Sorry for a lack of an update. Usually I store a lot of my news hate up over the weekend like a hamster with angry cheeks, so that by Monday face is all blotchy and puffed up and I’m ready for a blowout of cathartic rage. But this weekend I was out boozing all weekend leaving me a physical wreck on Monday. I’d have struggled to muster up a tantrum if you’d poured sweet Littlejohnisms into my ear like a poisoner in Hamlet. This also coincides with my baby boy taking to psychotic children’s babble show “in the night garden” which eats into my opportunities to get angry at 24 hour news in the evenings.
So I vaguely know what’s been going on. Ash clouds, Giggs injunctions, The queen visiting Ireland and the press gathering round while she signed a visitors book. President Obama visiting Ireland and having a pint, some storms in America… Normally News coverage of the Queen alone would be enough to send me into an angry frenzy but it all sort of passed me by…
… until I turned on the telly last night. BBC News Channel about 8pm. A woman standing with “commentators” outside Buckingham Palace talking about the Obamas going to a banquet. I thought I’d accidentally slipped into an alternative reality where the BBC were having a competition to see who could make the stupidest comment? First of all they were gushing like a severed artery about Michelle Obama being great and dressing “British” (what? no? Really – WHAT? was she wearing a fucking Beefeater outfit or something?). Then they lapsed into a conversation that sounded like two people with dementia trying to recall an event that they’d never been to or heard of but were convinced they had. As the BBC screened footage of what a “banquet” in the palace looked like they began to think it was real footage and started commentating on it. Then they seemed to realise that it might be library footage. So they apologised, but, with nothing else to say, STILL commented on it JUST IN CASE it wasn’t library footage. All the time they randomly threw in comments about who else might be attending, what they might be wearing and (for fuck’s sake!!!) still BLATHERING on about how Michelle Obama’s “British” dress exemplified how strong the “SPECIAL” relationship remained.
It turns out that Michelle Obama wasn’t dressed as a beefeater. She was wearing some clothes. She was wearing some clothes like every fucker in the world does – except in parts of South America, Africa or Papua New Guineau etc where there are still tribes untainted by tendency of the news to speculate on what women wear.
You see, in the world of the news, clothes give people something to talk about when there is really nothing to talk about. They’re the commentators equivalent of our British reputation for making small talk about the weather when we bump into people we know well enough to smile at but not well enough to actually care about their lives. Nothing happening on camera? Fuckit – what’s she wearing? It’s like a means of hiking up the word count in a column or filling in the dead space between having anything meaningful to say. Like, for example, last nights live commentary of the royal banquet – which to be fair had hours of dead space. They should have just stuck the fucking test card up until the dull, meaningless fashion drivel was over and done with.
You see you really can’t read into dresses too much can you? But the press and media do. According to the media Michelle Obama’s dress exemplified the “special relationship”. It was a floral pink jacketed handshake, a metaphor for sibling love between two countries that share the same language and the same tendency to bomb places in the middle east. Hurrah for Michelle Obama’s fucking dress! Barack didn’t even need to speak his well rehearsed epic sounding platitudes (I think he could make “pass the salt” sound like it was some sort of nation making event) we knew the USA loved us as soon as she donned her clothes.
But of course we’re british. We don’t do being upstaged. So what has the new people’s princess got? She battered Michelle Obama. Never mind that she’s years younger and is already the apple of the frothing news eye – it was a fight. A WAR. We WON – Kate Middleton’s dress, The Duchess of CAMBRIDGE’S dress no less, became a metaphor for the understated stiff upper lip that made Britain GREAT! And on. And on.
The obsession the media have with women’s clothes is impossible for me to understand. Perhaps because I’m a man who just thinks it’s a form of catty grandstanding – which in itself is a form of sexism where patriarchal observers think that women put more into their clothing than just something to wear that looks ok. Somehow clothes reflect a state of mind in women according to the media. Imogen Thomas, snapped on the way to court the other day had her clothing deconstructed by the Evening Standard, then by the Metro the next morning.
The Mirror paps snagged Imogen after the whole injunction lid was finally blown and she got a full breakdown of what her state of mind must be because she’s wearing baggy clothes.
Meanwhile in news that isn’t even new but just people walking around, Posh Spice gets snapped and the news goes on about how she’s hiding her bump and wearing high heels.
While J-Lo on the other side of the pond gets kudos for showing off her curves as though the decision to dress every day must meet the requirements of every member of an insanely attentive idiot media.
The problem is that somehow this gets lapped up by a fashion thirsty public. A mob of people somewhere must love what women wear and what they can read into it. The event of someone wearing something and the impact it has on the public becomes a news story in itself. the bizarre hat worn by Princess Beatrice at the royal wedding (which was probably a protest at her mum not being invited) suddenly became a must-have item. Instead of being consigned to the news scrap heap the story ran and ran with a hungry public until she sold the fucking hat on ebay for a fucking fortune.
Even more depressing is that there are a million people out there who watched the depressing, idiotic, dementia inducing coverage of the banquet last night so that they could rush out like bleating sheep and buy the same dress as the Duchess of Cambridge. And this itself becomes news. So people buying a dress reported on the news becomes news?
This makes my brane hurt!