Home to a veritable army of people who know better than you and who are happy to let you know it.
From their politics to their culture…everything you think or like is bad and they will explain, in agonising detail, exactly why. No review, think piece, article or coverage of shoes comes without a handy lecture on why you are sexist/racist/a fascist/wrong/evil/ignorant etc etc etc.
They reserve particular ire for people like me who, GASP, enjoyed the music of the nineties…specifically Britpop.
Further evidence of this arrives in an article today about the release of the Radiohead MiniDisc recordings from the “OK Computer” sessions. For fans of the band this is a treasure trove of incomparable wonder. For people like me it sounds like the sort of thing that may be playing in the final layer of Dante’s “Inferno”.
This is not about Radiohead.
Here is how Ben Beaumont-Thomas (double barrelled surname, always a mark of a man of the people) describes the music to be found in these recordings;
“It reveals the inner workings of what is regarded by many as the greatest album of the 1990s, showing how they walked alongside and then turned away from the BRASH BRITPOP that surrounded them.”
More subtle than usual.
The thing with these articles is that they are all written by people who have immersed themselves in critical theory and who understand how to manipulate language to say certain things without saying certain things.
“Brash” is code for lumpen, boorish, vulgar, insensitive, xenophobic and ugly.
No attempt is made to point out that a band like Echobelly were writing songs about racism, sexism and gender politics.
No acknowledgement is given to the fact that Sleeper were writing songs that, in effect, were the template for “Fleabag”…a woman who was frank and open about sex, relationships and gender roles.
No nod to the heartbreak and tenderness of so many of the songs Suede released during this period that chronicled the horrors of life for so many kids on estates up and down the country, that gave a voice to the voiceless.
No willingness to accept that Jarvis Cocker created a new vision of what it meant to be a pop star and a man; out went the cock rock and in came Blackpool rock and high camp.
Britpop was BRASH.
Only those nice boys from Oxford with their prog-rock leanings, like a hip(ster) Pink Floyd, were able to rise above the awful vulgarity of, yuk, Britpop.
For a journal that makes great play out of its support for the common man they certainly seem to hate the things they enjoy, from Michael McIntyre and Mrs Brown’s Boys to Oasis and Northern Uproar…if people in estates or on zero hours contracts like it, you can bet your bottom dollar The Guardian hate it.
The explanation for this is simple; nobody at The Guardian actually lived through that time in British popular culture and none of them grew up in the sorts of places that the likes of you and me did. Their own Owen Jones points out exactly this in his book “Chavs” when he describes the difference in the coverage of the disappearances of Madeleine McCann and Shannen Matthews.
As an aside I have to say how much I love that Radiohead have released this stuff in response to a blackmail demand and are giving the monies raised to a cause they really care about. I may not have any interest in the music but I will be purchasing to support their principled stand.