Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Making great ignoramuses of us all, David Cameron tempts us to the dark side

“I want to tell you what I am fighting this election for — it is the people I call the Great Ignored: they may be black or white. They may be rich or poor. They may live in the town or the country.”

What a load of insipid, nonsensical guff. It sounds profound but is ultimately meaningless; politics ignores everyone on some level - minority or majority. However, because we live in a society we accept it, even if we crave a different balance of who it is getting ignored. Cameron's vow overrides this altruistic fatalism, giving us a glimmer of hope that a Tory government will capitulate to our wildest demands.

It unleashes the 'me first' instinct that Tories know so well - and that we're increasingly attuned to in our 'have your say' culture - giving credibility to our darkest, grabbiest instincts.

Non-voters are technically ignored, but so was I when I didn't specify a Barbie for my 9th birthday and ended up with Sindy's more wholesome mouldings. However futile your request is, by voting you're showing you care about something - whether it's a belief in a party or just democracy itself. Not voting is ambiguous, it doesn't say anything - and it doesn't give you a right to say you've been ignored.

The ignorant get ignored too, with good reason. There's a lot of ghastly opinions harboured by the majority of the population - take the enduring appeal of eating Cornish Pasties on trains, for instance, or Lady Gaga. Tasteless views on immigration are equally prevalent, though most people would be ashamed to admit to them - that is, until someone from the Today Programme waves a microphone in their face asking if they are the 'great ignored' (2mins 52 in). People with backward ideas on foreigners swarming their schools and jobs should feel ignored and unrepresented, especially now Bernard Manning is no longer with us.

I could go on. Basically, everyone can reason their way into the 'great ignored', though it doesn't mean they should now be heard.

Friday, 12 March 2010

She may not be a hooker but the Girl with a One Track Mind, isn't a hero either

Another week, another victory for social media campaigning. After a frenzied retweet-my-wronging initiative from Zoe Margolis, the Indy have apologised for calling her a hooker. Jolly good, it was a moronic headline - lazy, inaccurate and an insult to readers' intelligence (though the Daily Mail's Facebook clanger was far more dangerous). It's exposed a flawed bit of journalism and should be applauded. However, it's also made her more of an insufferable martyr and further validated her brand of prosaic bawdiness. For that I wish it had never happened - probably more than that sub-editor does.

She claims the incident has damaged her reputation, but I can't really imagine that it led anyone to suddenly changing their opinion of her. People who'd think she is a hooker would think so regardless of a headline - that's just how some people judge a woman who talks openly about sex. Over the years she's received enough hate mail and outrage through her blog alone - which she's manufactured into a pretty profitable enterprise as a professional victim. She's regularly wheeled out on Woman's Hour to talk about being persecuted for her sexuality, or onto tech programmes to talk about invasions of privacy.

Now she's been slandered online for being a hooker, so that's ticked both boxes and sent her pity-chip into overdrive. Only the other day she was tweeting that 'I wish my blog wouldn't continue to bite me on the arse (not in the good way); I've held my finger over "Delete Blog?" button so many times.' In the tradition of Heather Mills there's just something unlikeable about such humourless oversensitivity. If you want a quiet life, delete the blog.

I don't think she should delete it - it's important to have women talking about sex without qualms - but it's not as important as she and everyone else seems to think it is. The way the Twittersphere rallies behind her as if she's DH-fucking-Lawrence narks me something rotten. Her blog reads like a cross between Martine McCutcheon's romance novel and stage directions from Skins - it doesn't shock me, but it sure as hell bores me.

My sense of femininity is more tantilised by a picture of the sumptuous Christina Hendricks than by reading about Zoe Margolis getting a roasting. Hell, its more tantilised by Nigella Lawson licking her fingers while preparing a Sunday roast. The Girl with a One Track Mind may have a topical axe to grind, but she doesn't grind it in a particularly eloquent or attractive way and oh boy does her neediness grate. Come on guys, is she really the best we can do?

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Generation gossip: how John Terry has made Loose Women of us all

One would imagine the difference between listening 5Live and Radio 4 in the morning would be a simple matter of light and shade; economic gloom and dogs on skateboards. Instead,switching between the two, I've learned all of current affairs is now just one sudsy slurry of gossip and intrigue. No matter what the subject is we'll reduce it to a tale of love, betrayal and crimes of passion.

Last week I snoozed my way though Gordon Brown's metamorphosis into a grunting, punchy Phil Mitchell figure. This morning it was football fans agonising over whether they'd boo John Terry tonight. 'It was a mistake to play him, guv. It's only a friendly (friendly!) it doesn't matter - I'm going to make my feelings clear'. Yes, but is he any good on the pitch? In time gone by men would get this animated his ball control on the pitch, not off it. Goodness knows he earns such an obscene sum of money Terry could afford to buy ear plugs if he's that bothered. Or just man up and do his job.

We've become a nation of washer women, forming an excitable gaggle every time a juicy scrap of news is thrown into the streets. Just look at the Greek chorus that assembled in the Twittersphere for Cheryl Cole once Ashley's yellowing Y-fronts were exposed in the papers. With the kind of enthusiasm for tittle tattle worthy of Loose Women they commentated on her every move, including her performance at the BRITs - not for its professional aptitude (or lack thereof), but for signs of emotional fatigue.

Whether it's politics or popular culture, it's the human interest angle that gets people talking. No wonder the Daily Star is now selling itself as 'Not Just for Boys', it's discovered we're all obsessed with tits.