Always Have Some Measure of Respect For the Dead

I certainly want to be noticed, but you don't see me going around doing crazy things to get noticed. Sure, I put up pictures of hotties. Yes, I do sometimes speak ill of the dead. No, I don't know what a Boyzone is, but I would say that the death of any young man is a tragedy, not an opportunity to make a fast buck as a word merchant:

Britain's press watchdog said Monday it had received a record 21,000 complaints about a newspaper column on the death of Boyzone singer Stephen Gately after critics used Twitter to brand the article homophobic and insensitive.

Gately died Oct. 10, aged 33, while vacationing on the Spanish island of Mallorca. An autopsy found he had died of natural causes from pulmonary edema, or fluid in the lungs.

Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir wrote in a column Friday that Gately's death was "not, by any yardstick, a natural one" and said he died in "sleazy" circumstances, She noted that Gately, who came out publicly as gay in 1999, had been to a bar and invited a young Bulgarian man back to his apartment the night before he died.

Moir concluded that "under the carapace of glittering, hedonistic celebrity, the ooze of a very different and more dangerous lifestyle has seeped out for all to see."

Anger at the column swept social networking site Twitter soon after Moir's piece appeared on the paper's Web site. Actor Stephen Fry urged his 860,000 Twitter followers to contact the Press Complaints Commission. Other prominent Tweeters followed suit, and provided links to the commission's Web site.

Advertisers including retail chain Marks and Spencer asked to have their ads removed from the Mail Web page carrying Moir's column.

In a blog post Monday, Fry called Moir's column an "epically ill-judged piece of gutter journalism."

Moir defended her article, claiming suggestions of homophobia were "mischievous" and suggesting the backlash was a "heavily orchestrated Internet campaign."

The commission said Monday it had received "by far the highest number of complaints ever" about a single article. It said it would write to the newspaper seeking a response before deciding whether to take further action.

Boyzone obviously has fans who are inundating the newspaper with complaints, but I don't think that tells the whole story. The obviously inflammatory angle of the column and the pathetic attempt that it makes at being insightful while preachy falls flat, entertaining no one and angering many who can think on their own two feet. Spare us the preachy--who's to judge? No one.

Here's the snark that bothered me about the article:

Consider the way it has been largely reported, as if Gately had gently keeled over at the age of 90 in the grounds of the Bide-a-Wee rest home while hoeing the sweet pea patch.

Was that necessary? I am anti-snark. Snark is never done well enough to justify it. Snark is easy for the half-wits to copy. You don't have to work at snark. You can just fire away and then sulk when no one laughs at how ha-ha-ha you were. Snark leaves you empty. Remember that thing they had called "ice milk" and it was supposed to be ice cream but it was just frozen milk and it was awful? Snark is like ice milk. No one wants it, no one enjoys it, but if there's no ice cream to give to company, that might make them leave.

We don't have a press "watchdog" in this country--we have ombudsmen that no one pays any attention to. We have hacks and charlatans and fools. Our media is a disgrace. The British music media and music press is a joke within the confines of a bad Ziggy cartoon: no one cares, no one wants to read it, and, wow, I wish I had my life back after reading it.

The press in Great Britain has hounded those poor Spice Girls to pieces. They never have anything nice to say about them. What's not to love? The Spice Girls were incredibly talented, and a great act to go see. I took Miranda to see them numerous times, and she loved them. I'm not allowed to say this, but they were once her favorite, before she discovered "goth" and that whole thing with dying her tongue black.