Tell me this isn’t a coincidence

First, there’s this:

A chief examiner at one of Britain’s biggest exam boards was recorded boasting about the lack of substance in the company’s tests – and their disbelief that it has been cleared by the official regulator.
Steph Warren, in charge of Edexcel GCSE Geography, said that teachers should pick her company’s exam because “you don’t have to teach a lot”.

And then there’s this:

Now I do realise that these are from different countries but the UK and US have quite a lot in common, including the modern sleb culture and persistent worries about dumbing down of edumacation – ‘dumbing down’ is an American phrase, after all. If you want a more UK-centric example of sleb-fascination as an alternative to news you don’t have to look far. Looking at The Daily Mail’s site now their sidebar consists of the following (and I really don’t blame if you don’t read every line of this):

  • Something about Sinead O’Connor getting married again
  • A story about the average weight of British women
  • Something about Anna Nicole-Smith, who is apparently still dead
  • Something about Angelina Jolie
  • Something about Jennifer Lopez
  • Something about X-Factor judges who are apparently called Gary, Kelly and Tulisa (who, who, who and who gives a fuck?)
  • Something about someone called Selena Gomez and Justin fucking Bieber
  • A story about a single father raising twins
  • Something by Jan Moir about someone called Caroline Flack
  • Something about someone called Kimberley Walsh
  • Something about someone called Irina Shayk
  • Something about Charlize Theron’s clothes
  • Something about someone called Chelsee Healey
  • Something about someone called Kate Upton
  • Something about Prince William’s wife’s clothes
  • Something about Declan Donnelly’s car
  • Something about Katie Price
  • Something about someone called Lea Michele
  • Something about someone called Kris Jenner being upset about something Daniel Craig said
  • Something about someone called Alicia Douvall
  • Something about something called a Kardashian (who are apparently not Star Trek aliens but real people… for a given value of real)
  • Something about someone called Amanda Seyfried
  • Something by Jizz Loans
  • Something about someone called Harry Judd
  • Something about Paris Hilton
  • Something about Beyoncé whatsername
  • Something about Twiggy
  • Something about Salma Hayek’s tits
  • Something else about that Caroline Flack person again, but not by Jan Moir
  • Something about a coat owned by Emma Watson, Natalie Portman and someone called Kristen Stewart
  • Something about someone called Anna Massey in something about a loony in Broadmoor
  • Something about someone called Amy Childs
  • Something about Ray Winstone being in something
  • Something about David Jason being in something
  • Something else about Angelina Jolie
  • Something about someone called Jacqui Ainsley
  • Something about Louise Redknapp’s shampoo
  • Something about Sacha Baron Cohen
  • Something about someone called Kara Tointon
  • Something about Venus Williams
  • Something about someone called Kelly Rowland and someone called Amelia
  • Something about something called JWoww (who seems to be a person but sounds like a cleaning product)
  • Something about someone called Jennifer Hudson
  • Something about someone called Kitty Brucknell
  • Something about a transexual trying to turn him/herself into Barbie (just more plastic, I assume)
  • Something about someone called Jennifer Garner
  • Something about one of Michael Jackon’s kids being in a film or something
  • Something about someone called Christine Bleakley
  • Something about that Grilled Bear bloke meeting Mrs Queen
  • Something about someone called Andrew Garfield
  • Something about someone called Pat Sharp and her daughter, and someone called Mark Wright
  • Something about Andie MacDowell’s daughter
  • Something about someone called Rachel Crow
  • Something about another one of the Kardashians
  • Something about someone called Kris Humphries
  • Something about someone called Dianna Agron and someone called Sebastian Stan (almost current affairs in that he sounds like he might be a country)
  • Something about Shakira
  • Something about someone called Coco Rocha
  • Something about Jessica Alba’s sprog meeting Santa
  • Something that might be about sexual abuse in Mormon communities, but might be more about some Mormon piano group
  • Something about someone who’s someone’s widow being angry with Alec Baldwin for whatever he did on that plane
  • Something about Michael Jackson’s doctor getting a prison visit
  • Something about that Katherine Heigl who used to be in Grey’s Annoying Me
  • Something about that Tiff Needell who used to be in the old Top Gear
  • Something about someone called Toni Collette
  • Something about Kirstie Alley’s current size
  • Something about Demi Moore’s daughter’s arse
  • Something about something called Chord Overstreet (who seems to be a person but sounds like gameplay from Guitar Hero) and someone called Emma Roberts
