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The Independent Culture
Delia in excelsis

Delia Smith (left), sad to relate, is not actually in your kitchen (unless, one presumes, you are Mr Smith), but luckily she sure is everywhere else. Isn't it lovely the way you get a free picture of Delia on the cover of the Radio Times every week these days? There she is, with that lovely smile, gentle yet rampant; those rabbity brown eyes, twinkling encouragingly (but is she inviting us into the kitchen - or the bedroom?); and a most trend-setting line in warm knitwear - sensible, yet stylish - for those long, dark winter evenings spent spooning cranberry sauce into the uncomplaining mouths of your bonny young ones. Well done Delia! You're an inspiration to us all.

Mothering the viewers

Another shining example is the tireless work of the Broadcasting Standards Council in warning us each month just how many loonies there are on the loose in Great Britain. See this: "A viewer complained of the use of the word `mother' in this American film [Number One]. He believed that the abbreviation was in itself offensive." This man rather creatively induced an entire Oedipal swear-word from an innocuous socio-biological term. Harbouring a cankerous grudge against any female of the maternal persuasion, he presumably can't even hear a slice of folk wisdom such as "Necessity is the mother of invention" without reaching for his gun. As fans of weird music among you will already know, it was people such as he who forced Frank Zappa to change the name of his band from The Mothers to The Mothers of Invention in the 1960s. Plus ca change... We won't even mention the worm-like Philistines who complained about C4 showing The Last Temptation of Christ, clearly without having seen it, although the fact that one complainant attached a petition containing 906 signatures demonstrates that he or she is either extremely popular, or a very cunning and patient forger.

Spin a web, any size...

Look at this fascinating picture (below) of our lovely globular planet Earth. She is imprisoned, unsuspecting, in a vulgar mesh of wibbly electric-blue lines. It is, would you not agree, a potent symbol of the unrelenting worldwide fatuity caused by the millions of strange hackers who imagine that the Net is the future of mankind. In the interests of fairmindedness, of course, you should also be told that it is the image adorning the cover of a new videotape, An Introduction to the Internet (Paradox, pounds 10.99), which promises to make it easier than ever to go online, should you choose to do so. Methodologically speaking, it's a jolly good idea, for the tape incorporates step-by-step screenshots of someone actually doing the necessaries on a real computer, so you'll probably get the hang of it in two ticks. And after all, you can't really diss the Internet (fast becoming the bourgeois reactionary activity) until you've actually tried it, now can you?

Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!

Whoever tried to imply that Sky TV wasn't a public service broadcaster? Why, only last week they launched an intriguing new series about serial killers! It's called, um, Serial Killers and here's the blurb: "In the wake of the Cromwell Street murders and the Rosemary West trial, Sky One opens the cell door and invites you into the disturbing world of the The Serial Killer." Oh, bloody hell. This is the kind of thing that makes small screen hurl his slippers and tobacco pouch across the room in frustration, and then start crying because he can't be bothered to go and pick them up. Serial killers are not, like Hannibal Lecter (impersonated Oscar-winningly by Anthony Hopkins, below), interesting. They are not glamorous. They are deeply boring halfwits. Of course the likes of Dahmer, Nilsen and West are cult figures these days, because no-one's got any imagination any more. It's a foul, exploitative game that Sky are playing, and here's hoping they get a good talking-to from the ref, and maybe a beer-bottle thrown at them from a few discerning fans in the crowd.

Compiled by Steven Poole