Here’s Adam Sherwin doing the People column yesterday:
This is an intensely feminine struggle against the destruction of our eco-system, a problem created by patriarchy,” Leila Deen, the lady who gunged Lord Mandelson, argues on Labourlist.org
[Don't go looking for it on line. This particular item seems to have been lost on the way from the print-room.]
Oh no she doesn’t.
At first, when Malcolm came across Ms Deen on Labourlist, he assumed it was one of those “as told to” spoofs.
After all, Ms Deen trod the narrowest of lines between satire and banal self-revelation:
Here was a well-dressed, dare I say attractive, state school, middle class woman confronting the unelected OverLord Mandelson and questioning his right to take a political platform on climate change.
Compare that self-descripton with Ms Deen’s previous outing, involving an Edinburgh crane in 2005, as illustrated above.
What was really dislocating Malcolm’s antennae for irony (apart, of course, from his over-familiarity with Americans) lies in Ms Deen’s reference to “patriachy” as in:
Typically for a man far too used to the comforts of patriachy, as I approached him, Mandelson’s condescending smile conveyed his expectation of little more than a simpering compliment coming his way.
Well, a typo, perhaps. Clumsy; but it happens to all of us, even the fastidious, nay — pedantic, Malcolm.
Except, here it comes again:
This is an intensely feminine struggle, against the destruction of our eco-system, a problem created by patriachy. So I stand proud to have joined the ranks of many strong women who are on the frontline of getting it sorted. And if getting attention for that cause means having to discuss where I buy my shoes, or how I get my hair so poofy, so be it.
Why did Adam Sherwin correct Ms Deen’s solecism? Did the spell-check do it for him; and he missed the point?
Ms Deen’s linguistic gifts were honed to degree level: sadly, the degree was in international studies and politics at Leeds. She therefore tends to all the usual clichés:
- “proactively undermined our climate commitments”,
- ” Suddenly the action and the activist are gendered”,
- “in the forefront of the climate change debate”.
Only “empowerment” seems to be missing from the full set.
Her punctuation lacks rigour, rarely rising above the all-purpose comma; and then she manages serially to split three infinitives:
it is women leading the charge to directly challenge its causes [i.e. of climatic change] , engage its perpetrators and take direct action to stop it happening.
Sorry, darlin’, you’re too late. It’s already happening.
But what really grates is the “poofy” usage. As the OED has it:
Characteristic of or designating a homosexual man; relating to or associated with homosexual men; effeminate.
Now, Ms Deen, justify that in this particular context. Homophobia on International Women’s Day! Tut! Tut.
And, oh dear, was that a Starbucks Venti cup, you, a brave defender of the eco-system, used?