  • Something about someone called Demi Lovato (who seems to be a person but sounds like musical notation)
  • Something about someone called Jennifer Hudson
  • Something about that Amy Childs again
  • Something about someone called Selma Blair
  • Something about Jessica Alba
  • Something about Lady Gaga
  • Something about Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Something about Cheryl Cole
  • Something about Christina Ricci
  • Something else about Katie bloody Price
  • Something about handbags
  • Something about shops
  • Something about shopping
  • Something about Tom Cruise
  • Something else about this Demi Lovato
  • Something else about this Emma Roberts person having a tattoo like the one in that book about the girl with a tattoo
  • Something about bridesmaids wearing tuxedos
  • Something else about Tom Cruise
  • Something about someone called Kendra Wilkison
  • Something about someone called Kevin Federline
  • A story about a fake doctor doing bad cosmetic surgery in the US
  • Something about new Top Shop branches coming to your local high street, providing you live in Australia
  • Something about someone called Abigail Breslin
  • Something about someone called Danny O’Donaghue and Tom Jones
  • Something about Jersey Shore
  • Something about Brad Pitt’s hair
  • Something about someone called Ali Larter’s son
  • Something about cocaine and Charlie Sheen and someone called Brooke Mueller
  • A story about how Christmas drives everyone fucking nuts
  • Something about that horsey woman from Sex and the City
  • Something else about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
  • Something about a body scanner, but at clothes shops to help you buy stuff rather than airports to help delay you while you’re treated as a suspected terrorist
  • Something about some people called Arg, Mark and Dougie
  • Something about Lindsay Lohan
  • Something about Nigella Lawson
  • Something else about Emma Watson, but apparently not her coat this time
  • Something about someone called Adele
  • Something about money and divorces
  • Something that might be about sexual abuse in Mormon communities, but might be more about some Mormon piano group, and appears to be exactly the same something as the something about sexual abuse/Mormon pianists from earlier
  • Something about someone called Jeff Probst and someone called Lisa Ann Russell
  • Something about someone called Patrica Klanic whose husband is a soccer player and has been accused of rape
  • Something about Blur
  • Something else about Andie MacDowell
  • Something about Cameron Diaz
  • Something about David Cameron’s hair (for fuck’s fucking sake I’m fucking losing the fucking will to fucking live here)
  • Yet another fucking thing about this Caroline Flack and someone called harry Styles
  • Something about Prince Harry and his brother’s wife’s sister, except not really because they’re only lookalikes (that’s it – when I’m finished with this I’m going to book a holiday where I’m legally allowed to shoot things)
  • Something about Katy Perry
  • Something about that woman who looked all upset when Jeremy Clarkson said he wanted to shoot strikers and how she used to have a damp spot for Jason Donovan
  • Something about a model who’s going bald
  • Jesus H. Christ in a fucking mothership, something else about Tom fucking Cruise
  • Something else about a Kardashian, possibly one of the ones from earlier but I’m so far past fucking caring at this point I just asked Mrs Exile to hold a mirror up under my nose
  • Something about Prince Charles not understanding Peter Kay’s jokes or something
  • Something about Madonna likeing Prince William’s wife’s clothes
  • Something about someone called Gamu
  • Something about someone called Zac Effron kissing Michelle Pfeiffer
  • Something about Dawn French’s clothes

For those that skipped much of that list it’s 125 articles, 95% of which involve slebs, and close to 0% of which involve actual news. Okay, sure, they do put a lot of shite in the sidebar and more newsy news in the main bit, but even there Sinead O’Connor puts in an appearance along with one or two things about house prices (wouldn’t be the Mail without them, would it?) while the story about exams being made easier appears nearly halfway down the home page.

Coincidence? I find that hard to believe. Whether it’s just an effect of successive governments prioritising the appearance of educational success over actually educating or whether it’s a deliberate attempt to create Orwell’s proles, the undereducated 85% who were conditioned to have little or no interest in the world but were easy to manipulate. As always I tend to go with Hanlon’s Razor and assume stupidity and cupidity over conspiracies, but sometimes I do wonder.

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Posted on December 9, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Tell me this isn’t a coincidence.

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