classes: Are you a walking, talking middle-class cliché?, which reprints chunks of an amusing book which will presumably be next to many a toilet this coming Boxing Day. Here's an example:
Plain and simple, middle- class people don't just like Apple, they love and need Apple.
On the surface, you might ask yourself how middle-class people could love a multi-billion-pound company with manufacturing plants in China which contribute to global pollution.

The simple answer: owning an Apple product tells the world you are creative and unique. Its exclusive product lines are used only by every single college student, designer, writer, English teacher and hipster on the planet.

Middle-class people need iPods, iPhones, Apple TV, AirPort Express stations and anything else that Apple produces, because they need to express their uniqueness by purchasing everything that a publicly traded company produces.
If that seems oddly familiar and yet somehow not quite right, congratulations! You've successfully recognised popular internet website Stuff White People Like! So it turns out that the guy from Stuff White People Like has written a book about stuff white people like called 'Stuff White People Like', and this article helpfully promotes that, as it explains at the bottom.

But wait! Is it me or has the Mail done a 'Find and Replace', changing all mentions of 'white people' to 'middle-class people'? You know, I think it appears it has! Apparently you're not even allowed to say 'white people' any more! It's political correctness gone mad!!! Except you're probably not allowed to say 'mad' any more!!!

It's really a strange decision though, I'm not quite sure I understand the rationale behind it. Why do an advertorial for a book if you have some kind of problem with the title? The site and book repeatedly mention white people (the Apple entry on the site, for example, contains ten instances of the word 'white'), whereas the Mail's ethnically-cleansed article mentions it zero times in the main body of text, with the exception of the footnote which grudgingly gives readers the correct title of the book in case they want to buy it. But why bother going to this trouble? Numerous commenters are already pointing out this absurdity and demanding to know why it was done. Let's assume Mail readers aren't going to like the phrase 'white people'; why, then, do an article aimed at selling them a book where it's almost certainly the most-repeated phrase? It's a bit like telling people to watch The Thick Of It by showing them a trailer where all the swear words are redubbed with 'flipping' and 'chuffing' and 'willy'.

Perhaps they got cold feet at the last minute, concerned that if they ran the excerpts with 'white people' intact there'd just be several hundred comments from along the lines of;
"If you wrote something like this about black people or the Muslims they'd put you in jail faster than you can say 'blackboard'!"
"I find this offensive! It seems that anti-white racism is the last acceptable prejudice in this politically-correct nanny state. At least soon we'll be in the minority and we can start claiming persecution and have everything our own way. You wouldn't print something like this about the Muslims!"
"I didn't find this offensive, I thought it was hilarious! That's because I can take a joke, not like the Asians! You wouldn't print something like this about black people!".

So at least they largely avoided that minefield. Unfortunately this just leaves them with a load of comments from people smugly pointing out how different they are from the 'middle-class' people in the article, in the most middle-class way possible. And slightly confused people like this;
What a load of old cobblers. I could just as easily pick 100 other cliches about the middle classes and make them real by writing amusingly about them.
You probably should have done, you might have got a book published.

Pre-publishing edit: I hadn't actually read all the comments before I started this entry, which is good because I just found a genuine comment under the article that backs up the 'you wouldn't say that about the ethnic minorities' stuff perfectly:
Can you imagine a similar article mocking the working classes, or an ethnic minority? There'd be outrage. The middle class is the last scapegoat, the only group that it's acceptable to bash without fear of reprimand.
- Susie, Shanghai, China, 31/10/2009 5:55
I'd like to think that says something about my piercing insight and razor-sharp satirical mind, but in reality it just demonstrates that Mail comments are nothing if not tediously predictable.

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