Monday, 25 February 2013

Rhodes Watch: the Mantel issue

My thanks to ally and reader @Bruno_di_Gradi for alerting me to the magisterial contribution of Peter Rhodes (the poor man's Littlejohn) on the Great Hilary Mantel Debate.

The rest of you can now stop pontificating. Peter knows the score. It's simple. Ugly clever women will always be jealous of pretty ones.

Now Peter's a threatening kind of chap, so I couldn't possibly speculate that he hasn't read the London Review of Books transcript of Mantel's thoughtful lecture. But he's certainly wrong: Mantel is kind and sympathetic towards Kate Middleton: her major point is that the media (and that includes Peter) place impossible and contradictory demands on royal women. (I have read it: I subscribe to the LRB because I prefer to experience new ideas rather than depending on What I Reckon, which is why I'll never be a star columnist on a local rag).

And not simply royal women. Let's have a look at Pistol Pete's language shall we? Firstly, he seems to have a problem with women 'of a certain age'. That's right ladies: let's have a cut-off around 35. After that, you should keep your mouths shut and pop on that burqa. As for 'frumpy', well we can't have 'frumpy' women expressing opinions about 'slim, gorgeous chicks'. They're not qualified even if they have produced 'brilliant literature'. Because obviously your genes and prevailing male standards of beauty are the sole criteria for whether or not your opinion is valid. 

But two can play this game:

Gorgeous pouting Peter Rhodes (42-48-42): not being 'frumpy' or 'of a certain age' is allowed to comment, despite never producing any 'brilliant literature'.
Perhaps if Peter woke up looking more like a commentariat hunk (Giles Coren, perhaps, or Owen Jones), he wouldn't be quite so dyspeptic, lazy and bigoted.

Or perhaps not.

Oh, and Pete: that Austen opening that you nicked – she was being ironic. It's in Mrs Bennet's voice and isn't meant to be taken seriously. But you knew that. Didn't you?


Historian on the Edge said...

Steady on, Voley. I expect that Rhodes won a prize from Spare Rib (unverifiable) for his feminism-aware journalism at some point in the 90s.

The Plashing Vole said...

Actually I think he won his award from throwing himself under a horse in support of women's suffrage.