One of the worst pains any of us might suffer is to watch an old and beloved friend in a terminal decline which we can only look upon, unable to do a thing to help. The friend gets more feeble by the day as his energy fails and he finally loses his wits. We remember when he was vital and interesting, but those qualities have evaporated. He was particularly admired for his ability to speak and write good English, but now his prose is a shambles and his spelling atrocious. His use of imagery becomes hopelessly confused. At last the dreadful day dawns and he dies.
I don’t know exactly when the Daily Telegraph died, but the posthumous signs are manifest.
A few examples… Yesterday, a cricket correspondent told us that Jonny Bairstow “was sat.” Today, another spells “Nietzsche” as “Nietzche.” We don’t expect to find such infelicities and desecrations in a quality broadsheet.
Mixed metaphors and category mistakes abound. For instance, just how can a headline-writer construe such a phrase as “The slump bites”? Might as well report that someone drowned in a fire or another swallowed by a daffodil.
The section after the leader page has degenerated into embarrassing farce as the trash culture dominates what used to be an educated arts and books section. All is fashion and hideous pop:. “How I finally learnt to love hip hop.” Who cares? All is touchy-feely: “Is Jordan Peterson really a self-help guru for young men?” Perhaps, or perhaps not. Vacuity follows on vacuity. Then there’s “Modern Life” and “Why the fear of not making the most of the extra day makes you fret.” Gerraway! This part of the paper should be renamed the Imbecile Supplement. “Could your smart phone be a passion-killer?” I don’t know, but language like that made me lose all my old passion for the paper.
I think the death throes began when the new royal baby arrived and the editor gave the whole of the front page to Bryony Gordon who – whatever subject she’s given to write about – only writes about Bryony Gordon
Dear old Telegraph: Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine et lux perpetua luceat eis… . Subscribe