Why the anorexia hoody shouldn’t be banned

There’s been a bit of controversy this week because Amazon have been selling this hoody;

Understandably the crass, unfunny top which mocks two eating disorders has come under fire for its insensitivity and many are calling on the online giant to remove it from their site.

I can understand why many feel this way but I don’t think it should be banned. And here’s why.

It’s late September and a new university year begins. And that is who this hoody is geared to, a certain type of student.

Invariably male, they find themselves free of parental objections and flushed with student loan and overdraft. They’re online buying a Scarface poster when they see this hoody. It’s an obviously dark joke, so wearing it will show how edgy and grown up they are. They don’t shy away from jokes about eating disorders, no sir, and they’ll buy this to show the world how brave they are.

And that’s why they need to be able to buy it. Because they need to show the world, and the world needs to be shown.

Other students can see their unfunny attitudes early, before they waste more time on them. It’ll warn people to stay away, and move on to talk to someone who’s t-shirt doesn’t wear something so nastily stupid.

And if someone else sees them and thinks “funny, cool shirt” then two morons can come together and spend the next three years laughing at mean memes and playing Pro Evo leaving everyone else to enjoy their university experience.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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Why we need a new anthem

Despite having been written off as a no hoper in the next general election, new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is clearly worrying the Tories given David Cameron’s recent hyperbolic scaremongering and the rather desperate attempts of the press to find something to smear him.
Earlier this week Corbyn didn’t sing the national anthem at something remembering the Battle of Britain. Cue a meltdown, particularly from the right wing media.
How very dare he?! He’s dishonouring the memories. He’s snubbing Big Liz, blah, blah, blah.

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All this conveniently went down just as the House of Commons passed new cuts. Hmm.
Anyway, I feel all the fuss ignored the more important question- isn’t it about time we dropped “God Save The Queen” as our anthem?
There are many reasons it causes problems for different people and adding them all together it makes a convincing argument for a new tune.
Firstly, it’s not exactly cool that it’s a religious song, or more accurately a Christian song. Britain isn’t exclusively Christian anymore and it seems unfair that the anthem we have to sing or will have played when we win a medal doesn’t reflect our views. Why not just have a song about how great the UK is, that everyone, regardless of belief can get behind?
The second reason is similar. Not every Brit supports the monarchy, in fact many want it abolished. So, while they don’t wish the Queen harm, they’re probably not all that fussed on a song about her. Probably why Corbyn wasn’t singing.
Incidentally, you can love Britain without loving the Royals.
So, essentially we have an anthem which is rather divisive, which is the opposite of the idea.
The third reason is that “God Save The Queen” doesn’t represent the UK, because England lack the imagination to have come up with their own.
I’ve touched on this before but for Welsh people (and, as we’ll see, the Scots) “God Save The Queen” causes problems. In matches against the English we’re expected to sing respectfully to a second anthem because it’s “ours” while English fans can just boo, whistle and jeer throughout “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau”. I’m not saying this always happens but I have observed it.
Welsh fans tend to respect “GSTQ”, but I doubt many feel it represents them. And if it did wouldn’t that be worse? That our opponent is using something which should be for all of us?
It also means that should there be any negative response by other home nations to “GSTQ” it’s viewed not only as poor form but stupidity. We’re booing ourselves, in essence.
Witness the grief Scotland got for booing the anthem compared to the lack of fuss when English fans do the same to other home nations. I think those Scottish fans were in the wrong, and deserved censure. Booing an anthem is disrespectful and not really fair. Even if you object to that nation politically the eleven or fifteen players on the field are no more responsible for that, just as we wouldn’t like to be held accountable for all of Britain’s wrongdoings and mistakes.
The Scots who booed were wrong, but doesn’t it show that “GSTQ” should go? It clearly meant nothing to those fans, just as it doesn’t mean much to many Brits.
In fact some English fans want a change, because they see being English as distinct from being British. Which it is. They want a new anthem for England, I suggest we get a new British one first and then focus on England’s themetune
When a Welsh athlete wins an Olympic medal they have to stand and listen to it. A song that represents one part of this United Kingdom, not all of it.
You can argue that it’s the anthem for the UK, but for me it doesn’t feel like that. It’s the anthem of another country, a country who is often our opposition on the field.
When “GSTQ” plays I feel nothing.
There is no stirring of patriotic feeling, no desire to sing along. It’s a song aimed at a deity I don’t believe in to protect a ruler I’m ambivalent about and a song I normally associate with a country who are our sporting rivals.

