MYTH AS NEWS: JUNGIAN ARCHETYPES IN PRESS STORIES
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Approved by ___________________________________________________
Chairperson of Supervisory Committee
to Offer Degree_________________________________________________
MYTH AS NEWS
By James Anslow
for Fred Vermorel, School of Media and Visual Arts
A 20,000-word dissertation examining if and how Jungian archetypes and their associated mythology are represented in major running stories published by contemporary British national newspapers. Twelve chapters are supplemented by edited transcripts of interviews conducted by the author and figures from newspapers and other sources.
Table of Contents
1. GOOD STORIES. Introduction………………………………..…1
2. PRESS AND PSYCHE. Terminology…………………………….10
3. TAKE FOUR. Methodology……………………………………...16
4. GREEN MAN. The archetype……………………………………19
5. SWAMPY. The story……………………………………………...27
6. KING. The archetype……………………………………………..42
7. TONY BLAIR. The story…………………………………………45
8. WITCH MOTHER. The archetype……………………………….63
9. MYRA HINDLEY. The story…………………………………….72
10. SACRED PROSTITUTE. The archetype……….………………..89
11. PRINCESS DIANA. The story………………………………….103
12. NEWS OR MYTH? Conclusion…………………………………131
Appendix A: Chris Hockley, News Sub-Editor, The Sun.
Appendix B: Roger Wood, Associate Night Editor, The Sun.
Appendix C: Dr Dale Mathers, member of the International Association of Analytical Psychology.
LIst of FIGURES
1. Dracula CBE (The Mirror).…………………………………….. 3
2. Green Man……………….……………………………………..20
3. Jack of the Green………….……………………………………21
5. Peter Pan…………………….…………………………………31
6. Tony Blair in Macedonia……………………………………….50
7. Tony Blair in Pristina (News of the World)…………………….51
8. Tony Blair and baby Leo (The Sun)…………………………….54
9. New Labour Excalibur (The Guardian)..………………………..59
12. Revealed: Hindley’s luxury lifestyle (Mail on Sunday)…….….…..78
13. Myra Hindley……………………………………………..……..80
14. Marilyn Monroe…………………………………………..……..80
15. Myra’s turn to feel pain (The Sun)………………………..……..81
16. Peugeot advertisement……………………………………….…91
17. Diana statue…………………………………………………….93
18. Diana goddess…………………………………………………..94
19. Seated Nude………………………………………………….….99
20. Young Diana with children……………………………………..108
21. Madonna in Vicenza……………………………………………110
22. Diana and child…………………………………………………112
23. Diana on beach………………………………………………….122
24. Diana nursing…………………………………………………...122
25. Mourning for Diana……………………………………………..125
26. Flowers for Diana…………………………………………….…126
The author wishes to express his sincere appreciation to Chris Hockley, Roger Wood and Dr Dale Mathers, for their interviews.
NEWSPAPERS print stories. No journalist I know calls them articles. I have worked as a reporter and sub-editor on local and national British newspapers for more than 30 years, and my brief has always been ‘find the story’ not ‘relate the events’. My experience suggests to me that, for any sequence of events about to be reported by a newspaper, there is a recognisable, pre-existing narrative awaiting discovery by the journalist. That narrative has to be selected from several competing ones, and newspapers sometimes select different narratives to report the same events. Sometimes, the difference in the choice of narrative can be partially explained by journalists’ desire to satisfy the contrasting socio-economic, age or gender profiles of their newspapers’ target readerships or their differing political allegiances. However, on many occasions, journalists on different newspapers simply choose different narratives to relate the same events because their instinctual ‘news sense’ tells them that this or that ‘angle’ is the better story for ‘the reader’ whom Bignell describes as a mythic reading subject.
In June 2001, the Queen’s Birthday Honours were reported by all Britain’s national newspapers. As usual, they were all sent the same embargoed list of recipients the day before, allowing them to prepare their stories in advance. Yet they each published vastly different stories. The Mirror’s ‘splash’ headline, that of its major front-page story, was Dracula, CBE. It was accompanied by a photograph of actor Christopher Lee in his famous bloodsucking film role, alongside the subordinate heading (subhead): He becomes Commander of the British Vampire. The first paragraph, or ‘intro’ of the story said:
Horror movie legend Christopher Lee is made a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List today.
On the same day the Daily Mail reported: Sir Jackie, at last . The intro of its story explained:
As far as civil honours go, it had long been said that Jackie Stewart, the Formula One Grand Prix driver who won three world championships, would for ever have to be content with an OBE granted nearly 30 years ago.
The story then revealed that Stewart had been made a knight. Readers had to wait eleven paragraphs before being given the news about Lee. That day The Times declared in a front-page headline: Sailor Ellen tops the honours. This was a reference to round-the-world yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur, 24, being awarded the MBE. Hence, each paper highlighted a different personality with whom to lead their coverage of the same event. Their motivation was not party political because none of the subjects had public political connotations. Moreover, as an experienced national newspaper production journalist, I would argue that each of the three chosen subjects would have ‘played’ equally successfully to the different readerships of all three newspapers. The decision-making journalists on the night simply chose different narratives to cover the same event because they judged them to be better stories. They in turn chose the satanic creature of the night legitimised, the forgotten veteran hero vindicated and the young warrior-spirited woman rewarded.
Figure 1 The Mirror, June 16, 2001
Newspapers ‘tell stories’ like all narrative vehicles including fairytales, literature, comic books, films, even computer games. My experience is that journalistic narratives use the same underlying structural patterns as these other vehicles. Bignell hints at this phenomenon by noting:
news stories exhibit a number of consistent and repeated features
Tolson puts it thus:
…narratives reduce the unique or the unusual to familiar and regular patterns of expectation
The dictionary defines ‘story’ as:
A narration of a chain of events told or written in prose or verse
However, this definition only goes half way to capturing the spirit of a newspaper story, which does not normally describe a ‘chain of events’ sequentially. The journalist chooses the most interesting event, not necessarily the first, in the sequence, and starts the story with it. This is the ‘intro’. The late British senior production journalist Leslie Sellers summed up this principle by declaring that an intro should encapsulate the ‘news’ of the story. Paraphrasing the groundbreaking Daily Mail proprietor Lord Northcliffe, he wrote:
News is anything out of the ordinary. This above all, is the thing that matters. Clarity, yes. Tightness, of course. Information, naturally. But more than anything else the facts that make the reader sit up and say “Blow me!” or “Christ Almighty!” or Gadzooks!” as the case may be.
Psychiatrist Dale Mathers says a story or narrative:
makes us socially aware…enhances our survival potential
And the dictionary tells us that one type of story is a myth.
Barthes in turn maintains that myth is a system of communication…a type of speech. He calls it mythical speech. It is speech (or writing) with a social purpose. Some theorists, particularly semioticians, make the point even more strongly. Chandler claims:
…turning experience into narratives seems to be a fundamental feature of the human drive to make meaning
Burr contends that:
Human beings are fundamentally story-tellers who experience themselves and their lives in narrative terms
A popular saying goes that hard-bitten journalists “never let the facts spoil a good story”. The truth is that pressures of space and time mean a journalist cannot report every fact of a story. Most have to be omitted. Those selected for publication will be chosen to reinforce the dominant theme of the story, not ‘spoil’ it. Metz goes as far as saying:
There are no ‘events’ in the world – narrative form is needed to create an event
Newspaper editors know that the sort of story that brings readers back to their product time and again is the ‘running story’, press jargon for an ongoing news saga covered day after day, week after week or even year after year as opposed to one-off story about a single event. Often, and most effectively, it has as its main subject a single dominant person. Think of film actress Marilyn Monroe, or US President John Kennedy. These often take on a mythic or archetypal status. Carl Jung (1875–1961), the Swiss psychologist described myths as eternal and universal truths, rather than fiction. He meant psychic, cultural, universal truths. He wrote:
There are types of situations and types of figures that repeat themselves endlessly and have a corresponding meaning.
These are persistent and active phenomena, not ‘dead’ characters consigned to dusty, unread books. As Jung says of the legendary Quest for the Holy Grail:
I…discovered that in many places in England the myth of the Grail was a living thing.
Myths are peopled by archetypes. The dictionary describes an archetype as
1. a perfect or typical specimen. 2. an original model or pattern. 3. One of the inherited mental images postulated by Jung as the content of the collective unconscious.
It is the third definition that I generally use in this dissertation. The “collective unconscious” is Jung’s term for a universal pool of mythic, psychic truths to which every human being and has access. Archetypes are recognised in their various cultural guises – including, I suggest, newspaper stories – by people of all cultures at all times. Sometimes an archetype is worshipped as a god or goddess as in the case of the Queen Venus archetype. But Jung maintains it is psychologically, culturally and societally real. He insists:
In so far as the archetypes act upon me they are real and actual to me…(they are) a real force charged with a specific energy…in other words it is not just the personal human being who is making the statement, but the archetype speaking through him.
The Jungian notion of an archetype describes biological, inborn, genetic structuring which is common to all human beings throughout history which is essential to the individual and species’ survival. When I use words like King, Hero, Trickster we’re talking about personifications of instinctive patterns
Semioticians describe the same mythic phenomena. Barthes declares:
The narratives of the world are numberless.
He, his contemporaries and successors developed technical terminology to identify mythic aspects of language. Barthes was aware that Levi-Strauss had
Already indicated that the constituent units of mythical discourse (mythemes) acquire meaning only because they are grouped in bundles and because these bundles themselves combine together.
Psychologists and psychiatrists in turn supply their own definitions of myths. Bion called them basic assumptions. According to Mathers:
Myths…humanise archetypes: inherited parts of the psyche, irrepresentable in themselves, evident only through their manifestation: all form and no content, numinous, unconscious…
Archetypes have most commonly expressed themselves historically as orally transmitted legends, folklore and children’s stories. Jung writes:
A well-known expression of the archetype is myth and fairytale.
My experience leads me to believe that newspapers now tell those same stories. The words reporters use, the headlines sub-editors write and the photographs picture editors select are chosen to reinforce archetypal images and mythic ‘plotlines’. The central problem I shall address in this dissertation is: are the subjects of ‘running stories’ in contemporary national British newspapers archetypal in the Jungian sense and, hence, mythically portrayed?
PRESS AND PSYCHE
I HAVE already explained the British newspaper terms ‘intro’, ‘subhead’ and ‘running story’. Others are: ‘splash’ (the main front-page story), ‘splash head’ (the main front-page headline, sometimes called the ‘banner’), ‘red-top’ (popular newspapers including The Sun, which has a daily circulation of 3,586, 690), ‘tabloid’ (smaller page format often, but not exclusively, used by popular newspapers), ‘broadsheet’ (larger format used by upmarket ‘quality’ newspapers). As indicated in Chapter 1, the term ‘story’ is used by journalists to describe any item of news. Sometimes these can be as short as 30 words (in ‘fillers’). Stories feature in every section of a newspaper including the financial and sports pages. Heroes and villains stalk the world’s money markets and epic phrases echo throughout sports pages. Association Football fans need only think back to 1986 when the England soccer team played Argentina in a World Cup quarter-final and Diego Maradona scored his notorious handball goal dubbed by newspapers The Hand Of God. Descriptions of sporting contests in newspapers often include language that invokes what Barthes called a sort of moral beauty . A typical example is impressive attacking comeback, a workaday phrase used in a soccer match report. It is constructive to note the editing process involved in compiling most British newspaper stories. Although they carry ‘bylines’ – the names of the reporters who penned the stories – they are often heavily rewritten (particularly on redtops) by sub-editors. They are also melded with other accounts of the relevant news event supplied by agencies or correspondents. Sub-editors, or more senior journalistic executives, write the headlines and select the photographs. The whole process of designing a page, cropping photographs, writing headlines and editing stories, including running stories, is a dynamic team effort, which is almost organic in its execution. There is not a single human being (not even the editor) who can successfully and seamlessly impose his or her interpretation of the story. Rather the newspaper itself gives birth to the item.
The technical language used by Jung also needs some more explanation here. I have already discussed archetypes and the collective unconscious. Of the latter, Jung explained:
Just as the human body connects us with the mammals and displays numerous relics of earlier civilisations going back even to the reptilian age, so the human psyche is likewise a product of evolution which, when followed up to its origins, shows countless archaic traits.
Jung concluded that archetypes can be unconsciously ‘projected’ by the psyche on to external objects or people. Hence a man can unconsciously ‘drape’ the archetype of the Ideal Virgin on to a real woman who would then become the object of his idealised love. Jung postulated that mass projection also commonly occurs where the collective unconscious does the projecting, not just an individual’s personal unconscious. He even blamed it for the rise of fascism and Stalinism in Europe and Russia. He branded it:
This manifestation of naked evil 
Jung described his own psyche projecting an archetype, in this case the Father archetype, on to an external subject - his former mentor, the psychologist Sigmund Freud, from whom he was in the process of splitting. Jung became consciously aware of the projection through a dream set in a mountainous region on the Swiss Austrian border:
I saw an elderly man in the uniform of an Imperial Austrian customs official. He walked past…without paying any attention to me. His expression was peevish, rather melancholic and vexed. There were other persons there and someone informed me that the old man was not really there. He was ghost of a customs official who had died years ago. He was one of those who still couldn’t die properly…At the time Freud had lost much of his authority for me. But he still meant to me a superior personality, upon whom I projected the Father, and, at the time of the dream, this projection was still far from eliminated.
Some of the major archetypes identified by Jung are:
The shadow: This is the ‘dark side’ referred to in the Star Wars films. It is Dr Jekyll’s Mr Hyde. It is Satan. It is every hero’s nemesis. Boeree notes:
It derives from our pre-human, animal past…symbols of the shadow include the snake (as in the garden of Eden) the dragon, monsters and demons.
Anima and Animus: these are the contrasexual aspects of the psyche. Women classically project the animus as the ‘tall, dark stranger’ of common speech. He is the Heathcliff of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and Dracula. The anima is either a virginal or erotic female projection for a man. H Rider Haggard’s She, Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, Marilyn Monroe, Evita, Madonna all fit the bill. Jung wrote:
Anima means soul and should designate something very wonderful and immortal…to the men of antiquity the anima appeared as a goddess or a witch, while for mediaeval man, the goddess was replaced by the Queen of Heaven and Mother church.
Jung calls the anima:
the carrier and embodiment of this ominipresent and ageless image which corresponds to the deepest reality in a man. It belongs to him, this perilous image of woman…She is the much-needed compensation for the risks, struggles, sacrifices that all end in disappointment; she is the solace for the bitterness of life. And at the same time she is the great illusionist, the seductress who drags him into life…
Von Franz elaborates:
It is a basic archetypal motif for the hero to find his divine anima figure and then lose her again. You find it with different variations in fairy tales all over the world
Other archetypes are Puer Aeternus: The eternal child who is Peter Pan. The Wise Old Man, (Gandalf of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Obi Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars films) The Crone and The Hero.
Many archetypes are most explicitly portrayed in mediaeval Tarot cards. One of the most striking of these cards is The Empress. Sallie Nichols calls her
Madonna, Great Mother, Queen of Heaven and Earth
That archetype has been successfully harnessed in modern times by the pop star of the same name. The successful Star Wars film series harnessed many others. Different archetypes are attached to real people at different times in different contexts. Fairytales, legends and films reflect this progression. Boeree observes of Star Wars:
The Hero is often out to rescue the Maiden. She represents purity, innocence…in the beginning of the Star Wars story Princess Leia is the Maiden. But as the story progresses, she becomes the anima, discovering the power of the force – the collective unconscious.
Tigue points out:
The strong anima animus interplay occurs between Leia and Han (Solo). They are the princess and knight who are drawn to each other.
Boeree and Tigue could have added that Leia goes on to form half of a brother-sister Syzygy with Luke Skywalker – another powerful archetype that has manifested itself in many cultures and religions including that of ancient Egypt.
I HAVE chosen four contemporary personalities who have been the subject of major newspaper running stories and I have examined their coverage by accessing newspaper cuttings libraries including that of News International which owns The Sun, The Times, the News of the World and the Sunday Times. I have also chosen four archetypes that I judge match those subjects. I have tested that selection by comparing the contemporary coverage with accounts of manifestations of the matching archetypes. I have drawn descriptions of those archetypes from works by Jung, Campbell and other experts in the field. I have also interviewed two senior newspaper journalists and a leading Jungian psychotherapist. Those interviews were audiotaped, and I have included edited extracts from them as appendices.
My dissertation takes the form of 12 chapters. The first is an introduction in which I outline my thesis. The second defines some of the specialised and specific terminology I use, both in the areas of Jungian mythology and British newspaper practice. This third chapter outlines my methodology. In the chapters that follow, I explore an archetype in turn, then examine the corresponding news subject.
