‘Ugly socialists’: What on Earth are they smoking over at the Times of London?

John Wight
John Wight has written for a variety of newspapers and websites, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal.
‘Ugly socialists’: What on Earth are they smoking over at the Times of London?
Like the vast majority of people in the UK seeking serious news coverage and analysis, I do not read the Times newspaper of London. A recent story carried on its front page reminded me why.

With the UK’s governing Tory Party currently tearing itself to pieces over Brexit; with the number of people sleeping rough in England now at its highest level since records began; with terrorism still constituting a threat to the British people; and with the country’s National Health Service in a seemingly unending crisis, you might think the Times – which is, after all, the country’s newspaper of record - had plenty of issues to choose from for its front page. But, no, for the Times it is deemed far more important to put on its front page a story surrounding the findings of a ‘scientific’ study claiming that, wait for it, “attractive people have a tendency to be more right-wing.

Just think about this for a moment: this is a story that was carried on the front page not of one of Britain’s array of cheap right-wing tabloids, whose bread and butter is the sensational, salacious and sordid; but the front page of a supposedly serious newspaper, popular with the country’s political and business elite.

Clearly the authors of this study, and the people over at the Times, do not subscribe to the view that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But even if you do subscribe to that view, has anybody had a look at Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson lately? I respectfully suggest that Mother Nature does not count him as one of her masterpieces.

Moreover, haven’t the author or authors of this ridiculous report, and its publication in the Times, noticed as they travel the world the preponderance of t-shirts, caps and other items carrying the iconic image of Che Guevara, a man whose life was dedicated to communism?

Just imagine if Che, who possessed the brooding countenance and looks of a Hollywood matinee idol, and a young Fidel Castro, who wasn’t exactly lacking in that department either, turned up a Tory Party conference in Britain or a Republican Party convention in the US. It would be tantamount to putting a couple of thoroughbred stallions into a field of donkeys. Then we have Charles De Gaulle, Winston Churchill, John McCain, and Donald Trump: four avowed right-wing leaders and politicians of note who, to be frank, were and are not among evolution’s finest creations.

Oscar Wilde, a dandy amongst dandies, was a man with socialist views, though as he famously opined once, “The problem with socialism is that it takes up too many evenings.” But he was no slouch in the fashion or flamboyance stakes in his day, proving that taking an interest in your appearance and being left wing in your political views are not mutually exclusive. What was it Wilde said again: “It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.”

Attractive children have been shown to experience warmer treatment from their parents,” the academic, Rolfe Peterson, of that world-renowned and respected institute of learning, Susquehanna University in the US, has written according to the Times story. Just by way of some friendly advice to the editor while we’re at it: it’s probably not a good idea when attempting to support an unsupportable generalization, such as contained in this report, to use a university that is so obscure you would struggle to locate it using the Hubble space telescope.

But, anyway, now that we’re here, on the actual substance of the claim that attractive children have been shown to experience warmer treatment from their parents, did it not strike Mr Peterson that this may just be a case of bad parenting? And what exactly is considered “warmer treatment”? Is it filling the child’s face with chocolate and sweets? Is it buying it everything it wants and more, filling the child’s head with expectation of future success and fame and celebrity? Is this what Mr Peterson of Susquehanna University and the clutch of right-wing cranks over at the Times consider to be “warmer treatment”?

Because it is precisely this malign brand of “warmer treatment” of children in the West that’s responsible for producing not balanced, caring and compassionate adults; but the archetypal right-wing sociopath, which is the norm within the Tory Party in the UK and the norm in Washington.

The real objective of this report, along with its coverage in the Times, is to place a pseudo-scientific gloss on selfishness, greed and narcissism – the very traits of those who subscribe to the mantra of me, myself, and I; such as your average Times newspaper journalist and reader. As the economist and author, John Kenneth Galbraith, once put it: “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” 

German philosopher Erich Fromm, in his classic work ‘The Sane Society,’ points out that “narcissism is the essence of all severe psychic pathology,” and that “the most extreme form of narcissism is to be seen in all forms of insanity.” Not casting any aspersions or anything, but Hitler was not exactly the full loaf of bread, was he? And the man did have some pretty right-wing views.

The Times story is not just fake news; it is mind-blowingly infantile propaganda masquerading as news. It is astounding, if not frightening, to think that this is the quality of brain nourishment being spoon-fed to Britain’s political and business elite, its movers and shakers, so to speak. No wonder the country’s in such mess.

Oh yes, and by the way, in the same story the Times also takes the opportunity to quote the findings of an “academic” paper from last year, which would have us believe that “socialists were more likely to be physically weak.

Really? Try telling that to the soldiers of the Red Army who smashed their way through the gates of Berlin in 1945.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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