Friday, August 16, 2013

The Telegraph thinks it’s amusing to murder your husband

This week the Telegraph published an article by Celia Walden about a supposed new trend of novels for women that deal with women who kill their husbands (See here). The article was treating the subject in a humorous way. There’s obviously nothing necessarily bad about using murder in a novel, even a light, frothy one. After all, many of us love Agatha Christie. And nothing necessarily wrong with treating murder as a subject for black humour; Hitchcock used to do it wonderfully. However, there’s something particularly nasty and insidious about this Telegraph article.

Firstly, with thousands of books published yearly, its dubious to call a handful of books a ‘trend’. Like the invented quote, it’s the hack-journalist’s stock trick for creating an excuse for projecting one of their favoured subjects onto society, and then acting like they are writing about other people when they are probably just writing about what’s going on in their own mind. In fact, whenever you read about some new ‘trend’ in today’s papers, it’s almost certainly the creation of a journalist or public relations person in order to influence public opinion in a certain way. Rather than be suckered-in to believe

Secondly, the article quickly moves from describing this supposed trend to using nasty, mocking language to imply that there is a justification for wanting to murder your husband. For example:

“…imagining how good it would feel …to bludgeon the now balding, paunch-prone, crossword-addicted man they married to death.”

“It’s about men’s consistent failure to live up to our expectations.”

“They get murdered because they’ve become so ineffectual. And that’s something we can all relate to.”

“Its not as though they are needed these days is it?”

Truly nasty stuff. Celia Walden is clearly trying to get her readers thinking along the lines of ‘they deserve it’. Even if this doesn’t directly lead wives to kill their husbands (although who is to say that it might not tip one woman over the edge into thinking it was justified) it will clearly lead to more women viewing men with contempt and disgust. It is dehumanising to men.

Lastly, the hypocrisy of the Telegraph in publishing this absolutely stinks. These women are (a) aware of the potential influence of media in inciting violence against a particular group and (b) the first to try their best to destroy a man’s career if he dared say anything even 10% as nasty as this about women. Just contemplate their hypocrisy and arrogance for a moment: they understand its bad to publish hateful material directed at a particular group, yet will do so, whilst condemning others who do it. What can we deduce from this? It seems that they don’t believe in moral principles that apply to everyone, they are only out to empower themselves and men can be damned.

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