The four news subjects I selected are Swampy, Tony Blair, Myra Hindley and Princess Diana. Swampy was 24-year-old ecological campaigner Daniel Hooper who occupied newspaper headlines in the late 1990s. Tony Blair is the New Labour Prime Minister, in his second term as I write. He presided over an astonishing revival of the ailing Labour Party’s electoral fortunes and led it to back to power. Hindley is the notorious Moors Murderer serving life with former lover Ian Brady for the 1960s killings of two youngsters. They later confessed to two more murders. Diana was the glamorous Princess of Wales who died in a car crash in 1997 after a controversial and dramatic life. Britain erupted in unprecedented grief over her demise.
The four archetype are Green Man, King, Witch Mother and Sacred Prostitute. As I note elsewhere these are names generally attached to the archetypes, but there is no definitive or unchallengeable list. By their very nature archetypes are psychic ‘creatures’ whose shape and superficial characteristics change, along with their names. As Mathers says:
Any archetype can overlap…like colours.
Manifestations of the Green Man archetype are Robin Hood, and Peter Pan. The associations are earth and verdure. Manifestations of King (or Father) are King Arthur and Zeus. Manifestations of the Witch Mother are the ‘wicked witch’ of fairytales and the Indian goddess kali. Marilyn Monroe is a typical sacred Prostitute.
I should note here that I do not unquestioningly accept all Jung’s theories and concepts about archetypes. I have read critical accounts of his work, notably by Noll who attacks among much else, Jung’s highly personal self-disclosure, and I share disquiet about some of Jung’s seemingly chauvinistic attitude to women. But I feel it needs to be set against his Swiss bourgeois cultural upbringing. I would argue that as a practising psychologist he showed an exhaustive and healthy scepticism of supernatural and pseudo-scientific matters as a large slice of the first volume in his Collected Works testifies. That extract, entitled On The Psychology and Pathology of so-called Occult Phenomena is a substantial 85 pages long.
THE Green man archetype is one of the most profound and ancient, woven into the roots of our cultural beginnings. It represents mankind’s connection with nature, with all its capricious implications.
I have mentioned that he is Robin Hood and Peter Pan. He is also Puck, Robin Goodfellow, Jack in the Green, Hermes, Loki (the Norse god of mischief and fire), Tom Bombadil in JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, mischievous wood sprites of folklore the world over, the Native American chief ‘summoned’ by the charlatan spiritualist at every Victorian seance and many more.
Figure 2. Green Man on exterior of church at Sutton Benger, Wilts. (From Green Man: The Archetype of our Oneness with the Earth, HarperCollins)
Figure 3. The ‘Jack In The Green’ at Hastings Castle, Kent. (From Green Man: The Archetype of our Oneness with the Earth, HarperCollins)
Even Tarzan the jungle creation of Edgar Rice Burroughs is an incarnation of this animal-loving, plant-swinging sprite. Here is how Tolkien’s readers are introduced to Bombadil:
He had a blue coat and a long brown beard; his eyes were blue and bright, and his face was red as a ripe apple…In his hands he carried on a large tree as on a tray a small pile of white water-lilies.
The Green Man is the mischievous spirit of life where the rational ‘justice’ of humanity melds into the undeniable but often cruel and amoral ‘rightness’ of the natural world.
Anderson describes qualities of the archetype thus:
The emotions he expresses transcend the form (of stone or carved images) and their vitality is equally powerful when transmitted through the dance or the dramatic rituals of folk custom and in the rhythms and melodies of poetry and song. We do not only look at his leaves and blades of grass; we hear them singing and speaking to us; we touch and smell and taste his vegetation and his fruits.
Anderson adds the Green Man is:
…the archetype of our oneness with the earth…the guardian and revealer of mysteries.
And Kingsley Amis writes
The Green Man signifies irrepressible life. He is an image from the depths of prehistory.
The pagan Green Man remains celebrated in Christian churches. His face, with branches emerging from its mouth, is carved even in CHURCHES like that in the Suffolk village of Woolpit and the Wiltshire village of Sutton Benger (Figure 2.) Here are of some of the other characteristics, accessories, settings and ‘dramatis personae’ that accompany incarnations of the archetype:
STEALING from the ‘right’ people in the manner of Robin Hood,
MISCHIEF combined with joy and paradoxical good intent. As Anderson excellently puts it ‘the joker in the ambush’.
TIMELY appearance when the world needs it. As Anderson explains:
In Jung’s theory of compensation, an archetype will reappear in a new form to redress imbalances in society to redress imbalances in society when it is needed.
EMPATHY with plants, animals and the Earth itself.
A ‘LOST BAND’ of people or children
TREE or EARTH home
In the way that Mathers has indicated, archetypes often overlap. Mathers says that the Green Man type often overlaps with the Trickster, another elemental figure who is often an eleven go-between for gods and humans.
Green Man and Trickster go together because they are chthonic images, in other words of the earth.
Bollen describes Trickster as
…an archetype known the world over, characterized by cleverness, cunning and ability to change his shape or form. The Trickster is known as Coyote to the Native American Indian. To the Eskimo, he is Raven; to the Japanese the wily Badger. He is inventive and takes what he wants by trickery or theft. Often he is admired rather than condemned for his cleverness, depending on what he steals and from whom.
Anderson claims the Green Man also overlaps with yet another different, but related, archetype: the Fool.
The Green Man evades precise identifications. There is another archetypal figure, however with whom he shares many resemblances. This is the Fool…At a deeper level the Green Man shares with the Fool the qualities of unexpectedness, of unconventional wisdom, of the joker.
The Fool shares the Green Man’s mischievous joie de vivre and elemental ambiguous wisdom. As Shakespeare’s Kent says of Fool:
This is not altogether fool my lord
“Lovable rogue” is the cliché often used by newspapers to describe this archetype when he appears as a bit player in a court case. And his paradoxical wisdom is celebrated in the contemporary financial advice website on the internet called The Motley Fool (www.fool.com).
‘Timely retribution’ is a key feature of the Green Man’s narrative. Robin Hood ‘appeared’ in Sherwood Forest with his lost band of ‘merry men’ at a time when he was most needed. And he did ‘good’ by being unlawful. This mischievous, paradoxical justice is an important part of the archetype’s story. When the order of the universe produces the wrong result then ‘disorder’ in the form of the Fool steps on to the stage to redress the balance. Sometimes mischief can be a whisker from evil, as in the case of the Norse ‘god of fire and evil’ or ‘god of mischief’ Loki. Elemental forces are at work here, as with all archetypes, not neatly moral human motivation.
DANIEL Hooper, 24, grew up in a middle-class home in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. He became known to the British public as Swampy and lasted as press phenomenon for less than two years from February 1997 to autumn 1998. Despite this brevity, what makes him so important in this study of archetypes in the press was how quickly, easily and indelibly he became imprinted on British minds, particularly that constituency of ‘Middle England’ so successfully catered for by the Daily Mail and their sister weekend newspaper, the Mail on Sunday.
This is evidence by the fact that, long after Daniel Hooper’s own personal story has faded into oblivion, his ‘nom de guerre’ remains an instant touchstone for headline writers. As journalist Roger Wood notes:
(Journalists) use a person from the past to describe in one word what a story’s all about. If, for example, you said “in a Churchillian way” you instantly save yourself a small book. Just like “Swampy-style protest”.
A key journalistic word like ‘Swampy’ is like the theme song or signature phrase of a film, or line of a song, or number from a musical that resonate in the public consciousness (and unconsciousness) long after the vehicle has disappeared into obscurity. Think of Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma’am and Make My Day. Note The Guardian Page One ‘come-on’ published a year after Swampy’s last headline press appearance. It said: Meet The Schoolgirl Swampy and it referred to a young ecological activist called Christiana Tugwell, who was in fact nothing to do with Daniel Hooper. But Swampy is now the archetypal eco-warrior as far as Britain is concerned. So any article in this area will refer to the name if it wants to resonate with the mainstream newspaper-reading public.
So the Swampy story resonated far beyond the personal struggles of young Daniel Hooper (whose real name would be known by hardly anyone outside his family). It did so, not because his colourful name itself was so catchy or memorable, but because the character and tribulations of Swampy tapped into an enduring myth or archetype. Specifically the Green Man I examined in the previous chapter, intermingled with Puer Aeternus and the Trickster .
Britain as a nation first encountered Swampy in small newspaper articles in February 1997 such as the one headlined: Roads protesters plan their next site of action. It referred to a protester called Muppet Dave, who spent seven days underground at Fairmile near Honiton, Devon, complaining about a major road improvement scheme on the A30. The report continued:
He anticipated that fellow tunnel-builders Swampy and Ian Williamson would also be fighting the road-widening scheme in Guildford, Surrey, and the proposed extension of Manchester airport. Swampy, the last protester to emerge from the tunnels on Thursday night, appeared under his real name, Daniel Hooper, at Exeter magistrates’ court yesterday, charged with obstructing the under-sheriff of Devon. Mr Hooper, 23, of Hazlemere, Buckinghamshire, was granted conditional bail, but was immediately rearrested under a non-bail warrant issued by Newbury magistrates.
From the very start of his public story, Swampy is associated with the mythical setting of subterranean tunnels. Swampy immediately caught the attention of Middle England. The face of Daniel Hooper was, and is, not familiar to many. Rather it was the image, the myth, that caught their imagination. It is worth noting that his appearance in the public arena came at a time when ecological issues, such as road-building, were still making headlines. This chimes with the ‘timeliness’ of the Green man archetype, noted by Anderson, above.
Reporting on Swampy’s activities, the very next day, employed key words of myth and legends. In the following excerpt from a Sunday Times report, headlined Out Of Their Greenwood Trees, I have emboldened some of those words:
The greenwood, a defining characteristic of the English idyll since Saxon times was, according to Simon Schama, the historian, always more than an imaginary utopia…Is this the context in which we should view the activities last week of the Devon tunnellers and their foe, the undersheriff of Devon? Are Animal [another associate], Muppet Dave and Swampy – who sound like sidekicks of the great Robin Hood – inheritors of an ancient tradition?…Today’s eco-protesters are both bandits and heroes
By the end of that month, the red-top tabloids were sprinkling the new Swampy myth with their own vocabulary, often echoing the animal connections referred to above in the list of Green Man attributes. In the best tabloid tradition., the Daily Mirror’s use of a single word mole conjures up a telling vision. Their brief report on February 27 began “Swampy the human mole was holed up last night for a new campaign.”
Swampy and his pals were part of the ‘grunge’ culture of the Eighties. Mathers notes:
Trickstery figures are connected with shit. (Swampy’s chums) as you can see wear dirty clothes, dirty shoes, grungy colours, matted hair, to look as much like the earth as possible. That’s very Green Man in the earthy, muddy sense. 
Campbell points out the creative force of grunge or shit:
…out of rot comes life. I have seen wonderful redwood trees with great huge stumps from enormous trees that were cut down decades ago. Out of them are coming these bright new little children who are part of the same plant.
Figures 4 and 5 highlight the impish and ‘green’ similarities between Swampy, photographed in 1998, in and J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan (here in a Walt Disney cartoon version) another manifestation of the Green Man/Trickster archetype.
Figures 4 and 5 Swampy (News International photographic library) and Peter Pan (Walt Disney Inc).
Note the headgear and impish grins. At least one of Swampy’s spiritual forebears was traced by the Independent which also employed the same animal metaphor to invoke the archetype. Writing of Victorian ecologist Joseph Williamson, it said:
A tobacco baron with a bizarre fetish for tunnelling, he spent 35 years hollowing out immense underground caverns and earning the nickname of The Mole of Edge Hill.
Physical descriptions of archetype manifestations like Swampy provide more accurate clues to their archetype than facts about the historical person concerned. Just look at Swampy’s vegetable head adornment in the picture – and Peter Pan’s feather. Note how the following reports detail Swampy’s ‘accessories’ during a court appearance. Some of the description invokes the ‘motley’ hue of the Fool, noted earlier.
He arrived at Exmouth Magistrates’ Court dressed in green wellington boots, mud-spattered blue trousers and a grimy black and yellow jacket.
Hooper…arrived at court in green wellingtons, mud-spattered trousers and grimy jacket.
He arrived at Exmouth Magistrates’ Court wearing wellington boots, mud-spattered blue trousers and a grimy jacket
It is instructive to compare the colourful detail to the description Tolkien gives in a rhyme on introducing us to his Green Man manifestation Tom Bombadil:
Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow;
Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow
Interestingly, the Times report of Swampy’s court appearance continues with this telling paragraph invoking the Fool, a pair of canine familiars and even the Pied Piper of Hamelin, a Continental cousin who shares the Trickster archetype. His name ‘pied’, means marked or spotted in two or more different colours, as in motley meaning the particoloured attire of a jester
Before the case, the protesters brought a carnival atmosphere to the court’s entrance hall. One was dressed as a jester and another played a recorder. Vegan snacks were distributed and two dogs played around the protesters’ feet.
An observer who has not worked on a newspaper might be inclined to dismiss these details as mere items of observation that would be included as a matter of course. This is not so. The pressures of space on all newspapers, especially British tabloids like the Daily Mail, mean that every phrase of description or quote has to ‘earn’ its space in the newspaper. The sub-editor who re-writes and/or edits the copy will only leave in a word or words if they serve a function. The sub-editors who left in these hints of an earth-covered jesterish figure knew instinctively and unconsciously the figure they had to paint for the reader to invoke the Green Man archetype.
Law-breaker and mud-spattered nuisance, Swampy should be a target of fear and loathing of every parent with rebellious teenage children. Yet the Green Man is always morally ambivalent. Indeed he is amoral, so atavistic as to be beyond morality. He is do-gooder AND outlaw as in Robin Hood, the mischievous but lovable sprite Robin Goodfellow or the anarchic Bombadil. Even the Norse ‘god of evil’ Loki is usually more a god of mischief. Thus the anarchic eco-warrior Swampy still managed to find his way into the affections of the middle classes and their ‘house magazine’ the Daily Mail. Many of the reports about him could barely disguise their admiration and downright affection for this modern sprite. The Sunday Mirror, a full-blooded redtop not noted for sloppy sentimentalism went as far as to say
The brave burrower – real name Daniel Hooper – captured the nation’s hearts as the eco-warrior who fought the A30 bypass in Devon.
This Mirror piece also describes a ‘hair-raising 30-foot abseil descent’ into Swampy’s tunnels. And this rope journey recalls pantomime Peter Pans swinging above the stage on harnesses and Puck’s boast to:
put a girdle round
about the earth
In forty minutes.
Writing in the Sunday Mirror’s sister paper The Mirror Emily Wilson continues unconsciously to weave the mythic thread by joining Swampy on his rope lift to subterranea. She looks up at the Green Man’s other home, the trees, and notes:
High above us in the treetops another group are swinging from ropes, constructing a tree house.
She writes tellingly in the same piece:
Swampy spends his time above ground with his faithful dog Vandana.
Eleven words which, but for their context in a tightly-subbed redtop, might appear almost humdrum. Their inclusion gives the archetype an animal familiar, always a clue, in literature and painting, to his or her presence. Tabloids would not be tabloids if they did not find their new discovery a love interest. But, from the first time the reader meets her the “mysterious Merry” aged 23 is given a mythical aura.
Swampy’s archetype was finally separated from Hooper’s person in this account, again from the Independent:
The court officials looked perturbed. Sixty protesters were clamouring at the door like the cohorts of Spartacus, ready to suffer for their cause. “I’m Daniel Hooper,” yelled one. “I’m Daniel Hooper,” called others in a crescendo round Manchester High Court.
Here, surely, despite its comic overtone, is a feeling of the Green God touching all these eager young idealists. One could imagine Robin Hood’s Merry Men or Peter Pan’s Lost Boys giving the same reaction in a similar predicament.
Hooper’s career seemed to end only a year after the British public first met him. Mirror readers were told almost curtly:
Eco warrior Swampy has given up digging anti-road tunnels to do voluntary work. Swampy, 24, real name Daniel Hooper, from Newbury, Berks, has cut his dreadlocks and wants to be called Dan.
The mood is almost mournful. We can see Robin Goodfellow slipping off the figure of Daniel Hooper and seeking a new incarnation, perhaps in another series of news stories. Daniel briefly reappears in stories about his baby ‘Son of Swampy’ by another girlfriend Jennifer Harvey. There was domestic strife and a court case.. But the story was no longer of the archetype, but of human beings with severe domestic problems.
Swampy the archetype however reappears again and again whenever the Green Man wants to make his presence felt in a story. I mentioned earlier the case of the Schoolgirl Swampy. But even as late as February 2000 The Observer writes in the ‘standfirst’ (brief, explanatory separate summary placed at the start of the story) of a full-page ecological piece:
Swampy is all very well, my dears, but the new eco-warriors wouldn’t dream of going underground. Instead, like Lady Berkely and her upper-class chums, they would rather air their concerns with a well-aimed chocolate éclair and a spin doctor.
