Most Sundays the placards advertising the tabloid newspapers provide some amusement. They are mostly about sex, soccer and celebs, though since Brenda Fassie died, they seem to have struggled a bit.
Today I listened to the media programme on SAFM, and they were talking about the tabloids, and one of the studio guests was Deon someone or other, the big cheese of the Sun, and a few other journalistic types, who accused the tabloids of being sexist and xenophobic, encouraging feeling against Somali shopkeepers in Port Elizabeth for example. This Deon bloke replies that he's just a fish in the water, selling the fish what they want.
I don't buy tabloids very often, but today I bought the Sunday World just to see what all the fuss was about. And it was boring, borning, boring. I quite enjoy some of the stories, the more improbable ones, like "Tokoloshe ate my lover's knickers". But there wasn't even stuff like that today. Just some singer who lost a contract because her lover was in the loo.
I agree with the fundis -- the tabloids are going downhill. Come back Brenda, we need you!
Actually my son said his all-time favourite tabloid headline was "Zombie ate my soap".
But the tabloid formula of sex, soccer and celebs is probably the one way to sell newspapers today, for those who can't afford the Internet, where, if you look at any week's Technorati tags, you can see much the same kind of thing. And of course sex is only interesting if it is done by celebs. If it's ordinary people, then there has to be a tokoloshe or at least a zombie involved if people are going to but the paper. And soccer, well, what are soccer players other than celebs if they're any good. And being good on the soccer field is not enough. Being good in bed is better.
So what is a celeb? Well, Tony Grist meditates on this in Eroticdream battle:celebrity.
I think he comes to some quite interesting conclusions. And, as Marshal McLuhan didn't quite say, the media is the massage (parlour).