I don’t mind saying I like a bit of gossip. I would say it’s a girl thing, but it’s so not. It’s also one of the few ways I can bond with my mother – she doesn’t read books but she does seem to acquire truly impressive amounts of trashy magazines, which she passes on to me. (It’s not easy to bond with someone who regards eating carbohydrates as a character flaw.) And as I’ve spent the last 4 years reading “proper” literature and no end of linguistics articles, I feel no shame in flicking through Grazia or Glamour from time to time. Reading a magazine is like eating a bag of crisps when you’re really hungry – it distracts you for a little bit but you know it’s no good for you. The hypocrisy of most women’s magazines does get to me a little, because it does seem that most of them are a gross insult to our intelligence.
But now, to what I was actually going to say.
In the last few weeks, tabloids and magazines have been all over the Kristen-Stewart-cheating-on-Robert-Pattinson “scandal”.
And naturally, everyone’s got well up on their high horses in order to make judgemental sweeping statements about how all cheaters are scum and should burn in hell, or whatever.
I feel sorry for Kristen. Mainly because she’s the one taking the majority of the flak. Yes, she cheated – but with an older, married man who definitely should have known better. He had the position of power, presumably; if anyone was going to put the brakes on their little make-out sessions, he should have been first.
She’s 22. Old enough to know right from wrong but young enough to still be finding her feet. (I’m not even much of a fan of hers; about the best film she’s done is Panic Room). And, good lord, if every relationship tizzy I have was splashed across the tabloids, I’d look a lot grumpier than she does. (You should have seen the Skype strop I had recently. Toddlers have displayed more rationale and reason; there was anguished yelping and everything.)
Cheating is wrong. We all know that. Can we please now get over that and have an intelligent conversation about it?
On the one hand, you can argue that we don’t need to feel too sorry for Stewart, as she’s never going to have to worry about money ever again, she plays the main character in one of the biggest film franchises there’s ever been (unfortunately), and she probably doesn’t have to clean her own oven. But to resort to stating the bloody obvious, all the money and success in the world is largely meaningless if you’re sleeping alone every night.
On the other hand, her level of fame has probably sailed past the “oh, this is pretty cool” stage and reached the “this is fucking ridiculous, I can’t even post a letter without being photographed.” Yes, she chose her career path, and actors know if they’re successful, they stand to to lose a certain amount of privacy. But is that necessarily fair? Admittedly, this is probably better aimed at the tabloid press (I knew my dissertation would get a look-in here at some point, and not just in the form of me moaning about it), but it is worth thinking about. Personally, sometimes I think it must be pretty cool to be “famous” (in my head I am the natural heir to Caitlin Moran and/or Tom Hardy’s future wife), but then I really think about it. Every unflattering outfit, every bad skin day, every heated conversation, every moody look, all photographed and written about? Haha, I think not. There’d be far too many of, well, all of them.
Yes, she made a mistake. 22-year-olds do that. 17 year-olds do it. Ditto 45-year-olds. You can bet anything you like that how the press, and the internet hacks, and the pre-teen Twi-hards have responded to her bit of crappy decision-making has got nothing on what she’s putting herself through. But no one makes that decision without a reason, and they alone know what the reason(s) is/are.
Being in a relationship is hard enough as it is – to paraphrase a quote from one of my favourite books, “you have to think about someone else all the time and all you get in return is regular sex” – but if you’re two very famous young people who, I’m guessing, are probably miles apart a lot of the time due to work commitments, then at times it’s not going to feel like a relationship at all. I’ve never done the long-distance thing, but I know that there’s more chance of Satan winning gold at figure-skating that there is of me succeeding in a long-distance relationship. A good 60% of that relationship is in your head, really. You can’t feel like you’re with someone if you’re not, like, with someone. I’m not saying this excuses cheating, but there’s a reason proximity is a huge and obvious factor in who ends up with who.
I can’t claim to be anywhere near the moral high-ground on this matter, and what’s more, I’m normally judgemental as fuck, but just once, I would like to see people acknowledge that there are two+ sides to every story, a variety of possible motives and reasons for every bad decision, and that no one knows what they’re capable of until they’re put under enough pressure.
Musically speaking, I saw this guy supporting Thea Gilmore back in 2003, and this is the only song of his set that made any sort of an impression on me. Almost 10 years later, I suddenly can’t get enough of it.
“You make me smile, and laugh too; how I’d like to spend my time with you”. Quite.
And this is shamefully boyband-y, but it got stuck in my head when I heard it in the London Victoria branch of Paperchase last Sunday.
The lyrics are very much from the songwriting-by-numbers school of thought, but there’s something quite hypnotic about it.