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Paper Monitor

11:27 UK time, Friday, 5 January 2007

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

With Celebrity Big Brother well underway, even the papers that consider themselves a bit, well, pointy-headed set their finest minds the task of deconstructing the phenomenon.

In the Guardian, which - in common with the Daily Telegraph and the Independent - rarely troubles itself with the civilian version, stand-in Lost in Showbiz columnist Zoe Williams explains the distinction in a piece entitled "WATCH CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER - AND BECOME A BETTER PERSON".

She argues that whereas the "real" people are attractive young things with a misguided sense of their own fabulousness - the "correct viewer response is to hate them for the sin of pride" - the current intake know they're there because they're the bottom of the heap. "Give us the broken and the meek... now you see our true natures, the outpouring of our sympathy, the glow of our viewer-kindness."

A quick flick through the tabloids illustrates her point. Favs with the Daily Mirror include Jermaine Jackson, who raises his sleepy head to reveal a pillow stained with hair dye; Ken Russell, who befriends the ex-Miss GB soon after accidentally flashing her; and Leo Sayer, who swaps beds with a pop moppet so she doesn’t have to sleep in the double with the obligatory offensive – and nude - rocker. Sweet!

And the Indie pens a paean to Ken Russell and this genius bit of casting. "His 1986 movie Gothic takes place within a sinister house completely cut off from the outside world. Inside, a collection of shrieking creative misfits swap insults, throw tantrums, germinate wacky ideas, put one another through ludicrous ordeals - and, of course, obsess about sex all the time." And the result? Frankenstein, for Mary Shelley was one of the inmates. Apt indeed.

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph's New Year New You push continues with “HOW TO BE A REAL MAN IN 2007”. The double-page spread is lavishly illustrated with role models, such as curly-mopped rower James Cracknell whipping up a curry, Maori warriors as "models of manliness", and Daniel Craig for being, well, Daniel Craig. Paper Monitor will be taking notes.

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