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Clearly it means nothing to Giggs wither

Also, an anthem is meant to be constant (unless a regime falls or the country changes) but this is one that will have to change. In fact, the Battle of Britain heroes that Corbyn “dishonoured” never heard “GSTQ”, for them the song was “God Save The King”. The anthem he refused to sing wasn’t even the same one they would have sung.
Yes, it’s time for a change. Get a new anthem, one that celebrates Britain and it’s people, not just one of our richer citizens.
Get one that acknowledges that we are a country of different faiths, beliefs and ideas.
Get one that is actually for Britain, not just the English one extended for the rest of us. Britain is not England and sidekicks, it’s a joining of three distinct countries, each with their own cultures and histories. Each one has its anthem, so let the shared one be distinct and illustrative of this different entity.
If England want to keep it, they can. The UK can have a different one, a better one.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Getting Shirty!: Lady Gaga and the XXX Tee

Lady Gaga isn’t someone who dresses conservatively. In fact her OTT clothing often overshadows her (awesome) music.

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Actually quite normal for Gaga

It’s drawn heat in the past and this week she came under fire for her choice of clothing once more. Gaga was pictured wearing a pink suit and a T-shirt which is rather understated for her.
The problem was that the T-shirt got lots of people worked up because it showed Snow White involved in a dwarf orgy.
Now, this is hardly new territory, anyone who’s ever got lost down one of the net’s many rabbit holes knows that there are plenty of artists out there who specialise in taking beloved childhood characters and putting them in positions usually reserved for X rated fare. I’ve always wondered what the point is. There’s enough live action out there, so why make your own drawn versions?
Anyway, the press got up in arms over it and many didn’t like it. MWG, a massive Disney fan, was unamused, especially as Snow is her favourite of the Disney princesses.

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Snow White in her normal, innocent ways

Personally, I’m not a fan either, though there have been celebrities who have worn far more offensive shirts. Look at the filth Snoop is wearing here:
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But in all seriousness, I’m disappointed in Gaga too.
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a hysterical “won’t somebody please think of the children?!” post, I just think that Gaga shouldn’t have worn the shirt.
Firstly, its not a good shirt. I haven’t done much research but I’d imagine there are better dirty Disney pictures floating about that you could stick on a shirt. Secondly, it is a bit rude for a morning walk. I’m no prude, but I wouldn’t want to be confronted by the image as I went about my day-to-day, whoever’s wearing it?
But my main objection is that it’s just so bloody stupid and childish.
It’s the kind of shirt you might see and giggle at. You might even daydream about wearing it somewhere fantastically inappropriate (the funeral of a hated enemy, when meeting the Queen etc.) but that little giggle aside you’d leave it on the shelf and move on.
I’ve discussed before that joke shirts are only ever good for one laugh, or normally smile, and that’s it. And a lot of shirts aren’t even that funny. This one isn’t.
It’s also not cool for a woman nearing 30 to be wearing it. I’m 30 and hugely immature, but even I know that it’s a stupid shirt.
It wasn’t always this way. As a teenager (14? 15?) I saw this T-shirt advertised that was a mock up tour shirt. But it wasn’t for a band, it was for Adolf Hitler!
Gods, teen Chris thought that was funny, and edgy, and cool. What a way to look cool and rebellious. I saw it and considered buying it. Thankfully my sister had more sense (as ever) and told me it was stupid, insensitive and not a good idea.
Not long after I came to agree with this, realising it was a stupid, nasty shirt and not funny, but I tell this story to show that I get it. That sometimes we all want to offend just to offend, whether to annoy a specific individual or group (hi, Cardiff fans!) or just to show how cool we are.
I just think that in this instance Gaga was wrong and should grow up and burn the shirt, because I doubt she’ll get much wear out of it.
It’s a shirt a teenage boy would find hilarious and, speaking from experience, most teenage boys are idiots.
Even as a big fan of Lady Gaga I think she made a mistake. But doesn’t everyone?
I’m still a fan and hope to see her live for the 3rd time on her next tour. So, no hard feelings, Gaga?
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


The New Josie? I don’t think so

So way back in December I made an unofficial resolution that I would no longer mention tabloid regular Josie Cunningham on this blog. I felt that Josie and her family would be better served if she slipped out of the limelight, and that any comment on her would be contributing to keeping her in the public eye.

