The Loneliest Jukebox

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Role reversals

On the one hand, David Cameron appears to buck nationwide trends in the anti-social behaviour debate. The Daily Mail and its online commentators seem apoplectic with rage. On the Mail website, there's even a close-up of actor Noel Clarke, who bowed out of Doctor Who last night, with the words 'yob teenagers' underneath. Has Mr. Clarke (31) got his lawyers watching the Mail?*

On the other hand, retro act the Pipettes are marketed in the following terms: "Three sassy, sexy polka-dot clad girls from Brighton, they're a girl pop group culled from a whole other innocent era, long before ringtones and happy slapping" (Manchester Evening News, 6 July 2006).

So let me get this straight: the leader of the Conservative Party has some sympathy with anti-social behaviour, while rock and roll is now defined in opposition to it? My head aches...

* A note for overseas readers: the Daily Mail houses an apocalyptic narrative of social decline, day in, day out. This is neatly summed up in the following quotation: 'The paper whose tone and agenda is closest to 1960/1970s-style moral panic ... The fact that the Mail is the only national daily with more female than male readers - if only 51 per cent female - undoubtedly informs its respectable girl's brand of moral indignity. Hence, hysteria about single and teenage mothers is perfect material for a Daily Mail moral panic.' (See Angela McRobbie and Sarah L. Thornton (1995), 'Re-thinking "Moral Panic" for Multi-Mediated Social Worlds', reprinted in Chas Critcher (ed.), Critical Readings: Moral Panics and the Media (Open University Press, 2006), p.272. Buy it here (UK).


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