Blag Ladies

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 11.04.18 PMI do like the movies. It’s nice to see little gongs being given out at the annual British prizegiving by that national treasure, Mr Stephen Fry. He’s such a wag, isn’t he? That little gag about bag ladies in reference to Jenny Beavan’s evening wear…? She, of course, gurgled sycophantically – after all, they are friends, it seems – but wasn’t overly enamoured with the comparison.  But even the resultant twitterstorm failed to identify the locus of the problem.

He thought that a bag lady was a funny thing to compare somebody with.

When you’re as rich as Croesus, drive a Bentley and are matey with the Royals, you don’t get to meet many bag ladies. Bag ladies are homeless women who carry their belongings around with them in plastic bags. They sleep where they can, sometimes in church porches – at risk from cold, hunger, passers-by, thugs and male homeless people. Often, they are people with mental health issues and sleeping outside doesn’t exactly qualify as a healthy lifestyle.  All of which makes Stephen Fry’s use of them for a  tweedy little joke entirely unsuitable. The victims of our society shouldn’t be used as comedic cannon fodder.
If you are living on the street, the views of Britain’s resident clever-trousers are unlikely to matter much. But the disparagement in his usage of the term is not going to help his viewers and acolytes to see you as a human being next time they pass you, eyes averted, on the street.

The best thing to do in these circumstances would be for the gentleman to apologise without using too many long words, then make a suitable and quite large donation to a charity working with homeless people.

Mr Fry’s defensive little hissy fit compared Twitter to a “stagnant pool” and he has closed his account, not for the first time. However shall we bear it and how he will be missed, ever so briefly. His penultimate entry read: “Will all you sanctimonious f*****s f*** the f*** off Jenny Beavan is a friend and joshing is legitimate. Christ I want to leave the planet” One hundred and forty characters containing three rude words. Impressive.

Off you go, then.

Now that’s all cleared up and the pride of Cambridge Eng Lit has been so elegiacally salvaged, everyone can get on with their lives.


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