Nigella Demonstrates Both Sides of the Celebrity Coin

For a long time, Nigella Lawson has personified many of my ideas of feminine poise and beauty.  She’s witty, funny, and rocks a girdle (or maybe it is just spanx, not certain) like few modern women I’ve seen.

The Poised and Curvy Queen of the Kitchen (and Still One of my Role Models)

I’ve tuned in (albeit unreliably) to several of her programs since before I became a “domestic goddess” myself.  I’ve heard the rumours of her penchant for a good party and I’ve mentally referred to her words “too much of a good thing can be wonderful” on many an occasion (often to my and other’s detriment admittedly).

If you haven’t been living under a rock or imposed a complete traditional and social media ban on yourself over the past 24 hours, you’ll know of the run in between her and Charles Saatchi at a Mayfair restaurant, which he now contests was a “playful tiff”.

Some woman named Dee Dee in Australia wants her to stand up as a domestic violence advocate and confused and upset people with this suggestion.  While I think she might be on the right track on some level, her wording and media friendliness seems to have missed the mark.  Her attempt to defend herself in the radio interview ended on a rather negative note inciting a backlash from the public apparently.  Strange what passes for a “public backlash” these days really.

I’ve not delved deeply into the incident or read much of the press coverage (even merely googled and skimmed whilst researching for this blog due to time constraints). I do, however, think that the flip side of being a celebrity must suck far more than any perceived or real benefits associated with earning a living in the public eye and becoming highly recognisable.

The warmth and protectiveness with which Gail Ludlow (of Easy Listening fame) talked about Nigella and this event would have had you believing they were best friends since birth and stood up at each other’s weddings.  There was plenty of people who rushed to her defence in public and the media.  Testament to her warmth and media appeal, but I would contest also testament to our ability to empathise with her right now.

I cannot comprehend why someone did not intervene at the event.  This happened in full view of passers by on the street as well as the other diners.

Is it an upper middle-class British thing to turn a blind eye?  I have no doubt that everyone who witnessed the incident certainly knew who she was, and probably had a fairly strong inkling that her assailant was a fairly wealthy advertising and art mogul.

But then, sparing her from intervention for dignity’s sake might have been the motivation for people not coming to her aid or even asking her if she was alright.

I don’t know.

What I do know is this.

She’s obviously having some marital problems.

I also know WE ALL have some marital problems from time to time.

She’s created a brand and a public image which is very poised and good humoured, as well as approachable and by many accounts and purposes likeable.  So if we, the “general public” on one end of the spectrum and “her adoring fans” on the other are faced with her unfortunate luncheon altercation with her husband of ten years, what are we doing lapping it up and how is it affecting us in our real lives? (Irony Alert!!!)

First, I would appeal to the press and the public to leave her alone.

She’s going through a terrible (and now utterly public) ordeal and deserves the chance to discretely and safely seek support and counsel without everyone and their dog chiming in on the matter.

I do hope she is alright, and I also hope once she has collected herself and sorted out her private life (which should remain private as she’s hardly a tabloid or media schlocky as far as I can tell) that she opts to campaign publicly on some level for women’s rights or domestic violence.  But only if it does not compromise further her personal freedom and privacy or impinge on her family or her personal and mental well-being.

What happened was awful, and upsetting, and none of us in the “general public” know the back-story.  And rightly so.  Let her sort out her life and let her and her husband get the help they need to move onto the next stages of their lives and face whatever issue or demons they are dealing with.

Perhaps, like everyone I’ve had moments of wishing I could be a celebrity of one form or another.  It seems that a balance can be struck between being a highly recognisable public figure and still maintaining a successful and safe private life (Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson seem to strike this balance).  However, if pictures were snapped of any of these afore mentioned people in a similar situation, the media would almost certainly be reacting in the same way.

No one can deny that this sensation is selling.  The shock value alone would have sold millions of tabloids as none of us would ever assume the darling domestic goddess with a perfect home, husband, two perfect children, and lots of path-of-least-resistance entertaining tips would ever be in such a situation.  So we all stopped and gawked for a moment when she was.

Not cool.

