Archive for

October, 2010


Marie Claire – The Backlash


I’ve just logged on to Twitter and have found a few of the ladies I’m following commenting about a controversial Marie Claire post written by Maura Kelly. Naturally I was intrigued and found the offending post. But there was one problem. I was more offended by the comments.

To clarify, firstly the title is terrible – ‘Should “Fatties” Get a Room’? That one probably needed a rewrite. Secondly some of the language and phrasing is simply insensitive – lets put it this way it wouldn’t make it into the magazine.

So now why is this post not as bad as the currently 360 odd commenters are saying…

It is a blog. Yes it is under the Marie Claire logo so more care should have been taken in what was being said. However a blog is somewhere where real people are allowed to release real feelings, real opinions. I personally love reading blogs for this perspective. You’re not going to agree with everything a blogger might have to say but to be honest, as a blogger with a very particular way of writing I would be disappointed if they did. However the venom that this lady has been faced with over the publication of this article is downright savage. Calls for her resignation, people cancelling subscriptions and various hideously barbed insults dominate the board.

“I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over. It’s something they can change, if only they put their minds to it.”

This is one of the more ignorant lines from the blog – claiming that it is something all people can control if they put their minds to it is a rash thing to say especially with no evidence to back it up. However is that any worse then some of the mainstream magazines that pick apart Madonna for her over exercising regimes that leave her at the opposite end of the scale?

Now don’t get me wrong – you put an opinion up on the board and you have to face the music but MY GOD. Take a look at these comments that were published after a very personal apology was published and tell me if you think they are fair…

“You are a hateful and bigoted person”
“You’re not a bully… You’re just a wannabe skank who couldn’t make it as an escort because your bones kept injuring the johns”
“Replace every instance of “Fat” (or “obese”, “overweight”, you get the picture) with “Black” (or “African American”, if you prefer) and tell me this idiot and her EDITOR would still have their jobs if it were to see the light of day.”

This brings up a very interesting point about blogs. Recently Nick Robinson stated that he no longer read the comments of his blog as they had already decided to hate/disagree on his writing. Now Mr. Robinson has come across as ignorant through this statement – how is a blog different from a regular piece of journalism without this interaction from the public? – but with a level of reaction like this it must make for tough reading.

Essentially all I want is for people to try and remain objective in their commenting! If you have a genuine problem with the content or what is being said then please share it but please add to the conversation! How are the commenters who immediately condemn this writer for a sharing an opinion (poorly informed as it is) any better? I saw nothing constructive in the comments field. No one was offering anything further to the debate with their venom. It could have been a great opportunity for people to get across valid interesting points on the subject. Why is it so difficult to overcome the mental hurdles of losing weight? What research has been carried out to show this?  Use Marie Claire’s readership to make your voice heard – you’ll embarrass her with your knowledge and open up Marie Claire to a new way of thinking. But no – the only way people saw fit to comment was with hate and bile and I find that awfully depressing. Don’t you?

The Man Who Thought Too Much


I’m on a South Western train heading from Bracknell to Waterloo. It’s dark and wet. The businessmen I’m commuting with are falling asleep over the Evening Standard. Whether a hard day’s work or sub standard journalism was to blame will remain an unanswered mystery. The voice on the speaker tells me we’re about to arrive in Richmond.

None of this has really got my attention. In fact my attention has been turned to the Asian lady sitting opposite.  I notice that unwittingly my brogues and her cute black laced heels have been touching. Looking up I see she’s noticed the unintentional connection as well. Her eyes land on mine – dark with a hint of grey, quite beautiful. The connection has now become quite intentional. Dressed in a fitted grey suit that matches her eyes everything else has temporarily become white noise.

The driver announces the next station is Clapham Junction. Reality returns and the moment has passed. Now I’m aware of the businessmen nodding off in front of Rooney’s latest revelations, the rain against the window and the fact my shoes are touching those of a complete stranger. I shift my feet perhaps a little swiftly and suddenly we have mobile phones to attend to.

It seems I have been afflicted by a condition that affects many modern Men and Women. Generally we think too much. Evolution (if it even exists) has made us a longer living, but ultimately boring species. We rely upon the so called controversial and inflammatory acts of the new breed of ‘talentless’ celebrities who live the unthinking, care free lives we all secretly wish we could lead. At least some of the time.

If I’d had the courage to do the unthinkable and strike up a conversation with this lady what would have happened? Tidal wave? Earthquake? Would the business men drooling down their shirts have smirked? Maybe all three, maybe none at all. I may have ended up going for a drink discovering she had a love for the films of Guillermo Del Toro, a passion for the Smashing Pumpkins and a dream to one day own a little villa in the South of Italy.

Then again she might have been a lover of High School Musical, the music of Cheryl Cole and a dream to one day have her wedding featured in the pages of OK magazine.

I’ll never know as I’m a Man who thought too much. Are you?

When you were here before,
Couldn’t look you in the eye
I wish I was special
You’re so fuckin’ special

Radiohead, Creep