I wanted to talk about Jeremy Kyle today, but something else in a similar vein caught my eye.
Our Co-op has, along with other supermarkets, decided to stick Zoo, Nuts and other blokey magazines behind blank panels so you can only see the titles. Fair enough I say. I don’t want women thinking that all blokes are preoccupied with seeing pneumatic chested models with thinly veiled pudenda on mag covers, whilst shopping for yoghurts, and such mags could persuade them that this is true. But I’m wondering, Co-op and others, have you got some extra panels?
“EVIL foster mum LET her son RAPE me”. Got that? EVIL and RAPE. Oooh – tasty! Thank you ‘That’s Life’ magazine (not to be confused with the legendary Esther Rantzen TV show!) Two other titles this week have got the word “PAEDO” on the cover and it makes me wonder, just where are the thresholds of offensiveness? These are real life horror stories, and the public desire for gruesome truth is as old as printing itself, but no-one will ever persuade me that the commodification of pain and tragedy, sadness and personal destruction, is any less revolting than what we loosely define as soft porn. Editors, journalists – please don’t claim a public interest dimension to this kind of writing, because it is only about sales and business, and the CAPITALISATION of words like ‘paedo’ and ‘rape’ are merely about competing in the race for the bottom of the publishing barrel. The story itself is of course, tragic, and unlikely to be anywhere near as simplistic as the words on the pages suggest.
The publishers know I am not target market, They don’t care for their detractors, just the numbers who buy, but the exploitation issues are there for everyone. RAPE and PAEDOPHILIA are NOT COMMODITIES to sell. Geddit? These magazines belong behind a BLANK PANEL as much as the titles that commodify BODIES and SEX. I am not talking about the right of ‘That’s Life’ and its ilk to exist, and a society that banned things merely on grounds of taste would need a board of censors that is a) very repressive and b) very busy. In any case there are plenty of ways to access tales of human misery, but anyone wanting to protect children, or just buy their yoghurts in peace, doesn’t need domestic violence as entertainment boldly served up in every shop in every town everywhere.
Which takes me neatly round to Jeremy Kyle whose show is also not about public interest. It is always argued that if you don’t like something on the telly, don’t watch it, which can be argued against but is a kind of ‘bottom line’ position that has some validity. However, no-one should be required to starve to death because it’s the only means of avoiding misery porn at eye-level in every corner shop or hypermarket.
Would somebody nip out to the Co-op for me. I’m out of Muller Lights.