Selective shaming will not help mend Broken Britain

iWriters

Share

The writer is studying Multimedia Journalism at Sussex University

Goodness, it's that time again already, when there's so little considered newsworthy in the world that a collection of photos of youths staggering along streets inebriated is deemed a lead story. We should thank the Daily Mail really: without their tireless efforts we'd stand no chance of knowing that people sometimes get drunk.

"Why do intelligent young women who are nurses, teachers and mothers drink themselves to oblivion every night across Britain?" screams one headline, the familiar drumbeats of public-service denigration and casual misogyny rolling behind like a club track. Elsewhere photographers are dispatched to pub crawls near university campuses to capture freshers doing what freshers have always done, for the twin purposes of horrifying and titillating a middle-England that longs to stare at females in tiny outfits but needs a mask of outrage to do so.

The narrative is clear: we're less responsible than previous generations, our morals have degraded and our sense of shame long since ebbed away. It is, of course, impossible for the argument to be proven either way – there was a decided lack of freelance photographers on the streets of Victorian England – but hey, the Broken Britain mantra makes for good copy.

And sure, some of the details are shocking, a lurid landscape of public urination and casual promiscuity conveyed in bold type and orange lighting. But by placing this behaviour centre-stage the press is promoting it, whatever editorial line might be taken. Showbiz columns churn with debauched tales of D-list parties, zoom lenses trained on every make-up smear and high-heeled stagger: of course that's going to spill across to our town-centres, to the mindsets of individuals ever more atomised from a wider society.

The very organs moralising paternalistically are those that have created this culture of doublethink, where we simultaneously abhor and crave the lifestyles of excess presented to us each day. The press aren't alone here, of course, but it's their hypocrisy which riles, and their failure to acknowledge any part in endorsing these behaviours. We do have an issue with binge drinking in this country, with unhealthy alcohol consumption and some dangerous attitudes regarding what our nights out should involve. But this annual media orgy of selective shaming isn't helping to address them.

So, what did you think of young writer Christian Cottingham's column? Let us know at i@independent.co.uk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
More From
Christian Cottingham
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Graduate / Junior C# Developer

£18000 - £25000 Per Annum + bonus and benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Drama Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Drama Teacher Required! The jobWe are ...

Nursery Worker

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Nursery Worker (permanent) Greater ...

English Teacher - long term assignment in Cheshire

Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: English Teacher - long term job opport...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Take a moment to imagine you're Ed Miliband...

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside  

Autumn’s subtle charm is greatly enhanced by this Indian summer

Michael McCarthy
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits