I know, I know. I'm thoroughly ashamed of myself for even deigning to give it a thought. But this time it's important that I infect my own blog by having to mention the name of that hideous publication.
"What's their secret? Gillian Anderson and Minnie Driver are fabulous in their forties at Television Critics Association event" trilled the headline, delighted with itself at having discovered two women over the age of thirty-nine who weren't completely physically decrepit and still able to remember how to use lipstick.
I'm sure "journalist" (loose term no. 2, aptly enough) Mike Larkin thought he was being terribly complimentary with his appalling cack-handed opener of "Some say women age like wine". Unfortunately, apart from statements like this being on the list of tabloid phrases even the laziest journos left behind in the 1970s along with the word "boobs" (regretfully still a Daily Mail staple), he also omitted the word "fine".
Some women do, indeed, age like wine. Me, for example. Some days I feel I feel like a Blossom Hill rosé that's been stored by a radiator throughout winter, or the dust-covered bottle of Liebfraumilch propping up a bowing shelf in the local corner shop.
Ah, hang on, Mike had merely been saving the adjective for his second sentence. "And if so Gillian Anderson, 45, and Minnie Driver, 43, are of a particularly fine vintage if their appearance at a Television Critics Association event in Los Angeles on Sunday is any guide".
Quite apart from the assumption that the last sentence appears to have been written by someone who's spent several hours on the booze himself (possibly swilling the aforementioned dusty Liebfraumilch), are we to assume that Gillian and Minnie should feel flattered they're being touted as proof that ladies over forty can still be deemed worthy of praise by a newspaper whose general M.O. is to call out any female not wearing an Hervé Léger bandage dress and eight-inch platform stilettos as frumpy or drab?
Following the Swiss Tony-style opening gambit, things took a decidedly Benny Hill turn for the worse with the assertion that "aesthetically pleasing" Gillian had teamed her brown lace dress with a pair of "high heels".
Firstly, describing any woman as "aesthetically pleasing" infers she's being inspected like bloodstock and serves only to confirm that Mike Larkin is the sort of bloke who probably considers feminism a bit of a daft idea. Secondly, Gillian was wearing wedges, not "high heels", so not only is Mike vastly unqualified in determining a woman's worth by simply peering at her, he's also entirely unschooled in matters of lady-shodding.
Although descriptive errors concerning footwear pale into insignificance when stacked against the blundering insensitivity of the piece as a whole, they do also serve as low-level indicators to remind us exactly what a useless pile of crap the Daily Mail really is.
Continuing with the tepidly warmed-through theme of insults barely concealed as compliments, Gillian was also described as easily mistaken for her twenty-nine year old co-star's sister. This, as we all know, is tabloid code for "the younger one is wearing enough make-up to look like a forty year-old herself". In this case, Mike had even managed to cock up on that score as the co-star in question, Rachael Taylor, was minimally made-up and looked around fifteen.
Not that it prevented him from practically foaming at the mouth in lascivious delight with a photo caption reading: "The saucy pair showcased their lovely legs as they discussed their programme". You could almost hear the rustling of a grubby raincoat moving stealthily through the privet.
Minnie didn't fare much better by Mike's reckoning, either. Although she was spared the indignity of being compared to her much younger co-star (thankfully, it was apparent enough he was an eleven year old boy), she was treated to the baffling assertion that she "…was looking almost as good as ever…".
Almost? What was it that pipped her at the post, to be held aloft in Mike's estimations as a shining example of exactly how "saucy" a forty three year old woman could be if only she really tried?
Sadly, we can never know as the article ended. Abruptly, and possibly in tandem with Mike Larkin's journalistic career. Had an editor with more than the requisite amount of intelligence usually required for a post at this comic of a newspaper realised the tone was dangerously inappropriate (much less so poorly written as to be laughable even by their own raggedy standards)?
Which brings me to some assertions of my own. I fucking loathe the Daily Mail. I hate the way they perpetuate their nasty little methodology of spite against ALL women - not just those over forty. Their deliberate, insidious, belittling and damaging philosophy of alternate faux-complimentary and snide, pretend concern is, whilst wholly transparent, also that by which many women offer up their own image for comparison.
Of course, the Daily Mail aren't the only publication guilty of such blatant disregard for the female image. It's a seeping, creeping tide perpetuated by all corners of the media machine. It's just that Daily Mail do it with greater disregard and less pause for consideration than any other mainstream newspaper.
Neither am I laying the blame for every abomination of journalistic intent solely at the feet of the hapless Mike Larkin whose twenty six strong twitter followers may recognise by his own admission as "… a sub-par journalist who can do a few card tricks..".
Women's age or, more correctly, the advancement of a celebrity woman's age, is a scary thing for a tabloid editor. On one hand they know publishing photographs of her will herald the mouse-clicking, advertisement-flicking cash register, but when she's no longer the great big film or TV star she once was, what's left to say? When she's gone from Dana Scully to some spy thing no-one's ever really heard of, what can we possibly say about her to keep the proles interested?
More often than not, the answer is to use her age as a battering ram by which to hammer home the point that whilst we're unlikely to see her rocking a latex catsuit again, at least she's not run to fat or resorted to wearing things she's knitted herself (and if she has, she's fair game for a real savaging).
I admit to a modicum of responsibility for perpetuating the insatiable appetite of the masses for such cruelty. I am no better than the snarky tabloid editor or bitchy features writer. After all, every one of my clicks counts towards the constant call for ever-more prying, pointless pieces such as I've described.
My itchy, naughty fingers, stuck for something to do between the more pressing matters of commerce and domestic responsibility, sneak across the keyboard in idle curiosity as to whatever happened to Kathleen Turner in the years after all those sexy clinches with Michael Douglas.
I am partly to blame, no matter how resoundingly I thump my outrage on the digital lectern of propriety and respect by way of increasingly incredulous emails to the editors of the most loathsome rags.
Like giving up smoking (another disgusting habit I occasionally return to), I need to find a wholesome diversion for my digits.
Maybe I'll knit myself something nice.