Charlotte Church and other shape-shifting hacking victims
I LOVE the word metamorphosis. Shape-shifting finds its most dramatic expression in folklore and in insects. And of course in the fabled Lesley Ash.
The current hacking scandal is a feast of celebrity transformation. Hugh Grant no longer bears the image of solipsistic depressive, forever on the point of movie retirement. We think of him now as valiant champion of celebrity victimhood, outward-looking and lethal as he unleashes his Latymer-engineered prosodics (or suprasegmental phonemes) on the lowly estuary gutteral of withered former hacks.
Steve Coogan, once Byronic satyr of showbiz after-parties with a sniff, as depicted in the tabloid prints, has picked up where Sir Bob Geldof left off as tousle-haired TV gladiator – gliding serenely over Jeremy Paxman’s impertinent interruptions on the thermals of liberating outrage.
There are many other examples. And what most of these abused slebs have in common, thanks to the hacking scandal, is enhanced persona. ‘Oh, s/he has a brain, then,’ is the usual TV sofa comment made as yet another multi-millionaire is granted five minutes to excoriate Murdoch’s minions.
Tabloids lower perceptions of IQ; news interviews raise them.
The latest and newest example of this is Charlotte Church. Yesterday, after winning £600,000 in settlement of her and her parents’ case against News International, she delivered a rather fabulous speech which told us that Murdoch’s people regretted nothing other than being caught out. She spoke smoothly, confidently, with just about the right amount of controlled fury that the British middle-class can cope with before emotionalism turns them off. Only a person of considerable intelligence and self-possession could have delivered it.
Whether she wrote it, or her lawyers, is beside the point: she presented it with maximum effectiveness. It transformed her from depicted shrew-drunk to focused exponent in an instant. Her public IQ went through the roof.
Every shit storm has its winners. Say hello to the slebby butterflies.