I had a relatively stable upbringing. There was nothing that Jeremy Kyle would shout at the my mother for, apart from maybe not cultivating an exactly riveting environment to learn in. There was the time she almost burned the house down due to post natal depression, but that shouldn’t be held against her; it was entertaining in it’s own special way. We didn’t like the kitchen anyway. Manmade fabrics had a lot to answer for, even before Anna Ryder Richardson and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen ruined interior design for everyone.
As such, I would also say that I’m, usually, an emotionally controlled person. There’s times, during a bi-weekly sugar lulls or carbohydrate binges that I could easily burst into tears looking at pictures at fragile little kittens holding guitars, or say, when I’m being normal and watching TV. I’ve not been the same since Pam St Clement’s final episode of Eastenders; a trip to the lighting department in Ikea, with all their dangly chandeliers can often lead to tantrums and hysteria. There’s not really a Twitter furore that I’ve fully been behind, understanding that the race to anger more Twitter users than the previous has become an art for Paul Dacre and Jan Moir, exploiting right minded people for all their worth.
But despite knowing all of this I still find myself drawn to this murky crevice of the internet, yearning for all of the updated information about what Kim Kardashian is doing now, with my tail held firmly between my legs. I know it’s wrong, there’s nothing healthy about this, frankly, parasitical approach to getting news, but like the first slice of white bread after being on a month long diet, I can’t stay away for long. Nothing tastes better than thefirst slice of white bread after emerging from a bare knuckle fight with Barbara from Sainsburys. If the Daily Mail was in the World of Harry Potter, Voldemort would be quaking in his stylish, yet unethical snakeskin boots that Liz Jones would turn her beady, slightly wavering, gaze on his ensemble.
What is it about the Daily Mail, this particular online tabloid, that can captivate so many millions of people? The up to date, exclusive news about how Prince Harry pulled a face that looked like his dad? Or what Pippa Middleton, and more importantly her bottom, has been doing? Could it be the verging on hysterical obsession they have with making sure that we know that everything gives us Cancer? Maybe it’s the snappy and always well sourced material that they pass off as fact?
What makes this whole affair worse is that not only do I find the articles so abhorrent, but can’t tear myself away, I start getting shaking urges to scroll down to the bottom to see what the comments are. And I’m not even interested in the Best Rated ones, it’s the Worst Rated, the very worse things people can say about immigration or gay marriage that keep me coming back for more. If I was asked to draw self-hate, I would draw myself staring at the Comments section, silently hating myself. It’s like smoking. They make you look super-brill; and like a modern Betty Rizzo, but they do some serious damage.
Beating this MailOnline addiction is going to be like trying to slay the mythical Hydra. As one tendril of hate is cut off, another one springs up to replace it. Slice down their politics because they have the same influence as waving candy rock in Parliament and what sways up, eyeballing you? Only ‘Female Today’. The epitome of all that is wrong in the World of female-centric media. Some say that Heat and Grazia should hold themselves responsible for a lot of the mental health problems that women have, but Female Today walks over the backs of Grazia in the high heels they complain about pregnant women wearing.
There must be a better World out there, somewhere. Somewhere that doesn’t have a rich middle class peering down their noses at the real lives of actual people and sneering as they tuck into whatever cheese Waitrose has on promotion. The ‘squeezed middle,’ people who wore Barbour before it become democratized by TOWIE and Topman, people who think ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ is an aspirational lifestyle. People who base their self worth on how awful other people are doing. Those who actually know how to get rid of a red wine stain instead of having to rearrange the entire room to cover a beige and slightly incriminating stain after a week or three of hoping it’ll go away.
How do you reclaim your inner Katona? Fire out some sprogs and become addicted to childbirth instead? No, that’s no good. Exchanging one addiction for another never did Nick Cotton any good, and he’s essentially the template for how not to live your life isn’t he? This is my advice, as a recovering addict to all of yous who want to kick your Daily Mail habit.
1. Go Cold Turkey
Firstly, stop clicking on MailOnline. This may sound like a simple step, but removing exposure to the addictive and ultimately, poisonous materials is the first step to making sure that you can move onto more healthy streams of news. Breaking the cycle of needing to know what horrible things are going on is easier said than done, obviously, but it is the first step to recovery.
2. Thin The Herd
Unfortunately, MailOnline’s noxious effects have stretched, like a bad fart, to places like FaceBook and Twitter. Needless to say, you could easily unfollow people who retweet things featured on the site, but wait! Assess the situation. They might not have done it on purpose and they do provide interesting facts about Showaddywaddy and Brotherhood Of Man. Grant them a reprieve and monitor them. Obviously repeat offenders should be unfollowed with haste and never thought of again. These people aren’t worth your time and should be relegated to the Forgotten Brigade of 90s boybands and enthusiastic ticket touters. Luckily some sensible people on Twitter will make you aware that they are linking to an article on MailOnline so you know what to avoid.
3. Don’t get led astray
Don’t get involved in any Twitter backlashes either, because they invariably stem from MailOnline and their evil cronies. Even this week Samantha Brick decided to let a little bit more of brain plop onto her keyboard and wind everyone up. Although it’s not exactly the same, tactics like those used by the “trolls” that everyone is banging on about these days, setting out to get a reaction and get people talking is the entire point of these irritating exercises.
4. Find alternatives
Although MailOnline may be one of the most read sites on the internet when it comes to angry, self involved hatred, it isn’t the only one around. There’s thousands of the blighters running rampant like crime inevitably will do during the Jubil-ympics (something that Paul Dacre has already skewed statistics to prove). There’s the anti-Mail, Guardian, the Huffington Post, there’s loads of the little buggers floating around. It’s what makes the internet brilliant, and at the same time as empty as the love Karen Matthews has for her children. Work your clicking finger, and if all fails, BBC News is always desperate for hits.
If all else fails, remember this. If Skeletor, Mumm-Ra, JR Ewing, Dick Dastardly, Shredder and Ferocious Ness put their heads together, they would never come up with a plan so nefarious that millions of people will religiously read whatever vicious nonsense they decide is news-worthy.