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This was a headline to an entire page 3 article in the august journal the Daily Mail last week. I think I have made clear my opinions about this pernicious scandalsheet. When I see a headline like that I always read the article simply to harden my attitudes. The Mail, with an editorial stance that makes Attila the Hun look like a tree hugger, absolutely hates the BBC. As far as the Mail is concerned, the good old Beeb epitomises all that is ‘wrong’ with this country. It is staffed entirely by communists, wishywashy liberal do-gooders, and woolly thinkers. They often hint too that there is undue influence by, never say it, gays and lesbians, an attitude I find both incorrect and insulting. They’re not overly fond of single mothers either.

The editor of this rag loves having a pop at the BBC, and I read on with interest. Please remember this is a page 3 article, and page 3 is the most read page in any newspaper. Anyway, apparently ‘controversy’ is ‘raging’ about a BBC presenter by the name of Claudia Winkleman. I think that’s how you spell it, and if not my unreserved apologies. I’d never heard of her, but if she upsets the Daily Mail she’s my kinda woman. Apparently she presents a perfectly innocuous programme about needlework or crochet or something similarly unprovocative. But the Mail has the knives out for her.

What was her crime? Advocating the corruption of minors? Writing a book on 100 Easy Ways With Horsemeat? Being in favour of GM crops? Oh no, she’s guilty of far worse than that.

Ms Winkleman apparently has a bad haircut. This styling includes a fringe reminiscent of those seen during the trichological excesses of the 1960s. I looked at the photographs of her, and to be frank, it is vaguely ridiculous. It does not however arouse me to paroxysms of fury. Who am I to judge? I just think ‘Hmm, bit of a mistake there,’ but we’ve all made those. I used to have a mullet for goodness sake.

Is a woman’s hairstyle suitable material for an attack on her personally? No of course it isn’t. I suspect even the Mail figured that out. A day later we got another half page article being vitriolic about her abilities and attitudes as a presenter. At this point I might have had some sympathy. I might, if she is genuinely bad at her job. If she is, she has no place on the screens of the nation. There’s an important caveat here though. This attack was prefaced with a headline, which I can’t quote with total accuracy. It was along the lines of, ‘It’s not just your hair, it’s you!’ That line of argument makes the average playground slanging match (‘You’re smelly and nobody likes you’) sound like Kant and Descartes having a head to head.

Tragically, in the same issue, there was an article bemoaning the suicide of a schoolchild who was mercilessly insulted and bullied on a social networking site. Am I the only one to spot the despicable parallel here? I do hope not.

On a lighter note, I believe that in Minnesota a mullet is known as a ‘hockey haircut.’ I like that phrase a good deal.

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