This doesn't really fall under my Mailwatch remit of politics/ethics, so I'll stick it up here. Don't worry, there's a pot on the boil for the other place in a bit.
Sometimes I wonder if there's really that much of a difference between the professional columnists and we mere amateur so-called 'bloggers'. I'm beginning to think there isn't, or if there is, it's that I'd much rather read a good blogger than one of the pisspoor columnists who siphon silly money out of the national press that could be better used paying journalists to find out about stuff rather than some dunce's wearily predictable loonery. Just my opinion, mind.
And so to Jan Moir, who
sticks the knife in lends a consoling word to Zoe Ball, whose husband Norman Cook is apparently in rehab for alcohol addiction. So, a thoroughly nasty time for the woman, she must be desperately unhappy, what shall we do...? Let's slag her off! Hooray!
Ten years ago, Zoe Ball set off for her wedding to DJ Norman Cook in typical she-male style. With a cowboy hat on her head, a cigarette dangling from her lips and a bottle of Jack Daniel's in her hand, she was the poster girl for the nascent ladette movement.
Ah you see, this is an excuse to defrost the cobblers that got written all those years ago about 'ladettes'. Nothing new is being said. Did Zoe Ball want to be a 'poster girl' anyway or was she kind of, you know, just being herself regardless of what she was being called? Apparently not. Women mysteriously alchemised into ladettes because of evil role models like Zoe Ball. Really? Really.
By acting in this manner, these women apparently felt they were truly emancipated; redressing the balance between male and female, fulfilling their potential as human beings with every bottle of beer consumed.
...and there's the strawman. By imagining that that's why people did these things, Jan can dismantle their arguments. But surely people go out and get boozed up because, well, they like it... no? I don't think there's anything to do with 'emancipation' at all. And neither do they. But if Jan says there is, then she can claim it's a wrongful idea. Which it is, because no-one thinks that.
Here comes the next argument:
According to new figures released by the Youth Justice Board, violent offences by young females have risen sharply in recent years. Across the country, girl gangs and shemale bullies are now far more terrifying than their milksop male counterparts, while - unbelievably - violence is the most common reason for young females to be arrested in England and Wales.
And that's Zoe Ball's fault somehow? By going out and having fun, Zoe Ball has made lots of women go out and be violent? Really? Really. But it's bollocks. Men are still much more likely to be the perpetrators - and victims - of violence than women. But now a bit of what you want to read:
Meanwhile, teenage pregnancies are on the increase, alcohol consumption and drug abuse are escalating as girls grow up with no greater ambition than to get bladdered, get pregnant and move into a council house.
Teen pregnancies have gone up a bit - though of course let's remember the figures for pregnancies don't necessarily mean live births. Fuck that though, Moir chucks in another strawman - girls are getting pregnant not because of pisspoor contraceptive advice, but to get a council house. Really? Really. Evidence? No. But I think it's this, therefore it's this. Fair enough Jan, but it's flimsy to say the least.
Of course, no one is blaming Zoe Ball for every fatherless child born or catfight outside the Pink Flamingo. Or the sprawl of drunken girls splattered like guano over British city centres every weekend. Yet I do wonder.
No-one is blaming Zoe Ball, although... well, it can't hurt to lump her in with a general slagging-off of women, especially when she's had a really shit week, can it? I mean, that's fair enough, isn't it?
Don't forget, of course, that a lot of these figures on violence have gone through the filter known as James Slack - for more on his trusty sword of manipulation and general bullshit, see this excellent rebuttal from No Sleep Til Brooklands here. Regardless, what we have here is a splicing together of two very different things - one, slagging off 'ladettes' (and Zoe Ball as some kind of arch leader of those dirty 'shemales'; and two, slagging off kids for having fights and getting pregnant. Is there a real connection or not? The evidence isn't compelling.
The potency and influence of role models on modern society is sometimes exaggerated, but there is no denying that Zoe & Co started something with their glamorous, boozy buccaneering and their profligate ways. So maybe they have moved on, or at least are the recipients of a careful rebranding exercise in sobering up. Yet the legacy they have left behind continues to rise like a sick soufflé.
What legacy? Why? If you want to look at reasons why more boozing and violence is taking place nowadays, you need to look back to the early 1990s, under a Conservative Government (although Labour has done nothing to turn it around) when councils basically couldn't refuse permission for new town-centre pubs, which mushroomed all over every town and city centre in the country. There's an extra reason, but no, let's blame Zoe Ball, 'cheap' alcohol (e.g. poor people can't be trusted to get pissed, whereas everyone else can) and everything else under the sun.