In a medium obsessed with recognisability, no attempt is made here to remind the readers who Swampy was. There is no need. It would be like describing Robin Hood, Peter Pan or Tarzan. Journalists sum it up simply:
Swampy is great copy
Below I analyse in detail the language used in a story about Swampy published in The Mirror. Here is the passage, broken into short numbered sections for ease of analysis:
1. (headline) Living on Burrowed Time
2. Twenty feet beneath the forest, Swampy the human mole beds down for the night.
3. His bedroom is a coffin-shaped chamber carved by hand from the rock-hard clay.
4. It’s damp and it’s dirty and there’s barely room to turn over in his sleeping bag, let alone sit up. When he blows out his candle, it’s dark as a grave.
5. This is Swampy’s new home, a maze-like warren of tunnels and chambers built deep underground.
6. The only way into his burrow us through a tiny hole cut into a sheer cliff – reached only by a hair-raising 30ft abseil descent.
7. Swampy became a household name when he was the last to emerge from the 30ft deep tunnels dug by protestors (sic) to (sic) the A30 bypass campaign in Devon.
8. Today the tunneller – real name Daniel Hooper – has a new battleground.
9. From his front door he has panoramic views of the River Bollin, winding its way through an unspoilt valley.
10. But Britain’s best-loved eco-warrior doesn’t spend much time admiring the scenery.
1. The headline is a simple pun on the phrase ‘borrowed time’. This a typical wordplay for a British redtop newspaper like The Mirror. The word ‘burrowed’ immediately places the subject in one of his archetypal homes…underground.
2. The intro begins, unusually for a popular tabloid, with an inverted sentence: the description (20ft…) comes before the action (beds down). Journalists, particularly news sub-editors and reporters on popular tabloids, are taught to put the main clause first and subsidiary information later. The reversal is meaningful. It gives the location of the myth prime position. In many ways the subterranean, root-complex location of the Green Man is the archetype’s most important aspect, and twenty feet beneath immediately places the subject underground. The forest is the green epitome of the archetypal setting. This clause is the signifier for the Green Man myth. It signals to the reader the mythic narrative that is about to begin. On the face of it the human mole is a simple metaphor, a populist and colourful way of describing Swampy’s activity. But the animal association gives the reader another signal of his mythic role.
3. The Green Man is a symbol of resurrection. The word chamber, rather than room, signifies a birthing womb. It evokes Dracula’s daily (nightly) rebirth from his coffin-bed. Hence coffin-shaped chamber signals rebirth to the reader. Carved by hand signifies archetypal craft activity. Human activity impacting on natural material is a profoundly mythic situation. Rock-hard clay puts us back in the rebirthing grave.
4. This paragraph is an example of mixing together of the personal and apersonal “in extremely rapid succession” which Barthes describes in his Structural Analysis of Narratives.
His sleeping bag…personal
He blows out…personal
By doing this the concepts signified by the impersonal objects imprint themselves on the person who is the subject of the piece and imbue him even more with the archetypal projection. One can almost hear the poetic, lyrical, sing-song opening nine words of the paragraph sung aloud by subterranean Tolkienesque dwarfs. Damp evokes the elemental environment of water and dirty evokes mud and dirt – important connections for the archetype. With dark as the grave the rebirth motif is consolidated.
5. Maze-like warren signifies animals (warren), the archetype’s natural allies, and myth (maze).
6. Cut into a sheer cliff reflects human activity impacting on natural material again. Hair-raising evokes the risk-taking excitement so often associated with manifestations of this archetype (Robin Hood, Peter Pan), 30ft hammers home the depth. Peter Pan, Tarzan and even Robin Hood are all quasi-abseilers in their own environments. The practice employs an archetypal mixture of air, flight, gree-vines. Again the archetype is confirmed.
7. Again depth is repeated, to illustrate its importance. The seemingly unnecessary repetition could be mistaken for soppy sub-editing.
8. The last par finally reveals the archetype’s “real name”. This says much about the power of the Swampy label. Usually a newspaper would give the name Daniel Hooper much earlier in the story. In this case the journalists involved sense it would detract from the myth. Even at this point the subject of the sentence is not Daniel but the tunneller emphasising the function of the archetype.
9. Panoramic views…winding…unspoilt… valley…are all word choices which signify a utopian Eden-like garden, where the Green man first appeared.
10. The article gives the anarchic Swampy the surprisingly approving label of Britain’s best-loved eco-warrior. This bears testament to the archetype’s moral ambivalence.
THE King is another profound archetype, and far more subtle and complex than he might appear at first glance. It is not difficult to ‘spot’ the Patriarch; the Wise Old Man In The Sky, God, Zeus, Wodin, Father Christmas. The sage, grey-haired man, alone on his throne, pondering the lives of his ‘children’ or subjects may have a mature and elegant Queen at his side and multi-talented courtiers and advisers around him. But he is essentially alone. There will always be a magical, sorcerous, adviser whispering in his ear; most famously Merlin at the court of King Arthur. Note also Gandalf, the wizardly adviser to Frodo and Bilbo Baggins in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. There will probably also be a Fool, as in King Lear. His aides will vie and plot, and his grandeur will be enhanced by their worldliness. He is often wounded personally by those closest to him. The notorious mythical affair of Arthur’s premier knight Lancelot with the king’s wife Guenevere is a dramatic example:
When Lancelot and Guinevere were at last discovered together, Lancelot fled…war between him and Arthur followed.
This elderly man does not sound like the young, vibrant Tony Blair, elected Labour Prime Minister of Britain in 1997 at the politically young age of 43. How could he resonate with the celtic eminence gris that is Arthur? To ask this question is to misunderstand the nature of archetypes in general and The King in particular. Archetypes carry their myth within them. They are not a static two-dimensional, tarot-like image. Arthur was young once. He was the boy who drew the Sword from the Stone. Like so many kings of myth, he grew up not knowing his royal lineage. So the archetype is king goes from young warrior seeking his destiny to old sage, betrayed while those around him as he takes on the burdens of his subject. Along the way there is often a major Quest involved such as Theseus’s search for the Golden Grail or Arthur’s knights and others seeking the Holy Grail.
Barber points out:
There has never been just one authentic version of his (Arthur’s) deeds and new Arthurs are still being created apace.
Two functions of King energy make this transition from Boy psychology to Man psychology possible. The first of these is ordering; the second is the providing of fertility and blessing…like the Divine Child the good King is at the Centre of the World. He sits on his throne on the central mountain, or on the Primeval Hill, as the ancient Egyptians called it. And from this central place, all of creation radiates in geometrical form out to the very frontiers of the realm.
I quote from the above at length because I want to return to some of the themes raised in the next chapter when I examine the way that Blair’s ‘reign’ is covered by the press.
For now, let me recap on the myth and archetype that is the King. The Boy King was always destined and divinely empowered to raise the Sword of sovereignty. But he lived in ignorance of this among ordinary people. He fought dragons, undertook the Quest, and grew old on his throne. He was betrayed by those closest to him as he pondered ways to help his beloved ‘children’ or subjects. His presence can heal. His reign is ‘inclusive’ of all his people. And inclusivity is a key policy of Blair and New Labour.
TONY Blair became Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1997 five days before his 44th birthday. He was the nation’s first Labour Premier for 18 years. Married to a successful woman lawyer Cherie, with a young family, he was a completely new kind of premier. Charismatic, good-looking and ‘classless’ he was presidential in manner and appearance. He had transformed his once unelectable party into New Labour and thrown into the dustbin of history most of its traditional touchstones, including the socialist Clause IV, whose abolition had long been the political ‘Holy Grail’ of previous would-be party reformists, including David (later Lord) Owen.
With his wavy mane of hair and flashing smile, Blair was a cartoonist’s and press photographer’s dream. At a time when the royal family was in the continuing throes of scandal, particularly over the marital problems of the Prince and Princess of Wales, he was increasingly perceived as the Young King. His equally young advisers and the Valkyrie-like ‘Blair’s Babes’ – the 100 plus women MPs elected on the back of positive discrimination within the party – enhanced the image. New Labour’s political success went in tandem with the progress of the Democratic ‘King Across The Water’ President Clinton, with whom comparisons were made.
But as British journalists reached for their word processors and metaphors, another US Democratic President leaped on to their pages: President John F. Kennedy, gunned down in Dallas at the age of 46. This Young King’s ‘court’ had long been compared with that of a mythical Celtic ruler: Arthur. Peter Barnard writes:
…the assassination of Kennedy was a fantastic event in a fantastic decade…The Kennedy era had been described by its many chroniclers as ‘Camelot’. In that case Camelot was over.
As Opposition Leader the only nickname that had stuck to Blair was ‘Bambi’, because his wide-eyed smile and slightly large ears reminded some cartoonists of the Walt Disney cartoon deer. Headlines appeared like Time For Bambi To Show His Teeth. But after his coronation as Premier, he slipped into young Arthur’s archetypal robes with ease. Here indeed was The Once And Future King.
The Daily Telegraph was one of the first into the mythical fray:
The Host of a party held for the Prime Minister in New York recently described Tony Blair’s government as “the new Camelot”. The mythical image is often borrowed.
The original Camelot was the seat of the legendary King Arthur’s court, located variously in Somerset, Wales and Winchester. Medieval romances describe Arthur’s era as the golden age of chivalry and benevolent wise rule. The most successful application of the name in recent times was for John F. Kennedy. Camelot quickly became a byword for the president’s promising young administration among the American public in mourning after his assassination. Recently released papers reveal Jacqueline Kennedy, JFK’s wife, as the source of this accolade. She impressed the Camelot connection upon a journalist in an interview a week after her husband’s death. The Mail on Sunday headlined a picture feature on the front page of its prestigious Review section: New Camelot. The standfirst said:
JFK’s presidency was the first to be defined and enhanced by brilliant and informal photographs. Now the Blairs have allowed Anthony Crickmay to do the same for them.
The two photographs were one of Kennedy at his desk in 1963 and Blair in a similar pose at HIS desk.
The King is strong but does not lead by coercion. He leads by ‘inclusion’ informed by the period he lived among ordinary people unaware of his true identity or destiny. Folk legends and fairy tales are full of stories of “once and future kings” who are brought up as the foster sons of humble woodsmen or tailors having somehow been separated from their kingly (even divine) natural parents. Indeed The New Testament tells how the King Of Kings was raised by a carpenter. In T.H. White’s version of the Arthur legend the last page sees lowly Wart being told the truth of his past by mystic Merlyn:
“Well, Wart,” said Merlyn…I was not allowed to tell you before, or since, but your father was…King Uther Pendragon, and it was I myself, disguised as a beggar, who first carried you to Sir Ecor’s castle, in your golden swaddling bands. I know all about your birth and parentage and who gave you your real name. I know the sorrows before you, and the joys, and how there will never again be anybody who dares to call you by the friendly name of Wart. In future it will be your glorious doom to take up the burden and to enjoy the nobility of your proper name…my dear liege lord, King Arthur.”
Blair was not literally brought up by a foster parent. His father Leo was a lawyer. But press coverage of him reflects the notion that somehow this talented man was “out there” ready to receive his destiny. In his case that destiny came in May 1994 with the sudden death by heart attack of the much-loved and relatively traditional Labour leader John Smith.
I have mentioned how Jungians Robert L Moore and Douglas Gillette emphasize the “inclusivity” that must be exercised by the King archetype to rule effectively. They describe it as “creative ordering” And constitutional restructuring and “inclusivity” were and are major political planks of Mr Blair. Mr Blair was seen to distance himself from his party and with vested interested associated with it like trade unions. “Blairism” was perceived to be the philosophy of the Government not socialism. And this was part of the drive to “include” as many parts of the population as possible. Even Labour’s former arch critic, media baron Rupert Murdoch, saw the appeal of the New King and, in a volte-face that stunned observers, threw the weight of his newspapers behind Mr Blair in the 1997 General Election. Tellingly, even natural events such as the solar eclipse of 1999 were later deemed to be somehow part of the New Labour revolution. Blake Morrison wryly called it “on message” in a glancing reference to New Labour’s reputation for ordering its backbench ‘troops’. In yet another invocation of the Arthur legend he continued:
If eclipses, like hurricanes, were given names, this one might be
called Merlin, since a strange magic seems to have possessed the
kingdom. Why are people so spellbound? What is driving them in such
numbers towards King Arthur's realm?
The day after Princess Diana’s sudden death on August 31, 1997, Tony Blair addressed the nation and, probably unwittingly, associated himself mythically with the sovereign family. But his most manifest regal pose came when he visited refugees in warswept former Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999. Pictures taken in Bradze Refugee Camp in Macedonia on May 3 like that in Figure 6 showed hands reaching out, almost as though seeking a cure for their ills like people did in medieval times:
…related to this idea of the king's divinity was the belief in the healing power of "The King's Touch."
As Weinby wrote:
In the Middle Ages…it was commonly believed that a king’s touch would cure scrofula [a kind of tuberculosis]
Figure 6. Blair in Kosovo from News International picture library. Copyright NGN
Figure 7 News of the World August 1, 1999
Blair went to Pristina in Kosovo in August and received the same kingly treatment. The News of the World wrote in a 60pt headline:
It’s tears and cheers as Kosovo greets hero Blair
Yet at stage there was little that even Blair’s spin doctors could describe as heroic about his actions. This was the public adoration of The King. The facts fitting the myth. Other keys to the mythologising of Tony Blair in the press were the an attempt by some newspapers “friendly” to labour to portray the former leader of the Opposition William Hague as a childish brat. His image is in fact, from Mr Blair’s political point of view, a perfect “Weakling Prince”. This is the shadow aspect of The Divine Child (later The King) described by Moore and Gillette as:
Appearing to have very little personality, no enthusiasm for life, and very little initiative. This is the boy who needs to be coddled, who dictates to those around him by his silent or his whining and complaining helplessness.
Hague fought back against this mythic type-casting by emphasising his macho judo training…and even his drinking exploits, which attracted negatives such as:
BILLY LIAR: Did Hague sup 14 pints a day?
Fertility is a huge part of The King personality. Using the technical language of Jungian therapy with reference to the King archetype, Moore and Gillette maintain:
Two functions of King energy make the transition from Boy psychology to Man psychology possible. The first of these is ordering; the second is the providing of fertility and blessing.
Furthermore, Moore and Gillette insist: “The king underlies the Father archetype.” So the unexpected arrival of Blair’s fourth child, Leo, in May 2000 did much to reinforce Blair’s archetypal base as a fertile leader in every sense. He had already proved his competence as a manager or ‘orderer’. His popularity as an incumbent Prime Minister has remained unmatched in modern times. Pollsters Atkinson and Mortimore wrote:
Satisfaction with the government's performance and with Mr Blair as Prime Minister far surpasses the record of his recent predecessors. 
The Mirror published five pages of the baby. It’s huge simple headlined using the possessive first person captured the mood of the country: OUR LEO. The anti-Labour Daily Mail used seven pages of photographs of the Blair family the same day, leading with the regally loaded front page banner headline: Leo Takes A Bow. The Mirror’s great rival, The Sun harked back to an earlier headline when it claimed to have influenced a General Election victory. As Figure 8 shows they declared on May 23, 2000: It’s The Sun Wot Won It!
Figure 8 The Sun, May 23, 2000
The immediate effects of little Leo’s birth were reported by the Press Association:
LONDON, May 24: Baby Leo Blair has halted the slide in the British government's popularity, according to new poll figures released tonight.
In a poll…just under half the people were questioned before the birth of the Blair's baby boy in the early hours of Saturday morning and the rest after.
In the pre-Leo poll, the Tories had risen to 34 per cent and Labour had fallen sharply to 46 per cent.
But among those questioned after the birth, the Tories had slipped back to 31 per cent with Labour on 49 per cent.
There was also a Leo-effect on Blair's personal rating. In the pre-Leo sample, 45 per cent were satisfied with his performance and 42 per cent dissatisfied.
Post-Leo, 51 per cent of people were satisfied with his performance compared with 40 per cent dissatisfied.
Note the article’s us of the phrase “fallen sharply” to 46 per cent. Historically 46 per cent for an incumbent UK government is unheard of in modern times. Even the name Leo, from Blair’s father, resonates with myth. Its lion meaning recalls Aslan from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe series of children’s books. But CS Lewis’s messianic figure needed no Labour Party spin doctors to help weave a mythic image. The children in the book are awe-struck when they meet the lion-hero for the first time:
When they tried to look at Aslan’s face they just caught a glimpse of the golden mane and the great royal solemn overwhelming eyes; and then they found they couldn’t look at him and went all trembly.
A key associate of the King is the Magician or Wizard. He is the wise (sometimes perceived as evil) adviser who has access to magical powers and substances. He is Merlin to Arthur or Gandalf to Frodo. He is the shaman or witch doctor who advises the tribal chief. He is the ‘eminence gris’ who whispers in the ear of the medieval king. Moore and Gillette give a comprehensive description of this figure in an aboriginal society:
There is the magician – the holy man, the witch doctor, the shaman. Whatever his title, his speciality is knowing something that others don’t know. He knows for instance, the secrets of the movements of the stars, the phases of the moon, the north-south swings of the sun. He knows when to plant, when to harvest or when the hers will arrive next spring. He can predict the weather. He has knowledge of medicinal herbs and poisons. He understands the hidden dynamics of the human psyche and so can manipulate other human beings, for good or ill. He is the one who can effectively bless and curse. He understands the links between the unseen world of the spirits – the Divine World – and the world of human beings and nature.