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Josie Cunningham, back again

It’s been challenging at times not to weigh in. There was her TV documentary and then her arrest for revenge porn, but I kept quiet. But this week I’ve decided to talk about her again?
So what has Josie done?
Well, nothing actually.
What has happened is another young woman has been splashed over the tabloids and her story has made some think of Josie, and blame her for this other woman’s actions.
The other woman is Naica Gibson, who was The Sun’s lead story a few days ago (I glimpsed the headline in a shop). Gibson revealed that she had been saving for a boob job, putting £100 away a week. The problem was that Gibson wasn’t working and so the money was coming out of the benefits she and her four kids receive. The hyperbolic headline stated that she let her kids “go hungry”. And they had to go round to granny’s near the end of the month as the cupboards were bare.
Gibson diligently saved her money, eager to enhance her breasts. Having done her research she discovered it was cheaper to fly to Poland for the op as opposed to getting it done in the UK.

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Naica Gibson

The op done she flew home, however, since then the site has become infected, leaving her scarred and swollen. She requires corrective surgery and the implants replaced, all of which would cost £5K. Gibson has stated that she wants the NHS to pay for this, and that events have caused her distress.
Benefits, boob jobs and the NHS footing the bill, it’s not hard to see why people have connected the two, but how similar are Josie and Naica really?
Josie’s original operation was funded by the NHS as she had an extremely flat chest and it effected her self esteem and emotional health. Naica’s was to reduce sagging, part of aging. While Naica may have felt negatively about her body it doesn’t appear to have effected her that much and this was just a decision she made, as do many other women.
The decision was fine, it’s an option for women who feel they want to enhance their body/figure (I know a woman who had a similar procedure for her own self confidence), the saving up for one would have been okay, if done more sensibly.
And let’s face it, what she chooses to spend her money on is her business, regardless of whether it’s benefits. The public shouldn’t judge what benefit recipients get with the money, its their money. How many of us would like if our bosses sat there criticising what our wages were used for?
With more patience she could have put less aside a week, getting there eventually and not impacting on her kids well-being as much.
The difference I see is the attitude towards their kids, and while Josie’s actions are questionable, she has never negatively impacted on her kids (with the possible exception of her decision to seek fame). Naica’s actions, although most likely exaggerated by the press, do seem selfish and uncaring.
Of course, it could turn out that the kids are alright and Naica spun this version to gain more heat in the papers.
The main similarity? The explosion of negativity and self-righteous fury that has spewed forth, people furious with their taxes going on
It’s this instance that Josie’s name comes up, with her getting blamed for Naica wanting a second operation on the NHS.

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Here’s the thing, should Naica get this operation on the NHS?
Yes.
She’s a UK citizen who’s health is at risk. She has a post-operative infection and it needs treating. The NHS helped the women effected by the PIP implants a few years ago, and this is a similar case.
Ignore the tabloid sensationalism and review the simple facts- woman has operation, operation causes complications and needs further treatment.
As for the “that money could go to saving lives” argument, it’s not that simple. I suspect each department has their own budget and decides based on this, its not a case of someone’s cancer treatment being cancelled because of Naica’s boob job.
Did Naica act badly? Yes. Could she have gone about things in a better way? Undoubtedly.
Do either of those mean she should be made to suffer and put at risk? Hell no!
The NHS is there to care for us all, and to provide holistic care (addressing physical, mental and emotional needs, hence why Josie qualified for an NHS boob job). It doesn’t pass judgement on how you got ill, it just treats you, which is the way it should be.
And if anyone is still angry about their taxes going on these two women I’d say to put it in perspective:
Both of these women’s operations cost less than £10,000 combined, and improved two people’s quality of life. Now compare that to the £100Bn we’re dropping on Trident, which we’ll never use and if we did would kill millions. Personally, I’m more annoyed at the thought of my taxes going towards that.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


