04 May 2009

India Knight and her keen for Carla Bruni and Princess Letizia of Spain


Keen: A funeral lament sung with loud wailing


We, the men, are usually inarticulate, due to mostly outdoor upbringing and lack of schooling in verbal communications. Our ability to express our thoughts is limited to short sentences, mostly of descriptive nature, related to sports events, motor vehicles, quality of food and drink and, of course, the better gender. Frequently these short sentences are interspersed with expletives and, in some cases, expletives form most of the sentence, being perfectly clear to the male listener. All in all, simple and basic, hardly requiring a mental effort of any significance. Thus we coast through life on its surface, barely leaving a scratch on the polish. The exceptions to this general rule become writers, politicians, lawyers, hawkers, insurance agents - generally the sort of people you wouldn't invite to your house for a relaxing afternoon of weekend football (soccer) on the sports channel and a few beers.

Cutting to the chase

Now, women, on the other hand, are much more sophisticated when expressing their thoughts, frequently veiling the message (or, even more daunting to a simple male, several messages) in a way that, frankly, leaves a male lost and wandering out there in the cerebral maze without any hope of deliverance. This is precisely what happened to me while I was reading the article Poor Carla: dismissed with a pat on the backside by India Knight.

The article starts with a harangue about men's bottoms that got my sensitive MCP (male chauvinist pig) antennae twisted immediately. Aha, said I to self, we are going to get it in the neck again (notice the simplicity of that thought, typical for a male). Why? Just because:

Acres of newsprint and media commentary were expended last week on the “battle of the bottoms”. Nobody appeared to think this was especially silly since the bottoms happened to be female and belonged to Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Princess Letizia of Spain.
Of course, this got some of my other antennae going and I've soon got onto the source of Ms Knight's displeasure. If you scroll a bit there, you shall see the picture that is, probably, the one to cause most of that ire. Well, as far as bottom shots go, this one is not revealing too much. Definitely (to a male's eye, at least) not enough for a qualified judgment. But back to the displeasure. At first you would think it's fairly simple and straightforward:
What I object to is the idea, so widely disseminated in the media last week, that adult women – you*, me, princesses and political consorts – are so pathetic, so uninteresting, so completely tragic and brain-dead, that they view all other women through the prism of demented competitiveness and might be deflated and made distressed by the idea that someone they meet has a better bottom than them.
Well, if you think that it is indeed as simple and straightforward as that, you must be clearly a male reader. And the only thing I can say to you is: ha!

Because Ms Knight then gets onto Carla Bruni's case. And she does it in such a complicated polyphonic way that really leaves Bach and others of his ilk standing. Schönberg, if you ask me, is eating dust too. To start with:
Like all beautiful women – go on, name me four exceptions – she is a victim of her looks, doomed to be defined by them for eternity, or until she becomes wrinkly and we all express our horror at the ruination of her face.
Of course, you would say, it is a clear denunciation of victimization of female beauty by the dominant male chauvinist swinish patriarchal society. But then, what do you make of that one:
Minxy old Carla, 41, has apparently “met her match” in the pulchritudinous, pert-bottomed, 36-year-old Letizia. Because, obviously, Bruni wakes up every morning, in the manner of Snow White’s evil stepmother, and asks herself whether hers is still the fairest Euro-bottom of them all. The question probably keeps her awake at night, I shouldn’t wonder.
This adds quite a few overtones (or undertones, how could an MCP figure it out?) that sharply increase the complexity of the whole enchilada, wouldn't you say? Or take this:
She may be vocal in her criticism of France’s failures when it comes to offering black and North African immigrants equal job opportunities, and she may speak out against sexual violence in Africa and for the 300,000 women who have been raped in the Congo – but hey, we all know what she’s like really: a silly, giddy former model, ergo thick, competitive arm-candy and bottom-fixated to boot.
Is it still about the male-ruled world of bottoms, boobs and whatnot? Hmm... probably. And then came a couple of sentences that were for me the equivalent of the coup de gras. First this:
I rather love Carla, although I appreciate that many don’t.
And then:
Carla can’t help the way she looks, even though she works the look like the pro she is.
I don't know, really. I am done in. I shall never grok what that piece is about. As a primitive soul, I have tried to look for some explanation in these two links. But no, it is only at the level I am able to raise myself to, surely? It is so much more complex than that... Hopelessly confused, I can deal with the issue in the only way I know. Here it is:

(*) Found this only upon second reading. After all, this shows that the article was not meant for male consumption at all. This goes some way to consoling me.