In spirit, the description fits New labour’s arch ‘spin-doctor’ Peter Mandelson, now Ulster Secretary. From the creation New Labour Mandelson was described by British newspapers as The Prince of Darkness. The Public Relations skills of “spinning” were his “dark arts”. Even in “serious” newspapers the soubriquet stuck. The Financial Times carried it in an article as recently as spring 1999 after Mandelson had moved to the Ulster office from his previous “spin doctor” role.
Occasionally another adviser was given the same archetypal role, like New Labour pollster and focus group expert Philip Gould - described in one article as the shadowy Merlin behind Blair. The Merlin metaphor accompanies Blair and his spin-doctors continuously as part of the Premier’s mythic persona. Modern newspaper-readers tap their noses knowingly at the PM’s shadowy advisers, just as medieval observers might have winked about the activities of wizardly advisers in their king’s court. Public Relations, TV ‘spinning’ and focus group ‘mumbo-jumbo’ has replaced the ‘lead-to-gold’ images of earlier eras. Moore and Gillette could be describing modern PR techniques when they say:
Merlin frequently guides Arthur and, in effect, works to initiate him into appropriate ways of accessing the King energy.
Speaking of the Gnostics, a movement of mystics often discussed by Jung, they unwittingly draw another parallel with the “smoke and mirrors” of modern political PR ‘spin doctors’ by saying:
They taught their initiates how to tread their way through the treacherous darkness of human delusions.
The Merlin metaphor recurs continually: Hence Peter Riddell talks of “a media Merlin” in The Times. The Camelot references continued to pour from journalists. In four national newspapers (Daily Telegraph, The Independent, Mirror and Daily Mail) from January 1, 1997 to December 31, 2000 there were 57 joint references to Peter Mandelson and Merlin, or the Black Arts, according to research I did on the News International intranet cuttings library. Research into joint usage of the words Blair, Arthur and Camelot could not however be relied on because of the confusing and frequent publication of the names Arthur Scargill and Camelot, the firm that runs the National Lottery.
And the royal comparisons continue, from the Daily Mail’s Royal Anger Over Blair’s Flight to accusation three days later that Blair’s wife Cherie is “the Queen behind the throne”. Reportage of Blair’s Round Table of ministers also continues to carry courtly connotations. His select band of political ‘knights’ are consistently described by British national newspapers as ‘Tony’s cronies’ and Arthurian images continue to be used by newspapers to illustrate the connection as in the one below of New Labour’s rose badge twining around Arthur’s mythical sword in the stone Excalibur.
Figure 9 The Guardian, May 23, 2000
It is difficult to select pieces of newspaper prose about Blair from the British press to analyse because UK newspapers are so politically biased, and that prejudice skews the language. That is to say, their news stories about political events are rarely ‘objective’ accounts, but are usually slanted to suit the political bent of the organ. I will examine here the language of two relatively politically neutral pieces about Blair. The first is from a story in The Times by Peter Ridell on Friday November 10, 1995. The myth shines through the similes. This is the passage. I have broken it up into numbered lines to facilitate the analysis:
1. (Headline) Don’t Shoot The Tory Messenger
2. Indeed, they are too mesmerised by Mr Mandelson and Mr Campbell.
3. They exaggerate their impact and are too eager to believe that if they
could find a Tory version, a media Merlin, everything would be fine.
1. The military metaphor in the headline, modified by what follows, places us on a medieval battlefield.
2. Wizards and magicians mesmerise. Mr (Peter) Mandelson and Mr (Alastair) Campbell (former and current New Labour spin doctors) are being compared to courtly wizards, particularly Arthur’s Merlin or Aragon’s Gandalf (from Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings).
3. A media Merlin is self-explanatory. The media are the black arts of the modern court of Camelot.
Another newspaper piece echoes this mythic scenario. It appeared in The Sunday Times on May 24, 1998:
1. (Headline) The Shadowy Merlin Keeping Blair Focused
2 Any political campaign nowadays contains shadowy courtiers whose
influence is in inverse ratio to their public profile.
3. In nooks and crannies away from the glare of the hustings, bones are hurled into steaming cauldrons, entrails examined with a knowing eye and
pseudo-scientific mantras chanted in accordance with immemorial
4. Little wonder that as the vote in Ulster came to its climax last
week, Philip Gould, Labour's opinion pollster and guru of the focus
group method, was a vital member of Tony Blair's emergency team
parachuted in to secure a yes vote against alarming trends.
1. Merlin evokes the wizard at the king’s shoulder. His influence on the ‘sovereign’ is explicitly described in the headline.
2. Shadowy is repeated to ram home the mythic message. As noted elsewhere repetition goes against the journalistic grain, but is often used when evoking myth or archetype. Here is might summon images of plotters in gothic corridors. Courtiers in this modern political context, is a deliberately archaic word. Where there are courtiers, there is a king, ie Arthur/Blair.
3. Nooks and crannies evokes more gothic architecture. The description in nooks and crannies away from the glare of the hustings is placed before the main clause as a scene setter, implying that the underlying mood and myth of the metaphor is at least as meaningful as the action in the main clause: bones are hurled.…The reference to steaming cauldrons evokes the witch-trio of Macbeth, again by implication, Blair is the King, this time Macbeth. (Blair’s wife Cherie is sometimes compared to Lady Macbeth in news stories. In August 2000 The Guardian ran a headline: Tories aim barbs at PM’s ‘Lady Macbeth’) The mood is passive, far more atmospheric and pervasive than the specific and subject-reliant active mood. In other words, it paints the underlying canvas, the operatic mood music. With entrails examined the passive mood continues and there is more overt mysticism, albeit as metaphor. Politics is seen in many societies as the negotiation between man and Fate. The King is the key interlocutor in this dialogue. It is the key to the modern ‘feelgood factor’ that New labour pollsters such as Gould himself place such store in. Knowing eye in this context is the sign of mystic wisdom, mantras though from a different religious culture (Hindu/Buddhist) signify the same. Immemorial is also a key word denoting the fundamental unchanging nature of the mythic truth. Custom, too, is continuous and historic. The author is suggesting traditions that far predate New Labour (or even Old Labour).
4.Guru is another transcultural mystic reference. But the piece switches from Camelot’s magical dimension to its martial one as it uses commando-style language to describe a member of Tony Blair's emergency team parachuted in.
THE Terrible Witch Mother or Dark Goddess is a force sensed by all, men and women. She is ‘wicked witch’ of fairy tales. Marie-Louise von Franz says;
The Witch is an archetypal aspect of the Great Mother. She is the neglected Mother Goddess, the Goddess of the earth in her destructive aspect. The Egyptian Mother Goddess Isis is called the great magician and the great witch: when angry she is the witch, and when benevolent the redeeming all-bestowing mother who gives birth to the gods.
This ambivalent dual polarity informs much of the coverage this archetype receives both in ancient and modern (news) media. Kingsley says:
The pantheons of all of these ancient cultures, Sumer, Israel and Greece, included Goddesses in all of their cyclical aspects, birth, life and death. The cultures and religions of Sumer and ancient Greece are gone; however, Judaism and Christianity flourish as the cultural and religious underpinning of much of the western world. Its monotheistic metaphors have evolved in a way that exclude all but male deity as supreme, and where remnants of female deity are extant, they are diminished in importance (the Virgin Mary, in New Testament Christianity) and their dark aspects are demonised (Lilith, in Old Testament Judaism.)
It is a female creative force, adopted by many western eco-feminists in the Eighties as Gaia or Earth Mother. But, like all archetypes, its motivation and personality transcends relative cultural morality, so that in some guises it appears malevolent or downright evil. The Dark Mother creates and gives life. It is also Hers to take away. She is the Shadow of the Madonna, a black mirror image of Snow White protecting her dwarves (children). She is Medea, the character in the eponymous ancient Greek play by Euripides who slaughtered the young offspring of her shattered marriage. A headline from a theatre review in February 2001 summed up the archetype: A Monstrous Killer-Witch No Longer. The screen media constantly re-presents the archetype (often with its sexual overtones) from Hollywood diva Bette Davis, whose last film (and role) appropriately summed up her years as the archetype: Wicked Stepmother (MGM, 1989) to Jade Fox (actress Pei-pei Cheng) in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Asia Union Film & Entertainment et al 2000). The latter perfectly portrayed the good-bad duality of the archetype in the alter-ego role of Governess.
Journalist Chris Hockley located the archetype in a more novel embodiment: the cartoon villainess, later played by Glenn Close, in the Walt Disney 101 Dalmatians movie series (1961 onwards). In an untaped conversation with me he said: “She reminds me of Cruella De Vil.”
And, however light-hearted it sounds, TV viewers have instinctively identified her in presenter Anne Robinson’s strict ‘schoolmaam’ persona in the quiz show The Weakest Link on BBC2. Her archetypal resonance was instinctively recognised by experienced journalists on The Sun, who knew what an impact she was having on ordinary TV viewers. The newspaper reported in a page lead:
Dozens of telly viewers are suffering nightmares – about snappy Weakest Link presenter Anne Robinson. A string of fans of the cruel BBC2 quiz have admitted having dreams about its grumpy, ginger-haired host.
Robinson took America by storm. On April 20, 2001, it “attracted 17.5 million viewers - making it the most-watched show on American TV”. Mathers described the archetype thus:
the Terrible Witch Mother… that’s the traditional name for this lady. She’s the negative aspect of an archetype called the Crone, which is the Wise Old Woman.
He adds: she is Terrible Witch Mother crossing with Anima.
Describing this archetype, Jung recalls the Underworld of ancient myths where:
…various tortures and obscenities are carried out by an Earth Mother…there are drinkings of blood…
Later he speaks of….Earth Mother…related to the Moon…through child sacrifice.
Jung wrestles with the mythic meaning of this apparent “evil” and describes it as “paradoxical morality” in the following analysis. (My feeling is that, in this particular reference, when he talks about “man” he means “men and women”. The term “feeling function” is a reference to Jung’s theory of functions which I will not expand on here)):
It seems as if the development of the feeling function in western man forced a choice on him which led to the moral splitting of the divinity into two halves. In the East the predominantly intuitive intellectual attitude left no room for feeling values and the gods – Kali is a case in point – could retain their original paradoxical morality undisturbed. Thus Kali is representative of the East and the Madonna of the West
The destructive force of the Dark Mother is part of the whole; an ineffable part of the whole that transcends human morality and (for the religious) must be accepted as part of the whole. It is NOT a uni-polar evil to be worshipped for its own sake. An ancient Indian prayer puts it thus:
Worship the Mother in all Her manifestations. She is the creative aspect of the Absolute
The destructive, even bloodthirsty aspect of the Feminine, has manifested itself in many ways in all ancients cultures and religions. The figure that has probably had most effect on western consciousness is the ancient Indian divinity, Kali, mentioned by Jung, above. Mythically she sprang to life by slaying (male) demons and is pictured often as a victorious conqueror plunging a blade into a vanquished male. A prayer to her begins, not by invoking her creative femininity, but her warlike, vengeful battle prowess. “Thou who art terrible”, it says. This archetype, as noted by Jung is often associated with the underworld, the earth and sometimes by the death or child “sacrifice”. But the underlying sense here is one of mythic renewal, not personal cruelty.
Echoing this profound paradox, Jung calls the feminine Force “the great illusionist, the seductress” He claims it draws men in particular:
…into life with her maya (power) – and not only into life’s reasonable and useful aspects, but into its frightening paradoxes and ambivalences where good and evil, success and ruin, hope and despair, counterbalance one another.
It is important to note that Kali is a LOVER, a sexual being, as well as a destroyer and creator. As well as the destructive images of her, there are many erotic ones of her in sexual congress with Shiva. The following image, with Kali using the severed head of a fallen foe and a bloody sword as tools of arousal, portrays an extreme, ancient version of the modern Dominatrix figure. And I
Figure 10 White Kali on Siva (Ajit mookerjee collection)
shall return to this comparison. Woodman and Dickson note that some people:
…continue to relate femininity to earth, snake, Satan, dark, evil – all those words that keep femininity in a subordinate position, or worse, a diabolical one…
This points to a political aspect of the archetype which, in my view, does not run counter to its mythic validity. For the masculine response to the Dark Mother is at its very root, different from the female, according to Jung’s theory of archetypes. For him a person’s psychic “soul” is contrasexual. As I explained earlier, for a woman it is the animus and for a man the anima. In the Jungian view, the animus projects itself often as a the “dark man” - the Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights or the black slave who enthrals the Southern Belle in many pulp “bodice-ripper” romances.
For a man, the anima is:
…the carrier and embodiment of this omnipresent and ageless image, which corresponds to the deepest reality in a man. It belongs to him, this parlous image of Woman.
Jung points out that
To the man of antiquity the anima appeared as a goddess or a witch
And to modern man, she is sometimes the Dominatrix I mentioned earlier. This is black negative or Shadow aspect of the sexual mother that many men often find self-contradictory and confusing. For many men there is something at once sexual and terrifying about Kali. Sex and death linked together. The Dominatrix with her fake whip, the powerful woman boss in stilettos of soft pornography, Xena Warrior Woman of TV fame; they are all manifestations of this archetypal seeming contradiction. The witch’s familiar, usually a cat, is an animal embodiment of this projection. Look at this comic book representation of a character called Pantha and note all the above aspects: sex, death, shadow, anima:
Figure 11 Pantha Comics cover
IN 1966 Myra Hindley, a young woman born in Manchester in 1942, was jailed for life for the murder of a 10-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy. Later she admitted killing another two youngsters. It is no exaggeration to say that, since then, a fortnight has not gone by without a story being reported about her. Any tabloid journalist (or indeed broadsheet journalist) will attest that she is as “good” a story now as when she was first jailed. WHY? There have been worse murderers, and worse murderesses since.
Some statistics: From January 1995 to July 2000 a computer sweep of 15 national newspapers (including two that ceased publishing part-way through the period) and three regionals revealed 2024 articles about Myra Hindley. That is an approximate average of about one story per fortnight per national paper, when variable have been factored. The same search from November 1999 to the same end point showed 1369 for Rose, or Rosemary West. Yet the Hindley trial took place nearly FORTY years ago while West’s finished only in 1995. And Rose West was found guilty of murdering TEN girls and young women helping her husband Fred rap four and indecently assaulting others. What is it about the Hindley phenomenon that still pushes the collective psychic button so long after the events in question? What is that drove the Daily Mail to dub her as recently as March, 2000 ‘Uniquely Evil’?
Hindley’s crime was undeniably barbaric. What her crimes lacked in sheer numbers, was more than matched by the cruelty of her actions to her ten-year-old victim Lesley Ann Downey. The nation was gripped at the time of trial at Chester Assizes by the tape Hindley and her lover-accomplice Ian Brady made of Downey being tortured to death. Readers of the newspapers of the time were spared the full horror of the transcript. But they were told of hardened policemen’s shock. The 17-minute tape WAS played to the court. A brilliantly observed contemporaneous report said:
The people in the packed courtroom at Chester Assizes – there were nearly 50 women in the public gallery – sat still and quiet. Then Mr John Weekes, a BBC recording engineer, switched on the recorder. After an adjustment was made to the set a voice could be heard followed by the sound of banging and footsteps.
Suddenly a child’s scream and a cry filled the room. Three women in the public gallery covered their ears with their hands. Two of them bent forward, dropping their heads on to their chests.
Ian Brady, a 28-year-old stock clerk and Myra Hindley, aged 23, sat quietly in the dock looking straight in front of them towards the judge
Another report of the day pointed out the little girl’s final taped words, which haunted the nation with their cruel and unintended irony: She told her tormentors: “I’ve got to get home before eight o’clock.” She added: “I will get killed if I don’t”.
A transcript of the 16 minute 21 second tape was published in full by the Daily Mirror during one of the frequent bouts of publicity surrounding a bid for release by Hindley or her advocate Lord Longford. It is worth repeating in full because, without demeaning in any way the murder of a child, it is the only conscious aspect of the Hindley case that can be claimed to make it so memorable. Yet, even then, for years the British public had not read or heard them. They were left to guess at the appalling contents. This was just part of the awful tape:
LESLEY ANN: “Let me go. Don’t undress me. I want to see Mummy.” Later she screams: “Don’t. Mum, ah!”
HINDLEY: “Shut up.”
LESLEY ANN: “Please God help me, ah, please, oh.”
HINDLEY: “Come on.”
LESLEY ANN: “Please, please, (then faintly) “Help, oh. I can’t while you’ve got hold of my neck. Oh! (followed by a scream).