What not to wear

I’m not a dedicated follower of fashion to put it mildly, with a style that I’d describe as “lazy chic” (T-shirts, jeans and Hawaiian shirts being my personal favourites), and with others while I might find a few things silly, I go with a live and let live attitude.
That being said there are a few definite no-nos- shellsuits (fire hazard), Cardiff City shirts and Nazi uniforms.
Joining the list is a rather tasteless new product, shirts bearing the suicide note of Kurt Cobain, the Nirvana frontman.
Now, cards on the table time, I was never a massive Nirvana fan. Cobain took his own life when I was about 9 and while I like a few of their songs I was never massively impressed by them.
So I’m not angry as a Nirvana fan at my idol being commercialized (a ship that sailed a long time ago). I’m more disappointed that its got this cynical and invasive.
Cobain’s note is already public knowledge of course, with Courtney Love having read it out shortly after his death, but it’s still a private thing, and an intensely emotional thing. It’s not a fashion statement or something to just splash around
And think of Kurt’s kid, Frances Bean, does she need people making more money off her dad? Or seeing his last words splashed across the chest of some insensitive douche? She has enough on her plate being called Frances Bean.
It just seems to be a crass idea and contributes to the glamourizing of suicide, which we don’t need. If you are a Cobain/Nirvana fan why not get an album cover shirt or something, remember him for his music, not the darkness that led him to take his own life.
Also, it just looks kinda daft on a shirt. It’s long and hard to read. With writing on shirts you should keep it short and snappy.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


On the first day of Christmas, Josie gave to me, the news I was a daddy: Josie Cunningham: The Final Chapter

Long time followers of this blog will know that I have long been interested in the tabloid saga that is Josie Cunningham’s life (click the tag for more). Since gaining notoriety as the “NHS boob job girl”, Josie has been a regular feature in the tabloids, her life becoming a soap opera that has seen her vilified in the press, subjected to online abuse and dubbed “Britain’s most hated woman”, although that is contested.

The latest appearance came as Josie announced her plans regarding how she planned to let the father of her child know her kid was his.

There are 3 possible daddies: The guy who catfished her pretending to be a professional footballer, a surgeon who was a customer when she was escorting and a friend’s boyfriend.

Josie is having paternity tests and on Christmas Eve is getting a friend to drop off cards to the three blokes’ houses with their results. It’s kinda smart and Josie’s idea to sever ties with the non-dads sounds good (none of them sounding like winners).

The problem is that yet again Josie decided to go public in a big way. This was a bad idea, as the reaction was general outrage and more abuse. Had she just done it on the quiet then that would have been alright (not the best way to tell a guy he’s the daddy, but I guess it beats going on Jeremy Kyle) but blabbing to the press just made Josie the target for more outrage and abuse.

But the problem is that Josie is doomed to continue to live her soap opera life in the spotlight. This is partly because she seems to have become hooked on the notoriety she has garnered, the closest to celebrity she can get. Like many people in our celeb-obsessed culture, fame must have seemed like a dream, a get out for Josie, and unable to get the real thing she’s settled for this.

I’ve said since day one that Josie would probably be better off out of the public eye, that her introduction to the world as the “NHS boob girl” meant she would be doomed to be a tabloid villain. And sadly, not being the savviest operator Josie has been unable to turn the tide. In fact she’s given the press plenty of ammo to continue demonizing her due to a knack for saying/tweeting controversial things.

Like in this instance.

The problem is that I’ve realized that I’m not helping this situation. As long as people keep talking about her antics the longer she’ll stay, for lack of a better word, “newsworthy”. I honestly think Josie would be better off fading away, becoming a half-remembered item from the papers.

So I need to act appropriately, and while my blogs are just a drop in the ocean of comments and discussion of Miss Cunningham (and far less vicious than most) they are still part of the problem.

Barring the fact that she does something truly remarkable (e.g. being the first person on Mars, headbutting the Pope or discovering the cure for cancer) or actively impacts my life (if I meet her, for example) this will be the last time I write about Josie on this blog, it’s an early start for a 2015 resolution, I guess.

I’ve always felt that Josie was something of a victim of the press’ desire to create hate figures to distract us from the real problems of the world (the first boob job cost under £5k, and the UK government has wasted much more on much worse), and her own desire to be famous, seemingly at any cost and without regard for how she achieves that fame or how it manifests.

This is the 14th post I’ve written about Josie Cunningham and over that time she’s intrigued and frustrated me. There have been times when she’s said nasty or stupid things I’ve disagreed with, or times when she’s gone after other celebrities in a way I don’t feel was called for and which just seemed nasty and vindictive, especially from someone who knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end. She’s no saint, and I’m far from a fan of what she’s done.

But I genuinely believe that Josie doesn’t deserve most of the abuse she receives and that much of it is utterly vile and unnecessary. Her major crimes appear to have been lack of thought before speaking/tweeting and a heightened desire for fame, which is hardly something she’s alone in possessing as evidenced by the fact that Big Brother can still fill a house every year. Neither of these justify the level of vitriol that gets thrown at her online.

