Charlie Brooker's given his view on The Sun launching on Sunday:
So then, witch-hunted tip-top soaraway tabloid the Sun will soon be available in a sizzling Sunday edition. Turns out the soothsayers were mistaken: the Sun isn't dying, it's expanding. Which, ironically, is precisely what an actual sun does when it dies. Yes, during its death throes, our sun will swell, boiling the oceans and turning the ice caps to steam. All life on the planet will perish, and your copy of the Sun will burst into flames in your hands. I say hands. I mean "carbonised stumps". What I'm saying is it'll be hot out that day, so I wouldn't bother with a coat if I were you.http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... ke-twitter
There was something slightly wonky about the hand-rubbing relish with which some predicted the death of the Sun. Call me an organic hessian-chewing, hummus-eating Guardianista, but I believe in reform, not capital punishment.
It's hard to cheer when a newspaper closes. Even one you're slightly scared of, like the Daily Mail. Even though the Mail isn't technically a newspaper, more a serialised Necronomicon. In fact it's not even printed, but scorched on to parchment by a whispering cacodemon. The Mail can never close. It can only choose to vacate our realm and return to the dominion in which it was forged; a place somewhere between shadow and dusk, beyond time and space, at the dark, howling apex of infinity. London W8 5TT.
Yet despite being a malevolent ink-and-paper succubus that will devour your firstborn – seriously, chuck a baby at a copy of the Mail, and watch as the paper roll its eyes back and swallows it whole – the Mail deserves its voice. At the Leveson inquiry, when seething Daily Mail orchestrator Paul Dacre was quizzed about Jan Moir's notorious column on the death of Stephen Gateley, he acknowledged that she'd possibly gone too far, but added that he "would die in a ditch" to defend a columnist's freedom of speech. Whatever you think of Dacre, that's a brave and noble thing to say, although disappointingly he failed to indicate precisely when he was planning on doing it.
(That's a joke, so please don't be offended on his behalf, especially because it's precisely the kind of robust commentary on death he's dying in that ditch to defend.)
Regular readers may have noticed that the previous three paragraphs consisted of overheated Mail-bashing, something I indulge in so often in this column, it's become a tiresome cliche. In fact my own smug fingers fell asleep while typing it. No wonder the Sun told me off last week for lecturing everyone about press standards. It also called me a "shouty third-rate TV presenter", which seems firm but fair.
I tend to ignore both criticism and praise, because I encounter so many dissenting assessments of my own value as a writer, or even simply as a collection of atoms, it all becomes meaningless noise. At any given moment, I've jumped the shark, returned to form, lost it, nailed it, provoked laughter or silence, impressed or bored the reader. After years of carefully skim-reading the comments under my own articles, I can only conclude that none of you have the faintest bloody idea what you're on about.
Still, my mini-bollocking in the Sun cut through, probably because I encountered it in ink-and-paper form, which meant it was a bit like stumbling across an ancient scroll. Reading its criticism was roughly as much fun as banging my knee on a table, but it made me think a bit. Who wants to be a finger-wagging human frown? Not me.When it comes down to it, I'd rather entertain: to be a tail-wagging human frown. Might require surgery, but that's my dream. Lighten up a bit, I told myself. And then I wrote a two-minute poem attacking the Sun and shouted it all out on live television. Which is a long-winded and solipsistic way of saying that opposing voices are a good thing, even if you reject what they're saying. Only a monopolist wants to shut the other side up.
Of course there's a distinction between an opposing voice and a bullying one, bullying being what the "poem" (a list of people and things the Sun has targeted over the decades) was about. The Sun has always tried to make things fun. At its best that's a catchy punning headline ("How Do You Solve a Problem Like Korea?"), at its worst it's GOTCHA: the difference between clever class clown and ugly playground taunting. If, as some believe, the Sun needs to rehabilitate itself in what I will now preposterously label the post-hacking era, it'll have to learn to avoid the latter.
It'll probably have to learn new tricks, too, in the face of the competition. Not the Guardian, silly: that only sells three copies. Never mind Twitter being a liberal coffeehouse; it also fulfils many of the Sun's traditional roles. It's brimming with news, celebrity gossip, zany trivia, jokes, opinion, hysteria, campaigns, witch-hunts, sanctimony and self-congratulation – and it's written in the brisk, compact language of today, not the slightly alien ROMP / TOT / HORROR SMASH language of yester-year. Twitter's footballers even write their own columns, and make a good fist of it, too. The one thing Twitter doesn't have is a pointless helping of naked breasts, unless you type (.) (.) – and even that isn't too big a hindrance since, as I understand it, nudity is available elsewhere on the internet. On pages three to three billion and three.