Wednesday, 20 February 2013

It’s all in the way you say it!

How fickle is the media? Just recently they were full of how wonderful it was that a woman writer had managed to win the Booker Prize, not just once but twice. What a wonderful triumph for womankind! Feminists everywhere should rejoice! 

Now that same writer, Hilary Mantel, has been found out making a speech about royalty and its image in the media in which she apparently made some passing comments about the Duchess of Cambridge. She didn’t actually attack our Kate but the way she is presented in the media and the fact that what she wears and how she looks may appear more important than the person herself who is reduced to a stereotype of the beautiful princess. 

It seems that Hilary Mantel was rather funny, comparing the royal family to pandas at one point: "Our current royal family doesn't have the difficulties in breeding that pandas do, but pandas and royal persons alike are expensive to conserve and ill-adapted to any modern environment. But aren't they interesting? Aren't they nice to look at?" 

However, some elements of the press didn’t find it funny and, disregarding the fact that any remarks about the fair Kate were only a very minor part of what she had to say, interpreted the whole thing as an attack, indeed a venomous attack on the duchess. Even the Prime Minister put in his two penn’orth, also seemingly without having actually read the whole text of the speech. Cameron said of Mantel: "I think she writes great books, but I think what she's said about Kate Middleton is completely misguided and completely wrong.” 

 Oh dear, how hard it is to be a woman in the modern day and age. 

And when you come to think about it, all famous females have to put up with criticism about how they look. When I went to the hairdressers the other day I was given one of those look-at-all-the-famous-people magazines to look at while the colour they put on my hair settled in properly. I only ever read these (if you can call it reading) at the hairdressers and each time I vow that next time I’ll take my kindle with me instead. This particular one had a feature called something like “Don’t they have a mirror at home” and was just a collection photos of famous women looking fat and frumpy. It makes you glad not to be rich and famous. 

The difference of course is that not all the rich and famous have been taken into the nation’s heart the way the poor offended duchess has. I just hope she has the intelligence to read the whole of Ms Mantels’ speech and take it the right way. 

As for this neither rich nor famous blogger I’ve been out and about again today having lunch with yet another friend. It begins to seem that that is all I do but it’s not at all a bad way to spend your time. After lunch we went to collect her car from the car park. She had some trouble making the machine where you pay for your parking accept her ticket and we had to go and seek help. We sorted it out eventually. In the process I noticed a little linguistic oddity. For a long time the Spanish have been using the English work “ticket” in that context. It must have been properly processed to become part of the official Spanish language as it is now spelt “tiqué”. 

It didn’t stop my friend from pronouncing it with a “t” on the end of the word though.

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