Saturday 24 April 2010

Simon Hoggart: Guardian Journalist Cum Dinosaur

It's not often that I dredge the nether regions of the Guardian, for obvious reasons, but this piece by Simon Hoggart deserves comment.

There he was, good old boy Simon, enjoying a sumptuous meal, opulent trimmings aplenty, with incumbent Horncastle & Louth MP Peter Tapsell.

I was invited for lunch, at his wonderful house. My visit was at an hour's notice, so I assume they eat like this every day. Lady Tapsell, who is from Normandy, served us a velvety watercress soup, accompanied by chilled Sancerre.

Lady Tapsell brought us delicious local roast beef, plus fried potatoes and a glass of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Sir Peter described his typical day, which consists of driving round the villages and market towns in an ancient Land Rover.

Lady Tapsell brought us the first of two desserts, caramelised strawberries, with dessert wine.
Now then, sunshine, stop right there a minute.

I do believe you have exceeded your daily alcohol limit, don't you? Just count 'em, you hazardous drinker, you.

Fried potatoes? Err, fried? Caramelised strawberries? Red meat? You're a heart attack victim in waiting, and no mistake. You weren't enjoying a meal with friends, you were being politely assassinated by murderous acquaintances.

Ones, I might add, who also commit ecocide on the world by driving a gas-guzzling 4x4, and not even a new clean green one, around the countryside. He'll be in jail soon, and quite rightly so, eh?

Yet you are defending his lifestyle. So much so, that you ridicule one of his opponents in the upcoming election.

[T]he Ukip candidate, Pat Nurse, seems more concerned with health. "I support lifestyle choice and an end to the denormalisation [sic] of adults who do not take on board health propaganda," whatever that means.
Were you still shit-faced on Tapsell's hospitality when you wrote this, Simon? The reason I ask is that you don't seem to have understanding of the word 'denormalisation'.

It's not spelled wrongly, so your application of 'sic' must mean that you, a Guardian journalist, haven't been keeping up with Labour's ever-changing use of language.

Your own rag has used the word liberally since 2007 when saggy-arsed Liam Donaldson first coined it.

"Some people would resent the idea of cigarettes being kept under the counter like magazines that you wouldn't want displayed. But I think that these are all part of the denormalisation process."
Yep, it looks like all the letters are in the same order. It is a word, after all ... just that you, the journalist, hadn't heard it before. A Ukip candidate is more in tune with modern parlance than you, it would seem. Fancy that?

So, seeing as you haven't a scooby what it means, Simon, let me explain. It is a process whereby normal, everyday enjoyments are being portrayed as somehow abnormal by health freaks.

By coincidence, the meal you enjoyed with Tapsell is part of the very denormalisation programme that you are too dull to have noticed. And by the very same soon-to-be-thank-fuck-for-that retired, Liam Donaldson, as an astute Zytophile once wrote.

The report goes on to assert that “Alcohol has a major impact on individual drinkers’ health.” No – it adversely affects the health of only a tiny minority. “It causes cancers of the liver, bowel, breast, throat, mouth, larynx and oesophagus; it causes osteoporosis; and it reduces fertility.” Yes, but in each case it increases the risk by only a tiny amount. For example, of women who don’t drink, 9.6 per cent get breast cancer; of women who do drink, 10.7 per cent do. In other words, one woman in a hundred gets breast cancer because she drinks. The same is true of other cancers: if you drink, it increases your chances of cancer by a tiny percentage. That does not, I suggest, justify the scare headlines in, for example, today’s Guardian that “no level of alcohol is safe”.
There are your employers again, Simon, spreading the scare.

No level of alcohol is safe. It's a rather regular refrain from them.

"From the standpoint of cancer risk the message of this report could not be clearer. There is no level of alcohol consumption that can be considered safe."
Sancerre, Chateau-neuf-du-Pape, and dessert wine? You're a right anti-social waste of NHS resources, you are!

Now, you ignorant, short-sighted moron, let's talk about how far 'denormalisation' has spread as a concept, shall we?

For a start, your host's choice of vehicle is out the window (ecocide, remember?). Especially if he ever, and I mean ever, exceeds the speed limit.

Speeding motorists should be 'treated like smokers' to make driving too fast socially unacceptable, a report to MPs says today. Road safety experts believe speeding must become as big a social taboo as smoking and drink-driving.
In fact, there is no end to the application of denormalisation. The Guardian (again) have reported eagerly on foods which should be considered socially unacceptable in the past, and will no doubt do so again once the denormalisers come after your fried potatoes or your rich caramel.

And if your EU-sceptic friend has ever raised the issue of wind turbines with his country-loving friends, dissent to their construction is also now to be deemed an opinion which must be eradicated.

[Ed Miliband] said: "The Government needs to be saying 'It is socially unacceptable to be against wind turbines in your area - like not wearing your seat belt or driving past a zebra crossing.'
See what he did there? It's called denormalisation. One 'l', no 'z'. Add it to your vocab, Simon.

