Why are we still dying for a tan? is one of the Mail's headlines today, a report on "how irresponsible in the sun [...] Brits have always been".
While raising awareness over the dangers of malignant melanoma is certainly praiseworthy, it may be interesting to take a look at how the same paper routinely ridicules pale people.
Take Girls Aloud's Nicola Roberts, for example, the only member of the band proudly shunning the Cristiano Ronaldo/Fanta Orange/fake tan looks.
The Daily Mail seems incapable of writing a piece about Nicola Roberts without involving at least one complexion-related playground insult. Last year, for instance, the very same paper who now asks why our young women are so dangerously addicted to tanning sported the headline Ghostly geisha Nicola Roberts pales in comparison to Girls Aloud bandmate Nadine Coyle on celebratory night out.
A one-off? Not quite. Has she gone too far?, the Mail asked in 2008, clearly troubled by what it dubbed Roberts' "deadly pallor", arguing that "sandwiched between her perma-tanned Girls Aloud bandmates Cheryl Cole and Kimberly Walsh, Nicola, with her exceedingly pale skin, it appears she may have gone too far".
It's not all. Last year, the Mail's piece about Girls Aloud joining Coldplay onstage at Wembley was accompanied by the following headline Seen a ghost? Nicola Roberts pales after Girls Aloud join Coldplay onstage at Wembley.
A few months ago, Daily Mail columnist Liz Jones wrote that Nicola Roberts "was so thin she looked like a ghost".
You can spot a regular pattern here. Britain's moral compass thinks that pale skin is weird, scary and ridiculous in equal measure. Ask yourself how many of its regular or casual readers may internalise the idea that "pale is bad" and be tempted to head for the nearest tanning salon.
Still, don't fool yourself that it's a Daily Mail-only phenomenon. Their main rivals-in-bullying -- the Sun, that is -- hardly fare any better.
Look at this useless, rickety, 4-line long piece that Britain's best-selling paper published last March. It obviously had no purpose other than taking the piss (or "avin a larff, get a bleedin' sense of humour, will ya, geezah?") out of Nicola's complexion.
Girls Aloud has 'ghost star' in Nicola Roberts was the headline, complete with the deep observation that "yesterday she looked more ghostly than ever as she left her hotel. It's enough to give anyone a fright". A proud display of Top Quality Journalism indeed.
"Somehow, dying of ignorance is less shocking than the prospect of dying of vanity", is how today's Daily Mail piece end.
Wise words. But perhaps they could do with sorting out their own lot first. Looking up the words "poison" and "hypocrisy" in the dictionary would be a start.
Still unconvinced? Take a look at this (h/t Daily Quail).