Sunday, January 21, 2007

OK. so I'm weighing in on the whole Celebrity Big Brother thing.

I never thought I would be in a position to say that Jade Goody could teach me anything,

Jade is a joke. She’s thick. She’s lewd. She represents a whole ‘class’ of people of which I am not a part. She’s beneath me. She’s famous for being beneath us. Those of us that can articulate. That read ‘proper’ newspapers. That only read ‘those’ magazines at the hairdressers. We move in ‘civilised’ circles.

Jade is famous up here because we can look on her down there. Unambiguously. With her little band of chavvette followers, buying her book, dousing themselves in her perfume.

I am prejudiced against her.

We would both be described as having a ‘strong personality.’ Our passions quickly rise to the surface. Except mine stick in my throat more often than not.

This has been a stark example of the difference between how we perceive ourselves, and how we are perceived.

When faced with enough evidence, we must concede; our barometer may be off.

“I don’t know how else to argue,” she sobbed.

She doesn’t have the tools. But she's not alone.

People think I’m aggressive. I think I just want answers. I think it’s good, on occasion, to air the thing that everyone else will only speculate about in corners. If I’m challenged, I want to challenge back, to interrogate the question, lay out the pieces. This, apparently, is aggressive. My hackles rise when I feel someone is making assumptions about me. I want to query the provenance of that assumption. This, apparently, is aggressive.

When my partner tells me I’m difficult to talk to. I’m shocked. My heart aches. Tears well in my throat, in my eyes. I want to know why and how and since when and what do you mean?? I’m told this is aggressive too.

My grandfather told me when I was eight or nine that I should be careful with my gift. I was a socially withdrawn child within my peer group and was subsequently teased.[ I was sufficiently ‘other’ that by the time I was in my teens I warranted full scale bullying.] He cautioned me that I must never retaliate, because I was much stronger than them, because I was perceptive beyond my years, could see into their hearts and actions and could wound them in a way from which they may not recover. That I must not unleash my words.

I think I’ve stuck to that. I don’t say all I could say. Unlike Jade, I don’t shout. I don’t call people names. Words don’t fall uncontrollably from my mouth. I try not to bitch behind people’s backs, although I have made ‘witty’ remarks about someone’s name or demeanour when they were not present. I hold my breath and count to ten. I try to empathise. But empathy, too, can be aggressive; can be resented as an invasion.

Whatever Jade felt she saw in Shilpa Shetty that made her behave in such an appalling way, made her look for ‘evidence’ to support her feelings in the most minor and petty details, led her to talk about her victim incessantly to those impressionable enough to listen - this is a woman who is only now beginning to grasp the disjunction between what she feels she’s doing and saying, and how that communication is received by others.

And I’m no better equipped.


At 1:10 am, January 28, 2007, Blogger Claudia said...

In the end, most people are more alike than they think, no?


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