I am facing a moral dilemma. I’m ambitious, I’m driven, I’m pretty smart if I try and I know that I could achieve this particular thing on which the dilemma is based. There is just one thing standing in the way: my conscience. Now, I have a pretty strong sense of conscience- I’m a chaotic-good on the personality alignment test, which basically means I strive to do good even when it may not be the cleanest, most sensible option. It’s like Freud’s idea of personality construction: the id on my right shoulder, my superego on my left and my ego sitting on my brain screaming back and forth, “please be reasonable!” Just that my superego has armour and an axe, and my poor brain can barely muster a coherent thought.
There she sits, adamant and confident in her armour enforcing her opinions of ‘good’ onto me at all times. We’ve all done bad things, myself being no exception, but when it comes to the big stuff, I can generally say that my conscience has stopped me from making any tragically bad decisions. Right now though, my conscience may be pushing me toward the moral decision…but not necessarily the right one.
I have a wonderful contact at ITN who I am working with to get a placement at London’s ITN Digital News Department; she, this morning, emailed me with an opportunity that she emphasised could really boost my CV. I, a guardian-reading, left-wing, SJW, have been encouraged to apply for an apprenticeship at the least moral place on earth. The Sun.
It’s a deceptive name; ‘sun’ connotes happiness, light, good- anyone who has ever so much as looked at The Sun knows that the ‘news’ they deliver is far from these things. The Sun has to be the least respected newspaper in the UK, even if it is one of the most popular. It feels as though I’m losing brain cells by just reading their headlines- which made it even more hilarious that part of the online application is to ‘describe yourself in a Sun headline.’ Hmm, let me think…how about, ‘I’m Here, I’m Queer and Crippled with Existential Fear.’ It hits all the essentials: a personal pronoun to get that synthetic personalisation, controversial word ‘queer’ and emotive lexis ‘crippled’ and ‘fear.’ It’s verging on clickbait, but doesn’t take itself quite as seriously.
My personal favourite part of the application has to be, ‘pitch a story you think the Sun would publish, and suggest a Sun-style headline for it,’ purely because I dread to think of the kind of stories people are pitching. It’s not hard to get into the Sun, is it? Their exclusives today feature a man getting a spider flushed out of his ear and a bloke who found a spider’s web in his Tesco banana. As long as you get an arachnid in there, your story is good to go!
But perhaps this just applies to the ‘fear factor’ overall; people fear spiders so they make the news, but people fear other things too- in a time like this, namely immigrants. And oh boy does the Sun capitalise off xenophobia.
Following the recent tragedy at Grenfell Tower, this headline was published online yesterday: ‘Illegal immigrants who escaped the Grenfell Tower fire offered amnesty for a YEAR if they help the public inquiry.’ A year?! How dare we offer these traumatised people a whole year to get their lives back on track before we deport them?! Atrocious. But seriously, whether it’s spiders or immigrants, the Sun capitalises on fear and pain- and this is not something I really want to be part of.
I know their style, if I put my mind to it I could create an application, tailor my CV accordingly and apply with full confidence- but there’s something (other than my Labour party boyfriend) stopping me. Knowing the kind of hate they promote, I can’t apply even in spite of the opportunities it may offer. It would look amazing having an apprenticeship at a huge newspaper by age 18, I would avoid debt from uni and learn how to work in the real world; but the cost isn’t monetary and I simply can’t afford it.
I’m not sure if I’m making the right decision, maybe I’ll regret passing this up in a few years’ time when I’m £21k deep in debt and working in a Subway. But there are some times when my incessant morality may be right, even if the world sees it as wrong.