Monday 24 January 2011

Melanie Phillips: Marketing Bigotry

There are days I wish Melanie Phillips would act like a proper troll and only sally forth from under the bridge to harass passing goats. But as the Daily Mail columnist you love to hate, Mel wouldn't be doing her job if she didn't cause a shit storm once in a while. And that's what she's gone and done this morning with her latest rant, 'Yes, gays have often been the victims of prejudice. But they now risk becoming the new McCarthyites' (you can read the snappily-titled piece here without having to visit Mail Online).

In her latest broadside against The Permissiveness Undermining Our Nation and Endangering Your Children, Mel uncovers a secret plot hatched by the cunning homosexualists who pull the government's strings. As "part of the ruthless campaign by the gay rights lobby to destroy the very ­concept of normal sexual behaviour" the biggest threat to kids are no longer the perverts hanging round the school gates, but the gay propaganda infiltrating exercise books and course content. Witness the shocking imminent changes to the curriculum:

"In geography, for example, they will be told to consider why homosexuals move from the countryside to cities. In maths, they will be taught statistics through census findings about the number of homosexuals in the population.

In science, they will be directed to animal species such as emperor penguins and sea horses, where the male takes a lead role in raising its young."

Trigonometry exercises illustrated by pink triangles, crafts geared around the production of soft furnishings, French replaced by Polari, and Year Ones not progressing until they've learned how to spell 'tribadism' can only be a fey handclap away. In short, unless we stop this sick filth now our schools will become madrassas for queer fundamentalism. People will stop having babies, Britain as we know it will vanish and this sceptered isle will be open to colonisation by the Allah-worshipping hordes.

In the real world and not the one existing inside Mel's bigoted brain, it is entirely proper the curriculum normalises trans, lesbian, bi and gay folk. The Tories especially have a historical debt to pay as Section 28 was introduced on their watch - a debt Dave himself
has acknowledged and apologised for - and any positive moves to making good on that should be welcomed. But despite the massive strides made in gay acceptance legally, culturally, and socially these last 30 years, homophobic bullying remains an unwelcome rite of passage for LGBT and straight kids alike. As this BBC Report from 2007 shows, far from schools being the gay-friendly spaces Mel imagines them to be bullying remains endemic.

Not that Mel and her ilk particularly care. Like the
seriously deranged big mouths across The Pond, Mel is a professional right wing provocateur. She knows as well as anyone her career as a columnist and media pundit would be done if she ceased raiding the circa 1981 Monday Club ideological grab bag. She ain't going to shut up as long as there's a buck to be made.

This material interest in continued exposure fits those of Mel's employers as snug as a bug in a rug. A market exists for reflecting back the bigoted prejudices of the angry and the alienated, and is one
The Mail has long since cornered. But in Britain it has pioneered the capturing of a new and growing audience interested in right wing news 'n' views: that of the outraged left/liberal/Labourist/Graun/Indy/C4News milieu. DMGT doesn't care what those muesli-eating Marxists and the occasional lefty celeb are tweeting about, just as long as the newest slice of reactionary bilge upsets them enough to drive more people to the website so they can be disgusted and angered, and who in their turn drive more people to the website.

In short what DMGT have is a business model for successfully attracting large numbers of relatively well educated, relatively affluent people who wouldn't ordinarily touch their toxic rag with a pair of hazmat gloves. It's a stroke of genius: exploit your opponents' right-on politics and they will market your putrefying product across their social media networks for you.

Just remember that next time Melanie Phillips says or writes something stupidly bigoted and controversial.


Anonymous said...

Please replace "pear of hazmat gloves" with "pair of hazmat gloves".

Phil said...


SamG said...

I have to disagree, I think Mad Mel actually believes this shit!

luna17 said...

Yes, I think SamG is right - she is genuinely ideologically convinced, just like Peter Hitchens, James Delingpole and others. It's also true, as Phil notes, that commercial considerations play a part. Both are true.

The worst thing about this latest bilge is the way she ignores homophobic bullying in schools - indeed she indirectly encourages it - and therefore completely misrepresents reality.

Lobby Ludd said...

DGMT? What's that?

I am pretty sure SamG is right, Mad Mel does really believe what she writes.