Are these terrible word then the words that the public had not heard, what makes Hindley so memorable? Little Lesley Ann’s appalling fate had macabre and all too real echoes of the fairy tale plight of Gretel who was snared in a Terrible Witch Mother’s home. However, in that tale, the child tricked her captor into an oven and
…ran away and left the wicked witch to perish miserably.
Von Franz says of this child-stealing manifestation of the Dark Goddess:
We are dealing here with a very widespread archetypal motif in which a demonic figures carries off a human being to assist either in housework or in bodily care (washing, combing, lousing). It is as though the dark demonic world itself longed for the ordering function of the human consciousness and could not exist without it.
However, Rose West was every bit as cruel to her own daughter Anna Marie. And this time the world DID hear the atrocious details.
Fred had plans for the cellar…he was either going to make it into a place for Rose to entertain her clients ( she was a prostitute) or he would soundproof it and use it as his “torture chamber”.
The first client was his eight-year-old daughter, Anna Marie. He and Rose undressed her and told her she was lucky that she had such caring parents who were making sure that when she got married she would be able to satisfy her husband. Anna Marie’s hands were tied behind her and a gag put in her mouth.
Then while Rose held the girl down, her father raped her.
Rose also helped to bind and tie two other victims whose last weeks were spent in blindfolded agony as the couple abused them. Yet Rose’s name does not resonate like Hindley’s. The latter’s name recurs again in again in headlines throughout the popular and broadsheet press.
The Bible commands: Thou shalt not suffer a Witch to live. The newspapers also command: Thou shalt not suffer Myra Hindley to live. Hence the 40-year campaign to keep her in prison, a euphemism for burying her, which of course is not permitted under British law. So she is still so worthy of valuable newspaper space, 40 years after her crime, that every detail of her life continues to provide copy and headlines for newspapers across the market spectrum. It is not just tabloids. In February, 2000, The Guardian filled the whole front page of its second section with an image of Hindley’s face and carried the headline: Inside the mind of Britain’s most reviled murderer. Here is just a relatively recent selection of others:
Myra left alone with girl, 8
Jailed Moors murderer Myra Hindley spent three hours looking after an eight-year-old girl with only her lesbian lover supervising the astonishing visit.
Fury over Hindley’s £120 back specialist
Fury erupted last night after it emerged that child killer Myra Hindley is receiving £120-a-week private treatment in jail for her bad back.
Revealed: luxury lifestyle of child murderer Hindley
Extraordinary details of the privacy and unparalleled luxury enjoyed by Moors murderess Myra Hindley emerged last night.
The hidden message in a card sent by Hindley
With its nativity scene and sleeping baby in a crib, this card (pictured) epitomises the peace and harmony of Christmas. However it takes a disturbing twist when you discover it was sent by Moors murderer Myra Hindley.
Myra’s sickening murder confession
We Killed Pauline…then had a drink to celebrate
Evil Myra Hindley confesses on TV tonight how she and ian Brady celebrated their first murder by downing Drambuie and sharing passionate kisses.
There is an element of sexuality in the image of Hindley that is predominantly used: the blonde photograph taken of her before she went into prison. A second image, of her as an older brunette taken in prison is hardly ever used. The blonde picture (Figure 13) is heavily retouched by the original handlers (possibly the Press Association, but they are unrecorded). The hair is made more wispy and the lips more curved. It is worth repeating here that Kali is a LOVER, a sexual being, as well as a destroyer and creator. As well as the destructive images of her, there are many erotic ones.
Figure 13 Myra Hindley Figure 14 Marilyn Monroe
It is also worth noting that two of three of the best-known contemporary iconic paintings are of Myra Hindley (from palm-prints of children’s hands by Marcus Harvey) and Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol. I have placed another classic image of Monroe (Figure 14) opposite the blonde picture of Hindley and invite you to compare them. The third popular iconic painting is also by Warhol. And it is of Princess Diana. Sexuality is implicit in the press reporting of Hindley right from the Moors Murders trial in 1965. A court reporter of the time wrote:
She’s a bleach blonde, reverting at the roots to near-black
Below I examine in detail some of the language used by a tabloid newspaper to report the Hindley phenomenon. My subject is a passage from a story in The Sun of March 10, 2001 (Page 4). Once again I break up the piece into numbered sections for ease of analysis:
1. (Headline) Myra’s Turn To Feel pain
2. (Subhead) Evil Moors Murderer in hospital
3. These exclusive photos show evil Moors Murderer Myra Hindley yesterday – hunched and grimacing with pain.
4. The monster who inflicted so much suffering on her young victims and their families was in agony as she was taken to hospital.
5. The Sun’s pictures – the first of Hindley, 58, for SEVEN YEARS – were taken as the hobbling child killer arrived or surgery on a leg.
6. Two warders who accompanied her from Highpoint jail, Suffolk, helped her from a prison van to a wheelchair.
7. (this paragraph was printed in italics by the newspaper) Hindley – Ian Brady’s partner in a string of crimes which horrified the world – had arrived at the West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, shortly after 7am.
8. She was admitted because a pin fitted in her leg after a fall had worked itself loose. It is believed she will remain in hospital until tomorrow.
9. Her appearance had altered considerably since she was last photographed – also by The Sun – in March 1994.
10. The brown hair she had then appeared to have developed a redder hue, indicating a change to the dye she has used to avoid going grey.
11. (crossheading) Swollen
12. Her face was more wrinkled and pockmarked than when she was last seen in public.
13. (picture heading) She suffers
14. (picture heading) Her torment
1.The use of the words Turn and Pain heavily imply ‘eye for an eye’ revenge. This is public execution, asking the reader to watch her ‘pain’.
2.The adjective evil is the moral antidote to hospital in case that noun evokes sympathy. The adjective precedes the noun and pre-empts possible sympathy.
3.This is an unusual way to start a tabloid page lead. It is known by UK tabloid production journalists as ‘nosing on the pics’. In other words, instead of writing ‘Myra Hindley grimaced yesterday’, a direct present-tense statement about the accompanying photographs is made. The reader is invited to become a spectator at the presumed approaching, and deserved, death of Hindley, as though at a public witch-burning of the middle ages. Despite the ‘shock horror’ caricature of tabloid prose style, good red-tops like The Sun do NOT usually indulge in hyperbole. They do not waste adjectives because they do not have the space. So the decision to include the word ‘evil’ is meaningful, as it is to include it in the subsidiary headline. Evil means demonic. This immediately signifies Myra’s place as an icon, or archetype. The words hunched and grimacing with pain are carefully chosen. In the rather fuzzy photographs, Hindley is neither hunched, nor grimacing. In one her eyes are half-closed and her hand sits on a knee as she sits in a wheelchair. (Although the wheels of the chair are cropped out of the displayed photograph in case they signify vulnerability – not part of the Terrible Witch Mother narrative). Hindley looks like a weary middle-aged woman. The reader ‘needs’ to be told what he/she is ‘really’ seeing; in other words, the archetypal myth needs to be delineated by the language. For centuries witches have been portrayed as hunched, grimacing crones on broomsticks. These two adjectives immediately point the reader to the ‘correct’ archetype. The word pain is consensually joyful. Having been cued by the headline, its repetition in the intro again declares, in the words that a medieval priest might have used at a witch-burning: See how the witch justly suffers and rejoice!
4. The monster who inflicted so much suffering on her young victims and their families was in agony as she was taken to hospital. This second paragraph immediately reinforces the message of the headline and intro. We can imagine the priest telling the howling mob that what burns before them is a monster, not a suffering human being. This frees them from the duty of any Christian compassion. A monster is not human, not an appropriate target of sympathy. The subsidiary clause, unusually not even surrounded by commas, immediately reminds the reader why she is there suffering, justly suffering: who inflicted so much suffering on her young victims and their families. These were young victims, ie children. Their families re cited to show that ‘victims’ still survive; their suffering still needs to be revenged.
5. The inclusion of Hindley’s age at this point is not mythically meaningful. It is part of the copy style of the newspaper. The adjective hobbling as opposed to limping was chosen again to avoid evoking sympathy. Limping is sad, to be pitied. Hobbling is grotesque, monstrous. It evokes, even in the structure of the word, goblins and the like. Animals are generally hobbled not humans. The dictionary gives the second meaning of hobbled as “to fetter the legs of (a horse) in order to restrict movement”. The word childkiller follows after the word murderer has been used twice (including headline) in just 70 words. In that brief passage we have also had the word monster. These all drive home Hindley’s murderous past. Again, for a newspaper famed for its ‘tight subbing’ ie editing out of superfluous or repetitious adjectives, the inclusion of so many of these terms in a major story is meaningful.
6. This is a rare example, in tabloid coverage of the Hindley saga, of a mythically neutral paragraph. There are no mythic signifiers (as defined by Barthes). It is purely informative.
7. Italicisation of a paragraph is a tabloid device which both introduces typographical variance into a longer-than-usual story and highlights meaningful content. The use of dashes around a subsidiary clause is normal tabloid practice. It is often used to drop in a phrase of background while the main clause informs the reader of a new fact. Here yet again the subsidiary clause is chosen to remind the reader why the monster is tied to the newspaper’s stake. The word horrified indicates demonic inhumanity.
8. Another rare paragraph of mythically neutral information. Note that no adjectives or verbs that could possible evoke sympathy are used:
9. This paragraph is intriguing in the detailed and even laborious (for a slick tabloid like The Sun ) way it describes the mundane phenomenon of a woman colouring her hair:
10. The brown hair she had then appeared to have developed a redder hue, indicating a change of the dye she has used to avoid going grey. Appeared indicates dissembling, a trait of all witches. The archaic word hue (as a tabloid journalist for 30 years I cannot ever remember using it) is loaded with almost gothic mystery, even menace in this context, when augmented by the satanic colour red. The ‘unnaturalness’ of hair colouring is emphasised here. This brings attention to the witch’s unnatural nature.
11. To add to this image, an underlined crosshead follows saying Swollen. Crossheads are typographical devices positioned to give the reader’s eye a rest in a long story. But tabloid sub-editors put a lot of thought into choosing them. A good sub will pick words that reflect the theme of the story. In this case swollen augments the earlier uses of hunched and grimacing to evoke a monstrous inhuman creature.
12. This paragraph hammers home that image even more. The accompanying photographs do not bear out the choice of the words pock-marked and wrinkled which describe the archetypal features of a witch.
13 and 14. Other aspects of this two-page spread are direct appeals to the reader to watch (and enjoy) the witch’s suffering. A headline under one picture, in black capital letters much bigger and bolder than the newspaper’s normal typographical style, says: SHE SUFFERS, under another HER TORMENT.
The sexually alluring touched-up Press Association photograph of Hindley as a Marilyn Monroe-style blonde in also used to remind readers of her wicked attractiveness as a girl. The comeuppance of the once-attractive ‘monster’ has the kind of ‘moral beauty’ described by Barthes and a bold white on black headline (known as a WOB) over pictures of her victims conveys the imperative to readers: NEVER FORGET. The whole narrative of this spread is instructional, which Mathers tells us is the purpose of mythic narrative. Or as Andrew Tolson puts it narratives reduce the unique or the unusual to familiar and regular patterns of expectation.
Brief examination of another newspaper story about Hindley, this time in the Mail On Sundayshow how journalists emphasize the ‘luxurious’ nature of her life in jail. It is a sample of instructional mythic narrative, whose task is to invoke ‘just fury’ at the witch’s escape from True punishment (death by burning).
1.(headline) Revealed: Luxury lifestyle of child murderer Hindley
2.Extraordinary details of the privacy and unparalleled luxury enjoyed by Moors murderes Myra Hindley emerged last night.
3. After years in prison, Hindley lives in conditions which make other inmates jealous and have angered some prison officers guarding her.
4. Hindley, whose affair with Ian Brady turned into a sadistic child-killing spree in the Sixties, has two cells to herself and round-the-clock access to a television and a computer. She sleeps on an orthopaedic bed bought for her by well-wishers and enjoys regular visits in her cell from a hairdresser. Her suite is even carpeted and fitted with curtains to match her blue and white duvet covers.
2. Extraordinary equals unnatural.
3. The second clause is important. Making criminals jealous is not meaningful, but angering just and true guards is.
4. The subsidiary clause starting whose affair introduces her background high in the story, as The Sun’s does. The word sadistic is introduced to remind the reader of the witch’s past. There follows a detailed list of domestic details that would do justice to a magazine like Home And Gardens. But the word even is deliberately judgemental. It is stating that the cell should not have these ‘luxuries’.
THERE have always been goddesses. They never went away. They are as much part of the narrative of modern life as they were in pre-Christian Europe. And newspapers, as the prime narrators, use them in their stories. The dictionary defines goddess as:
1. A female divinity
2. A woman who is adored or idealized
It is the second definition that is taken up by newspapers. Tabloid newspapers have long used the terms ‘sex goddess’ and ‘film goddess’ to describe desirable female celebrities who have attained iconic status. There is no definitive stage at which this status is achieved. But experienced journalists, such as myself, make a cultural and journalistic judgement that a person has moved from the status of ‘star’ to ‘goddess’. Marilyn Monroe is a famous example of this. References to her as a ‘sex goddess’ are too many and frequent to list here usefully. But even ‘quality’ broadsheets newspapers freely use the term in their own, more rarefied, contexts. Hence this headline in The Times describing cooking guru Nigella Lawson, worshipped by many young middle-class homemakers in Britain:
A modest goddess
The word ‘goddess’ then is in free use in British newspapers. And, by choosing it, journalists imply a status greater than celebrity.
The Roman goddess of love was Venus. Her Greek name was Aphrodite. An internet search of that name on the Google search engine reveals 179,000 entries. Many entries are pornographic or romantic. This then is no redundant name. It still resonates in our western culture. The successful 1995 film Mighty Aphrodite directed by Woody Allen stars the statuesque Mira Sorvino as prostitute Linda Ash. She is that stereotype beloved of film, drama and literature a ‘tart with a heart’ – a female figure who combines sexuality and compassionate love. We will meet this archetype again later in this chapter.
Another Greek goddess was Artemis, the huntress. She is a virgin goddess in the mythological sense. As Jungian analyst Esther Harding writes:
A woman who is virgin, one-in-herself, does what she does – not because of any desire to please, not to be liked, or to be approved, even by herself, not because of any desire to gain power over another, to catch his interest or love, but because what she does is true.
This image of the independent “one in herself” sexy young woman is very much at home on the pages of modern newspapers. Traditionally she is armed with a bow and arrow. And journalists are not the only agents of the press to have an instinct for the cultural importance of such icons, or archetypes. Advertising agencies rely on these gods and goddesses to sell product for their clients. Study this advertisement from The Daily Mail of October 21, 2000. It was just part of a huge advertising campaign launched by car makers Peugeot, promoting a car they hope would appeal to independent women. The name Artemis was never mentioned in any copy. The image was not explained, captioned or embellished. But the image is explicit. Self-evidently advertisers knew it would push the required psychic buttons
Figure 16 Peugeot newspaper advert
Although Aphrodite is not mentioned, ‘love’ is. And the reader would be correct in thinking that the goddesses Artemis and Aphrodite had been combined or confused. But as Mathers explains:
Certain archetypes go close together…
Bolen describes this phenomenon as it relates to the Great Mother Goddess: the universal female divinity, originally thought to be a pre-Classical Babylonian goddess. Bolen says that, to one extent or another, aspects of all the Greek divinities co-exist in the psyches of modern women. But they are all subservient to the greater female archetype. She writes:
The Great Mother goddess became fragmented into many lesser goddesses, each receiving attributes that once belonged to her: Hera got the ritual of the sacred marriage, Demeter her mysteries, Athena her snake, Aphrodite her doves and Artemis her function as lady Of The Wild Things (wildlife).
The Roman name of Artemis is Diana. No woman’s name in modern newspaper history sparked more photographs and stories (as I shall show in the next chapter). As the Princess of Wales who died in a car crash in 1997 she captivated the nation and most of the world. It is no exaggeration to say she was worshipped, particularly after her death. The following two images from The Daily Mail of Thursday December 30, 1999, are just two images of her as a goddess. The first, below, was a statue unveiled at the Tate gallery in Liverpool. The second shows Diana as a Hindu goddess and went on show at the Glasgow
Figure 17 Liverpool Tate
Figure 18 Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art
Gallery of Modern Art. So Diana, often thought of as a love goddess is named after the huntress. The huntress in Babylonian terms was Astarte, the Great Goddess. Many divine aspects interweave in this modern press subject then, in the manner described by Bolen. But perhaps this description of Aphrodite by Bolen best captures the image of Princess Diana:
Aphrodite…in a…category all her own…She was the most beautiful and irresistible of the goddesses. She had many affairs…she generated love and beauty, erotic attraction, sensuality, sexuality and new life…was in relationships like a vulnerable goddess.
The reference to a “vulnerable goddess” leads us to another archetype, one that I believe is the main ‘role’ occupied by Diana in the social and cultural narrative provided by the press. This is the archetype of the Sacred Prostitute. Sometimes she is referred to as the Virgin Whore. Virgin here is in the sense of ‘complete’ or psychically unfractured, described previously by Esther Harding as “one in herself”.
