Thursday, 15 July 2010

Waste of ink

   The building I work in has a communal area. It's used by a lot of visitors so the people who run the space buy a selection of daily papers. Among them is one of our more annoying tabloids, a rag for whom all our ills are equally the fault if immigrants, benefit cheats, paedophiles, the European Union and of course, LGBT people. Sometimes its headlines are weird, sometimes they are nuttily entertaining and sometimes, as with their coverage recently of a pair of gay asylum seekers who were not deported because they would face persecution, they are downright offensive.
    On a whim I wrote a little script that harvested a few years worth of headlines. When I picked out the nutty ones I had so many it was difficult to know what to do with them all. So here in review is a small selection in collage form. What a charming country I live in!


  1. You're not alone. We have our share of the same cretins on this side of the pond. They show up regularly at Tea Party rallies, decrying how our once great county is under attack by illegal immigrants, socialists, atheists, gays, and abortionists.

    Melissa XX

  2. On a whim I wrote a little script that harvested a few years worth of headlines.

    Too much time on your hands, girlfriend? :)

    Calie xxx

  3. The headlines have their uses. Your little montage would make a great end of year T shirt to sell in something like Private Eye.
    It's always easiest to blame outsiders and people who are 'different'. But as the LBG bit is generally accepted even by the tabloids, one day the T bit will be too.

  4. I wonder what writer the writing analyser would reckon wrote that lot? -perhaps the author of Mein Kampf? (tiptoing gently to avoid Godwin here...)

  5. @Melissa: A few years ago I encountered something of that on your side of the Atlantic, the company I worked for scored some web work for a political campaign run by a millionaire in an attempt to become mayor of a large Californian city. Over here immigration is generally polarised left-right in that (gross oversimplification alert!)the left want to let 'em all in and the right want to kick 'em all out. I was surprised to find the opposite in their political microclimate, the right wing wanted more cheap Mexican labour and the left wing wanted to protect American jobs. I suspect that their definition of a socialist would veer widely from mine though.

    @Calie: There's never not enough time to code! As it happens I modified an existing script that did a similar job for another application so it didn't take long.

    @Karen: I'm sure a PE T shirt would sell. However since my appearance when bloke means I seem to be taken by any far-right nutters I meet as One Of Their Own, I'd always be worried when wearing it that people might think of it as an endorsement.
    I know that day will come. But as is evidenced by their treanment of gay stores I don't expect it to happen in Express country any time soon.

    @Dru: You are mischievous, as someone who delves deeply into such tools for a living you've given me a toy which will distract me when I should be working! I haven't the time just at the moment to type in the Express's fumings, but on a sample of five pieces it thinks I write like Stephenie Meyer, David Foster Wallace, Dan Brown(shudder/), Vladimir Nabokov and James Joyce. I strongly suspect I need to give it a larger data set to work on! Alternatively it confirms my life's work of finding that statistical keyword analysis can at times be flawed :)

  6. "Burka Obama is our own tree" has a certain artistic quality, don't you think?

    Thanks for making me smile and finding the only logical use for such editorial clap-trap.

  7. I'm more taken with "Fury at full up scroungers" myself!

    I toyed with the idea of writing a little "Build your own nutty Express headline" app, but couldn't quite motivate myself.