There is an old lady I know, an old-fashioned dowager with one of India’s most distinguished names as her own, who is given to firm opinions, quietly expressed. One of them concerns newspapers. One evening she ranked them for me, in the order she liked them. The best known name was missing from the list. Why? I asked her with astonishment. “Too frivolous,” she said. I tried to argue that the frivolous bit was an add-on supplement, one that could even be discarded unread, while most of the paper was comprehensive without being voluminous, serious without being boring. To no avail. Her mind was made up, and nothing would change it. Is your mind made up too?
There is a general feeling that publications are now dominated by the three Fs: Food, Fashion and an unmentionable four-letter word which I will replace with a word reflecting the media’s prime obsession. So we get Food, Fashion and Follywood. It’s probably not as bad as it sounds. It’s worse. The F words. The frivolous words. The words that make people like the dowager lady consign perfectly good publications to the dustbin.