British tabloid readers all know the journalistic description of ‘tart with a heart’. She is the vice girl who is also compassionate, even maternal. I referred earlier to the film Mighty Aphrodite. Another modern film (1990) to portray this role is Pretty Woman. Julia Roberts plays Viv Ward, a prostitute who becomes a loving companion to the leading man played by Richard Gere. This archetype is a sex-giving woman who also provides a spiritual haven. She appears in folklore and Fairy Tales in a slightly different form.
The Lady of the House of Sleep is a familiar figure in fairytale and myth…she is the paragon of all paragons of beauty, the reply to all desire, the bliss bestowing goal of every hero’s earthly and unearthly quest. She is mother, sister, mistress, bride…she is the incarnation of the promise of perfection…the bliss that was once known will be known again.
Leonard Cohen wrote of her in his songs Suzanne and Sisters of Mercy:
you down to
her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night beside her…
touched her perfect body
with your mind.
Oh the sisters
they are not departed or gone.
They were waiting for me
when I thought that I just can't go on.
And they brought me their comfort
and later they brought me this song.
Oh I hope you run into them,
you who've been travelling so long.
If you had been a man “travelling so long” in Assyria in about 3,000 BC at the end of your journey you might have encountered the ancient, and holy, precursor of the ‘tart with a heart’ – a sacred prostitute at the temple of the Great Mother goddess:
Imagine the sacred prostitute greeting the stranger, a world-weary man who has come to the temple to worship the goddess of love. No words are spoken; her outstretched arms and the soft, warm expression of her radiant eyes and face say what needs to be said. In her private chambers the sacred love-room of the temple, filled with the fragrance of herbs and flowers, she bathes the stranger ofring him balm…The woman and the stranger know that the consummation of the love act is consecrated by the deity through which they are renewed.
The archetype of the sacred prostitute, or virgin whore, is also just as much part of the narrative of modern society as she ever was. And once again newspapers, as the narrator, search for her and re-present her to their readers. Look at this painting, A Seated Nude in1884 by A.W Bouguereau, (copyright Sterling and Francine Clark art institute, Williamstown, Mass)
Figure 19 Seated Nude by A.W. Bouguereau (1825-1905)
In contemporary eyes the nunnish style of her headwear and her naked form appear ambivalent, even contradictory. To some, even shocking. But the image , chosen for the cover of The Sacred Prostitute, leads us to another personification of the Sacred Prostitute archetype which lies at the heart of the foundation of modern western civilisation: Christianity. That personification is an unusual one as it resides in TWO Biblical figures: the two Marys. They are the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ, and Mary Magdalene, known popularly as a prostitute who followed Christ, although her Biblical origins are slightly more ambiguous.
The best description of this ‘Shadow Mary’ is given by French editor Bertrand Eveno. He writes:
MARIE MADELEINE (saint) or MARIE DE MAGDALA or LA MAGDALEENNE, the name under which the western Christian tradition has, for a long time and in a collective way, called three different people. They are all cited distinctly in the Gospels: the anonymous sinner in the story of Luke who washed Jesus’s feet during the banquet at Simon’s; Marie de Magdala who was the first to see Jesus after the Resurrection; Marie de Bethanie, the sister of Lazarus and Martha.
These distinct Biblical female figures have been rolled into one in folk lore and culture and turned into a kindly prostitute… a ‘tart with a heart’. They have filled a folk longing, a folk need, for this archetype.
After all, as Bailey points out:
…the essential element of sexual attractiveness (is) a vital part of motherhood…
Mathers says the Christ story in many ways a retelling of the Egyptian myth of Isis. He says:
In Egyptian mythology Isis is both the virgin and the whore. ..2,00 years later in Jerusalem everyone would know this story…you get a good ‘journalist’ on the story…you’ve got to have a virgin in it, and you’ve got to have a prostitute. You can imagine a journalist on the Jerusalem Daily Herald writing it up that way.
Hence the secondary paradox of Mary the archetype is that she is not only both virgin and mother, but virgin and whore. This paradox is here with us today. Madonna, one of the most successful pop icons of all time, is currently perhaps its most universal manifestation. It is surely no coincidence that her creator Madonna Ciccone was born of devout Roman Catholic American-Italian parents near Detroit in 1958. She took the Madonna goddess, recognised her sexual ambiguity and projected it on stage. In one part of her erotic stage act she has, to the fury of the Catholic establishment, even donned nun’s garb. She once said:
How could I have been anything else but what I am, having been named Madonna. I would either have ended up a nun or this.
This combination of sexuality and saintliness is familiar to people in all cultures. The ‘double-headed’ Mary is reflected in screen icons , notably Marilyn Monroe. Her ravenous sexuality is famously juxtaposed with pouting , childish, pseudo-virginal ‘innocence’ which is a crucial part of her attraction; a vital key to the way in which men and women engage with the archetype she represents. Popular songs by more mainstream stars than Cohen have always reflected this:
When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, Let it be.
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me…
There is still a light that shines on me
Such visitations to male singers are usually in bed. They are as sexual as they are spiritual. Hence Robbie Williams says Angels visit him “when I’m lying in my bed”. He adds:
And through it all she offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I'm right or wrong
This then is a visitation by a goddess. Erotic, yes. But ultimately celestial and healing. But let us not lose sight of the specific archetype which is the sacred prostitute. She is historically the priestess of the goddess. However, in the act of holy (and corporal) union, she becomes the goddess herself. Her sexuality is forgiven, and, ambivalently, even adored by the populace she serves. One contemporary newspaper subject fits is perfectly described by my last sentence: Princess Diana.
AS I showed in the last chapter, Princess Diana is a goddess. The dictionary firstly defines goddess as a female divinity, and secondly as:
A woman who is adored or idealised
No one could argue with this ‘metaphorical’ interpretation of the world. But is there any way at all in which it can be interpreted more literally? Clive Goodman, Royal Editor of the News of the World, confirms:
Diana was without doubt the most photographed subject on the planet. No one else came close. Newspapers from Beijing to Boston could not publish enough images of her to sate public demand.
But when does a celebrity become a god or goddess? Let us look again at the definitions I explored in Chapter Two. It is informative to recall in detail Boden’s view:
C.G. Jung introduced the concept of archetypes into psychology. Archetypes are pre-existent or latent, internally determined patterns of being and behaving, of perceiving and responding. These patterns are contained in a collective unconscious - that part of the unconscious that is not individual, but universal or shared. These patterns can be described in a personalised way, as gods and goddesses; their myths are archetypal stories. They evoke feelings and images and touch on themes that are universal and part of our human inheritance. They ring true to our shared human experience; so they seem vaguely familiar even when heard for the first time. And when you interpret a myth about a god…it can have the impact of a personal dream that illuminates a situation and your own character…
Diana, throughout her ‘career’ as a newspaper subject “touched on themes that are universal”. But, if she was a goddess, which one was she? Goddesses have many stories, many myths. Journalists, firstly in the UK, and soon throughout the world, found themselves seeking the Diana myth. There are no records known to me of the briefings a national newspaper tabloid editor gave his or her reporters during the Diana phenomenon. But, based on my experience in the newsrooms of those newspapers, I can make an informed guess. At any stage of the phenomenon any Fleet Street briefing could be summed up by the phrase: What’s the story? In other words: what’s the myth?
Here the news editor would be falling into the same trap as I almost did when embarking on my research for this dissertation. As I told Dr Dale Mathers: “I’ve been looking for the neat and tidy archetype to fit newspaper characters.” His reply to me was illuminating:
The thing is, an archetype is an innate biological pattern which drives a certain kinds of behaviours.. we need to survive. For example during this interview with you I’ll be using the archetype of the Wise Old Man …I’ll be using the archetype of Trickster…I’ll be incarnating some aspects of the Father archetype as older man we’ve got some kind of sharing together…
What Mathers indicated was the way that archetypes (or ‘gods’ or ‘myths’) both personally and as collective targets for psychic projections, change from one to another. So the answer to the News Editor’s question “What’s the story?” would be different depending on at which stage of Diana’s life it was asked…and at what stage of the public’s evolving perception of her.
Diana came to the British public’s attention in 1980 when, as a minor member of an establishment family, the heir to the Throne, Prince Charles, began to court her. The most obvious archetypal chord she was likely to strike with the public was the Fairy Princess. The need for a ‘real’ or validated princess is a theme of hundreds of fairy tales. Stories of princesses undergoing tests abound:
Now it was plain that the lady must be a real princess since she had been able to feel three lttle peas through the twenty mattreses and twenty featherbeds.
The Fairy Princess is the mythical template for Everywoman’s day as the Virgin Bride. From the beginning journalists and other observers evoked this image. And, interestingly, no information that I can find was reported to contradict this image. No earlier boyfriends were interviewed. No stories of vulgar childhood horseplay recounted. Perhaps there were none, although given her generational context - she was 19 in 1981 – it seems unlikely.
The Fairytale Princess archetype or ‘story’ seemed unchallengeable when Prince Charles, after dating her for seven months, rang her in early February 1981 to ask to see her when he returned from a ski-ing holiday in his favourite winter resort of Klosters. He saw her and asked to marry her. The proposal scene could have been penned by Diana’s step-godmother, the romantic novelist, the late Dame Barbara Cartland. But it was left to Daily Mail journalist (and later confidant of the princess) Richard Kay to describe:
Charles sat her down and began by saying: “I’ve missed you so much.” He didn’t take her hand – “there was never anything tactile about him” – but then he said: “Will you marry me?”
The fairytale aura was quickly picked up by the Press. Kay himself called the wedding that soon followed:
…the stuff of fairytales
And, revealingly, the CNN TV network told the world it was:
…a storybook wedding
Even TV’s Channel 5 recalled later:
She wanted a fairytale prince..
And Mathers notes:
She had projected on to her the Fairy Princess…the Victim is another…a Sacrifice…Jesus Christ is another example of this (archetype).
(The comparison with Christ is not as extraordinary as it might sound at first hearing. Two years after Diana’s death in a car crash in Paris The Sun ran a front page story about her ex-lover James Hewitt allegedly trying to sell a “tell-all” book about their relationship. They headlined the story
And the first paragraph began:
JUDAS James Hewitt grins smugly from his open-top Jaguar…
Judas James Hewitt But from the very start of the newspaper coverage, other archetypes began to overly themselves on to Diana. Her name, as I have mentioned earlier, referred to to the Graeco-Roman huntress goddess. But when she was first seen by the public, it was not the huntress, but the Mother image that dominated. This seems paradoxical as we are talking about a teenage virgin (according to later reported research by the Royal family). Look it here at the first, and still one of the most famous, images of Diana, to come to the public’s
Figure 20 The Sun 1981
Attention. The photograph (figure 20) taken by The Sun’s main royal photographer Arthur Edwards, shows Diana in 1981 in a Madonna-like pose, wearing a diaphanous dress, which showed her legs veiled in an almost angelic fashion. She holds in her arms two children from the nursery class she taught at the time. Around her neck hangs a letter D in the form of a charm necklace. The scene, including the characteristic tilt of her neck, is reminiscent of many images of the Virgin Mary, especially those painted in 15th century Italy. The picture predates many motherly images of her taken later throughout the course of her life, both with her own children and with deprived children across the world. It is worth including a medieval Madonna image here to show the protective ‘mood’ of the Madonna image… even when other children besides the Christ child are involved. The picture below (Figure 21) is a stone statue of the Madonna in the Santuario di Monte Berico, Vicenza. It reminds me of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. A mile from this chapel in 1999 I saw a small garden behind a house with an altar in it (typical of the region). At first I thought the statuette was, typically, of the Madonna. In fact it was a ‘recycled’ promotional figurine of Snow White. It did not mater. It was the same goddess and served the same purpose. Its owners projected on to it the same Madonna archetype (the anima described in Chapter II) as they did on to the Madonna in the nearby chapel and, I’ve no doubt, as they would have on to this photograph of Diana when it was published around the world.
Figure 21 Santuario di Monte Berico, Vicenza
There are thousands of images of Diana that can be used to illustrate her as the Great Mother. Before we move on to other archetypes she ‘captured’, let us look at just one from later in her career (Figure 22). She was photographed in Lahore’s Memorial Cancer Hospital in 1996 holding little patient Ashraf Qadil who later died. Reproduced in the Daily Mail, (Saturday, February 12, 2000, p24) her expression could not be more Madonna-esque.
Figure 22, Diana in Lahore Daily Mail, (February 12, 2000)
So, as Mathers warned, several archetypes utilise the news figure of Diana from her earliest stories. The Mother, paradoxically, predated the fairytale bride.
During Charles’s courtship of Diana, the public consumed millions of media words examining the truth of her virginity. She had to fit the fairytale. On July 29, 1981 the couple wed at St Paul’s Cathedral wearing a veiled gown and riding in a horse-drawn coach that could have taken Cinderella to her ball.
So far the agendas of the royal couple and the media had coincided with the unconscious mythic expectation of the public. The story continued with the birth of the princess’s two sons William and Harry.
But then the marriage was exposed for what it was…a fairytale. Diana was in truth bulemic and unhappy. Her husband was having an affair with his best friend’s wife Camilla Parker Bowles – an affair that began before the wedding and continued afterwards. The depths of Diana’s despair are recorded in her description to Kay of her eating disorder.
…appalling, absolutely appalling. It was rife, four times a day on the yacht. Anything I could find I would gobble up and then I would be sick two minutes later.
Diana’s misery was compounded when the publicity machine of the Royal Family, known wryly by observers as The Firm, began to burn Saint Diana at the media stake. The Fairy Princess, the Virgin Madonna, was now portrayed as the Great Harlot, a gadabout blonde with a penchant for young lovers in military uniform. How would the goddess survive if her own worshippers believed the press and rejected her? Author Andrew Morton, himself a former Fleet Street journalist (on the Daily Star tabloid) and a confidant of the princess writes:
With savage irony, when she was in the depths of despair, the tide of publicity turned against her. She was no longer the fairy princes but the royal shopaholic who had lavished a fortune on an endless array of new outfits. It was Diana who was held responsible for the steady stream of royal staff who had left their service during the last 18 months
But, by studying the contemporary press coverage, we note that the Anima projection that is Diana does not roll over and die. It re-establishes itself first as Diana the Captive Princess held in the Castle (Kensington Palace) by The Firm’s “wicked witches (Elizabeth and Camilla).
But the big change comes as Diana’s sexuality was liberated by the press’s sympathetic coverage of her own extra-marital affairs, starting with her passion for Hewitt. James Gilbey and a suspected affair with England rugby captain Will Carling followed.
The public accepted the Princess’s love affairs. Study of headlines of the period shows that ‘The People’s Princess’ as she was later dubbed herself retained positive coverage.
In fact, the soubriquet she awarded herself was slightly different. Instinctivly reaching for a phrase with archetypal significance she told TV journalist Martin Bashir:
I’d like to be a queen of people’s hearts.
The phrase, like much of the interview was reported by all the press with a postive ‘spin’. Her pseudo-royal description transmuted into the People’s Princess, particularly afer her death.
The Daily Mail favourably reported her as saying:
I am much closer to people down there than people higher up, and they (the Royal Family) won’t forgive me for that…nothing gives me greater happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable in society
I suggest the global public would not have easily accepted this persona if the Goddess had not been firmly rooted in its collective psyche. It would be ludicrous to suggest that this relatively unremarkable young “Sloane Ranger”, whatever she learned in her years as the Princess of Wales, had become such an expert spin doctor that she somehow managed to manipulate press coverage in her favour. It was the power of the myth, of the goddess, that was irresistible. All fell before it. The Queen herself, who can normally ‘do no wrong’ in the eyes of the British press was presented as part of the vengeful Firm’s conspiracy against Diana. Even when Diana died the Daily Mail described the monarch’s “petty” initial refusal to fly a flag at half-mast at Buckingham Palace. The Mail recorded pointedly:
It was the Quen who had resisted…the murmur of public disquiet over the Royal Family’s aloofness had grown to a rumble.
But by this stage, after the break-up of her marriage and the reporting of her affairs, the archetype that was Diana had transmuted yet again. And once again Mathers helps us locate which one:
She’s a classic example of the Sacred Prostitute. The whoring is completely acceptable. It plays out even more what a victim she is …Diana is Astarte after all. And it was the priestesses of Astarte who would lie outside their temple waggling their vaginas in the air…Astarte was Babylonian. Her priestesses offered themselves to any bloke…Diana had the same name as Astarte and she was a goddess. That’s what goddesses do.
So Diana as Fairy Princess, Madonna…then Sacred Prostitute. The ultimate victim. As I described in the previous chapter, these were virgin prostitutes, inasmuch as they were “intact” or complete-in-themselves. As Qualls-Corbett writes:
The sacred prostitute and the rituals she willingly enacted represent a way of remaining connected through unconscious archetypal patterns to the instinctive energies of the goddess of love. Although now we seldom participate in rituals which allow us to be transformed by the divine, these significant happenings may still be realized psychologically – but only when the images which charge the the images of the sacred prostitute, the goddess, the stranger and the sacred marriage are honoured by conscious understanding.
