Back in November, I noted that the Mail’s new and supposedly Very Wonderful new Wednesday pundit Sarah “Vain” Vine was pretending sympathy for former double Olympic swimming champion Rebecca Adlington over the latter’s unhappiness while she was on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here alongside someone called Amy Willerton, who has won no medals at all.
You can be vain and hitched to him?
This is because recent photos suggest Ms Adlington has had a subtle but measurable reduction of her nose – as I suggested would happen at the time. Sarah sympathises: “I, too, know how it feels to obsessively dislike an aspect of one’s own appearance — and how much confidence there is to be gained from altering it”. Like putting a large paper bag over Michael “Oiky” Gove, perhaps?
Nothing so simple: this is the Daily Mail, the place where pundits are expected to do the full confessional (unless they’re called Paul Dacre, of course). No, it’s, er, suitably intimate: “My problem wasn’t my nose (although it too cleaves the air with a certain majesty), but my hair. Or the absence thereof. It started falling out as a teenager, and just got progressively worse”. Oh goody.
So tell us what happened next. “Unlike Rebecca, I was never famous ... But people were often curious, frequently vocal — and occasionally downright cruel about it. At first I was defiant”. Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes? “In my case, that meant getting a hairpiece”. This does sound reassuring and sisterly, doesn’t it? But anyone reading this on Mail Online knows that body shaming is never far away.
Whatever Ms Vine’s kind words suggest, over on the Sidebar Of Shame there is, right now, Beyonce, a rather post-getting-the-scaffolders-in-looking Sam Faiers, Jasmine Waltz, Lucy Mecklenburgh, Rihanna, Sarah Harding, Ferne McCann, Candice Swanepoel, Abby Clancy, Peaches Geldof, and the obligatory appearance of the obscenely overrated Kim Sodding Kardashian.
And all that the Vain column does is promote the views of Herself Personally Now, so Sarah gets to tell everyone what she thinks about Simon “The Black Helmet” Cowell, “The Left”, Law and Order, time-wasting (she might be on to something there), houses built by despots, displays in butchers’ shops, and that she is married to Michael “Oiky” Gove. For the umpteenth time.
Then readers are let into a little secret: she asked Joan Collins to supper! And she doesn’t know what to cook for her! This is what is supposed to grab the attention of all those Daily Mail readers? Soil the bed, it must be a sad place where they have a copy delivered, then read it and take any notice of it. Why should she need to ask? Or doesn’t Chez Gove stretch to “five minutes’ Googling”?
The Sarah Vine column is about one person. And it isn’t Becky Adlington.