(As an aside, I was once at a party (if you could call it that) where somebody asked me to rescue Mel from the clutches of the local bore. As I approached them I realised that the bore was trying to get away from the very intense, very determined Mel. I left them to it, win-win I thought. Mel, even in her Guardian days, was a peculiarly possessed person.)

Anton Vowl said...

I think she believes it, but I think it's part of a trolling strategy by the Mail as well.

Joe Scaramanga said...

I've long agreed with the view that the DM deliberately prints this kind of bile as a way of self-promoting (or rather getting us tree-hugging liberals to do it's dirty work for it), but I can't help feeling it's important to make people aware of just how vile it is.
This is because for every Grauniad-reader who is appalled there are five people who shake their heads and go "You'll never guess what the PC brigade are going to do NOW!"
By writing about these proposals as if they they are already in place (as MP has done) she perpetuates the myth that it's happened, when nothing of the sort has happened. But once a columnist has written about it, it becomes fact. By exposing her rhetoric, bloggers like yourself can at least plant seeds of doubt into people.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

A new low.

Red Mike said...

As others have noted, the shear effort she puts into this nonsense suggests that she actually believes this rubbish. Maybe not the specific examples as there simply so absurd, but she probably does believe the gays and the muslims and the lefties and the eco-warriors are scheming away.

Theres an old saying "it is good to be paid for work, it is even better to be paid for work you were going to do anyway"

Phil said...

Yes, I believe Mel's head is full of this guff. What made her evolve from Graunism to blackest reaction would be interesting to know. Did an effete Muslim lad overcharge her at Waitrose or something?

I'm with you, Joe. While it would be great if no one paid Mel and her ilk any attention, sad thing is people do and it does need answering - if only to better aid those who confront and face down bigotry in their everyday lives. Anton elaborates more about this over at his place.

Gary Elsby said...

Don't forget Phil, I'm on the telly tomorrow.
I love the bit where I say, 'I told Phil BC about what would happen in the Shelton ward if they select another'.

Phil said...

I've already seen your bit, Gary. I'm disappointed they didn't recognise your obvious star power and use more than 1 minute 52 seconds of material.

asquith said...

I generally disagree with the views expressed here but at least I can have a civilised, worthwhile exchange. Being both socially & economically liberal I don't find many places to be 100% at home, so it's really a question of which blogs welcome constructive criticism.

Phillips, Delingpole etc. certainly don't match that description. They might well be really nice in person but their online activity gives the impression of wanting to rip apart & eat the raw flesh of anyone who doesn't share their views.

The people who queue up to comment on Julie Burchill's weekly phoned-in trolling also come to mind. You wonder what makes them keep coming back for more. I like enraging myself up as much as the next man but I wouldn't give them the satisfaction of speaking to them.

Andrea Tinsley said...

Sorry Gary the excitement about your documentary is over.

Just wondering if you think the Labour Party or Peter Mandelson himself cut your 5 hours of filming down to 1 min and 52 seconds?

Gary Elsby said...

A documentary team have been with me for a Month and a well known writer wants to make a stage play about Stoke Central's 'rough and posh'
Take the piss all you want but it is me who they talk to, not you.

'It's all Cameron's fault'.

Lee Whitlett said...

What I don't understand is why in the clip you are walking along a row of boarded up terraced houses (in the Joiners Square area if i'm not mistaken?) when you live in Baddeley Green which is one of the nicest areas in Stoke-on-Trent Central, and looks nothing like the picture you are trying to portray.

You are not rough Gary so stop pretending that you are. At least Tristram Hunt is honest about his background, unlike you.

Gary Elsby said...

Forgive me for not allowing you to be totally wrong in everything, but, and I can prove it, am not a Director at the BBC.
They had two locations pre-planned for the Stoke production, one at Spode in Stoke (pot bank/town/commerce) and the other, canalside/potbank/housing/popular BBc spot). We went to both and it was decided by them (THEM and I can prove it) that it was to be the canalside venue.
They lost permission to film due to the owners being not present.
So they went round the corner instead.
Conspiracy theory now dead.

I'm the son of a Miner and I look like the son of a Miner.
When arrested in 1984,I protested my innocence as I was not a Miner at all: "See, I have a monkey wrench in my hand!"

Arresting Copper: "You look like a Miner with a monkey wrench in your hand. You're nicked!"

I'm not sure by your meaning of Tristram being honest about his background and me not being honest?
I am, as you point out (cos I told everyone, duh)that I am from Baddeley Green,was born there and went to school there.

