When skimming through the Guardian and Observer in search of something notable after a bank holiday break, some days you’re really spoilt for choice. I mean, would you rather hear about how conventional grammar (and an aversion to “most tastiest”) is obviously “right-wing,” according to Harry Ritchie, or would you be more tempted by Nick Baines’ account of eating his wife’s placenta? Both as a garlic taco and liquidised as a smoothie, albeit one that’s grey and with a grim metallic taste. Because apparently eating afterbirth is “a modern obsession.”
Perhaps you’d be compelled by Tracy McVeigh’s conviction that “rewards don’t make anyone happy,” and that two-year-olds, the universal yardstick of human selflessness, are being rendered grasping and unfeeling by “post-industrial capitalism.”
And then there’s the causal conundrum facing both the Observer’s Daniel Boffey and the Guardian’s Owen Hatherley, a man whose deep socialist wisdom has previously enthralled us. Mr Hatherley takes a break from telling us that alternative pop music is impossible without an Arts Council grant and urging us to share a toilet and kitchen with people we may not like, and turns his mental cutting beam to even more pressing matters: “Can places turn you into a Tory?” asks he.
A question supposedly answered by left-leaning researchers who claim, in Mr Hatherley’s words, that, “Moving to some Stepford-like place in the home counties, where you will regularly encounter a close-knit network of conformist locals, has the effect of dragging you rightwards.” We also learn that, “richer people tend to vote for their own interests.” Assumptions somehow not extended to nobler beings like Mr Hatherley and his peers, or to those utterly non-conformist leftwing students who, being so altruistic, wish to extract as much money as possible from strangers who vaguely resemble their parents.
Or maybe you’d rather hear about the 51-year-old performance artist arrested in Paris for gyrating around the Eiffel Tower with a cockerel tied to his penis? See? Something for every appetite.