I love Hoda Afshar's portraits and videos from Manus Island (it's Australia's Refugee Devil's Island - you go in but you n...
Thursday, 4 April 2013
Dacre and Philpott: In many vays, ve are alike you and I
There has been a bit of controversy over this Daily Mail story on Michael Philpott, the abusive man who burned to death six of children and had stabbed and abused his partners. He was also on benefits (and abused the system).
The Daily Mail (which runs on a diet of how immigrants and welfare recipients are destroying Middle England and likes to think of itself as a family newspaper) chose to highlight Philpott's bullying abusive nature and blame his actions on the welfare state.
It seems to me that this is rather selective and that it would be fairer to regard Philpott's actions as examples of an abusive man having his manipulative ways ignored and disregarded by wider society. He acted with impunity because of his gender, not because he was on benefits. He picked on those who were vulnerable and got away with it.
In that respect Philpott has more in common with other manipulative men - people like Jimmy Saville, photographer Terry Richardson, Tony Blair, clergy from a variety of religions and the less gentle newspaper editors such as Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail.
If fate had been a little different, perhaps Dacre and Philpott would be sharing a bottle of claret while listening to a little Bach, both men of culture with an appreciation of the finer things in life. Uncle Jimmy would be looking after the younger children, Father Jack preparing for their confessions the next day, mad Terry getting ready to photograph their 16-year-old daughter (hey, nothing wrong with that) who's trying to break into the fashion world - and Tony Blair would be their therapist, there to cure all their psychological ills with his inimitable conflict-resolution techniques.
They're all in it together, blaming others for their misdeeds and regarding themselves as completely separated entities. For some reason, it kind of reminds me of the old Nazi sketch where you have the cultured Nazi, the pervy Nazi and if you watch it to the end you'll find the Daily Mail Nazi.