Quality post Malcolm. Although I think there are some key Weberian concepts which can be applied to Dacre’s Dystopia – In particularly his Verstehen
, and ability to tap meaning
of his targeted readership.
Here are a few thoughts swirling around:
1) PLU’s. Whilst there may not be an “average mail reader”, I think the print version is almost solidly marketed towards reactionary over 50s, sympathetic to “Christian” (read Protestant) ideals, all of which can reminisce and have “meaningful understanding” to a time when people did jobs instead of robots & remotes, and there were more 'understandable' shades of white than grey. The shared value which connects them all is the “fear” of cultural change they cannot understand, and the longing for Dacre’s vision of a rewritten and sanitised yesteryear which holds so many “special” memories the yoof simply cannot relate to (e.g. old junk that still works). The online version however, allows a slight departure, as well as targeting marketing to Suri-loving ex-pats in Thailand, to bikini-clad celebs beckoning a new generation to aspire to a digitalised version of the main event.
2) The Dacre Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Latching onto the ideological tramlines of The Protestant Work Ethic, I think Dacre manages to tap the mindset of “Hard Working Taxpayers” (particularly Xtians) in that “hard work” in his eyes is represented through symbols of prosperity (e.g. Diana tat) and cleanliness (next to Godliness). Hence praise of “hard working taxpayers” is often contrasted with damnation of “idle foreign scroungers” or “unwashed leftie hippies”. In Dacre’s Dystopia, unless it is an attempt to 'prove' the Mail is "not racist", the “ideal type” HWT will never be the bloke at the "Paki shop” who works a 70 hour week (inc xmas day), or an Eastern European Labourer living in a shitty caravan, but more likely a suburban-dwelling housewife pensioner from Surrey (or Texas) who has inherited a nice property with big garden and is upset at having to pay stamp duty/inheritance tax/pearl tax(Yep - Front Page today - Para 19 job
). The Dacre Ethic is more about the clean surface bodywork, rather than the messy oily engine.
3) Dacre’s Iron Cage – This being a psychotic and mythological version of Weber’s “Iron Cage”
where the religiously-tinted bars consist of the EU, Council Jobswoths, PC Brigade and ‘Elf An Safety Nazis, and “other” religions, all of which are supposed;y out to deny Mail and PLU their
“individual” freedoms in “their
Christian Country”. Think of it as Sadfacer Cell – where the sadfaces look out beyond the illusionary bars watching the EU denying THEM the “rational choice” to buy the WI’s Home Made Jam (they’re not) or Muslamics/Elf and Safety Nazis denying THEM the rational choice to see Auntie Mabel’s Christmas lights from 1957 light up Tunbridge Wells on the basis of “offending Muslamics” (they’re not) or being a fire hazard (which they most probably are).
4) Hey Pilgrim. Dacre’s love of America and Mail’s success there has also enabled him to paint the elephant in the room invisible. By this, Dacre’s “British values” have perhaps been redefined as more American than British. Stories of “erosion of British culture” are dripped via a Polish Shops opening in Boston, yet barely an eyelid is batted when virtually every high street in the country is dominated by US-style Fast Food outlets & Coffee houses, and suburbia dominated by US-style Shopping parks and Malls. In the idealistic Truman Show-esque home, the family sit down to watch Americanised TV, and the computer automatically corrects to Americaniz
ed spelling – whilst the Mail simultaneously run-down Britain’s biggest cultural institutions – The BBC & NHS. The flip side of course, this is going to make the Mail more appealing and meaningful
to US folk susceptible to the "Dacre Ethic".
5) How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love House Prices. There’s something disturbingly Strangelovian about Dacre and his 'contemporary retro' dystopian dream – Both in his thirst for “control” and his personification of “the irrationality of rationalism”, which encapsulates the Mail's absurd hypocrisies and contradictions. These can range from splashes of life being juxtaposed with images of death, Poppy Fascism (literally), to dripping Breivik-sized lakes where “civilised Christians” express their desire to murder those “savage Muslims”. To be British is to aspire to American values, and the value of the house is somehow a method to measure of the value of a life.
I can recall & almost envisage Dacre’s composed Leveson appearance punctuated with a sudden look of anxiety upon his face as if a turtle-head had just touched base with his white Marks & Sparks Y-fronts. And then *pow* - his knee-jerk reflex to distract himself from the fact he is sitting in his own shit, is to stand-up and cacophonously proclaim to the world “Sir...I have a plan!...Mein Fuhrer…We can self-regulate!”
, then shiftily sticking on a Vera Lynn LP before anyone notices the foul stench he has produced.