Chocolate? Hmmm…. Too easy, and too necessary to keep me awake mid-afternoon. Cake? But solid, juicy fruit cakes are a gift from God. Meat? No. There’s something I ‘use’ that probably does me and our world far more damage. So for purely selfish reasons, I’m going to be starting a Lenten fast involving NOT READING ANY NEWSPAPERS from Ash Wednesday up to Easter. If that sounds a bit weak, it’s because I’m an obsessive reader of online newspapers who needs to break the habit. Why? Because over the next few weeks, I’m going to see what my life could be like without being repeatedly told by…
The Guardian and the Independent
… That the world’s going to hell in a handbasket due to global warming, eating meat, Donald Trump, gun-toting American rednecks, whilst being fed self-satisfied platitudes demanding to know why can’t we all be nice to each other, and by the way, don’t you think all the people who disagree with us are racist bigoted homophobic scumbags who need to be re-educated quickly… preferably by our leader-writers?
The Daily Mail
… That the country’s going to hell in a handbasket due to immigrants, the European Union, Muslims who are going to murder us in our beds, lower moral standards (but please don’t look too closely at Mail Online), with added platitudes saying that it’s all either the fault of Jeremy Corbin, or the Church of England who have just gone soft by running food banks for the poor and asking why they are hungry.
The Daily Telegraph
… That the country’s going to hell in a handbasket because business isn’t allowed a free hand, especially those businesses and banks that brought the whole thing crashing down a few years ago without anyone going to jail, but we’re not going to talk about those people (especially HSBC) because we need their advertising, and our owners are getting slightly scary.
The Times / Sun
… That the country’s going to hell in a handbasket because the BBC is the most iniquitous corporation that ever existed, and international media corporations should be allowed to access as many senior politicians as they want, and also that we never hacked any phones, honest, and Rebecca’s really lovely, and by the way, have you seen the latest film from 20th Century Fox, and for pity’s sake don’t write anything about Rupert’s latest squeeze.
The Daily Express
…. That the country’s going to hell in a handbasket because we’re in for the most dangerous weather yet, and that Princess Diana’s murder was engineered by dark forces beyond our ken, and did you know we’ve got some great programmes coming up on Channel 5, and Richard Desmond has just been to another posh party, so please look at the pictures and don’t mention how he made his money selling ‘specialist magazines’, because he seriously does want that knighthood.
The Huffington Post
… That the country’s going to hell in a handbasket because Mafeking is under siege, the General Strike is in its fifth month and the Russians are still occupying Berlin.
The London Evening Standard
… That London’s definitely not going to hell in a handbasket because everything’s sweet and rosy, birds are singing, Boris is doing an excellent job as Mayor, and by the way, wouldn’t he make a much better Prime Minister than David?
The Daily Mirror
…. That the country’s going to hell in a handbasket because the Tories are settling themselves in for the next 50 years, so come on Jeremy, give us something good to write about, we’re desperate for something better than Ed Milliband’s bunch of policy wonks, and you can’t do any worse than them, can you, honestly?
So instead of regularly skimming through that lot, I’ll be reading some solid novels, anthologies of short stories, poetry and spiritual writings, getting my current news from the BBC, and getting next month’s news from Private Eye before it happens (as per usual).
Let’s see what comes out of it, by Easter. And what are you going to do?