Thursday, March 15, 2007

Guardian Berliner: Political correctness gone mad?

Holy crap! The Guardian Monthly is amazing - it's all the good bits from the Guardian in the week without all the crappy filler pieces. It's small enough to carry around you and sneakily read during class without anyone really noticing (or maybe they just don't care) and better still, it radiates a kind of coolness that makes people ridiculously interested in you - which is great if you're attention seeking and looking to gain people's approval. People think "Oh, you read the Guardian, that's pretty liberal and culturally aware. But hold on a minute...whoa there Nelly! That's no ordinary broadsheet, it's compact, colourful and exciting. " Et voila instant friends of the liberal left-leaning variety, which in Germany is no bad thing at all.

There is a certain irony here regarding the distribution of The Guardian in Berlin; namely, The Guardian modified it's format relatively recently to the "Berliner" size, which they felt was a more convenient size and more European. At the time of course, I thought this move was a wonderful move which would strengthen Britain's relationship with our sausage eating friends, who, if nothing else would be suitably impressed that we had adopted their newspaper formatting design.

However, since moving here I have my doubts about the motivation of The Guardian's editor. Now, ich bin ein Berliner and I have hunted high and low for this paper; wo ist es? There is no 'Berliner' to be found in this neck of the woods, which makes the whole move to this new 'German format' seem kind of cheeky if you can't actually get it in Berlin. In addition to this, I'm looking at the German newspapers and thinking "Hey, they don't actually look any smaller or different to the normal sized broadsheets back in England." Which leads me to the conclusion that it may have been a cynical ploy exploiting The Guardian readers' need to feel more integrated with the rest of Europe - "Who cares about the fact that we're stuck out here on this stupid little island, that we're sticking with the pound - just look at the European style of our left-wing newspapers!"

But, if I sound a little sceptical about the motives behind the adaptations made to the paper, at least I think I have some idea about what they were trying to achieve. The recent pull outs 'Rodents and rabbits', 'snakes and lizards', 'cats' and 'dogs' are surely just an act of insanity. Free dvds - yes! But wtf do they expect people to do with a badly drawn poster showing different types of whales and dolphins????!!! I have no idea where they are going with this one, the only explanation I can possibly offer is that it is some kind of didactic form of loony lefty attempt to combat prejudice and to challenge pre-conceived notions about animals and fish ie. "There are many DIFFERENT BREEDS of dog, they have different coloured fur, barks, shapes but essentially they are ALL THE SAME. No one dog is better than any other; all dogs are equal in the eyes of God/Dog."

If my theory is correct, it's political correctness gone mad.

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