Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 12, 2011

     "The News of the World" has closed after 168 years.  It was the sleaziest, sexiest, most outrageous of all of London's tabloid newspapers, all of which are sleazier, sexier and more outrageous than ours.  I lived in London for a while, many years ago, and I loved it. 
     In the 1960s I remember perhaps the most wonderfully outrageous sex scandal ever:  Britain's Minister for War, Sir John Profumo, was sleeping with Christine Keeler who was sleeping with an official at the Soviet Embassy.  Sex, spies, Cold War secrets!  How could you beat it?  The News of the World loved it too.
     They've had lots of winners since.  The final headline was "Thank you and Goodbye," but the front page included smaller headlines noting past triumphs:  "Chief of Defense in Sex and Security Scandal," "Duke and the Hooker," "Runaway Bishop Confesses All" and the like.
     The paper closed because of a scandal that involved hacking into people's telephones.  The final edition included an editorial apology, but still included the words, "World's Greatest Newspaper, 1843-2011."  One critic called it "grandly sustained by an eternal cast of randy vicars, misbehaving politicians and adulterous celebrities," but added it was part of Britain's "sense of collective identity."
     Right.  I'm sorry it's gone.

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