Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Who benefits from the fuss about the #womanontheleft?

I have not been well this week. Pretty average bug for this time of year, but it's played merry hell with my plans to get organised for Christmas. I am being sensible and resting as much as I can.

Spending Monday afternoon in bed, too wiped out to even feel sorry for myself, I missed the Twitter furore over the "#womanontheleft".

When Hugh Grant was giving his testimony the other day to the Leveson Inquiry, some people noticed a woman listening intently. Now, apparently it's the law that any woman in the vicinity of Hugh Grant must clearly fancy him. The thought that she might be paying attention because she is Junior Counsel to the Inquiry,  a position you don't get unless you are an extremely accomplished barrister, seems to have escaped the la la land of social networking.

By the end of the afternoon, Carine Patry-Hoskin, the #womanontheleft was the top trending topic on Twitter in the UK. It was covered on news websites. The next morning. Lily Allen got in on the act, tweeting
#womanontheleft is on. She well fit
That was one of the nicer tweets in amongst a whole load of misogynistic bile.

My first thought on finding out about this yesterday was who stood to gain from detracting from Hugh Grant's evisceration of the media during his evidence, where he described the countless invasions of his privacy by representatives of the tabloid press?

I then read this excellent blog post by Helen Lewis-Hasteley over at the New Statesman and I broadly agree with her bemused reaction to the fuss:
Poor woman, I thought. She spent years training as a lawyer and now all anyone thinks is that she's a dippy bint mooning over a famous actor. 
Helen links to this article by Michael White in the Guardian. It was clearly professional, dispassionate and not at all simpery in any way.

It may be just as well that Hugh Grant fervently believes a film succeeds on its qualities, not on publicity about its stars, because he did his tabloid reputation as a heartless, feather-brained Lothario immense harm in the process of delivering damning testimony on phone-hacking to theLeveson inquiry on Monday.
He was still the diffident, self-deprecating Grant who has won audiences around the world as a light comic actor – not a particularly good one, as he occasionally says himself, though his ad libs in the high court were better than many of his scripts. But he also revealed himself to be thoughtful, articulate, brave in an unheroic way and – at least twice – very kind. No longer the foppish stereotype Brit, more high-minded Gary Cooper in Mr Deeds Goes to Town. How his tabloid tormentors will punish him for this if they can.

Actually, no, I was only joking. It's vomit-inducingly sycophantic.

Today the story drags on with an argument between the Guardian and the Sun over a story in the former which states that Carine was doorstepped by the latter which ended up in the Guardian having to apologise. I wish they'd get their facts right - that's the second time this year (the first being when they apologised over Gordon Brown's family medical records) they've made the News International lot look like victims. The wrongs done to them are, of course, nothing to the outrages they committed on other people, as we are now hearing in testimony at the Inquiry.

It's those horrors that should be at the forefront of our mind and we shouldn't allow ourselves to be distracted from them by incidentals and social media frivolity.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails