To promote his new book, The News: A User’s Manual, philosopher Alain de Botton has created The Philosophers’ Mail, an alternative version of The Daily Mail written by philosophers. The idea isn’t to so much to report about the high-brow things that the Daily Mail doesn’t feature, but instead to cover the typically Mail stories in an entirely different way. Under the headings Perspective, Tragedy, Disaster, Virtues, Capitalism, Relationships, Shopping Utopia, Hierarchy and What This Is All About De Botton goes about reinventing the Mail.
Take a staple of Mail stories – crime. De Botton argues that there is nothing wrong with crime stories. Western Literature is full of them. Sophocles believed that we should look at the mother who has chopped up her children and not just gawp but wonder what the lessons can be learned.
Here is a sample of the type of stories you can find on the website:
Exclusive Interview with the soul of David Beckham
Important news: Anne Hathaway takes her chocolate labrador Esmeralda for a walk
Man finds tuna on his plate and tries to discover where it came from
Death still without cure after vitamin D shock trial results
A colourful seductive church in southern Germany offers Polly Toynbee and George Monbiot a lesson
Simon Cowell, on holiday in Barbados, proves that suffering is part of the human condition
I’m not quite sure what to make of it, but it’s worth checking out. Alas I fear it will not have the million hits the Mail Online website apparently receives every minute.