Oh, wonderful – the Guardian’s managed to annoy me again. They’ve developed a habit, of late, of employing young baby hacks to pontificate about things they clearly know about only from their own very limited experience, and, apparently, don’t believe in researching a subject. Nor do they seem to comprehend that many things existed long before they became aware of them.
A few weeks ago they had Bee Wilson claiming that swivel-blade peelers had been around since the nineties (in fact the original swivel peeler, the Rex, has been in production since 1947). She, presumably, did her research, if she did any at all, in old Lakeland catalogues.
Today, they have an equally young and uninformed Paula Cocozza claiming skinny jeans have been around for a decade. In fact, they’ve been around since I was young.
The primary difference, though, is that in the sixties, we tended not to have legs like pipe-cleaners, as appears to be the case today, when we have hipsterish jerks poncing about in skinny jeans, and yet the fit is loose, not tight – I’m surprised Levi Strauss isn’t sending them food parcels.
I really don’t know what’s going on at the Guardian though, in fairness, they’re not alone. There seems to be a misguided belief among newspaper editors that having a degree somehow confers journalistic skills when, in fact, it does not. They might have learned the basics at Hack College, but there is far more to journalism that simply putting words on a page in some semblance of the correct order. There’s research for a start.
Time was that a reporter would have to do his or her research the hard way, manually searching through paper archives (larger papers would have people to do that for them, but it was still time-consuming). These days they can sit at their computer and search their own and the whole world’s archives at the cost of a few mouse clicks, with no need to rummage among the dust and the spiders – so why the bloody hell don’t they?
Alongside the article in the Guardian, there’s a link to another: “Are skinny jeans destroying hipster sperm counts?” Minus the hipster reference, they were asking the same question in the sixties, too.
Finally, a small digression, if I may – an email from Lakeland had just thudded into my Inbox. Among the unfeasibly expensive items surely destined for next year’s sale (£280 for a fryer with delusions of grandeur?), is “A dedicated mixing tool for eggs prior to scrambling” which will cost you a fiver. I have one which costs me nothing – it’s called a fork.