Monday, February 04, 2008

'Dacre's desk is not Napoleonic' shock claim


Forgive me for focusing on the trivial, but possibly the most striking part of the controversy over Nick Davies's savage attack on journalism, Flat Earth News, is the argument over the opulence of Mail editor Paul Dacre's office.

Mary Riddell writes in the Observer:

"In the section analysing Dacre's character, an unnamed employee alleges that he has 'the biggest office in the universe; you sink into the shagpile; he's got a desk like Napoleon'. I am no expert on Napoleonic workstations, but I can confirm that Dacre's desk appears normal and his carpet, last time I looked, had cropped tufts. These are tiny quibbles, but such misleading details convey a false impression of vulgar opulence."

Now, I don't know if Ms Riddell is pitching for her job at the Mail back, because any impression of 'vulgar opulence' is definitely not false. Having worked at the Mail myself a few years ago, I can tell you that the other senior executives get offices a provincial travel agent would consider dowdy and utilitarian: all grey walls and MDF. Dacre's office, on the other hand, is tastefully decorated in cream and red and even has country-house style sofas. The desk itself might not be Napoleonic, but at least it appears to be made of wood, unlike some of the others.

Best Wishes, An Arcatiste

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