This is a young woman who came to our attention because she received a boob job on the NHS, which stemmed from her insecurities around her body and the bullying of others. The public reaction to a clearly insecure person has been disgusting, and shows a depressing lack of compassion or attempt at understanding, and exhibits an ugly side of online communication where people just pile on to send hate and threats to somebody they don’t even know. For me, the trolls are worse than Josie.

I wish her well for the future, and hope that she can find someway to be happy, although I suspect that would involve sacrificing her current “fame”, which is how she makes money and which she seems hooked on.

Goodbye, Josie.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

Josie on one of her television appearances, which is how she makes her living and continues to fuel her “fame”

 


Skin Deep: A teachable moment?

Earlier this week it emerged that a student teacher, Charlotte Tumilty, was sent home from her placement and told she could not complete her training there unless she covered her tattoos. The press here jumped on it because (a) they have lots of pages to fill and (b) it’s the type of story that will spark debate and spread like wildfire, bringing more traffic to their websites.

Tumilty

Tumilty

The reason for this is because it’s a contentious issue, and will divide people. There will be many who feel that the school, regardless of it’s Catholic stance, was in the right and that teachers are meant to be professionals and should look a certain way. Then there will be the opposition, and that’s where I join in.

Personally, I think the idea of tattoos being unprofessional is slightly outdated. It harks back to the old fashioned view of tattoos and those who have them, as being thuggish or associated with the criminal class. However, times change and tattoos are increasingly popular, with around 20% of the population sporting ink (according to this article) and with a growing range of people going under the needle (encouragingly in the article about Tumilty a poll shows that 61% believe teachers shouldn’t have to cover up tattoos at work).

It’s likely that many teachers probably do have tattoos, but keep them hidden, but should they? Do children respect people less for tattoos? Or is that something that the older generation do? The kids might have been distracted or found it unusual, but once the novelty had warn off Miss Tumilty would just have been another teacher.

The fact is there is no standard teacher look, there hasn’t been since the days when they all wore caps and gowns like in the Bash Street Kids. When I was at school none of our teachers had ink, or at least none that I saw, but they were a diverse bunch- we had an English teacher who was a bit of a hippy, a History teacher who constantly wore knee high leather boots, a Drama teacher who wore shocking red lipstick, much of which ended up on her teeth, an Art teacher who had a pornstar tache and I suspect smoked weed, and a Music teacher who looked like a friendlier, slightly neater Johnny Vegas.

bash street teacher

In fact, the most “teacherly” looking bloke at our school was an aging English teacher with a big bushy beard who wore suits. And of all the teachers he probably commanded the least respect (aside from the PE teachers, but they don’t really count. To quote School of Rock: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach gym”). This was due to his advance age, habit of falling asleep mid lesson and the fact that it was common knowledge that his coffee was more than a little Irish.

What I mean to say is that teachers come in all shapes and sizes. As do all people. To state that there’s a certain way teachers must look is daft. What matters is there ability. Tumilty may have been

Also, it seems that the school handled the situation poorly, and might have been better off taking Tumilty aside and advising her that from then on she should wear longer sleeves. Sending her home on her first day seems to be a bit rude and also, embarrassing for the young lady. A bit of tact might have helped and the story could have resolved itself quietly away from the public eye, which I feel would have been in the best interests of everyone.

Unfortunately, it hit the tabloids. I’m not sure why, but I assume Tumilty, angered or upset by the school’s response complained to it and it got to the press that way. This is fair enough, I believe that she had a legitimate grievance and the school could have handled it better.

However, in doing so Tumilty has shot herself in the foot.

It turns out that before becoming a trainee teacher Tumilty made her living as a model. A model who took off her clothes.

Under the name Charlie Horizon she modeled for sites like Punk Grls, which seems to be a Suicide Girls rip off.

Tumilty in her Charlie Horizon days

Tumilty in her Charlie Horizon days

Now, I’m not judging, I’m not slut shaming, Tumilty used her natural gifts to make a living and that’s her decision. Some quick research hints that it was all softcore stuff, and she may have enjoyed the work. However, while the tattoos are easily defendable the fact that she did this does make her suitability as a teacher slightly shakier.

This cat coming out of the bag is a problem.

For the Catholic school it’s even more reason not to want her around and puts Tumilty in an awkward position. She may be at a primary school, and one would hope the kids would be unaware of her past but if she went to teach at a secondary this would give the students extra ammo and would definitely impact the student-teacher dynamic.

And there are plenty of parents who would kick up a stink over a former model teaching their kids. Despite Tumilty having done nothing wrong she will face prejudice and judgement because of her former career and many will attack her suitability as a teacher because of it.