I’m glad I get to quietly go about my business and be neither sweetheart or sinner in the eyes of total strangers.  Being a celebrity would be too heavy a cross to bear for someone as emotionally unstable and generally unpredictable as myself.  And I’m glad to lead a life under the radar for the most part.

I hope people lay off and let her sort her own shit out though.

I also hope that people know that domestic violence is never okay, and couching an abusive interlude as a “playful tiff” is offensive to the hundreds of thousands of women and men who suffer at the hands of cruel partners and have the strength to stand up and move on.

There are plenty of other, more important things going on at the moment.  Turkey, Syria, world hunger, poverty, abuse, human trafficking, sweat shops, GMO, corporate greed, government corruption, cancer, animal cruelty, global warming just to name a few.

Next blog… I think I’ll write about priorities.  Apparently we all say we have them and some of us (like me) even claim that we’re above tabloid shenanigans, yet I’ve spent an hour researching and writing this article about just that.

Sigh.

It is all a mystery to me some days.

Hope you are well whatever you are up to today.

Thanks for reading.

XXOO

Dee

I Swear I am Trying (To Curb The Swearing)

I hope that this is going to be an interactive blog and I’d appreciate (constructive) feedback.

The evolution of swearing and profanity has changed a lot since I was a child.

Media, the Internet and even just general everyday conversations are often dotted with the odd S word or A word and even, it seems, the F-word is not worth batting an eyelash if used offhandedly and without malice or too much volume.

 It is no secret that I have a terrible potty mouth.

Not just your stock standard list of expletives either.  I command the use of words that apparently can get you deported from Canada according to Kevin Bloody Wilson (don’t click on that if you can’t cope with the C-word… seriously, you will find the song appalling).

I do try to employ discretion when meeting new people at networking and business events, (generally successfully when sober), however, as soon as the first swear word is exchanged the conversation generally quickly descends to the level of sailors, farmers, rig pigs or IT professionals profanity standards.

I decided this weekend just past that my swearing has gotten to the point where I need to do something about it.

We were at a dear friends house, and my lovely daughter (who NEVER swears and interjects with helpful suggestions like saying flip instead of the F-word) was playing my friends guitar.  He politely asked for it back.  Darling Daughter was not overly enthusiastic about relinquishing her grasp on the instrument.  I calmly responded to her lack of manners by saying:

“Oh FFS darling, you really ought to stop acting like an asshole and give him back the guitar.  I know you’re a good kid, so please act like it.”

Or something very near to that effect.

To those of you who are utterly appalled and ready to contact Child Youth and Family Services to declare me an unfit mother – keep reading.

Upon becoming a parent I had the best of intentions of curbing or stopping swearing in order to set a good example to our children.

That lasted all of five minutes, and was certainly not an idea that held much clout while I was in labour.  I outdid myself in the profanity department during this part of the blessed event.

Now, more than eight years and three bright and generally well behaved children into the parenting adventure, I’m ready to take the first step in recovery by admitting I have a problem.

I said it. You read it.  I swear way too fucking much.

Oops.

So here’s the thing.

I feel most at ease with those who are in our inner social sanctum and we all swear a great deal together because we can’t go about using expletives willy nilly in our daily lives or professional capacities.

We even have some special made up swear words that would send poor former pope Benedict to an early grave if he should eves drop on a conversation laced with them.

I’ve read articles that back my assertion that a bit of profanity can be a positive thing.

A bit.

Too much is well documented to make a person look like quite a sad case.

There is a time and place for swearing and it can break down social distance and eases tension if used appropriately.

I go to extreme lengths to keep expletives to an absolute minimum online.

I feel like I do a fairly good job of this in comparison to my terrible lack of self-control and censorship in the real world.

So here’s what I’d like to know.

Do we live in a time when swearing is commonplace and mainstream?

How much profanity is acceptable and at what point does it become offensive?

And last but not least… Does anyone want to put a bet on to see if I can go cold turkey for a spell and assert only G-rated conversation regardless of the context?

I’m willing to give it a go.

I’m a bit vulnerable now that I’ve posted this, so please keep the swearing to a minimum and be kind with your feedback.

Looking forward to hearing what you think.