In a recent live show at London's Shepherd's Bush Palladium, the comedian Russell Brand did a brilliant and hilarious deconstruction of a gossipy article about himself in one of the UK Sunday tabloids. And I was reminded of it after seeing the latest Scottish edition of the paper News Of The World in which there was a shock-horror feature about so-called 'unders clubs' where kids between 10-18 can enjoy going to the disco before they open for the adults in the evening. (The print version has more and better pictures.) Personally, I can't see any problem with kids doing this and has been common over on the continent for decades; if anything, we're more socially dysfunctional as a nation because there aren't enough opportunities like this for teenagers.
Anyway, all that aside, one of the things Brand pointed out in his own inimitably baroque way was the ridiculous habit tabloids have of using bullet points, and certain words in bold capitals, to give absurdly unnecessary and undue emphasis - 'TEN', 'SOZZLED', 'TANKED-UP', 'FULL SEX', 'CREEPY', 'LURKING', 'WRONG', 'TWICE', 'BOUGHT'.
But in the following extract from the article, it's my own emphasis.
'A boy and girl no older than 14 had been groping each other frantically on the dancefloor for about five minutes. As our shocking pictures show, the shameless lad had one hand inside the pretty blonde’s neon tutu. Then he unzipped his jeans and exposed himself. There was no doubting what happened next - the girl, who towered over her partner, parted her legs to let the clearly excited boy go all the way. The grubby display was over in A COUPLE OF WORTHLESS MOMENTS - then her pals screeched raucously as they yanked her tutu down from behind to reveal she was wearing no underwear.'A couple of worthless moments? Are you kidding? These fleeting seconds will probably be the most transcendental of both of these teens' lives, their entire identities constructed around them (and even more having now been immortalised in the Sunday press). It's everything else that's worthless. That was, will be, and is, it.