And so it seems that Tumilty won’t be able to continue as a teacher. It’s a shame as well, because the anti-tattoo brigade can now seize on Tumilty’s case as evidence that tattooed folks are unprofessional, and will stop us from being able to have a rational debate about reevaluating what we consider okay or not professionals.

I still think the school was in the wrong, and kinda feel that Tumilty should still be able to pursue teaching, but I can see that she faces an uphill struggle now and is unlikely to overcome people’s prejudices towards tattoos and/or nude modeling. Our society is getting more accepting of differences, and hopefully less judgmental, and in future we may have tattooed teachers without anyone even raising their eyebrows, but sadly this may be a few years down the line, and not benefit Tumilty.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Catfishes and Cruelty: The Josie Cunningham saga continues

Catfishing– The phenomenon of internet predators that fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into emotional/romantic relationships. (From The Urban Dictionary)

So, Josie Cunningham’s time in the media spotlight has been a surreal journey (click the “Josie Cunningham” tag for more), with the “NHS boob job girl” becoming a much loathed figure and a soap opera story involving her pregnancy and the identity of the father. From day one Josie stated that there were a couple of guys in the frame, one of whom was a Premier League footballer.

Cunningham didn’t reveal the identity of the footballer, throughout the pregnancy, which could be seen as admirable, but could just have been her saving it up for a later revelation, who knows.

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Then this week, after the baby arrived (congratulations!) there was a further twist in the tale, as Josie revealed that she’d fallen victim to a Catfish.

This is a term that is getting more widespread after a documentary and a TV series (which is a triumph of trash TV) explored the phenomenon of people pretending to be someone else online.

This creation of a fake life is fascinating, not merely for the sheer weirdness of it, but also the motivations behind it, why would someone want to pretend to be someone else (usually due to lust, cruelty, boredom or loneliness it appears) and why others are so quick to believe what they’re told. An episode I saw recently featured a woman who believed she was talking to Bow Wow (formerly Little Bow Wow) and had divulged many personal secrets to him, only for it to turn out to be a rather amoral and delusional young woman, but that’s beside the point.

Josie revealed that while she thought she was talking to and sleeping with Hull City player Curtis Davies, she was in fact involved with someone else entirely, who capitalized on a resemblance to the athlete.

Davies

Davies

As she often does, Josie took to Twitter where she spilled her guts out, revealing the truth and how she felt used and betrayed. It’s understandable and one can only imagine how distressing it must be to discover you’ve been conned in such a way.

Of course, part of you wonders how someone could be suckered in to such an extent, but Josie doesn’t seem overburdened with common sense (her entire time in the spotlight has been characterized by poor judgement) and perhaps the idea of bedding a professional footballer appealed to her desire to be “the next Jordan”. Or it could be that she really did develop feelings for this man, and felt close to him, and believed what she was told.

Davies isn’t exactly a household name, and if this bloke does look like him it might be easy for him to pretend. But why? Why lie to someone like that for so long (around 18 months)? It seems manipulative and nasty, and while I feel Josie could have exercised some common sense and caution in this scenario, I do feel bad for her.

Worse, having claimed that the father could be a Premier League player her public image is even worse now, making her look at best foolish and at worst a liar.

I don’t like much of what Josie has done, or how she’s handled certain situations, but I do feel that in this case she is the victim of a con artist and due some sympathy, though I suspect she won’t get much. Writing these blogs has led to conversations with people I know personally, and I’m surprised by the level of vitriol that is heaped upon her, by people who are otherwise pretty chilled out.

The birth of her baby may have helped cushion the blow a little, and deterred some from putting the boot in. But there are still enough hateful trolls out there, including one charmer who took to Twitter to tell Josie he “wished she’d died in childbirth”. That’s just vile and unnecessary, and you wonder what has to be wrong in someone’s life that they consider sending that to a stranger to be okay. You might not like someone or what they do, but wishing them dead? Seriously not cool.

I wish Josie and her new baby all the best, and pray that rumours that she will enter the I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! jungle are false, because I firmly believe she needs less exposure to the public, not more.

It will only allow the public the chance to humiliate and torment her through the tasks, and put her in a situation where she could make her situation worse. Sometimes a good reality TV stint can turn public feeling around, but I don’t think that would happen for Josie, and while financially secure she may be exposed to even more hate which can’t help but negatively effect a person.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


A Nasty Taste In The Mouth

My wonderful girlfriend convinced me to watch The Great British Bake Off, overcoming my argument that watching people making gorgeous food that you can’t enjoy is like torture. In less than one episode I was hooked.

