Who is the no more page three campaign for, and who is it against? Some people are talking as though it were for angry women, and against working class men. These heroes set themselves up as the noble and compassionate defenders of working class men, who (so they think) can hope for nothing better in life than page three.
I am part of this campaign, and it’s every bit as much for the people who’ve been thrown such a bad joke of a newspaper and told they can do no better, as it is for the millions of women who are told they will tolerate being generically ridiculed in its pages. It’s become a stock response for people who can’t think of their own responses (and going back to the Conservative’s defence of pg3 in the 80’s, I think) that we should “let the working man have his bit of fun,” (as if all working class people buy into The Sun) and that page three is the working man’s equivalent of erotic sculpture (as if middle class men go to an art gallery when they want pornography).
These kinds of statements show such a patronising and hateful disregard for the working class British people: The brutes cannot enjoy art, or culture! The philistines can barely read! Are they not but under-evolved creatures? Gorillas masturbating in a zoo? Let the gorillas masturbate, since that is all they will ever amount to…
But even more than that, these kinds of statements are about power… power over the working class British people. It has somehow passed so many very wise people by, that a daily newspaper is a powerful medium, and a particular kind of medium. It acts as the filter through which the reader understands the world as it is, and history as it moves. It suggests values, meanings and beliefs, and (most importantly) presents itself as a sort of standard of normality*. It serves the powers all too well to have a class pummelled with that miserable and unthinking routine of phallic determinism that the Sun so brilliantly propagates. No doubt it’s important that a class must be held down by the powerful into such cultureless dross, in order to maintain a consumer economy that is trying to keep the country afloat by selling its own vomit back to it. What if the Sun’s readers emerged from Rupert Murdoch’s shadow? What would happen to the economy? How would the next election be decided? Here’s a fascinating thought: the British working class are the only people who can oust that despot who’s decided every election in this country for decades. It is absolutely in this empire’s interests to placate them with the opiate of some soft porn each day, and to represent them, to themselves, as idiots.
The people who say “let the working man have his bit of fun,” obviously don’t care about working class people at all. And the people who replicate the sentiment for lack of any other clever thing to say either cannot or will not actually think about the issue.
I am against The Sun, because (amongst other reasons) The Sun is against working class British people. This handful of rich men on Fleet Street would love to impose their pacifying manufactured identity over our people indefinitely, but more and more people are refusing to accept that page three is the pinnacle of any people’s cultural aspirations. If the no more page three campaign is against anybody, it’s absolutely not against working class people.
*This is why mild pornography must be taken out of the normalising medium of the daily newspaper, even though the darkest kinds of porn are all too available on that very different medium, the internet. The medium is the message: the internet suggests private acceptability, while the daily newspaper suggests public acceptability. No other porn outlet gains the lofty and normalising title of a British institution. This is so obvious, I can only assume that those who wheel out the “but there’s much worse porn out there!” argument are either stupid, or they’re protecting their own interests in the issue.