What is so amusingly ironic about Simon's ill-informed slur is that the Ukip candidate was standing up for Simon's right to enjoy his meal with Tapsell without interference from the state.

That Simon couldn't see that, and instead tips the wink that he is going to repay his host's generous spread with ridicule of a political opponent, illustrates the dire paucity of talent in today's mainstream media.

Where have you been these last few years, Simon? She is defending, amongst many others, you!


Lawson said...

Beautifully done Dick.

I loved this from his article.

"It would be easier if there were a typeface called ironic bold."

I'd suggest that "Gullible Massive" might be better suited for grauniad readers.

Anonymous said...

My, but you're on good form today Dick.

Anonymous said...

An ace piece, Dick!

JuliaM said...


But the answer's quite simple. Those laws, articles of guidance and proclamations aren't meant to apply to the likes of Simon.

They are strictly meant to apply to US.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Ta for the comments. I'm still staggered that a pro journo hasn't heard of denormalisation. It's nearly at it's third birthday as a policy, after all.

Pat Nurse MA said...

Thanks Dick, that cheered me up. I felt like a freak in L&H where denormalistion isn't known - yet. We all know that rural areas tend to catch up with urban areas eventually. Denormalisation is most certainly heading our way.
Brill post as usual :)

thespecialone said...

Wonderful article. I really cannot stand the hypocrisy of these numpties. All of the left whose motto is 'do as I say not as I do you idiot prole'. Just like Al Gore, Moonbat, and doctors who are very fat but try to get people to lose weight. F*cking idiots make me sick.

Demetrius said...

I wonder what Simon's Dad would have thought of all this? Not much, I fear.

Unknown said...

Well done Maestro (fuck off righteous commentators, I'm a fan but it doesn't mean I'm an idiot! I know when someone gives me a different perspective on things other than dogma!)

Ok, I'm a bit of an idiot when it comes to proper English because that word "sic" has bothered me ever since I took up blogging "proper." I have always felt that, if I asked what the word meant in it's context, I'd feel even more of an idiot. So thanks DP for clearing that one up for me.

@Pat Nurse: You are a Journalist, why be intimidated my other journalists? Why feel a freak because your constituants don't know about denormalisation*? You are an asset to your community (even though they do not know it yet.) Shout about denormalisation from the rooftops if you have to, they need to know! I know, just as you and your locals in L&H know, that there is more to life than "lifestyle choices" and, as a [prospective] MP they want to hear encouraging words from their PPCs about the bigger picture, like the economy, immigration, local services to their outlying communities etc. and you are MORE than able to impart your knowledge to them about this.

This sounds like a confident, (without being arrogant) woman, a Journalist and lecturer...a woman of SUBSTANCE goddamnit!

*I have a pdf document all about denormalisation, not just about smokers, and If you email me I'll send it to you.

You, lady, are the voice of Horncastle & Louth, USE IT!

BTS said...

I am Better Than Simon.

Unknown said...

@BTS: Explain. (Although I should understand you by now but you are just as cryptic as Obo so I am lost:)

Dick Puddlecote said...

BTS = Better Than Simon, TBY. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I think Hoggart was being simultaneously disingenuous and lofty, like a judge asking: 'Who are the Beatles?' The message, with veiled, amused disdain, from the Westminster/media Kremlin, is:'Who are these lesser beings?

Anonymous said...

TheBigYin said:

"You are a Journalist, why be intimidated my (sic) other journalists?"

How dare you make a typo! Why this means you are obviously a ranting loon and mindless devotees of Labour and The Guardian should pay no further attention to anything you or your sort have to say.

I rest my case upon the undeniable evidence demonstrated above.

Simon Hoggart
A High-Nosed Hypocrite and Defender of the Borg Against Those Who Will Not be Assimilated and Against Whom a Big Name Bashing is in Order to Prove my Righteousness.

Unknown said...

Obviously Anon I am not quite ready to join the elite of English professors, my apologies, and you are a cunt for pointing that out! :)

I'll get the hang of this hengerlish yet, after all I am a Scotsman so cut me a little slack as English is my second language. I fully intend to have Glaswegian printed on any literature that is printed by our councils to ensure that I get the maximum benefits that I am intitled as an asylum seeker from that dreadful regime that runs Scotland, (my life is in danger because I said that England should have St. Georges day as a holliday) who have deemed me as a traitor because I married an English woman 38 years ago. Now if they had done that 38 years ago they would have saved me from a life of married hell, (she has feminist tendancies, want's me to take responsibility...the stupid woman!)

Longrider said...

A Guardian journalist is a hypocrite and ignorant to boot. I'm amazed. Flabbergasted even. I think I might suffer a fit of the vapours. Whatever next? :D

BTS said...

Big Yin: What Mr Puddlecote said.

And I have a range of clothing to prove it.

neil craig said...

Googling "denormalisation" got 57,600 hits.

"Simon Hoggart" got a surprisingly high 38,000.

Unknown said...

You can always send Simon Hoggart this pdf document on Denormalisation everybody. You can choose to open the document if you have a pdf viewer or download it to your computer. It is an eye opener.