Monday, April 18, 2011

Well, they wouldn’t, would they?

People complain about how sordid and salacious the British tabloids are, but in reality they’re incredibly prim. Take, for example, The Sun’s coverage of someone out of Girls Aloud getting married. She’s doing the deed at what the paper’s tuggin’-me-forelock-squire stylesheet requires us to describe as “posh Cliveden House”; we are then informed by our helpful hack that the place has also hosted the nuptials of a Liverpool footballer, and the one out of Ant and Dec who isn’t Dec. Oh yeah, and every British monarch since 1714.

What s/he doesn’t bother to mention is Cliveden’s real claim to fame; as the place where Jack Profumo met Christine Keeler, setting in motion a series of events that exposed the decadence and hypocrisy of the British establishment, paving the way for the Wilson government and the social upheavals and reforms of the 1960s. Maybe they didn’t like to mention this, since a sex scandal that really mattered, really changed history and society, makes the recent exploits of the Murdoch camp seem even more desperate and tawdry. Or maybe they were just cutting and pasting from a press release sent to them by Cliveden’s current management, who probably don’t like to draw attention to such unpleasant details (although, if they’re reading this, a Profumo weekender/pool party would almost certainly pack the place out).

Or maybe the hack had just never heard of Profumo, marshalling the “before my time, guv” excuse. Which is a pity: to be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child, as Cicero put it. For the benefit of Sun journalists, that’s either the Cicero who plays in midfield for West Brom, or the one who got kicked off Big Brother 7. Or perhaps the one who isn’t Ant.

6 comments:

Rog said...

It does at least remind us of the dignity with which the disgraced Profumo lived out the rest of his life in silence and servitude. John Prescott could take note...

blackwatertown said...

They do nice snacks in the orangerie - you used to be able to feel posh by association - though it's more footballers these days.

Tim Footman said...

When Profumo died, someone (Simon Jenkins?) said that he exemplified the distinction between a bad man, and a good man who'd once done a bad thing. A pretty good tribute, I'd say.

BWT: If this is just a Cliveden PR apple-C, that does seem to be the market they're looking to. But I thought Jenny Agutter's husband ran Cliveden these days? Surely she's classier than that, even when she's naked. Especially when she's naked.

Fat Roland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fat Roland said...

The only Cicero with any real cultural significance is the Pet Shop Boys protégé who was the next big thing in 1992*:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3TC582lvYU

*he wasn't

Tim Footman said...

I'd forgotten him, FR. Thanks. No, really, thanks.