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Tuesday, 4 November 2008


I am going to make one last comment on the Ross/Brand saga and then leave it behind which is where the whole messy tale deserves to be.

The following extract from an article by India Knight in the Sunday Times at the week-end (2 November) puts it very well. Congratulations to India for exposing the attitudes of both Ross and Brand to women.

"......what lies at the centre of this sorry saga is misogyny. None of it would have happened if Ross and Brand displayed - or were asked to display - even an iota of respect for women. Instead, both men have made part of their living out of treating women - wives and mothers excluded - as though they were pieces of meat. This can be very funny but it sticks in the craw.
Ross has an Achilles’ heel: he is a marvellous interviewer of men, but reduces every single female interviewee to meat status. Basically, his whole shtick boils down to “I’d do you”. Unless the woman in question is ancient or deformed, Ross crushes any spark of opinion until said woman can be squashed back into the box labelled “totty”.

Brand, whose issues with sex addiction are well documented, has a similar problem. I interviewed him last summer. He was, shall we say, attentive, rather distractingly so as I sat trying to take notes and keep the conversation on track. My interview appeared in due course.
Three weeks ago I got an e-mail from a friend suggesting that I listen to that week’s radio show podcast. Now, I didn’t go to Brand’s house batting my eyelashes or bandying killer chat-up lines (“My grandpa was Coco the Clown”, maybe); I went to do my job. I was therefore taken aback to find myself named on air as a prelude to Brand discussing my bosoms with, surreally, Noel Gallagher from Oasis, who insistently asked: “Did you sleep with her?”, a question that caused Brand to speculate in some detail about what sleeping with me might have been like. None of this was mean or cruel, but it was out of order and reductive: woman, ergo piece of meat, fair game, punchline, nonperson.

In Ross’s and Brand’s world, it is assumed that all women are gagging for a bit of the old trouser goodness. I don’t necessarily blame them for this: many male celebrities do indeed find it to be so and this assumption happens to be shared by most men - it's just that most men are more discreet about airing their misogyny, because they have normal lives and engage with normal women in normal places, such as offices. Ross, Brand and others operate from ivory towers, no matter how populist their appeal.

The BBC’s failure was in not identifying the alarming propensity of its two presenters for galloping, off-the-scale sexism and in making no attempt to rein it in".

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