Firstly, a hearty hello, and Happy New Year! Yes, I know it’s February. I've been busy, okay? I know that’s not an excuse. Don’t look at me in that reproachful manner. I can change. I WILL change. Look, it’s not you, it’s me. Oh Jeez, I’m reasoning with imaginary readers. If by some miracle anyone is reading this then fetch me a padded cell and a size 10 straight jacket. Extra short.
In true fashion, I thought I’d write about something which recently rattled my little cage. It is the Daily Mail vs. Hilary Mantel vs. Kate Middleton debacle. In case you've been living in a newspaper-less, WiFi-less cave for the past week, I will briefly fill you in on the whole sorry tale...
|Congratulations, it's a size 8!|
Once upon a time, a picture book for people with an IQ deficit shat on a big piece of paper and called it journalism. The picture book in question is known as the Daily hate-Mail, and this particularly spurious mess of journalistic excrement was about an author-lady called Hilary Mantel and The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleclasston. Hilary Mantel mentioned Kate in her Royal Bodies lecture for the London Review of Books, depicting how Royals are objectified by the media. Ms Francesca Infante of the Daily Fail then got out her packet of crayons and scribbled an article misrepresenting Mantel’s line of argument and detailing her ‘venomous attack’ on Our Kate. Consequently many individuals, high off their hair peroxide and nail-varnish, ardently defended K8 Midz, attacking Mantel because, like Francesca Infantile, they didn’t have the presence of mind to listen to, or read Mantel’s original transcript due to the lack of bullet-points and pictures. Then Dave Cameron got involved. He was evidently too busy polishing his face to read the transcript either. A right royal hoo-hah ensued. The end.
What makes me angry about this messy situation is that Hilary Mantel was making perfectly valid points, albeit with a slightly blunt turn-of-phrase... '...I saw Kate becoming a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung. In those days she was a shop-window mannequin, with no personality of her own, entirely defined by what she wore. These days she is a mother-to-be, and draped in another set of threadbare attributions. Once she gets over being sick, the press will find that she is radiant. They will find that this young woman's life until now was nothing, her only point and purpose being to give birth.' Essentially what Mantel is saying, is that the Media's portrayal of Kate is as a woman who is defined solely by what she wears. They have no interest in her other than as a photographic filler between articles. Now she's pregnant, her image has transmuted from one whose defining feature is the clothes on her back, to one defined by the baby growing inside her. There is no interest in Kate as an actual person, merely as a photo for the paper. She has been entirely objectified. Let's face it, in the bluntest, most critical view Kate is a baby-machine. Her most important goal, as with every monarch or monarch's spouse in history, is to pop out a baby in order to continue the Royal blood-line, thus preventing Harry having to take over and put another Ginger on the throne. Mantel doesn't insinuate that there actually is nothing more to Kate than her facade, merely that we are never exposed to anything other than her as an object, a public point of interest.
This was where the Daily Mail fell spectacularly at the first hurdle. The wittering gossip magazine was unable to internalize the astute points that Ms Mantel was making. Instead, they de-contextualized her argument and portrayed it as a 'venomous critique' of the Duchess. Mantel didn't write this critique, the Mail did. Mantel's lecture wasn't even about Kate; she was merely used as a contemporary piece of evidence of the portrayal of monarchs through the ages. The Fail's article was evidently created by cutting up the lecture's transcript and sorting it into two piles: 'opinion' and 'fact'. The facts and evidence that Mantel had used to justify her opinions were then burnt, and the reporter selected any opinions mentioning The Duchess of C which sounded critical, ate them, and then vommed them back up in no particular order onto a piece of paper. She then got out her Pritt Stick and stuck on a few fit pics of Kate. This only served to justify Mantel's point; in wittily (cough) captioning a photo of Kate at her portrait viewing as 'pretty as a picture', The Mail is saying 'The nasty lady says Kate serves no purpose other than 2 b looked at- oooh look at Kate evry1, ain't she gawjus?!' The article has no line of argument whatsoever. It doesn't even have a point to it, it's literally just a list of misappropriated quotes designed to anger the lobotomized chimps who were moronic enough to take it at face value, into hating on an innocent academic. They then post a highly necessary 'History of Hilary' (OMG Mail, you almost rhymed something, have a gold star.) To paraphrase, in true Daily Mail style, it inferred...
Hilary woz born in 1952, she writ a load of books wot did quite well, she got sum prizes, she woz blatez insecure about bein fat so woz bitchy bowt Kate, she got endometrosis (sic) [someone's brain clearly exploded at this point, after attempting to write endometriosis and running out of fingers to count syllables on] wot mad her fat and infertile.'
|A recent excerpt from the Daily Mail|
Ah, I SEE, you think that Mantel was moved to write the lecture out of spite because Kate is skeletal and bearing a child, while Mantel is apparently some sort of barren elephant? Your powers of deduction are truly insightful, now take this Play-Doh and go and sit quietly in a corner until the grown ups are ready to speak to you.
In future, let's read both sides of the argument and the supporting evidence before taking anything written in The Mail at face-value. Thank you for bearing with me while I got on my Rant Rollercoaster and took it for a joy ride. Tune in next time for more Captainfuntimes gets angry and stays up till 2am letting everyone know about it. Happy New-ish Year one and all.