Wednesday 7 December 2016

People are talking: A Swift kick up the ar*e needed

Anne Marie Scanlon

Published 21/12/2015 | 02:30

Stagestruck: Taylor Swift has been criticised for her stage antics by feminist author Camille Paglia
Stagestruck: Taylor Swift has been criticised for her stage antics by feminist author Camille Paglia
Leonardo DiCaprio
Alex Reid

Nazi Barbie. Not the latest 'must have' toy for Christmas 2015 but a phrase conjured up by Camille Paglia, whose shtick has always been that of an upmarket, intellectual, feminist Katie Hopkins. (Although veteran feminist Gloria Steinem said that Paglia "calling herself a feminist is sort of like a Nazi saying they're not anti-Semitic.")

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Writing about Taylor Swift in The Hollywood Reporter, Paglia said the singer "should retire that obnoxious Nazi Barbie routine of wheeling out friends and celebrities as performance props".

Because when you see a bunch of young, good-looking women on stage at the end of a pop concert - it's obviously going to put you in mind of Hitler and the lads, right?

As well as Swift apparently re-enacting Nuremberg on a nightly basis, she's not a proper feminist, says Paglia. But let's give the venerable scholar a break as writing about Swift was "a horrific ordeal" for the 68-year-old, "because her twinkly persona is such a scary flashback to the fascist blonds who ruled the social scene during my youth."

So let's be clear here - leaving aside all the extreme right-wing (and frankly baseless) imagery, Paglia had damned Taylor Swift because she felt left out by the cool kids when she was young.

Never, ever, have the words "Get over yourself" had so much meaning.

Mary and Joseph get a scolding from Bertie

Poor Bertie Ahern, whose attempts to rehabilitate his tarnished political reputation continue to be thwarted by the old enemy - namely, his own mouth, which keeps opening and spouting tosh.

The three-time election winner must have thought things were looking up after a barnstorming performance at the Banking Inquiry over the summer. Now he's gone and spoiled his chances of winning any popularity contests in the near future by using an interview on British radio to blame "Joe Soap" and "Mary Soap" for the crash because they got "cocky" during the boom and started borrowing money to buy "second, third and even fourth homes".

It's certainly a bold move to mark the Christmas season by blaming Joseph and Mary for all the world's problems, when they couldn't even get a room at the inn, never mind a buy-to-let holiday apartment on the Costa Packet; but it does rather confirm the suspicion that Ireland's ruling class still thinks everyone was to blame for the crash except them.

To be fair, the former Taoiseach does have a point. Why borrow loads of money from the bank to pay for your lifestyle when you could just ask your rich mates for a dig out?

He's right about Joe and Mary Soap, too. If ordinary Irish people were that smart, after all, they wouldn't keep paying the pensions of arrogant chumps who insult them.

McGregor's gab gives away a greater truth

I like Conor McGregor. Not only that but I believe in him, too. When he makes his 'Mystic Mac' predictions of when and how he's going to knock-out his next opponent, I believe them. Any why not, he's almost always right.

I also believe in his confidence. I like his "I'm the greatest ever and I'm gonna show the world" attitude. I'd rather more Irish athletes be like that, than the clichéd Paddy who's just happy to be there, and sure isn't it a long way from Mullingar.

Finally, I believe that he can talk, certainly enough to get inside Jose Aldo's head, and also enough to land him a role in Vin Diesel's xXx 3 movie. But what I don't believe is that he's as great a talker as the world's media seems to think he is.

Sure, there's no doubt when in full flow, he's got something. His one-liners are solid, his comebacks good and his observations decent. Yes, he's got charm and charisma, but by Irish standards he's nothing special. And therein lies a greater truth.

The Irish may be great at MMA and a good many other things, but when it comes to the chat, the gab and the yak, we are, without dispute, the greatest ever.

Eilis O'Hanlon

Leo's gory glory

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Leonardo DiCaprio (above) would, it seems, chew his way through a pound of raw bison liver to get his hands on an Oscar.

Nominated five times, his gracious loser face has had more outings at the Academy Awards than John Travolta's hairpiece.

Ever since Gilbert Grape he's been giving it socks, pouring his all into exhausting performances. But each time he dons his tux in February, he goes home empty-handed.

This year, he's been going to even greater extremes of commitment. Starvation diets might be all the rage amongst Best Actor hopefuls with an artistic axe to grind (see Matthew McConaughey extreme-dieting his way to his McConassaince, and Jake Gyllenhaal gaining more credibility with each lost pound in Nightcrawler), but DiCaprio has clearly decided to take the self-denial route to glory a step further. In The Revenant, he turned down the tasty jelly that the props team apparently painstakingly produced to resemble liver, and chowed down on a nice chunk of fresh, uncooked bison viscera instead. "The bad part is the membrane," he said, "when you bite into it, it bursts in your mouth." Still, he clearly thinks it's preferable to eating humble pie. Again.

Julia Molony

Star Wars: We Don't Care

Here's an idea for a movie. It's called Star Wars: Most of Us Don't Care. Because we don't. And yet we have to stand by every few years and let the nerds take over the world. It's time to say enough already. It's even worse with the latest release, The Force Awakens, because part of it was shot on Skellig Michael. This means we can expect an influx of nerds from around the world. It will be like the Web Summit but with weird hairstyles. (Well, weirder hairstyles than usual.) Naturally, we'll be out to greet them with green lightsabers because that's just the kind of people we are. But that doesn't make it right. Sorry to be the one to tell you, but The Force Awakens is the first in a fresh trilogy in the Star Wars franchise. So this nerdiness isn't going to end any time soon. It's not all bad news. The UK put their first astronaut in space this week. It's only a matter of time before we're all space tourists. So how about this for a compromise: Let's host the premiere of the next Star Wars movie in a galaxy far, far away. Don't worry about getting all the nerds on to the rocket - just tell them there's a new release of the Apple iPhone on board and they'll form an orderly queue.

Pat Fitzpatrick

A cut-price Caitlyn

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Remember when the American media started mocking Caitlyn Jenner until she shut them all up with that Vanity Fair cover (because they'll treat transsexuals like everyone else - you're acceptable if you look hot)? Well we don't want to fall into that trap with Alex Reid (above), Jordan's ex, who this week recreated that famous Caitlin pose. But we will say that he might possibly be the only person ever to come to a conclusion about gender identity during an interview.

Alex said: "I've never truly identified with trans people, but I have lots of characters."

This will be the last taboo for society: Mainstream acceptance of people who don't identify with a particular minority, but do like to give interviews as that minority. It's going to be a tough sell but if anyone is up to the task it's Alex. We just hope he helps people out on the old pronoun question because at the moment they're using 'they' for him and it's making us think there's more than one, which is a terrifying thought.

Donal Lynch

Sunday Indo Living

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