Text sex with Becks : Football celebrities, tabloid news and the spectacle of language



Year of publication 2018
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The paper analyses the humorous treatment of the David Beckham scandals in the British press, focusing on various poetic devices such as word play, punning, creative coinages and allusion to taboo. It argues that readers may find a disarming pleasure in the spectacularly playful - and playfully spectacular - tabloid discourse about morally questionable non-footballing acts committed by football celebrities. Often contrasting the celebrities' open frontstage performance with their actual backstage behaviour, this kind of discourse relativizes the distinctions between reality and fiction, seriousness and non-seriousness, and the private and public spheres. With respect to taboo and sex-related topics, the popular press tends to present the readers with a semantic puzzle in order to titillate them, while flaunting the media's own blatant moralistic attitudes.
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