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Paper Monitor

11:14 UK time, Friday, 10 November 2006

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

"Poppy fascism" – that's what newsreader Jon Snow terms the tendency whereby everyone is expected to wear a paper and plastic flower in their lapel in the fortnight running up to Remembrance Sunday. And Snow won't stand for it.

The papers themselves are likewise divided, although which are and are not sporting poppies on their masthead comes as no great surprise.

In the red corner are the Times, the Sun, the Mail, the Daily Mirror, the Express and the Daily Telegraph. While the poppy refuseniks number the Guardian, the Independent and the FT.

Echoes of this floral theme can be found on the inside pages of the Mail, in the flowers that adorn one of Gustav Klimt's paintings to have sold this week for mega bucks. To the vaguely initiated, Klimt is that turn-of-the century Austrian artist behind all those subtly erotic paintings of women wrapped in gold-leaf blankets. To students of the Noughties, he is what Betty Blue and Pulp Fiction were, to, er, students of the 80s and 90s respectively.

But the Mail strips all that innocent romantic nonsense away with one headline: "Pornographic paintings, studio orgies and the weird world of the 'peasant Picasso'". It might otherwise be titled "Artist in bohemian lifestyle shock".

Want further proof of art's corruptible influence? Ponder, if you will, what tomorrow's Mail will have to say about the story in today's Guardian that the chairwoman of the Communist Party of Great Britain is £20m richer after flogging a family painting through Christie's in New York.

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