Thursday, 9 September 2010

SLAPPERGATE: Did you know sex was only discovered in 2003?

I know. Not again!

I had intended to write my little piece on the drama unfolding at the House of Rooney and move onto better things, leaving it behind like a family pet being abandoned in the middle of the woods. But as the story vanished from the rear-view mirror a new headline caught my eye during a break at work. A brief glance at the article headers proved even more exciting. One read; 'Further revelations made about second girl in threesome'. I know the Daily Mail wouldn't use the word 'revelations' unless something of truly Biblical proportions was unfolding.

The story does seem to have momentarily dried up with the lips at the House of Rooney remaining tight. It has descended into a sparse collection of quotes from 'close sources' in which Wayne Rooney emerges as a strange David Lynch-esque dual character; the pleading husband desperate for forgiveness, and the heartless hooker-rutting cad. Not one to be put off by a lack of new facts when there is something naughty to write about, the tabloids have kept their focus sharply on the dark and enticing world of the WAG.

Before I spoke of class snobbery and hypocrisy. This little piece is about the history of sex and scandal, and the desperate attempts people will make to ignore it so that tales such as this fit nicely into their hysterical view that Britain is falling apart.

"Strange how prostitutes never used to publicise their choice of work, now these women are parading themselves - up front and proud." observes Maggie from Hertfordshire in the article's comment section, "A true sign of the hugely sexualised and promiscuous times we live in."


(DID YOU KNOW: Sex was only discovered in 2003? There is a popular misconception that it is an act that has been around since prehistory. This is incorrect. Tales of the debauchery of Ancient Rome or the widespread prostitution in Victorian England are actually elaborate fabrications marked by scholars in order to justify the loose morals of modern society. Atheists will scoff at the concept of God hiding dinosaur bones simply to confuse the mortals, but even in today's enlightened times few people are prepared to confront the myth of human sexuality. Sex is thought to have been discovered by Paris Hilton who carefully utilised it into a business model and launched herself into stardom with a 'how to' tape recorded by her then-boyfriend. Little did Ms Hilton know she was in fact opening Pandora's box and unleashing a deluge of relentless promiscuity upon the world.)

New characters have emerged in the ongoing chronicles of Slappergate.

The first is Amy Leigh Barnes, who actually has nothing to do with the current events. She was introduced in an article delicately entitled 'The prostitute and the murder victim', wherein two pictures of her posing with Jennifer 'Juicy' Thompson were used as some sort of justification to include her in Slappergate. Amy Leigh actually has no involvement with the Rooney affair. She was a girl who apparently frequented the same social circles. She was murdered by football coach Ricardo Morrison.

I wish I could say more about it, but a scan of the article reveals that only a third of it actually details her life or death before going onto repeat the tales of 'Juicy' Thompson's wild child life alongside more pictures of her in her underwear. What a lovely read this must make for Amy Leigh's parents, to prop up a murder victim next to a woman currently being flouted as 'shameless' and imply they are birds of a feather. Delicately handled, as I said.

The second is Helen Wood. She is the red-haired prostitute who, in tales that make for somewhat emetic reading material, joined 'Juicy' Thompson and Rooney for a ménage-à-trois. (I'm trying to spare you the harrowing mental images that come from the clumpy word of 'threesome'. No need to thank me.)

'Miss Wood’s father said he too had no idea how she had become caught up in the sordid affair' has to be the most unintentionally amusing line in this article, simply because it conjures up the idea that a Daily Mail reporter has phoned up a prostitute's father and asked "Why did she do it? WHY?"

In fact much of the article is about the parents. The father of Helen Wood (regrettably she lacks an audacious self-styled name. Hell On Wood? The Woodpecker? It's no 'Juicy' Jenny, is it?) has explained that he is 'desperately sorry' for the heartache he has inadvertently caused for Coleen Rooney, as it is apparently now expected for the parents of an adult woman to make their apologies for unleashing a future home-wrecker out into the world.

"Miss Wood, 23, a university lecturer’sdaughter, and Miss Thompson,21, the privately-educated child of a wealthy oil company executive, have turned out to be flag-bearers for the celebrity-mad, lascivious culture that has consumed the nation." writes Daily Mail columnist Barbara Davies.

(I would, by the way, mark her mistakes with [sic]s but it would rather clutter up the paragraph. The spacebar misuse gives an image of her tripping over her own bile in a rush to shove her two cents into the slot.) But there you have it - they are the 'flag-bearers' for the nation's culture. The 'celebrity-mad' culture. Which her paper has had no part in creating what so ever.

"Such depressing behaviour has become commonplace among the drunken ladettes who plague town centres each weekend. But if ever there was a sign of how deeply the social rot has set in, this pair’s story provides it in a deeply troubling way."

In my last article I made a snooty comparison to the Profumo affair, and I promised myself not to say the words again because I've already repeated the same joke three times and verge on milking territory, but I need to mention it one final time. To the uninitiated and those that cannot be bothered to click the link I've so helpfully put there, the eponymous affair was between John Profumo, then Secretary of State for War, and London prostitute (sorry, 'call girl') Christine Keeler.

So which aspect of Slappergate indicates social rot? A high figure sleeping with a prostitute? A man cheating on his wife? A girl shamelessly venturing into a dubious career? The media cheerily rewarding her publicity for it? Much to the dismay of anybody wishing for social apocalypse, none of these things are new. All of the above apply to Slappergate just as they did to Profumo well over forty years ago. You can argue the aspiration of 'WAG stardom' is a new gloss, but the motives have always been monetary.

I'll sum this up with the famous and much-replicated photograph of Christine Keeler taken shortly after the affair, and a quote from today's column by Barbara Davies. You will probably recognise the pose even if you're not familiar with it - yep, this is the original, something iconic born from a salacious scandal.

"In the history of kiss and tells, the British media has never seen anything quite like it."

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