Wednesday 26 October 2016

Scarlett, you can be my role model any time you like

Published 27/02/2014 | 02:30

A mind of her own: Scarlett Johansson is still the public face of Sodastream despite furious outrage
A mind of her own: Scarlett Johansson is still the public face of Sodastream despite furious outrage
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

She is one of the most beautiful women in the world who also happens to be refreshingly well-grounded. Well, by 'refreshingly well-grounded', I mean she seems fond of partying and having a good time.

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And, unlike some of the other surgically enhanced fembots who populate Hollywood like a horde of well-groomed zombies, she seems largely unfazed by the drivel that passes for deep thinking amongst her peers.

To others, however, Scarlett Johansson's controversial Superbowl ad for Sodastream was the act of a vile, money-grabbing bigot who uses the tears of Palestinian babies as a moisturiser.

One need hardly go into the whole Sodastream/ Israeli/ West Bank story all over again. But out of consideration for those who are hard of thinking, let's do a quick run through – Sodastream have a factory in the West Bank, which some rather silly, misguided folk want to boycott out of protest at Israeli policies.

The actress then became the public face of Sodastream provoking furious squawks of outrage from anti-Israeli activists. She decided to end her time as an ambassador with Oxfam, who had demanded that she give up her role with Sodastream. To her credit, she displayed that rarest of things in Hollyweird – a mind of her own.

She stood firm in the face of the personal abuse and threats of a boycott and, generally, has shown considerably more mettle than many of her male peers who cut and run at the first sign of bad publicity.

But this week saw her defend her position and she also uttered the words every celebrity should start every interview with. Ever.

Speaking about the controversy to Dazed magazine, she emphasised: "I am not a role model. I didn't ask to be put in these shoes." In a strange way, that might be the most interesting thing a celebrity will say all year: I. Am. Not. A. Role. Model.

At some point in our recent evolution, we decided that celebrities weren't just there to be gawked and admired, but they were also there to be listened to. As if they were, you know, sorta smart or sumfink.

The whole notion of someone being a role model for kids simply because they happen to be rich and famous and, in this case, almost supernaturally gorgeous, is something that should really alarm most of us. Because what sort of parent would expect their child to receive any sort of moral or ethical instruction from the star of Lost In Translation?

Fine figure of a woman, she may be. But I really don't care about her views on the Middle East. Yet the first argument idiot parents like to trot out is that anybody famous "needs to remember they are a role model". Which, presumably, is why we see parents freaking out that Miley Cyrus isn't providing chastity lessons at every gig she plays.

We also see this insane argument regularly trotted out about rich, young people being responsible for the upbringing of your kids when it comes to the strange disconnect we have with footballers. In terms of the modern player, most of them will have left school at 15, gone straight into their club's academy and, for a lucky few – although not as many you might think – they become millionaires before their 21st birthday. And you expect them to be a good example to your child?

Frankly, the only surprising thing about the long list of bad behaviour from footballers is that more of them haven't gone completely mental – after all, we routinely see supposedly 'mature' people go off the rails once they've won a few quid on the Lotto. How would any of us behave if we effectively won the Lotto every month?

This ridiculous attitude has been in clear relief ever since Wayne Rooney signed his new contract for 300 grand a week – plus change.

One journalist who really should know better fulminated against this bumper new deal and opined that "nurses work 40 hours a week changing sheets and cleaning bed pans for a pittance".

Now, I'm sure we all agree that nurses, by and large, provide a more valuable role in society than Wayne Rooney.

But the reality, let's be honest, is this – when 70,000 people pay 60 quid a head to see a nurse change a bed pan every week, then they can start to argue for his kind of money.

Don't get me wrong, that's a two-way street – I wouldn't want to be in hospital and find myself greeted by the sight of Wayne Rooney angrily puffing his way down the corridor to give me a bad bath.

Although if Ms Johansson were to appear, that may be another story . . .


So, Ryanair – the best airline in the world as long you don't have to fly with them – have announced a plan to introduce tickets to the States for as little as a tenner. It's certainly a long way from when a transatlantic flight cost the price of a small mortgage, but the proof will be in their destination list.

After all, with their form when it comes to flights that land, shall we say, a considerable distance from their publicised destination, the buyer should most definitely beware.

A tenner for a flight to America certainly sounds good – until you realise that they actually land in Tijuana and you have get a coach from there.

Although if the Cartels were to respect anybody when it comes to negotiating a route, I reckon Michael O'Leary might be just the sort of man they could do business with.


You may have seen that investigators at the Silvercrest meat processing plant in Monaghan were horrified to discover meat so rotten that it had "turned green".

The Polish meat inspectors were understandably shocked at the rotten meat but this is where hipsters, foodies and Hugh Fearngully Whiststable come in – just explain that it is not rotten meat – no, it's merely well aged.

Really well-aged.

Irish Independent

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