Wednesday, August 20, 2008

On Tories, proles and porn

Tom has a good post identifying the hypocrisy in Michael Gove's recent complaint that men's (boys, surely?) magazines such as Nuts and Zoo present women as "permanently, lasciviously, uncomplicatedly available".

I wouldn't want to defend these titles - not least because I have never read them - but the hypocrisy aside, I've often thought this idea of men forming their opinions of women from magazines, or porn in general, should be treated with a degree of scepticism. Surely even the most fleeting contact with the real world disabuses the average 17-year-old of any idea that women are 'uncomplicatedly available'?

Tom's point about class is well-made too. While the claim that something is enjoyed by the working class can be used to shield something that should nevertheless be a target of legitimate criticism, I think there's something in this idea that certain things only become distasteful - or downright pernicious - when the proles get their hands on them.

Anyway, it's occurred to me before that it might be worth drawing up a list of things like this:

Pornography is one, in my view - but we could also include alcohol (especially if it is 'cheap'), narcotics, foreign holidays ('cheap flights' - affordability again the problem here), cars... Anyone any further suggestions?

Update: two suggestions so far from John in the comments:

Sex. When the proles do it or flaunt it it is a sign of collapsing civilisation. When the quality strip off and get down and dirty it is raffish, playful, taboo-busting, daring and ever so sexy.

Gambling. James Bond at the baccarrat: sexily sophisticated. Mrs B at the Bingo: sad waste of life.

Another one that's occurred to me is the behaviour of youth: if Eton/Oxford types go around getting wasted and trashing places it's 'youthful high-spirits', 'jolly-japes' - if the proles do it, it's a sign of, well, the 'broken society'.

Update #2: Ooh, how could I have forgotten about these? Entertainment: Soap operas on the telly - unbearably vulgar. An opinion you might get from someone who listens to the goddam Archers. Or game shows - ok, provided they're on Radio 4.

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