It took me a while to bite, but eventually curiosity got the better of me. I had been sent something which appeared so thoroughly awful, I’d thought I might duck it. @TheNatFantastic had alerted me to the existence of a piece by weeping syphilitic chode Brendan O’Neill entitled “A Marxist defence of Page 3 girls“.
And it was so thoroughly stupid, and worse than expected I ended up biting.
I had imagined that perhaps O’Neill’s “Marxist” defence of Page 3 would pertain to liberating the proletarian Page 3 models by providing them with a platform to articulate their views
O’Neill lacks even the basic intellect to pursue this reasoning, and instead falls back on the truly wearisome weeping syphilitic chode line: crying about imaginary Victorian women and vehemently defending his perceived right to look at tits. Marx barely gets a look-in, save for a bit of selective quoting:
“You cannot enjoy the advantages of a free press without putting up with its inconveniences,” he said. He went on: “You cannot pluck the rose without its thorns!” – meaning that even when you pick a beautiful flower you’ll frequently end up with a little prick. It’s the same with the press – there’s some good stuff out there, well worth reading, and there are a lot of pricks, too. That is in the nature of having a free, open press.
Ultimately, the analysis is as Marxist as O’Neill’s online rag “Spiked” and its predecessor “Living Marxism”, that is, about as Marxist as the distended anus of the bourgeoisie unrelentingly shitting into the screaming mouths of the proletariat. Marx’s name is used, and that is about all. In fact, what Marx said was:
For the time being, leaving aside the moral consequences, bear in mind that you cannot enjoy the advantages of a free press without putting up with its inconveniences. You cannot pluck the rose without its thorns!
While Marx’s argument is indeed in favour of the free press, it is hardly surprising that O’Neill left out the mention of moral consequences while quoting Marx, given that O’Neill’s entire article is about how Unutterably Evil those who point out the possibility of the moral consequences of Page 3.
It is also questionable as to whether the Sun and is Page 3 genuinely represent the idea of a free press, particularly the free press to which Marx was referring in the article. Marx himself said:
The primary freedom of the press lies in not being a trade. The writer who degrades the press into being a material means deserves as punishment for this internal unfreedom the external unfreedom of censorship, or rather his very existence is his punishment.
The Sun, the Murdoch press and mainstream commercial media on the whole are a capitalist endeavour. They exist for two reasons: to make money, and to push a political agenda which will allow those who control the means of production to make even more money. The tiny opinion pieces on Page 3 strictly adhere to the editorial line, its contributors unable to write freely: this is congruous with Marx’s views on a censored press:
Inseparable from it is the most powerful vice, hypocrisy, and from this, its basic vice, come all its other defects, which lack even the rudiments of virtue, and its vice of passivity, loathsome even from the aesthetic point of view. The government hears only its own voice, it knows that it hears only its own voice, yet it harbours the illusion that it hears the voice of the people, and it demands that the people, too, should itself harbour this illusion. For its part, therefore, the people sinks partly into political superstition, partly into political disbelief, or, completely turning away from political life, becomes a rabble of private individuals.
Marx’s arguments about a free press may have been pertinent to a specific dispute in 1840s Prussia, but the climate has changed substantially since then. For O’Neill to argue otherwise is sheer intellectual laziness. I will be charitable and suggest that Brendan O’Neill did not read the whole Marx article, which is forgivable as Marx writes in an unremittingly dense fashion and it must be difficult for poor Brendan to read out of his one pus-crusted urethral eye.
Either way, it seems relevant to end on a quote falsely attributed to Marx, yet actually pronounced by Sweary Wollstonecraft:
Brendan O’Neill is a weeping syphilitic chode.