A large part of this was the niceness of the show. Presented by Mel and Sue, who are lovely and funny without being mean, and the judges, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry are firm without relishing the opportunity to eviscerate the contestants. And the contestants were a bunch of friendly, cheerful types who enthusiastically enjoyed the friendly competition. Helping each other out and chatting away as they waited for stuff to rise/set/brown.

And then this week, dessert week, things got a lot less nice. Almost downright nasty.

While they made Baked Alaska (never had one, but tempted) the heat in the tent started to mess with them, and freezer places for their ice cream were at a premium.

Softly spoken Irish baker Iain had put his in the freezer and went off, probably to comb his magnificent beard.

Look at that beard, glorious

Look at that beard, glorious

When he returned the ice cream wasn’t in the freezer, it was on the sign, melted. And not just a little drippy, but like the Wicked Witch after an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge attempt. It was a proper mess.

Messy

Messy

Twitter exploded. I was pretty irked, but a lifetime of sports viewing meant I was used to competitive injustice, nothing will ever be as cruel or painful as the ref screwing Wales against Italy in the Six Nations in 2006. But for a non-sports fan like MWG it was too much to bear, and she was fuming.

Iain, confronted with a melted mess beyond saving binned it and left the tent.

But who moved the ice cream?

It was Diana, the 69 year old with 40+ years in the WI. She’d moved it out of the way and was caught on camera, bang to rights. She’s since complained that the editors “stitched her up”, but it looked suspect. We saw her see it, she moved it and she seemed unrepentant.

Diana, as she became a national villain

Diana, as she became a national villain

Editing is one thing, but she didn’t seem to really care and while it might be a minor act it just wasn’t in keeping with the genteel spirit of the show. At the very least she could have fronted up when Iain was getting his dressing down and said she’d taken it out by mistake (if it was a mistake).

She caught a lot of flak on Twitter, and some went a bit far, prompting Sue, Hollywood and some of the contestants to call for calm and perspective (it made the front cover of The Sun today for crying out loud).

I do think it all got a bit ridiculous, but it was infuriating to watch largely because Iain handled it with such grace. He didn’t point the finger, or seek revenge on Diana’s Baked Alaksa, which I would have done. Mary and Paul decided as he’d binned it he had to go, which is understandable, but I get why he reacted the way he did- frustration, the heat and the fact it was too late to fix it, what else could he do.

It’s since emerged that Diana had to drop out anyway due to being ill, and while it’s too late now (the show was filmed in the spring) I’d have thought that the way to avoid controversy would be to reinstate Iain in her place, but of course, the controversy hadn’t kicked it off.

I’ll keep watching GBBO, because, well, I’m hooked and also because a few of the remaining bakers seem quite tidy. I’m glad Diana had to drop out (she’s apparently okay now), because if she’d stayed I’d have been actively willing someone to be eliminated, which would be nasty and like I said, I love the show for it’s niceness.

With seven remember my current favourite is Martha, the rather sweet, nervous baby of the group who made a self-saucing pudding with peanut butter, which looked lush. I like all of them, but I’m rooting for her now.

Martha: Favourite

Martha: Favourite

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Loose Lips: Josie Cunningham Part 10

Click on the Josie Cunningham tag up top for the story so far.

The last time I wrote about Josie Cunningham, the notorious “NHS boob girl” she was getting a lot of hate online and she actually announced she would be taking a break from Twitter. This was a bit worrying as it came after a deluge of hate including some scumbag suggesting suicide as an option for the clearly troubled and upset young lady.

josie

Josie’s Twitter silence lasted about a week, at which point she roared back, addressing criticisms from other people, clearing up rumours about her entering the Big Brother house and then actually getting into a political debate (sort of) by arguing against Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s argument that boob jobs should not be available on the NHS. She even stated that she was hoping to campaign to set up a NHS loans company to help fund these procedures.

Still dodging trolls Josie continued to tweet sporadically, pushing her dating site (still not sure that’s a good idea) and then on Monday she hit the headlines again as The Sun revealed that she receives £6k worth of taxis funded by the taxpayer to take her on the school run, due to anxiety caused by the fact that she often receives abuse when taking her kids on the bus.

