Tuesday, September 13, 2005

poachers turned gamekeepers.

i don't know if you saw 'the death of celebrity' on sunday night, but it featured ex-mirror editor Piers Morgan talking to pointless celebrities about how pointless they were, and how dreadful it was that they got money and media coverage for breathing, shagging and having fun (not necessarily all at the same time).

the fact that these 'pointless celebrities' - rebecca loos, paul danan, abi titmuss and jade goody, principally - had agreed to be interviewed for the programme probably proves his point that they thrive on the oxygen of publicity.

but the problem with the programme was twofold. first, there was the gut-wrenching sight of Morgan's on-screen, Damascene, conversion from the unbeliever of his Mirror-editing days, including the creation of the 3am girls, to the caring, sharing Piers of today, bemoaning the state of modern culture. I have never seen a reversal that spectacular since another former Mirror editor, St Roy of Greenslade, joined the Guardian to write about how dreadful the tabloid press was, gleefully ignoring that he was responsible for some of the rot.

anyway, top marks to abi titmuss who answered the question, "what is the point of abi titmuss?" with the equally incisive, "what is the point of piers morgan?"

all this whinging about morgan's slightly less than convincing volte-face shouldn't distract from the fact that his diaries are a work of unbridled genius. although "sources close to piers morgan" have told me that, how shall i put this - some creativity was involved in the reconstruction of past events. they are nonetheless a stonking read, and one which i would recommend to anyone. he's achieved the impressive toby young-esque feat of reminding you all the way through the narrative how OK he is with the fact he's a tosser, and yet including yet more tosserishness of which he seems blissfully unaware.

his relationship with his superiors is probably the most interesting part. all editors think they know best - that's why they are editors - so it's intriguing to see how he reacts to command. and of course, his mentors are two great monsters of the modern media: kelvin mckenzie and rupert murdoch.

opinions differ on which relationship is more illuminating - my student journo friend P opines that it's murdoch, but i'm tempted by mckenzie. i was reading boris johnson's 'lend me your ears' last night, and in his interview with mckenzie you are reminded just how much of modern tabloid culture springs from his crazed genius at the Sun in the eighties. Not just Gotcha!, but Hop Off Frogs, Up Yours, Delors and a host of other stances which have shaped popular thought. of course, murdoch has done this too, but in a subtle overlord way, not a stick-this-in-your-face way.


as you might have guessed, i'm getting a reasonable amount of time at the computer to write entries. expect a review several journalism books i'm currently reading in the next few days, as well as my long-awaited (ok, by one person) review of the guardian's new berliner format.


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9/13/2005 9:53 am  

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