Believe it or not but here at DM Towers we do and make points with our jokes – we don’t just exist just for the sake of topicality or for attention. We bang on about the importance of satire for a reason. There comes a point though – and with the Mail it happens roughly every 6 months or so – when you wonder what the fucking point of it all is.
I’m assuming you’re here – in the first instance at least – because of a link I added to a particularly revolting tweet…
CELEBRITY: 14 year old Elle Fanning looks like she wants a good fuck as she poses in saucy Halloween costume.
Finally, here’s a link to the story as it currently stands. It’s important you look at both because, if you pay close attention, you’ll notice a few subtle differences.
As I type this Twitter is currently imploding at this story; and quite rightly so too. There’s so many pernicious and perverted elements it’s kind of hard to know where to focus – the creepy (and now removed) “showing off her womanly curves” byline, the (also now removed) “wasn’t afraid to flaunt her curves” sentence, the fact that this was pulled from a 14 year olds personal Instagram account, the bizarre reading of a sexual undercurrent in what is effectively a child posing in fancy dress…
Much has already been written about the Mail’s preoccupation with underage starlets (such much so, in fact, that every time I write about this subject I have to include that sentence as a get-out-clause to avoid having to summarise it all) so I’m just going to make 2 brief points and get out of here. I’m strongly beginning to suspect that accounts like DMReporter aren’t actually helping, and maybe we’re drawing attention to something that might gently fade away if we stopped pointing and laughing. Anyway…
1. I was at Halloween event last year and I passed three young teenage girls dressed in the usual low-cut short skirt outfits which are so popular. As I passed them one of the girls had a wardobe malfunction and her boob popped out, right in front of me. What did I do? I looked away. I did that because I’m an adult, and that’s what adults do. For a grown man a 14 year-old tit is not sexy. It’s not to be ogled. It’s part of a process. It is the same – if you will – as an breastfeeding boob.
If you are an adult journalist, as I’m assuming the vast majority of Daily Mail journalists are, and you write about the womanly curves of a 14 year old, then there’s something wrong with you. No ifs, no buts, no nothing. If you pull a picture of a pubescent teenager from the internet and write about how she’s ageing nicely, or growing up fast, or that she has enviable curves then you’re directly contributing to a culture of sexualisation and child abuse. End of. I don’t give a fuck what your editor told you to write. You are not fit for the title journalist and serious consideration should be given to your right to work among children at all.
This is especially pertinent to the Elle Fanning article because the sexual content is invented. Not that I’m condoning their leering over 14 year old Kardashians but I can at least understand how photos of them in bikinis lead to an article about them being in bikinis – in the case of Elle Fanning they had to find the sexual content. They couldn’t write ‘Elle Fanning enjoys dressing up for halloween’ as that doesn’t sell papers, or links, so they had to make up material about her looks, about how’s she’s nearly of age, about how she’s eager to be an adult – about how, in a couple of years, she’ll be legally fuckable.
2. I think it’s about time we stopped viewing the Daily Mail as an ideological enemy. When this account was first started I wrongly assumed that the Mail was a rightwing institution and that that was their primary motivation, but I now realise I’m wrong. The Mail follows money and they will say or do or print anything which gets them that money. This is why they set up Samantha Brick for a fall, or why they let Liz Jones write about famine, or why they attached a creepy paedophilic subtext to pictures of a 14 year old girl.
They simply don’t care what you, or their readers, or their detractors think. We all organised ourselves into a big huff over this Elle Fanning thing. We all clicked the links, shared the outrage, passed on the news and the only thing it has achieved – the only thing – is the removal of two sentences from an article. They don’t give a fuck about anything except hitting their required view numbers for a day, and we all helped them. Shit. I helped them.
The thing is – this makes them more dangerous. There’s few things as offensive as desperate, grasping capitalism and that’s what the Mail now represents. If they were true to a sliver of their projected morals then articles about underage Kardashian’s cavorting in bikinis could not sit next to outrage at the BBC grooming children for penetration by Jimmy Savile.
It is simply not possible to miss the connection between the two. It’s just not. They are absolutely 100% doing this deliberately. If marijuana is a gateway drug then the Daily Mail is a gateway publication. It is deliberately creating and exploiting the sexual appeal of underaged girls for money. I can cope with much of the Mail’s output but this really is beyond the pale. It’s making me question whether or not I really want to be associated with this smutty little rag any more – even under the guise of parody – because all we’re really doing is contributing to their success.
There’s a final point, actually, which I’m trying very hard to not make melodramatic or exaggerated. It has become painfully obvious from the Savile reporting of the past few weeks that his taste for young children was widely suspected, if not known. I’d suggest we need to do the same thing with the Daily Mail. A worldwide publication spending as much time as they do obsessing over the bodies of pubescent children is not normal. Maybe, like Savile’s cigarbreathed leering, we’ve come to accept it as part of the culture…? Maybe we should stop?