Phil said...

Delingpole is a prized pillock and odious bore, Asquith. Did you see him on Horizon the other night? He more or less admitted he knew nothing about climate science - that still hasn't stopped him from being one of the right's standard bearers in climate change denialism.

The likes of him and others cannot stand having their views scrutinised and subject to thorough questioning. Those firm on their beliefs and comfortable with their arguments welcome it.

Phil said...

Gary, I have no wish to to be at the centre of international media attention. All I'm interested in is blogging away from my tiny corner of Stoke-on-Trent. But I am tickled by how much you crave the limelight. Definitely a trait unbecoming a socialist.

Gary Elsby said...

But I, and others, remain totally baffled by your slavish support of a failed Elected Mayor in Stoke, the clumsy and lazy way it is propped up and excused by your paymaster in Sandwell and your uncontrollable lust for shooed in parachutes.

F**** me!!

I thought you were a man of principle like me who detested corruption and observed equality for all???

You're making a pigs ear of it Phil.

You really do think it is all about promoting Labour, don't you?
Say it how it is Phil, not how they say it is.
Tommy Sheridan and George Galloway can't keep relying on Dianne Abbot you know.
This Labour council has been shutting Stoke's services down ever since Meredith's crew too over (and screwed the party in the process).
Say it aint so Phil, that you are on the phones asking us to vote for them again?????
I put out 20,000 leaflets telling everyone they were liars.....

and then they have the gall to say I was not loyal!!!

Loyal to who? Gee up.

Gary Elsby said...

Phil take alook at the daily mail (dominic sambrook TV pundit)
Leap to Triss's defence, be a devil.

asquith said...

I didn't watch that programme because I knew it would be depressing & miserable. That often happens when I vaguely consider something but dismiss the idea.

I don't actually have a TV, I watch the odd programme at my mum's. Weirdly enough she lives in Baddeley Green. Everyone seems to be working-class there, like in most of the city.

I have to laugh at that "Baddeley Green & Stockton Brook Community Centre" near the petrol station. Do they stand at opposite ends of the room giving each other hostile, uncomprehending glances?

Gary Elsby said...

Yes it is true that all contact creator information gathered in Stoke, as requested by sandwell, is to be used first and foremost to promote a return of the Elected Mayoral system.
The guff is that it is for a local election.
Completely not true.

Paul Canon said...

I wish it was for an elected mayoral system!! That would be brilliant

Gary Elsby said...

Take a look at Leicester, Paul.

Officers of Stoke Central CLP purchased all contact creator software (£700) and then purchased a laptop to go with it (£500). It was then decided that the Mayoral team would srt it all up.
They did nothing, but in the process, campaigned like mad to get Stoke South Councillors elected (Mayor supporters, all later sacked by the public for being Mayor supporters).
They isolated their own CLP and the BNP had a field day. Sandwell bussed in hundreds of campaigners into Stoke South to help out. We got no-one.
Sandwell is hell bent on a return of the Mayors throughout the Midlands, and this is why they persue contact information and offer bribes to CLPs.
The speel is to win an election in the Council, but the offices of Sandwell will get filled up with phone banks and WM 'board' members who will use the information independently of Stoke to push for the Mayor to return.
Loyal member sof Stoke, who do not wish to see the return of the Elected Mayoral system,need to know that all information supplied comes from our friends in London and the WM.
They propped up that system and ordered it to join with the Tories and close our services.
They continue to prop up their legacy and refuse to concede that the public hated it.
Labour members are being mugged.

Gary Elsby said...

I gather yet another NEC led hearing is to take place in Stoke in a few days.
It will centre on whether the former Chair went against an NEC 'ruling' that Stoke Central CLP should have gone to all members meetings in time for the AGM in Feb 2010.
He didn't go against any ruling because no such direction was given. They are mistaken (liars) and as any good CLp would have done anyway, we had a vote on whether it was desirable.
100% voted NO.
A QC will represent the former Chair and the services of a Barrister is also at hand.
Witnesses are attending this hearing and will say what I have written here.
I am not being called as a witness becasue it is known that I will point the finger at all NEC/WM board members present and call them liars to their face (while I hold their documents up which support our view).

Would you like me to pedict what will happen if the NEC wins the day?
Now why would a QC £M per hour want to do this in Stoke???