Every link on this page is NSFW because it’s a link to The Sun (and who wants their colleagues to think they read that?), but some also contain pictures of ladies with no top on. Check the hover text!
Yesterday, The Sun led with the ‘furore’ around the topless Kate Middleton photos published in French magazine Closer. The grumpy paper, usually no stranger to famous people’s boobs, speaks out to support pressing charges against the photographer who snapped her sunbathing topless on a balcony.
Thankfully, Sun editors are smart enough to realise that at least one of their readers might recall August 24th, when they published nudey pics of Prince Harry ‘in the public interest’ (a day after publishing naked pictures of a Sun intern and their picture editor reenacting the scene, also in the public interest). Hypocrisy? Don’t worry, the red-top defends its no-top double standards in a blistering editorial:
Harry had no realistic expectation of privacy. He invited large numbers of strangers to his hotel suite for alcohol-fuelled high jinks involving stripping naked without any checks on who was present. No attempt was made to remove mobile camera phones.
Another semi-clad celebrity who could also presumably have had no reasonable expectation of privacy from the Sun was Kate Moss, photographed shortly before the Harry furore, topless on a yacht in St Tropez. In this case, there seems to have been no missed opportunity to frisk everyone in a several-mile radius for image-recording apparatus, and thus it appears that The Sun is trying to both have its Kate, and eat it.
One area where The Sun’s standards are at least universal is between the living and the deceased. In this best of beach babes’ boobs digest, most recently updated on July 25th this year, two of the included breasts belong to troubled, and now dead, pop star Amy Winehouse. There’s even a Kate-controversy connection, with Ms Winehouse having got naked on a balcony whilst on holiday. (Let’s just check whether that was included in the Sun’s glowing photobituary ‘life in pictures’… Oh, no. Fancy that.)
But, remember, kids…back to The Sun’s defensive editorial:
The final irony is that it is France—smug, privacy-obsessed France—that published grossly intrusive pictures no decent British paper would touch with a bargepole.
If The Sun’s staff took some time out from peddling selected smut, they could buy a dictionary—or hire a pap to snap a celeb reading a dictionary with her boobs out, like a decent paper would—and learn what ‘irony’ means. (We think there’s a picture of Britain’s breast newspaper making a big deal about not revelling in outdoor boobies.) Oh, and check out ‘smug’ while you’re at it: I haven’t heard France making self-satisfied, sweeping statements about heterogeneous groups lately. Which makes the accusation, in itself, ironic. Oh, stop it with the long words and turn to Page 3 for the things that really interest the public’s bargepole.
Oxford astrophysicist Professor Steve Rawlings was found dead on Wednesday. He was by all accounts an excellent academic, and I can vouch for the quality of his undergraduate lectures. Most importantly, my thoughts go out to his family, friends and the Oxford Physics community.
The tabloids’ thoughts, however, are nowhere to be seen (do they even have any?). I hate the prurient, half-baked insinuation flying around after a possibly-suspicious death, but sadly this one is close enough to home (I’m a physicist at Oxford University) that I have read some of it. I took the Telegraph’s hot-off-the-press reporting with an appropriate pinch of salt, revulsion and intrigue (the Beeb and Guardian being far too measured at this stage in proceedings to allow me to accrue any goss), but it’s The Sun which really took the biscuit, and pissed all over it like a US Marine. Murdoch’s red-top opens its sombre tribute to the great prof with
An Oxford University don has been found dead at a rival lecturer’s home after a suspected academic row.
A ‘rival’ lecturer? What does that even mean? Last time I checked, Oxford’s admittedly-unusual teaching system was not adversarial, and academics are notoriously benign. But, for those of us thickies for whom decoding nonsensical innuendo is too complicated, The Sun still delivers. Later in the article, it explains:
Prof Rawlings was based at St Peter’s College…in Oxford—setting of the Inspector Morse TV murders.
Oh, thanks The Sun, that’s really put this tragedy in a context I can relate to: it’s like a trite televised murder mystery! Now I understand. I guess a world of easy caricatures, cheap cultural shorthand and ‘rival academics’ who might kill one-another over differing interpretations of Bayes’ theorem is easier to write about than waiting for a police investigation to pan out in order to report actual facts.
Fuck you, The Sun.
And fuck you, The Daily Mail: they couldn’t even confine their self-satisfaction at having spotted the Morse connection to the article, and blurted it out in the headline:
Oxford don quizzed over the death of professor who was his best friend (with all the hallmarks of a Morse mystery)
Oh, so he’s his best friend now? I guess that does make some sense, given that they tell us
Professor Rawlings and Dr Sivia co-wrote a book titled Foundations of Science Mathematics…available for £13.99.
Sorry, what? Not content with merely ‘sickening’ and keen to rack up ‘bizarre’ to boot, The Mail’s remorseless search for not-even-circumstantial or just plain irrelevant non-evidence extended to seeking out some Amazon reviews for their co-written tome on maths. ‘It covers everything I need and will be useful to look back at maths I have done in the past, for future reference,’ explained a witness. I mean, student. Who read a book they wrote in 1999 and posted a review on the Internet. If that isn’t admissible evidence in our so-called justice system, I think we should probably abandon it right now and initiate universal Trial by Media in the Court of Public Opinion.
Every time a newspaper comes near something I know anything about, bullshit, inaccuracy and innuendo are thrown about as though salacious copy sells copies or something. The self-parodying, stereotype-laden stories in The Sun and The Mail lend the world a warm, simplistic familiarity, rather more like an episode of Inspector Morse than the diverse, messy world they claim to relate. Real life is far more interesting, and the real people in it far more complex than the column-filling caricatures in the tabloids. And one of those real people is now dead, and many whose lives he touched are now grieving. Have some fucking sympathy.
Rest in peace, Professor Rawlings.