One thing I really can’t stand is people talking on my behalf. Especially if they’re misrepresenting the way I feel about the subject. I wouldn’t dream of speaking on behalf of every single person in the world, so why do people in the media insist on doing so for me? For example, on the radio this morning, the presenter casually stated that everybody was pleased for David and Victoria Beckham because they were expecting their fourth child. Well, I’m not. I’m indifferent at best. Really, honestly, I don’t care. The worst thing about it is that it brings to mind that David is still bumping uglies with the miserable, talentless stick insect. Something I really don’t want to picture. Actually, perhaps the very worst thing is that there’s going to be another idiotically named child in the world and his or her every move is going to be plastered over each and every tabloid newspaper in the country. I wonder what this one’s going to be called? No, strike that, I just don’t care. I don’t know these people and wouldn’t even have a passing interest in them if the media didn’t report every little sodding thing they do.
Another example of people speaking (wrongly) on my behalf is regarding the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Apparently “the nation” is simply filled with pride and is enthusiastically looking forward to the Royal Wedding with patriotism swelling in our hearts. Bollocks are we. Last time I looked, I was part of this nation and, frankly, I couldn’t give a fuck. It seems incredibly patronising that all of us “little people” have been given an extra bank holiday so that “the nation” can celebrate the wedding of two over-privileged, filthy rich toffs. I find the whole royalty thing deeply offensive, anyway. Their very existence means that we’re all expected to accept that people are born better than others, simply because their ancestors murdered, raped and pillaged better than other people’s ancestors. Still, it’ll definitely a proud day for Prince Charles – attending the marriage of his only son and all that.
Another thing. TV Magazines. Everybody isn’t talking about the latest Eastenders storyline. Everybody isn’t holding their breath waiting to hear who was killed in the tram crash in Coronation Street. Some people – in fact, the majority of people in the country – don’t watch these poorly-scripted, laughably unrealistic, mind-numbing excuses for television drama. I must confess, however, that I used to watch Eastenders, when it first started in the eighties. You know, when they actually tried to make it reflect the extremes of real life instead of these days when it’s all sensationalist, over-the-top bullshit with a few quirky characters thrown in for comic relief. Everybody isn’t watching Big Brother, I’m A Celebrity – Get Me Out Of Here and all of those other dismal reality shows which feast on human frailties and laugh at people like Gillian McKeith making a complete arse of themselves and destroying whatever career they had left. Some people, like me, find that kind of thing superficial and utterly boring.
Phrases like “everybody” and “the whole nation” are a blatant attempt to take away our individuality. My obvious problem with this seems to be that there’s a subtext of “if you don’t like/watch/think this, there’s something wrong with you”. It’s that sinister conformist message I really don’t like. The kind of conformism that says that I’m a bloke, therefore I must love football, drinking beer and the kind of films where Bruce Willis blows things up and kills lots of bad guys. In all honesty, I do support my football team, but I’m not a fanatic. I do like the occasional beer, but it’s not something I do more than once a month and, although Die Hard was pretty awesome, action movies really aren’t my thing. I like films with meaning, scripts with originality and, preferably, a story where someone dying in a bloody manner isn’t presented as entertainment.
I’m not a stereotype. I’m not a “typical man”, whatever that is or whatever that means. I don’t leave the toilet seat up, I do more than my fair share of cooking and housework and, yes, I can even multi-task. Football is OK, but it doesn’t have the same importance in my life as music, film and the written word. You don’t have my permission to speak on my behalf and misrepresent my views as part of “everybody” or “the entire nation”, not without asking me first – because, chances are, you’re going to get it wrong. There’s nothing wrong with the truth. Phrases like “a significant amount of people”, “many people in this country” – even “the majority of people” when it applies, all of these are absolutely fine, because they’re an accurate description. When, however, you say that everybody is doing something, thinks something or likes something, then you piss me off… and I go and do something really profound like write a few paragraphs in a ‘blog that only a handful of people will ever read.
There. That’ll show the bastards.