January Retrosplurge | Open the floodgates

The month of January came and went faster than the willpower of New Year’s self-improvement nuts fulfilling their resolutions by window shopping for exercise bikes and crying into a box of Krispy Kremes. 

The Daily Express adopted a familiarly xenophobic tone, running a poll asking its readership whether they would prefer to be flooded by water, or flooded by foreigners.

The anti-immigration magazine welcomed the new Romanian and Bulgarians, or Victor as he’s known by friends, with a cheery hate campaign, while reporting on the genuine threat posed by the real floods by plastering images from The Day After Tomorrow onto its front pages.

Daily Express

Thankfully, Bigotry for Dummies (image: @hrtbps) did not go so far as to associate the floods with the legalisation of same sex marriage – as had David Silvester, the UKIP prophet for Oxfordshire.

The heavy, and very public UKIP backlash eventually led to Nigel Farage awkwardly moonlighting as a weather reporter for the BBC, the results of which you can view at your own peril.

Reality television was as strong as ever throughout January. Celebrity Big Brother went all Boardroom babes gone wild, and publically-funded drone-a-thon The Voice made its maligned comeback on the BBC.

While over on Channel 4, Benefits Street gave its viewership a fly-in-the-sandwich glimpse at the sass-dishing, crime-heaving world of life on benefits. But it wasn’t C4’s first foray into the pseudo-dramatisation of life on benefits, as viewers of C4’s Skint would know. The only difference between the two shows was that one wasn’t a catastrophic failure.

uktv-benefits-street-3

Where Skint failed to raise any debate, columnists and television personalities stumbled over one another to show the public how clever they weren’t by making sweeping political statements about the welfare state. However, throughout the entire process they all spectacularly failed to appreciate they were basing their arguments on what was ultimately a well-crafted, emotionally-manipulative helping of reality television.

Headlines from abroad were mostly stolen by middle-aged Berlusconi-lite sex pest Francois Hollande, who outraged the British media by discussing his economic and foreign policy at length at a pre-arranged press conference, after having porked the French Helena Bonham Carter while disguised as the Stig.

Closer to home, a murkier, less impressive sex scandal blossomed at the heart of the Liberal Democrats as shamed Lord Rennard, a poor man’s Rob Ford, embarrassed his party by sticking two fingers up to common courtesy. Although an inquiry found that the allegations of sexual harassment levelled at his Lordship were reasonable, he was cleared of all wrongdoing. He subsequently refused to apologise – which angered many, including the party leader Nick Condom himself.

Iain Duncan Smith

The Evening Standard meanwhile revealed that MPs had since 1995 spent £250,000 on a commissioning a series of glorified selfies. Instead of using money from their own pockets to fund Westminster’s greatest vanity project, our elected representatives used the pocket money provided by the taxpayer – forever cementing their hideous faces into history while footing the bill at the public’s doorstep.

Over in the States, Miley Cyrus impersonator Justin Bieber faced charges of driving under the influence while drag racing – a crime for which he was rightfully punished/given a slap on the wrist/asked ever-so-kindly not to repeat his error. Unfortunately the dancing foetus ended up in court again one week later; this time facing charges of assaulting a limousine driver in Canada a month ago. What a guy.

Controversy on planet feminism arose  as Lena Dunham, star of hit comedy Girls, was criticised by one Victorian-esque misogynist for being ‘too naked’ on the tele, and by the pseudo-militant Vice-lite feminist blog Jezebel for doing a magazine photoshoot. The absurdity of the entire situation has been summed up by Feministe here.

north korea sunAside from discovering an inverted Fungal Jelly Doughnut on Mars (for which NASA is now facing a lawsuit for failing to properly investigate) – humanity reached absurd new heights as North Korea declared itself the first nation to have successfully landed a man on the Sun. For reference, previous tests have failed to launch a rocket past China.

Indeed, 17-year-old Hong Il Gong undertook the role of Ikarusu in a Kim Jong-un adaptation of One Flew Over the Crackpot’s Nest, embarking on a 22-hour return trip to the flaming gas star. One can only hope the teen-turned-astronaut touched down just in time for his mid-afternoon flogging.

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