Cue the inevitable backlash, with people decrying that this is a massive waste of taxpayer money and could be going on things like nurses, teachers, whatever. I agree, there are better uses for £6k, but it’s a drop in the ocean for stuff our government wastes money on and what is owed by individuals and businesses who duck out of paying their full taxes. Gary Barlow’s tax avoidance could probably cover it, so maybe next year Gary should just pay her fares? Or Starbucks could sponsor her trips?

There was a lot of abuse flying around, as the tabloid readers seized the precarious moral high ground and spewed their outrage.

taxpayer

Demetri Martin

Here’s the thing, I get why people are annoyed, but at the same time, I can see the reasoning behind the decision. I know Josie’s made some bad decisions over the year or so she’s been in the public eye, and there’s a lot of resentment and anger aimed towards her, but is this really her fault? Shouldn’t we really have more of an issue with the folks who are hassling her in public, in front of her kids?

These idiots are upset, sure, but they are approaching a young woman and her children and giving her grief. There is no way to view that as anything other than a dick move. Why go out of your way to make a stranger’s life a misery and possibly scare and upset her children?

At the same time, Josie handled it abominably, tweeting a selfie from the back of the cab with this troll baiting caption:

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but tax payers will always fund me 🙂

It was a spectacularly misjudged tweet and detracted from the line she took in the article, where she addressed the hate she received and the fact that the blame should be given to those who give her abuse on buses.

Josie then announced that she was due to appear on Loose Women, and I groaned over my phone.

For the lucky ones- Loose Women is a daytime TV show where a gaggle of female presenters discuss and debate the issues of the day, interview guests and gossip away. Even the presence of some MILF crushes isn’t enough to detract from the irritation this show provokes in me.

Even Carol Vorderman can't convince me to watch it

Even Carol Vorderman can’t convince me to watch it

I groaned because I thought it was a mistake for Josie to appear on the show. In a brief interview she wouldn’t get the chance to fully put her case across and might face a potentially hostile interview. In fact all it might serve to do is bring her to the attention of those who had thus far avoided her online or in the papers.

So, I fired up ITV’s online service and sat down to watch the show. It did not go well.

The interview wasn’t too bad, but they clearly weren’t onside from the off and Myleene Klass was rather patronizing in the way she handled Josie. Two of the others, Linda Robson and some brunette woman who seemed alright, suggested counselling- Robson as an alternative to the boob job, and the other lady (couldn’t find her on the LW website) put forward cognitive behaviour therapy as a potential aid to the anxiety.

At least these were constructive, and personally I think Josie might have benefited from counselling before and after the initial operation to address her insecurities and to help her realize that the new boobs were not some magic gift that would make her instantly happy and turn her life around.

But the main problem was that Josie didn’t put herself over that well. It’s unlikely that a single television appearance is going to turn the tide, but perhaps a longer, more in depth interview would have been better, because a short segment wasn’t going to get the job done, as evidenced by the response on Twitter:

What a deluded state of a woman!

why would @loosewomen put that vile creature josie cunningham on their show?!?! Don’t they see they’re feeding her antics!

Acting all innocent on loose women but laughing how the tax payers are cleaning up your mess

And possibly summing up the whole situation, if rather cruelly-

Nope @JosieCOnline appearing on tv did nothing for her at all! Haha still a stupid disgusting vile pathetic excuse for a human being #muppet (@BeckyBooEvans)

And that was the problem, I don’t see why Josie was doing this. She seemed out of her depth and her arguments weren’t constructed properly. She stated that anger over funding her boob job shouldn’t be aimed at her but the people making the decisions, which is maybe fair, but she has to realize that she sought that boob job and is the public face of these kind of decisions.

I agree that she shouldn’t get hate, and I think that if she is suffering abuse and anxiety that the taxis are probably needed. It’s just sad there’s not a school bus that runs which she could put the kids on and which would cut down on school run traffic. That’d be the best solution, in my opinion.

Controversy and notoriety can be useful tools in the fame game, but it’s starting to look like Josie or her people, are pursuing notoriety for it’s own sake. There doesn’t seem to be a clear strategy, she’s not parlaying this infamy into anything- there’s no book, or TV show, or DVD coming. So far all she’s done is the awful dating website.

She stumbles from controversy to controversy, with the trolls lining up to put the boots in at every turn. The tabloids use her as fodder to fire up their readers and distract them from being annoyed or concerned about larger issues, and for her part Josie seems to be getting very little out of the deal aside from public vilification and distress.

I continue to hope that Josie can achieve some success or happiness, to fade from the public consciousness and not have to endure the abuse and hatred from idiots.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.