National newspaper journalists and editors, particularly among the tabloids, “honoured by conscious understanding” Diana’s string of affairs. Look at the negative slanting on the following headlines and extracts from stories about some of her lovers. The ‘villains’ in these accounts are clearly the men not her. First on her list was dashing soldier James Hewitt:
Gulf hero to royal rotter in 7 moves
James Hewitt made the transition from Diana’s trusted friend to Royal rotter in seven easy moves…August 8, 194: Hewitt did the dirty on Diana yet again – this time on American TV for £100,000.
Another man briefly in her life was married England rugger captain Will Carling. In this case it would have been easy to vilify Diana as a homewrecker . Instead she is portrayed as a sobbing victim:
DI SKIPPED IN BUT CAME OUT CRYING
CARLING BREAKS PLEDGE TO WIFE
PRINCESS DIANA LEFT SECRET MEETING WITH WILL CARLING IN TEARS
Princess Diana and Will Carling spent nearly half an hour together at an exclusive sports clinic in West London – despite the rugger huk’s pledge to his wife that he would not meet her…..When Diana left the centre, she was “clearly upset”, said an onlooker. “Her eyes were all puffy and red as if she had been crying.”
Carling’s wife Julia could have been elevated to the role of “wronged life”. But here the Daily Mail mitigates Diana’s position by casting doubt on Julia’s:
DIANA WAS VERY ANGRY, AND SHE WANTED TO TELL JULIA TO HER FACE
…A distressed Diana told friends she was ‘being used’ by Julia, who had just made a significant career jump from PR girl to television presenter.
The Daily Mail, like most other papers, gave very sympathetic coverage to Martin Bashir’s Panorama interview with the Princess, held at her request to give her side of the story over her broken marriage with Charles:
The shoulders to cry on
Asked about her relationship with James Hewitt, Diana replied: “Yes, I adored him. I was in love with him.”…Diana felt “very let down” by the 37-year-old’s subsequent kiss-and-tell revelations.
The latest man to be linked with Diana is Christopher Whalley – a
Regular at the Harbour Club gym in Chelsea used by Diana and Carling.
Diana was “bitter and dismayed” at the reaction of some downmarket
Tabloids to what she regards as a casual friendship.
Even a TV film about Diana’s affair with Hewitt was panned – with Hewitt getting both barrels:
THE RAT’S A BIG-TIME LOSER.
DI & HEWITT FILM IS WORST TURKEY EVER
CRITICS PAN BIZARRE RUBBISH
A TV film about Princess Diana’s affair with love rat James Hewitt has been panned by critics as the worst movie ever.
Diana’s ‘secret’ affair – and one of the most intense – was with surgeon Hasnat Khan. The Mirror sympathetically reported:
HASNAT BROKE HER HEART
DI DEVASTATED AS DISHY DOC SHE HOPED TO WED DUMPED HER
…The Mirror can reveal the 38-year-old doctor broke off the relationship three months ago. Diana was secretly devastated by his decision after having pinned her hopes on marrying Pakistani Dr Khan
Yet another man in her life was gin heir James Gilbey. He hit the headlines over tapes between him and her dubbed ‘Squidgygate’ because in them he called her Squidgy 14 times. Gilbey was not a soldier like some of her earlier favourites including Hewitt. Julie Birchill remarks wryly that unlike Hewitt, who fought in the Gulf War, Gilbey:
…saw active service in the War of the Waleses.
A mythic parralel can be drawn with the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite who shared Diana’s penchant for soldiers. Classicist Robert Graves points out:
…the true father of her three children…was Ares, the straight-limbed, impetuous, drunken and quarrelsome God of War.
Diana’s last public affair was with Dodi Fayed, son of the Harrods boss Mohamed. The Muslim playboy was NOT pilloried by the tabloids as media observers might have expected. His religion and his father, the unpopular Egyptian tycoon Mohamed ‘Al’ Fayed (a soubriquet he gave himself) should have made him a natural hate target of the boisterous tabloids of the time. Yet The Sun went out of its way to talk up the knight in shining armour who had rescued the Princess and carried her off to the Caribbean. It wrote:
She’s drawn to sensitive Dodi…friends routinely describe Dodi as “charming, considerate”.
Diana’s public intuitively recognised that she was the Madonna who held the boy-king (her son Prince William) in her arms. They found no inherent contradiction in her as Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene; as ‘Virgin’ and ‘Whore’.
She exactly fitted what Jung calls:
…the female figure whose significance oscillates between the extremes of goddess and whore.
The photo in Figure 23 taken by Sun snapper Edwards shows Diana on holiday in the Virgin Isles in 1997. Here she is Venus or Aphrodite the Love Goddess, but her leopardskin recalls the huntress Artemis. Arthur writes:
(It was) one of the last pictures I ever took of Diana…she could put any supermodel to shame.
Figure 24, a photograph also taken by Edwards, illustrates a contrasting image of Diana. The pair of photographs side by side support Jung’s conjunction of “goddess and whore” or in this case nymph and nurse.
Figures 23 and 24 Diana in Virgin Isles and Africa, by The Sun’s Arthur Edwards
To hark back to the last passage from Qualls-Corbett, the British public - and many people throughout the world – certainly “remained connected” to the Princess. Clive Goodman, Royal Editor of the News of the World, told me in an unpublished interview:
She could make quite breathtaking mistakes about men like James Hewitt, who everyone told her was a louse. But that same openness gave her the ability to reach our and touch a dying child's hand and genuinely make (the readers) feel better…I’ve seen it with my own eyes over and over again. Most readers…didn’t begrudge her a shot or two at happiness, even with enormously unsuitable types like Dodi Fayed.
This connection the people felt with Di was displayed by the extraordinary outpouring of grief after her death along with Dodi. As TV newsman-turned-politician Martin Bell remarked:
Diana was different. (The British were) expressing our feelings publicly in a way never seen before.
Journalist Chris Hockley, describes Diana’s connection with the people thus:
Diana was huge…her death gave people an opportunity to grieve about things in their own lives.
Her death was as mythic as her life. She was killed in a mythically subterranean underpass in Paris along with lover Dodi. There was even a flame-statue on the bridge above already marking the spot. It resonated with aspects of the Ritual Love Death of which Campbell, the leading post-Jung mythologist, writes. Citing the Greek myth of Persephone, he says:
The earth gaped and a great god appeared in a chariot of gold who carried her down into his abyss despite her cries. The god was Hades, lord of the underworld, and in the land of the dead she became his queen.
Diana’s goddess-like status was confirmed by Elton John slightly changing the word of his smash-hit song Candle In The Wind, about another Anima incarnation, Marilyn Monroe, and singing it at Diana’s funeral. As Candle In The Wind 1997 it became the biggest-selling record in the world ever, topping Bing Crosby’s White Christmas with 26million sales.
Diana remained an icon burning in the public’s psyche. She was what one award-winning journalist covering her funeral called:
The tall elegant blonde we knew so well, the woman with the seductive tilt of the eyes under the hat brim
On June 30, 2000, a child with Down’s Syndrome opened a children’s playground inspired by Diana in the London parks. The word she spoke evoked an archetypal Anima-Mother divinity for the millions listening on radio:
I open this playground in the name of Godmother Diana
Diana’s funeral saw a wave of mourning sweep the country like no other in recent times. Newspapers captured the images of seas of flowers and the mournful faces of ordinary people who looked for all the world like pilgrims to an altar at the Goddess’s funeral. Look at the expressions on the faces of those lining the procession in Figure 25. And look at the masses of flowers laid in London in tribute in Figure 26.
Figure 25 Mourners at Diana’s funeral (News International)
Also note Mathers’ definition of a crowd as
a collective, linked through the transcendent function
Diana’s funeral was her mythic coronation as the Queen of Heaven. At least one newspaper was explicit about this in its headline:
In the ancient abbey of kings, this sad ceremony was the coronation of a new queen…Diana
Thus the self-proclaimed Princess of People’s Hearts also becomes the Queen of Heaven, and adopts the duality represented by the Tarot card The Empress (Queen of Heaven and Earth). She is the Anima projected across the globe, the phenomenon Jung described as:
the goddess…replaced by the Queen of Heaven
And Diana carried on attracting newspaper readers years after her death. As recently as January, 2001 – more than three years after her death – the leading middle-market newspaper devoted almost a half of its front page to a glamorous picture of her and the headline:
FREE for every reader…40-page horoscope from Diana’s very own astrologer
Here is a detailed analysis of two segments of stories about Diana. Both are first-person pieces by journalists covering Diana’s funeral. ‘I’ pieces as they are known to news journalists are a special form of news story. But careful study of the language is still hugely informative. The first passage appeared in Scotland’s Sunday Mail on Sunday September 7. 1997. It is by Melanie Reid, reporting from Westminster Abbey:
1. (Headline) In the ancient abbey of kings, this sad ceremony was the coronation of a new queen…Diana.
2. In the ancient Abbey, heavy with the sweet scent of white lilies, the people of Britain said farewell to their beloved and beautiful princess.
3. Intense grief can diminish u, crushing us with the inability to express our sorrow.
4. But yesterday, beneath the soaring stone vaults of this religious heart of our constitutional monarchy, something remarkable happened.
5. Around the coffin of the most mourned woman in the world, we became part of one of the most cathartic ceremonies of the century.
6. It was tragic - at times harrowing – yet ultimately uplifting.
7. As if, through such an enormous display of sorrow, the nation found a release it had never had before.
8. From the moment the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales, was carried in through the Great West Door, you could almost reach out and touch the electricity in the air.
1. The first six words of headline are poetic in metre. Read them aloud to verify this. Using a preposition as the first word (unusual for a journalistic construction), they set the scene before the main action of the verb. The phrase in the ancient abbey of kings perfectly evokes an eternal, transcendent setting in which Diana is crowned the Queen of Heaven Sweet scent and white lilies add to the celestial theme. The people of Britain is Everyman. Their beloved and beautiful Princess is straight out of a fairytale, a powerful mythic setting for an archetype projection. Beautiful is a deliberately simple, even childish, word that a contemporary popular newspaper would use in hardly any other context. Their is a key word here. It would have been easy to have written a instead, but possession of a goddess archetype by the people is crucial dimension of the phenomenon. Evita’s song Don’t cry for me Argentina evokes the same connection of a goddess archetype-projection with ‘her’ people.
4. Soaring heavenward, stone vaults tell of eternity. Religious heart is a key phrase, signifying Diana’s mythic place in the world.
6,7,8 include phrases and words implying transcendence…ultimately uplifting…found a release…reach out and touch. These evoke humanity in touch with Heaven, through the mediation of the Queen of Heaven. Those present could even feel her electricity in the air.
The second passage is from a piece appearing in The Sunday Times on the same day, this time written by award-winning journalist Tim Rayment:
1. (headline) The public cry out for their lost princess
2.First there was silence, then there was grief. Naked grief, of a kind Britain has never encouraged. From the moment the coffin appeared at the gates of Kensington Palace, the crowd broke down. They did not do so quietly.
3.“Diana!” “Diana, bless you!” “Diana, Diana, we love you.” Single shouts at the start of a two-mile avenue of emotion, the words, wails and flower-throwing almost too painful to witness.
4.A banner stretched along the grass in Kensington Palace Gardens said: “No one can hurt you now…feel the love.”
5.A long moment of calm followed. Most people stared motionless in disbelief at the enormity of the event they were witnessing, while others started to sob, clutching each other for comfort.
1. Again the adjective their strongly denotes possession of the goddess archetype. Lost princess once more is an image from a myth-rich fairytale.
2. Poetic, staccato, apersonal phrases again add to the ritualistic feel of the coverage. First there was silence, then there was grief. Naked grief…The archaic, unjournalistic phrase do so quietly cements the mood firmly in place before the supplicants interject with their chant-like, repetitious shouts in Section 3: Diana, Diana, we love you.
4, 5 Feel the love…the crowd clutching their ceremonial flowers reach out across the religious void to their newly crowned Queen of Heaven
NEWS OR MYTH?
THE examples I have given provide a glimpse of the myths and archetypes that fill the newspapers we read over our Corn Flakes.
As a trainee journalist, the very first lesson I learned, and still teach to my own students, is the definition of news given by Harold Evans, former crusading editor of the Sunday Times:
News is people. It is people talking and people doing.
People, more than events interest other people; and the way people respond to events. But people in news reports become ciphers. It is impossible to convey their own private personalities within the few words of a news report. So they adopt a persona imposed on them by the reader, the journalist, society, or a combination of all three. Their function becomes far more like that of characters in literature and folklore than that of historical subjects. Surely it is no coincidence, as Bennet-England notes, that:
Some of the literary giants of the 19th century were also prolific journalists…Charles Dickens was editor of the Daily News in 1846.
Mathers tells us:
Simple people, who are trying to do one very simple thing, absorb massive amount of archetypal projection.
And it is simple people covered by the press who have often absorbed the most powerful archetypal projects. Norma Jean Baker (Marilyn Monroe), Diana Spencer (Princess Di) and Daniel Hooper (Swampy) were all essentially unremarkable people over whom an archetype was draped.
Journalists pride themselves on having ‘news sense’… antennae that will pick up the right snippet of information or quote that will allow their subject to represent ‘good story’:
…the type of bell that sometimes rings, or should ring, in your mind as an indication that here is something to go into your story.
The point being that these snippets cannot, in themselves, construct a personality in the space allowed. They are code words that help the reader locate the archetype from his or her experience and, if you accept Jung’s theory, by tapping into the universal psychic reservoir that is the collective unconscious.
Whatever their source no one can doubt the power of these archetypes, and the press play their part in projecting them. From Adolf Hitler to Elvis Presley, from Jack the Ripper to Marilyn Monroe, this pantheon have held millions under their spell. As Rose Gwain says:
An archetype seeks to fulfil itself and will manifest one way or another.
And they can fulfil themselves as hugely successful selling points for newspapers. No newspaper circulation department underestimates the commercial pulling power of archetypes. And this knowledge inevitable motivates editors and informs newspaper content.
For example, Princess Diana’s photograph on the cover of a newspaper or magazine was a proven circulation booster. In the astonishing aftermath of her death, the launch of a Diana part-work by the Daily Mail raised its circulation by a record 14.5 per cent, or 415,094 copies, on January 24th, 1998. The memoirs of Diana’s bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, improved the circulation of The Mirror on March 2 that year by 18 per cent or 387,000 copies. These were far and away the most successful newspaper promotions of 1997, and have rarely been matched since the end of the Second World War.
And the archetypal figures of Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Monroe did not, and do not, just sell newspapers. Every consumer product imaginable has carried images of these icons. But as journalist Paul Harris concludes:
Nothing sells a postcard quite like Diana does...one firm has printed 60 different designs, at a run of 5,000 a time...no one has appeared on more plates or souvenir biscuit tins...her face has appeared on everything from exquisite Royal Doulton china plates to cheap cotton T-shirts, sold all over the world.
The archetypal examples of newspaper subjects I have taken include a largely positive figure (Diana) and a negative one (Hindley). They cover a huge political presence (Tony Blair) and a minor political ‘bit player’ (Swampy) who has left the scene, but whose name remains as a journalistic ‘tag’ bearing testament to the power of his cultural image.
I have compared their archetypal antecedents as described in a wide range of sources and examined contemporary newspaper reports. I have drawn attention to the similar themes, words and notions that link the press characters to their cousins in fairytales, film, literature and other vehicles of narrative. Through books and interviews with experts I have discovered the related themes that weave through the world of news journalism and Jungian analysis.
People often complain that newspaper journalists oversimplify issues or take quotes “out of context”. The truth is that a finite number of facts about a story or personality have to be selected. The story has to have a recognisable point or ‘angle’ so that an intro and headline can be attached to it. The journalist must choose the story he or she will tell from a mental or psychic ‘library’ already known to the reader, much as a novelist, playwright or folk story-teller does.
It is worth emphasising here that we should not confuse the real personality with the image projected by the press. Labour Party ‘spin doctors’ successfully projected Tony Blair as a leonine returning hero…the rightful King. The truth of his personality may, or may not, reflect that. It is the persona presented in the press that we are dealing with here.
