What does Mosley’s Nazi sex video say about The Globe and Mail (and vice versa)?

What does Mosley’s Nazi sex video say about The Globe and Mail (and vice versa)?

The Globe and Mail, good grey lady that she is, has always had a difficult time reconciling the earnest, sober-sided aspect of its news coverage with the more tabloid aspect of its soft commentary and features. Regarding the latter, the Globe’s take invariably aspires to be cleverer than thou, which is to say that even while they examine the salacious undersides of life they do so with a “jaundiced” eye. But sometimes it’s difficult to keep all those balls in the air.

Take this weekend’s coverage of the Max Mosley affair. Mosley, Formula One racing bigwig and scion of famed British fascists Oswald Mosley and Diana Mitford, was caught on tape in a sordid sex tryst wherein hookers dress up in concentration camp garb. All in all too grim for words. But not quite. In its Focus section on the weekend, the Globe offered Mosley’s nippy defence—“he claimed to be the victim of a ‘calculated personal attack’ and called his sins ‘harmless and completely legal’”—under a headline reading “Nazi sex dungeon? No, it just looks like one.” Thrown in for good measure are a headshot of Mosley looking deflated and a still from the lurid video.

But the Globe, being the Globe, can’t leave bad enough alone. The Review section of the paper included a column by the London-based Elizabeth Renzetti, who gave her take on the whole sordid mess (illustrated by two more stills from the video, natch). In it she links the Princess Diana inquest to the Mosley affair, suggesting that both play to the great unwashed’s appetite for scandal and conspiracy.

Conspiracy theories are traditionally thought to be the tool of the powerless, a peculiar but potent way of gaining status in a world that ignores you in every other way. You may be a weirdo, but you’re a weirdo with a golden key. Now, though, even the powerful and otherwise sedate are quite happy to go on the record with thoughts best muttered when alone and in the dark.

But wait a minute. Isn’t The Globe and Mail feeding that very appetite by running all those column inches and photos? I wonder how Globe readers feel about being characterized as powerless weirdos.

Nazi sex dungeon? No, it just looks like one [Globe and Mail]• The truth—ouch!—is out there [Globe and Mail]• Sexcommunicated [News of the World]