August 01, 2004

Mary, Mary, quite the contrary

Mary Kenny appears to have been contracted to write for the Guardian on the same principle as Anne Widdecombe: to provoke the liberal readership. Unfortunately people can generally spot a pantomime dame when they see one, and particularly one as witless as Kenny, who either has no opinion on a subject (as here, where she is "agnostic" on one topic and has "completely contradictory responses" on another) or expresses mutually exclusive views (as here, where she both demands Eurostar's fares be more flexible according to demand and then complains that they're already too complicated).

To be honest, it's hard to believe that it's not all an act, a variation on the columnist in What A Carve-Up! whose torrent of opinions - and the strength of that torrent - was in no way stemmed by knowing nothing about anything she wrote about. A nicer variation, sure, provided you prefer ruthlessness and arrogance replaced by the most patronising manner I've ever come across. Everybody else is "darling" - or "a dear, nice person", or "I know that many Muslims are good people" (gosh, thanks, Ma'am!). In fact she does so much of this that half the time I'm sure it must be an act, nobody could have that little self-awareness. Except that I've come across a few upper-crust airheads in my time, and they were very much like that. Dismiss everybody else with a "don't be silly, darling!" every time they disagree with you and of course your own opinions never have to come under any scrutiny at all. Either Kenny herself is like that, or it's an extremely well-observed study of a particular type.

In fact, she - or the character who she's playing - seems to regard almost everybody else as some sort of child to be patted on the head - see her ludicrous comments about all the little clubs hanging out their flags, for instance. Or try this week's piece in which the proles are only interested in "three-dimensional mobile phones, DVDs, bargain foreign holidays, iPods, TV's Big Brother, the Sun". And what a terribly original point she's making, as if nobody on the Left had ever thought of it before. (By God, no wonder people can get away with this stuff and don't even realise they're getting away with anything, if the Telegraph or the Guardian thinks this is worth paying for.)

Unfortunately though Kenny's point is rather undermined by the fact that she can't even get her quote right. She has Shelley writing:
we are many, they are few

which is not what he wrote. She says "no, darlings, they are many", meaning the proles, with their iPods and the rest. But actually, addressing the same multitude, he told them:

ye are many, they are few

which rather than being the opposite, is exactly what she said herself. The multitude are many. There's no reference to the revolutionaries, or the left, or anything. None at all. There is no "we".

How hard would that have been to get it right? Well, she could have looked up The Mask of Anarchy on Google or something. Or she could have got a researcher to do it (surely somebody could have helped out for the price of an iPod).

Or she could have looked at the programme that everybody who attended the funeral was given, where the words were correctly printed.


Post a Comment

<< Home