A few years back, I remember picking up a copy of Opus, the student magazine for Newcastle University, and glancing at the back cover. The editors had Photoshopped an image of the family from the US soap Seventh Heaven, an Aaron Spelling production targeted, I guess, at socially conservative American audiences.
A dartboard had been drawn over the top of this family image, with the central ring around the face of the father. Below the dartboard, the caption read (from memory): 'The show Seventh Heaven stands charged with perpetuating disgustingly wholesome American family values. Go for your life.'
Consider that statement for a few seconds. What, exactly, is disgusting about the words 'wholesome', 'American', 'family', and 'values'? Why should they cause so much contempt?
It was probably the first time I had seen such a clear example of this kind of criticism, where the enemy was, specifically, the conservative life: in particular the American conservative life. This back-cover illustration was satire, but it was a curiously baseless satire; it didn't seem to have any reason for attacking other people's conservative lifestyles - but it went ahead and did it anyway.
Maybe I was missing something, but it seems to me that that was a good example of bad editorial judgement in action: the editors for Opus that year were standard Newcastle socialists, who had been involved for years in the Newcastle far-left political scene.
It might have been the same issue of Opus, or it might have been the next issue: but the front cover of the magazine bore some illustrations of world religious figures: there was Jesus, Buddha, Shiva, and Mohammed. Interestingly, this cover provoked a letter of criticism from a Muslim student of Newcastle University, which was immediately followed up by a fulsome apology from the editors, acknowledging their lack of sensitivity to people of other cultures.
So, am I missing something here? Or were the editors simply hypocrites - attacking conservative American culture, which they perceived to be political enemies, and falling over themselves to be sensitive to Muslim culture, which they perceived to be their political allies?
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