Thursday, May 31, 2007

Germaine Greer buys the NME

We're sure Conor McKnickerless - sorry, McNicholas - will be delighted that today's G2 carries a not-quite-think piece by Germaine Greer discussing the NME's Beth Ditto cover, even although she doesn't really seem to have thought through her views:

When Beth Ditto, singer with The Gossip and a G2 columnist, strips to lipstick and eyeshadow, she is getting nude, not naked, but prissy commentators are talking about it as if she were a Hottentot and NME (which ran the picture on the cover) was the National Geographic.

Does this actually mean anything? Greer fails to point out any "prissy" commentary at all, and we don't actually think there's been anyone swooning away at the thought of a naked woman. We've seen people who've got horny, people who've been turned off, people who've wondered if the idea is quite as empowering as it's supposed to be. But prissyness? We've seen none.

And surely prissyness is the exact opposite of the reaction to the images of naked tribespeople which used to be the stock-in-trade of the National Geographic; the stimulation of choice for the kids whose dads were too posh or too good at hiding their stash to allow easy access to well-thumbed Mayfairs? Secretly thrilled is not the same as prissy, surely?
The NME had enough courage to put the coolest woman on the planet on the cover, and Beth Ditto has given them the kind of picture that they can use: attention-getting but certainly not obscene.

No, really, Germaine? Are you suggesting that by knowing that splayed legs and exposed nipples wouldn't a mass-market magazine cover make is meant to be the sign of some sort of hyper-intelligence at work?

And why is this "courageous"? Again, Greer doesn't really explain, because she's fallen into the trap that the paper itself has: it's only if you secretly believe Ditto to be some sort of freakshow grotesque that putting her on the cover becomes an act of courage; you can't simultaneously hold the position that the NME is being brave and that Ditto is no different from whoever is on the cover of Zoo this week.

And isn't Greer's anthropological musing on the paper's front page, well, casting Ditto as if she were a Hottentot in the National Geographic?


2 comments:

Deth Bitto said...

NME didn't have the courage to put Ditto on the cover when she topped the Cool List. They do so now when she's popular.
Bit hypocritical to say they're courageous.

Anonymous said...

You stick someone on the cover who's underweight, you're vile evil scum who should be banned from breathing air and should have all your publications burned. You stick someone on the cover who's overweight, you're "courageous"?!?!

Also how is it not "obscene"?!? that's totally missing the point. Granted, the picture itself isn't obscene, after all it's just a picture of a naked human and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. For me, it's the sheer exploitation which is obscene. The NME have not printed this for any other reason than to sell copies off the back of the shock value. Does Greer honestly think there is something noble in the intentions of the paper? As the last comment says they didn't even have the courage to stick Ditto on the cover when she won their "cool" award. It's like these people acclaiming this cover don't remember why they condemn the stick thin cover models. I was led to believe that the reason was because they represent an image of the human body, which can lead to people having both physical and psychological health problems, as being ok. Now I'm with them on this but I'd say that this is also true of those at the opposite end of the scale but apparently I was wrong. It's because models are thin and that is bad and because that is bad everything else is good??!!

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