Posts Tagged ‘psychopaths’

Times readers run the country – and the FT is read by psychopaths

September 27, 2017
1981 Guardian cutting profiling the readerships of Britain's newspaper - a version of which was used in the TV series Yes Prime Minister

1981 Guardian cutting profiling the readerships of Britain’s newspaper – a version of which was used in the TV series Yes Prime Minister

Times readers run the country,
Telegraph readers think they run the country…

It’s a great little ditty that makes most people think back to the TV series Yes, Prime Minister from 1987. In fact, I reckon it was popularised by the cutting above, which I tore out from the Guardian – but omitted to date – in the early 1980s.

It wasn’t around on the web until I stuck it up on Magforum some time before March 2005, but since then its use has mushroomed. Americans in particular seem to like it.

I’ve tried to date the cutting. On the back is a golf report that refers to the world’s top players, so it’s unlikely to be a US-only tournament. It appears that three US golfers, Tom Watson, Bill Rogers and Ben Crenshaw are in the lead in a championship match over three rounds of the 18 holes that started with 153 players who had been whittled down to 81 and then 60. The piece refers to Watson being the holder. His big wins were:

Masters Tournament: 1977, 1981
US Open: 1982
The Open Championship: 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983

This suggests the cutting is about the 1981 Open, which was held at Royal St George’s in Sandwich on July 16-19. Watson was the holder, Crenshaw played and the cup went to Rogers. The stats on the players were:

153 players
83 after 1st cut (81 according to the Guardian)
61 after 2nd cut (60 according to the Guardian)

The report, then, probably appeared on Saturday, 18 July.

So that makes it six years before the ditty was cited in Yes, Prime Minister. It wasn’t the same version, though, which Wikipedia put up some time in 2007:

Hacker: Don’t tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers: the Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by the people who actually do run the country; the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the Financial Times is read by people who own the country; the Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country; and The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.
Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?
Bernard: Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.

What’s brought all this to mind? Well, finding the cutting yesterday for one. And second, a fascinating insight in a Guardian news item about what sort of music psychopaths prefer. The answer is rap – with the  Blackstreet hit No Diggity and Eminem’s Lose Yourself getting a high rating. At the end of the article comes this par:

Kevin Dutton, a psychologist at Oxford, and the author of The Wisdom of Psychopaths, has been gathering data on musical tastes and other preferences for a psychopath study with Channel 4. More than three million people have responded so far, and while online surveys have serious weaknesses, the results so far suggest psychopaths favour rap music over classical and jazz. They also seem more likely to read the Financial Times than other newspapers.

Now that really is weird, because the FT has a tiny circulation compared with tabloids such as the Sun, and even other quality papers such as the Times and Telegraph.  An little extra insight comes from a 2012 Scientific American article by Dutton:

Jon Moulton, one of London’s most successful venture capitalists, agrees. In a recent interview with the Financial Times, he lists determination, curiosity and insensitivity as his three most valuable character traits. No prizes for guessing the first two. But insensitivity? The great thing about insensitivity, Moulton explains, is that “it lets you sleep when others can’t”.

So, there you go, it’s all about the silence of the nights of the venture capitalists.

Profiles and histories of Britain’s national newspapers