Posts Tagged ‘David Miliband’

In a very recent article in the UK paper, The Telegraph, we were told that David Miliband has been railing at the Labour Party. His brother continues to bumble and fumble his way through running the opposition, whilst David follows in his true Big Brother, Tony Blair’s footsteps, and makes oodles of cash for doing not much. But he interrupted his entrepreneurial mission to write what is reportedly a rather bitter and ressentiful piece in the New Statesman (lefty) magazine. The Telegraph journalist writes:

‘In this fraternal battle royal, there never was a rule of primogeniture. Combat politics, as Bette Davis said of growing old, ain’t for sissies. If this mincing paean to metrosexual narcissism cannot get over his defeat, and knuckle down to fighting from within the shadow cabinet for whatever social democratic beliefs he claims to hold, that is his choice. It may be a betrayal of the movement he affects to serve. The averagely lachrymose 16-year-old X Factor reject may handle defeat with far more grace and maturity. And it may rankle that we taxpayers are obliged to supplement a political dilettante’s colossal income. But these are the rules, and he may play by them if he wishes.

In short, by all means let this snivelling poltroon of a fallen princeling stuff his pockets to his heart’s content, while popping along to the House of Commons every once in a while to sob into his nosegay over a crashing sense of entitlement denied. But, Lord above, let him be guided by the example of the Duke of Windsor through his long years of exile, and do it quietly. From this David, a period of silence would be most welcome – and if it didn’t end until Doomsday, that would be far too soon.’

 Now I am no fan of any of the Milibands, or Blair, or the Labour party. But metro-phobia gets on my nerves! And I call it when I see it.  David is described as:
‘this mincing paean to metrosexual narcissism’.
And it is the word ‘mincing’ that gives the game away. For ALL men politicians are ‘paens to metrosexual narcissism’ – hell, nearly all men are. But mincing? The writer has conflated metrosexuality with cliched slurs about homosexual men, just to stick the knife in. As I said in a private correspondance to Mark Simpson, not so long ago, on reading a blogpost about homophobia in sports – metrophobia is employed in the media with as much regularity as homophobia, it does the job of homophobia, and it is accepted.
The Telegraph piece compares Miliband the elder unfavourably to X factor contestants, saying:
‘ The averagely lachrymose 16-year-old X Factor reject may handle defeat with far more grace and maturity.’
which I find to be quite a clever comparison. BUT the focus on ‘crying’ and being ‘lachrymose’ seems to me to suggest that metrosexuals – and he uses the word elsewhere – are ‘sissies’. In the comments discussion on my review of Simpson’s book Metrosexy, at the Good Men Project, we discussed whether or not metrosexuality does indeed include men becoming more able to show emotion. I agreed that along with narcissism and body consciousness, men these days are changing and expectations on them are changing. BUT this doesn’t mean that being ‘metrosexual’ means being ‘soft’. There are still plenty of perfectly turned out metrosexual men who are as repressed and determined to be seen to be ‘tough’ as their fathers and grandfathers were. And those who show some emotion are not necessarily ‘weak’ in any way at all, let alone ‘mincing’!
The journo calls Miliband the elder:
‘this snivelling poltroon of a fallen princeling ‘
and well, I agree to a point. But that has nothing to do with his metrosexuality! Mark Simpson identified the ‘new metro politics’ back in 2010 and made it clear that Cameron, Clegg, Obama and the Milibands are all metrotastic, as was Tony Blair.  Maybe the only one who fell short of the metrosexual ideal was Gordon Brown, and look what happened to him!
I find metrophobia fascinating and deeply troubling.

This is an amazing photo of Ed Miliband (UK leader of the Labour Party) staring into space, at a visit to a school. The blog, Visual Culture have analysed it better than I could, so I recommend reading their post here.

It reminds me of Ed’s brother David, being attacked by confetti and caught on camera looking rather stupid:

I think Mark Simpson might be interested in these photos and the commentary that goes with them, because he is forever observing and analysing the ‘look’ of politicians, which, in these metrosexy times, is more important than their policies.

Someone else who may be interested is Michel Foucault. In an interview back in 1974 he said:

Power has an erotic charge. There’s an historical problem involved here. How is it that Nazism-which was represented by shabby, pathetic puritanical characters laughably Victorian old maids, or at best, smutty individuals-how has it now managed to become, in France, in Germany, in the United States, in all pornographic literature throughout the world, the ultimate symbol of eroticism? Every shoddy erotic fantasy is now attributed to Nazism. Which raises a fundamentally serious problem: how do you love power? Nobody loves power any more. This kind of affective, erotic attachment, this desire one has for power, for power that’s exercised over you, doesn’t exist any more. The monarchy and its rituals were created to stimulate this sort of erotic relationship towards power. The massive Stalinist apparatus, and even that of Hitler, were constructed for the same purpose. But it’s all collapsed in ruins and obviously you can’t be in love with Brezhnev, Pompidou or Nixon. In a pinch you might love de Gaulle, Kennedy or Churchill.

But what’s going on at the moment? Aren’t we witnessing beginnings of a re-eroticization of power, taken to a pathetic, ridiculous extreme by the porn-shops with Nazi insignia that you can find in the United States and (a much more acceptable but just as ridiculous version) in the behaviour of Giscard d’Estaing when he says, “I’m going to march down the streets in a lounge suit, shaking hands with ordinary people and kids on half-day holidays”? It’s a fact that Giscard has built part of his campaign not only on his fine physical bearing but also on a certain eroticizing of his character, his stylishness[i] – Michel Foucault.

[i] Michel Foucault (1996) ‘Film and Popular Memory’ in Foucault Live (Interviews, 1961-1984),New York: Semiotext(e), p. 127. French original 1974.

Photo of D Miliband via