Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ditto attmepts to clarify which gay men she dislikes

The continuing adventures of Beth Ditto's attempts to be all things to all people, part 773. This week, she's taling to the Advocate. Naturally, Beth describes herself as a "radical queer" - despite her conservative bi-bashing of a couple of weeks ago - before immediately getting herself tied up in political knots:

There's so many candidates and it's like the worst of two evils -- not that I think they're necessarily evil, but I do think that George Bush was absolutely a fascist piece of shit. So I don't think that they're on the same par as him, but there are things I don't trust, because when money is involved, it changes everything.

George Bush, then, is one of those non-evil fascists.

The Advocate then asks her who she'll be voting for. Oddly, Ditto is unable to rule anybody in, or anybody out:
I don't know who I'm voting for yet, and people keep asking me a lot. I think that on the one hand, people are surprised that I don't say “Hillary” immediately, but I just don't think civil unions are the best, because “separate but equal” is unconstitutional! It's bullshit, and we've been through this already.

Now, it could just be that Kyle Buchanan didn't push Ditto enough to get a coherent answer out of her, or maybe this is the best he could do with the source material.
I think right now is an amazing time to be alive; to get to see the candidates and the diversity that I don't think has ever happened before in this country. I mean, it has to a degree, with people like Shirley Chisholm, but this is such a mainstream vote that has never happened in American history -- which is such a fucking joke, considering that we're supposed to be ahead of the game all the time.

Eh? We think what she means is "oh, look, there's actually a woman and a black guy in the running for President", but that's hardly "diversity" - most toothpaste commercials would reject a cast of mainly-white-older-rich-guys, even if it was a toothpaste that only wanted to sell its stuff to mainly-white-older-rich-guys.

The talk then turns to the NME cover. The Advocate is interested, in particular, in Ditto's quote that "gay men" are to blame for size zero. Ditto twists and spins like Chubby Checker on a helter-skelter:
I think what's so funny to me -- not “funny ha ha,” but “funny strange” is that comment was paraphrased to the max. I know that in America not that many people are familiar with the NME, but everyone in Britain knows that the NME is the enemy. There's a reason why it's called “the N-M-E.”

Really, Beth? The NME is "the enemy"? And how many other of your enemies do you strip off for, to provide a circulation-boosting cover?

Odd, to do a nude shoot for a magazine you dislike, especially when only this weekend we were hearing about how frightening you found posing in a biknin for Pop.

And surely the sort of circles Beth moves in - or moved in, before she started to try and position herself as a kind of Hot Topic Anne Heche - would be more than familiar with the NME, and its strengths and shortcomings?
Absolutely sensationalistic. Absolutely known for paraphrasing.

Sensationalistic? Perhaps - although "getting over-excited by Kasabian" is hardly on a par with the worst excesses of the red tops. But "absolutely known for paraphrasing"? Absolutely?
What I said – and you can still disagree – it was in a list of things that I thought could be blamed [for the size zero] before women were blamed. Like I said, I'm a radical feminist, and first and foremost, I'm a woman. That's something I'm perceived as by the whole world, and I get the options handed down to me that are handed down because I'm a woman. I didn't create those standards that I'm supposed to adhere to -- those were created for me, and it started before I was born.

We're not entirely sure what this has to do with calling gay men responsible for size zero, although it's handy to have "people see me as a woman because I'm a woman" spelled out to us.
That being said, it was a list of things, and half of the list was left out. I mean, one of the things I said which was a very specific thing was gay men in the fashion industry are responsible, not gay men as a whole. But I think it was good, at least, because it got people talking about shit. I don't blame any one thing, and I would never say “Gay men are to blame for the size zero.” That's absolute bullshit, there's lots of things to blame.

But hold on a moment: you did say gay men were to blame. Perhaps you did stipulate the ones in the fashion industry, but in all the bluster as you try to wriggle out of it, you don't deny that you actually mentioned gay men.

I'm sure the gay men in the construction industry, and in catering, personal healthcare, agricultural insurance and puppetry will be pleased to hear that you don't blame them for models skinnying themselves to illness. But we're at a loss to understand how a woman who believes herself to be a "radical queer" thinks that it's acceptable to use "gay" as a modifier to "men in the fashion industry" who she believes behave against women's interests. Does she really believe that straight men - and, indeed, all the women - in the fashion industry are blameless, and that it really is only the gay men who push models to be ever slimmer? Or was she just falling back into cosy, lazy stereotypes?

Yeah, Beth. You're a radical queer. And Jim Davidson is the head of the Equal Opportunities Commission.

She then twists some more:
The problem is that you're supposed to feel this kinship because we're all queers and we're all in this together, and then you go to this styling shoot or something and it's gay men treating women like shit. I think that's what it's about, and it was actually one tiny, minuscule part of the conversation that got printed as this huge thing like we'd been talking about it for hours.I think that when you're trying to explain radical politics to a straight white boy, of course they're going to take the heat off the straight white boy, which is what we talked about the most during the interview.

More stereotyping. Maybe the "straight white boy" chose to run that part of the interview because it exposed something interesting.

You see, Beth, that's kind of the way interviews work - you talk a lot, and then print the interesting stuff.

Beth then accuses the NME of homophobia, for printing the quote where she slagged off gay men:
Mind you, I haven't read the interview, I've only heard about it from other people, but I think it's interesting how the one thing they'll do is turn it right back on gay people.

She hasn't read the interview, and yet is happy to attack it on the grounds of being a distortion of what she said. It's especially amusing that someone who accuses the magazine of paraphrasing is basing her outrage on, erm, other people's paraphrasing of the article.

Moving on, Ditto reveals she's writing a style guide. Not a fashion guide, of course, as that's something quite different:
I think fashion is a product that can be bought and sold and is made for you, and style is something that you get up and you do it to yourself every morning. Fashion is a product, but style is a way of life. You can't buy style, it's an instinct.

Style is an instinct, but Ditto is writing a guide to style.

And then she says this:
Most activist movements have amazing fashion. The Red Army faction, the Black Panthers, all of them had an amazing style.

Yes - it's a little known fact that Susanne Albrecht was a face of L'Oreal for two summers back in the mid-1970s. Does Ditto really believe that what really caused the Black Liberation Army schism was a falling-out over whether you could mix snake belts and berets? Ditto, like many "stylists", have confused people having no option but ot wear cheap, practical clothing for people choosing to dress up in expensive copies of cheap, practical clothing.

Please, Beth: if you can't think quickly enough about what you're saying, at least think about turning down the interviews.


7 comments:

bruthead said...

You really don't like Beth Ditto do you?

Neither do I, keep up the good work.

karlt said...

This week in Heat, Andreas Baader brings us the latest in ski masks and assault rifles...

Alex B said...

Beth is seemingly far too thick to be a suitable spokesperson for....well...er...anyone. Her music is pants, she's going to keel over with a heart attack before she hits 45 and she can't make a valid point about anything.

Anonymous said...

So she's basically slagging the paper which has given her the press coverage to get this kind of attention. Ehm... I can't help but think that she really needs someone to sit down and talk to her. Who knows, she might just change. I mean look at this picture. Pigs fly!

Raffles said...

I find it hilarious.


That is all.

Anonymous said...

to be fair, the nazis did have the best outfits - so maybe ditto's got a point

Lulu said...

It's hard to be a "radical" anything when your surname means "that which has gone before," or, in modern parlance, "what she said." Spokesperson for a generation my frickin ass.

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