An experienced news journalist will instinctively pose certain questions to himself or herself. Is this a ‘fun’ story or a ‘heavy’? Some stories can be told both ways. It does not invalidate either of them. A sub-editor laying out a page may have to select the ‘lead’ story and relegate another aspect of that story to a ‘sidebar’ position. As a layout sub, I would chose as a sidebar information that supports the main ‘thesis’ of the lead. Secondary information that does not quite fit the theme of the story is ‘spiked’. This is editing in the same way that novelists construct their creations. This creative process of the narrator is as old as humankind. Myths and archetypes are the results. My investigation into four major contemporary running stories, the way have been presented, the language and images used and their similarity to myths and archetypes that Jung and others considered eternal lead me to answer a resounding Yes to the question I posed in Chapter One: are the subjects of ‘running stories’ in contemporary British newspapers archetypal in the Jungian sense and are they mythically portrayed? Does this mean they are lies? Does this invalidate the news coverage in which they figure? It cannot, for then ALL news coverage would be invalid. For all news coverage is in narrative form supported by a subjective selection of facts. Journalists are modern-day story-tellers, not contemporary historians. Modern legends are those running stories like Princess Diana. They are the myths of our time; the myths of all time. And, just like all myths, their message is eternally true.
a) Journalist and author Chris Hockley
Chris Hockley has been a highly-regarded national newspaper sub-editor since 1979. His forte is collating and rewriting ‘spreads’ on major news events. He has worked on The Mirror and Today and currently works for The Sun. He is also a published fantasy author. His novel Steel Ghost was about the reincarnation of Josef Stalin.
Excerpts from taped interview conducted on August 11, 2000 in London
BA. What do you think that makes a good news ‘character’? I’m particularly interested in one that somehow stays in the news. One who people carry on being interested in.
CH. I think a lot of it’s got to do with mythology. I’m thinking of someone like Reggie Kray (the London gangland villain) who’s been locked up for many years and many youngsters don’t even know who he is. He is surrounded by kind of mythology that’s added to his own personality.
BA. When you say mythology, what do you mean?
CH. I mean that, although we don’t know these people, they attain personalities as stories come in about them, some of which may or may not be accurate. But it all sticks Gradually this sub personality is built up on top of the person’s real personality. And we really don’t know which is real.
BA. Do you think that, consciously or unconsciously, journalists select facts to enhance the (subject’s) myth?
CH. Yes. If you’re dealing with someone like Reggie Kray, you make sure to include the bits that portray him as hard. You’d choose words and facts to suit that image, thus perpetuating that sub-personality I was talking about. So it’s a snowball effect really.
BA. It might not be just aspects of the personality, but aspects of the ‘plot’.
CH. Yes, aspects of the legend, if you like.
BA. How does that compare with the total control you (as a novelist) have over your fictional characters? Do you (as a journalist) create the myth, or choose the myth?
CH. My characters in my books were an amalgam. You take aspects of someone you know and someone you’ve heard of and put them together to get a whole.
BA. So, in a paradoxical way, an author writing about characters, drawing on people he really knows, can have almost more connection with the real world that some journalists enhancing a myth about a person they don’t know.
CH. I think that’s beyond doubt. The enhancement of the myth…that style of journalism, seems to be gaining more and more influence. I think a lot of fictional characters now are a lot more real than Mel B (the Spice Girl) or Beckham (footballer David). We’ve never met them have we. And yet we can come up with a personality profile of them.
CH. He dug tunnels and thing like that. Was he called Swampy because he had a dirty face?
BA. What was his story, bearing in mind that every time an eco story is used now, his name is (attached to it)?
CH. It’s an evocative name. I guess it’s to do with the darkness and the twilight world he inhabited. It’s like a hook on pop song. It’s a way of reminding people of the issues.
BA. Does he remind you of any other character?
CH. He struck me as a little child. Incredibly young and rather sweet.
CH (later). He’s Dennis the Menace – because he’s always being naughty.
CH. He has this sanctified air about him.
BA. Is there anyone from history, ancient or modern, he reminds you of?
CH. Kennedy I suppose.
BA. Journalists have often used the language of Camelot when writing about Kennedy.
CH. Yes. It’s similar to Tony’s Cronies. The words ‘inner circle’ have been used an awful lot with Blair. So you’ve even got a circle – a Round Table.
BA. (Peter) Mandelson (New Labour Cabinet minister and spin doctor) is often described as Merlin by newspapers. Is that just lazy journalism?
CH. No. I don’t think that is. I think comparisons with Arthur and the Round Table are quite evocative of
what’s going on (in New Labour). It’s basically the Islington set, isn’t it?
BA. Myra Hindley vs Rose West. West slowly starved to death a teenage girl while she and husband Fred sexually abused her for months. Yet Hindley’s (story) has survived.
CH. The (moors) location gave the whole thing this mystical…like a horror film.
(Chris talks about the tape of Hindley’s victim Lesley Anne Downey and the fact that in recent times British people have become more used to reportage of violent crime. But he cites a third important reason for the Hindley story’s amazing survival factor):
CH. Nobody’s seen on her on TV. She might as well be dead. It’s the same as Marilyn Monroe and people like that. It goes back to my main point, about the legend. When Monroe died there were so many stories. In Hindley’s case it’s the legend that’s kept her behind bars. A lot of people in the street say she must never be let out, without really knowing what she did.
CH. She represented to quite a large body of people that she was fighting back against an archaic system. One of the reasons for such a large outpouring of grief afterwards was that we’d lost again. And it gave a lot of people an opportunity to grieve about things that had happened in their own lives.
Chris said he thought that Diana’s love affairs would be “excused or understood” by adoring newspaper readers.
b) Tabloid executive journalist Roger Wood
Roger Wood is one of the best-known and most experienced production executive journalists in British national tabloid newspapers. He has been chief sub-editor of both the nation’s leading ‘red-tops’ The Sun and The Mirror and is currently Associate Night Editor of The Sun.
Interviewed on July 10, 2000 in London.
BA. What makes a good story? Is it something new, or something that’s happened before?
RW. Somebody wins the Lottery every week, but it’s always a story.
BA. What about long-running stories? Episodes in the life of one particular person who catches the imagination?
RW. You had to admire his courage going down dirty, damp holes defying authority. He was a television person. TV expects people swinging in the trees.
BA. The name’s stuck. It wouldn’t surprised you if I showed you lots of stories about eco warriors where the name Swampy comes up all the time.
RW. (Journalists) use a person from the past to describe in one word what a story’s all about. If, for example, you said “in a Churchillian way” you instantly save yourself a small book. Just like “Swampy-style protest”.
RW. He’s unique. He created a person to fit what he thought this country needed. He created a new kind of person, an image.
BA. Why has that story survived so long?
RW. She was absolutely shocking. In an age when women were traditional, home-making, subservient…she broke all the rules. Nobody could understand how a woman could be perverted (like that).
RW. On her wedding day, every paper captured that spirit. Hearts and flowers. It was ushering in a new age. People saw her as a wonderful creature. A fairy queen.
BA. Even when she was having a lot of lovers?
RW. Yes. She… was a force for good..the landmine (campaigns) etc. Most of the time newspapers were giving her the benefit of the doubt. Even when she went out with Dodi she got a fairly good press. Wasn’t she a lovely girl knocking about with this bloke. Nobody really pissed on her did they?
BA. How did she rate in size of news story. She was the biggest I’ve ever known.
RW. Yes. She was huge, just huge. Every day you had to have (publish) something about her. She was monstrous, huge news, because everybody knew the news about her was unresolved. It was always open-ended. There was always going to be something new.
RW described how, on the morning of Diana’s death, his ex-wife and daughter went to great trouble to seek him out to tell him of her death.
RW: That’s how huge it was. The resolution of the story.
c) Jungian psychoanalyst Dr Dale Mathers
Dr Dale Mathers BSc, MB, BS, MRCPsych, is a leading London-based Jungian psychoanalyst. He is an Associate Member of the British Association of Psychotherapists. He trained in psychosynthesis with the Psychosynthesis & Education Trust where he teaches and supervises and is a member of their Ethics Committee. He also teaches for the BAP. He contributed to Jungian Thought in the Modern World edited by Elphis Christopher and Hester McFarland Solomon. (Free Association Press) and his new book An Introduction to Meaning and Purpose in Analytical Psychology is due to be published by brunner-routledge in June/July 2001.
Interviewed On September 12, 2000, in London.
BA. My basic premise is that press stories are like fairytales and stories in other media – essentially just that, stories.
DM. They are stories. And they have two qualities that any other narrative will have. One is meaning and the other is purpose It took the whole of the last century to get to a position to look at a narrative and say this is how a narrative is put together. It is generated using common linguistic structures. The process is the same in all cultures and, more or less, at all time in history…and the archetypal generation programme which doesn’t vary much. Jung’s take on it was that narratives arise as the result of a dialogue between the collective unconscious and the personal unconscious; that an individual is attempting to make sense of the events around them.
BA. How might this relate to newspaper readers?
DM. To a newspaper reader, what narrative are we going to be interested in? Narratives that makes us socially aware; which enhance our survival potential. There has to be a feedback between the journalistic team creating the paper and the readers. There’s actually a dialogue between the producer, the journalist, and the public. It’s a survival dialogue.
DM. The Jungian notion of an archetype describes biological, inborn, genetic structuring which is common to all human beings throughout history which is essential to the individual and species’ survival. When I use words like King, Hero, Trickster we’re talking about personifications of instinctive patterns. When I use words like Green Man, Bridge, Rebirth we’re talking about social personifications. That’s different from an individual one. So that when you’re looking at a narrative or a story, you’ve got both happening at the same time…what an individual is doing which illustrates an archetypal pattern which is of relevance to the culture. Archetypes have a personal and a collective pole. Narrative arise where you’ve got these two things interacting.
BA. Can I look at that (survival ) dialogue through the four archetypes I’ve been looking at? My four case studies are running stories concerned with a person or character. I’ll start with Swampy.
(Dr Mathers then reveals that, by coincidence, he knows “Danny” the boy the world learned to call Swampy “quite well”.)
DM: He’s a quiet lad who is quite different from those projections of a teenage cultural hero. Projections of Green man. Projections of Trickster. Projections of Shadow. (Later) People who are very simple, who are trying to do one very simple thing absorb massive amount of archetypal projection.
BA: Green Man and Trickster. I understand that they’re different. Do they often overlap?
DM. Archetypes are like colours. You can overlap any colour with any other colour. Some are close together like Puer the eternal child and Hero. Green Man and Trickster go together because they are chthonic images, in other words of the earth.
BA: A lot of the imagery used by journalists is subterranean.
DM. Yes.Trickstery figures are connected with shit. (Swampy’s chums) as you can see wear dirty clothes, dirty shoes, grungy colours, matted hair, to look as much like the earth as possible. That’s very Green Man in the earthy, muddy sense. The Green man only came into contemporary Western culture in 12th or 13th century. But he is universal.
DM: She is Terrible Witch Mother crossing with Anima.
BA: So archetypes cross?
DM: An archetype is an innate biological pattern that drives certain kinds of behaviours. In order for me to survive in this interview with you I’ll be using the archetype of the Wise Old Man, and of Trickster to manage our time. I’ll be incarnating something of the Father archetype so we’ll be doing some kind of sharing together. Up to half a dozen at the same time. Myra strongly incarnates the Terrible Murderous Mother. She’s the antithesis of everything a mother ought to be.
BA. Is there any of the Kali in this?
DM. Yes. Very strongly.
BA. I’ve looked at this whole notion of sexual, but death-bringing women. The dominatrix, the black widow. (Anslow should have mentioned here the term femme fatale which sums this female figure up with the kind of “word clue” that Jung himself put so much emphasis on. He mentions to Dr Mathers the blonde picture of Hindley that journalists nearly always choose to accompany articles about her, even though there is a more recent, brunette one available.)
DM. Blonde in a western, Nordic culture, the blonde is a much more compelling figure. Hindley is incarnating the murderous mother and the Shadow, which is everything we wish not to be. Put those together and you have a figure like Mrs Thatcher (previous right-wing Conservative Prime Minister Margaret). The (mythic) similarities between Mrs Thatcher and Mrs Hindley are profound. She’s the Terrible Witch Mother. That’s the traditional name for this lady. She’s the negative aspect of an archetype clled the Crone, which is the Wise Old Woman.
BA. Horrendous as Hindly’s crimes were, objectively the longevity of her story is disproportionate to her (deeds).
DM. Of coure it is because she becomes somebody who is carrying the archetypal of the Shadow. Of all the archetypes, the Shadow is the one who will make a newspaper story run and run and run
DM. Politics is a combination of the archetype of the Shadow, the Trickster and the archetype of Rebirth all working together. New Labour. It’s a reborn Labour Party. Born again. Raised from the dead. Politicians aren’t whole people. They’re part objects. You don’t relate to a politician as you do to a whole human being. We relate to them either as a powerful penis who is going to do something wonderful for us or a nourishing breast who’s going to look after us forever. New Labour comes on showing Rebirth and Trickster…because it’s a trick.
BA. Do you see anything of the King in Tony Blair?
BA. You personally don’t, but do other people?
BA. I have a picture of him looking messianic (Figure 5) in Kosovo.
DM. Messianic, yes. Trickster has a Messianic quality to him. Messiahs get crucified and Trickster ends up falling in the shit. Politicians are like shamans. We expect them to negotiate with spirits in the sky using magic tricks.
BA. Journalist use an awful lot of Arthurian language about Blair.
DM. Very few people get King or Hero projections, apart from sportsmen. Kennedy transformed that.
(Off tape DM concedes that his own left-of-centre political perspective may help to prevent him seeing Blair in a regal context).
DM. She is a marvellous example of a completely empty person who has projected on to her the Fairy Princess. And the Victim is another (archetype). It’s part of the archetype of Sacrifice, part of the Christian
BA. I’m interested as a journalist that there was this juxtaposition of her as this Madonna… first of all virginal, then bridal, then wronged victim, juxtaposed with this woman of sexual appetite who was reported in the press as having affairs. But this was OK (with the public). Am I going too far with this Virgin Whore thing?
DM. The Virgin Whore thing is common. It goes with the notion of the Sacred Prostitute. She’s a classic example of the Sacred Prostitute. That’s why she’s allowed (lovers). It’s completely acceptable. It plays out even more what a victim she is. Diana is Astarte after all. Priestesses of Astarte are those who lie outside the temple with their vaginas waggling in the air waiting. Girls offered themselves for a poke to any bloke who came along. Diana was a love goddess. That’s what goddesses do.
BA. Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary. Is there something going on there? The confusion of the name. The Virgin Mary and the Virgin Whore?
DM. (referring to the Egyptian fertility myth of Isis). Isis is both the virgin and the whore. Her son Horus is the reborn God. She’s another one of these sacred prostitutes. So if you’re going to retell the story 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem. Everybody knows the story of Isis and Horus. So you get a good journalist on the story. You’ve got to have a virgin in it. And you’ve got to have a prostitute. …the Jerusalem Daily Herald saying: “Come on, we’ve got a story here. They wrote it up that way. Why? Because it was what the culture knew.”
BA. (the Virgin Whore) Reminds me of Marilyn Monroe. The childish nighties.
DM. It’s the female version of the puer aeternus. The never-grown-up, not quite a child, not quite a woman, but sexually available. Boys do it as well. Why is it universal? Because when we’re adolescent seeking to get involved with society we go through exactly that stage. It’s a very important part of the narrative …humanizing that experience. That’s why kids buy all the magazines. That’s why adolescents watch soap operas. They want to learn how to do it. They want models. We’re always looking for things culturally to show us how to be human. It’s very important. An analyst would say it’s learning to be ordinary, not special.
DM. Yes. Jung calls it individuation. A lot of people think that means becoming individual, but it doesn’t. Individuation cannot occur without a culture. You can’t imagine an individual human being existing separately. If the culture disappeared I would disappear.
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 THE INDEPENDENT. Swampy Escapes Punishment And Vows To Fight On ( March 4, 1997) p2.
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 THE TIMES. Swampy Is Free To Carry On Digging (March 4, 1997) p6.
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 INDEPENDENT. Runway Protesters Win Stay Of Execution (Louise Jury. March 28, 1997, Louise Jury) p9.
 THE MIRROR. Hole New Look For Swampy (January 31, 1998)p9.
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 THE GUARDIAN, Wanted: a challenge to Tony Blair (Charlotte Raven, July 17, 2001) p7.
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 ARNOLD LATCHAM, For 17 Minutes A Tape Recording Is Played And Jury Hears The Voice Of A Young Girl, Daily Express, 27 April 1966
 DAILY TELEGRAPH. Girl’s Voice On Tape Says Prosecution (April 21, 1966)
 THE MIRROR. Transcript Of Tape Recording Of Last Moments of Moors Murder Victim Lesley Ann Downey, (Dec 19, 1995)
 BROTHERS GRIMM, Grimm’s Fairytales (Folio Society, 1996) p106.
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 THE MIRROR. Myra Left Alone (Tanith Carey. Feb 8, 2000) p1
 THE SUN. Fury Over Hindley’s Back (John Kay. Thurs, June 29, 2000) p9.
 MAIL ON SUNDAY. Revealed: Luxury Lifestyle Of Hindley (Aug 6, 2000)p15
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 THE SUN. Moors Monster’ Letters to BBC (Wed Mar 1, 2000) p8.
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 DAILY MAIL. Diana Was Very Angry. (Richard Kay, Geofrey Levy. Oct 11, 1995) p9.
 DAILY MAIL. The Soulder To Cry On (Steven Morris. Dec 21, 1995)
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