The Tab is to The Student as The Sun is to ‘Gardeners Weekly: a daily roundup of manure, fertiliser and all things brown and squishy’; which is to say it suffers a serious deficiency in substance, quality and relevance to anyone in the country. We’ve all been drawn in by its alluring headlines and clickbait-y pictures, many of which seem to promise an actual story or a profound insight into student life in the UK, possibly even diagnosing the deep-rooted flaws and failures within your own degree. Yet, without fail we are instead handed a steaming pile of sh – starter packs which claim to accurately describe you, your friends and your course-mates. Whittling your entire life down to 6 or 7 items; but sandwiched between two articles about how ‘stereotyping is bad’ and ‘we’re not all the same’.
The aforementioned ‘publication’ is not unredeemable and they have a good origin story, but in their desperation to expand their reach across uni campuses the world over, they appear to have left those original values of standing against out-of-touch national media outlets, behind.
Regardless of how it started, The Tab is now the training ground for folk who are desperate to write for the Daily Record, The Mail, even – god-forbid – The Sun. Stories are hollow, designed purely to garner clicks and draw eyes to webpages riddled with pop-ups and ads for stupid bullshit.
It’s a bloated, banal, bargain bucket Buzzfeed which has left its arguably noble starting goals behind in a desperate search for sweet sweet ad money, a considerably less noble aspiration. A testament to the death of print and the rise of the much coveted ‘click’. Student media should be bold, rough and unforgiving, not tame. It shouldn’t be grovelling for cash from those companies and individuals who are responsible for the evils we see in our world.
Student media in this city generally – it pains me to say it’s not just The Tab, but I sort of need to justify ragging on them for a few hundred words – is fucking toothless. There are exceptions, but we all fail to meet the mark sometimes. We should be aggressive and relentless when we need to be, instead of meekly accepting that Supreme Leader Mathieson has our collective nuts in a vice (and if you think that’s an awful image to have in your head, oh boy, you should see what didn’t make the edit).
Not every article needs to be like this obviously, even The ‘fucking’ Tab knows when it’s posting nonsense. They have a very aptly-named ‘Trash’ category on their website (now if it was up to me, it would all be categorised as such but I’m not ‘Ultimate Dictator of the World’ yet; give me a couple of months to set my plans in motion and we’ll circle back then).
Alas, this well-considered and thoughtful analysis of our opposing publication is drawing to a close but one demographic has, as of yet, escaped this careful and erudite critique… the readers. The bloody readers. What are you doing? Like seriously, just why? Gonnae no dae that? There’s a reason this has been allowed to spread from Cambridge, across the UK and even into the US. Because folk are reading it. The clickbait and the stupid pictures are drawing you in like Andrew Windsor to a flimsy alibi, a yaah to flares or a gardener to something brown and squishy. Sort yourselves out for fuck’s sake. Oh, and fuck The Tab.
Image courtesy of Adam Losekoot