Watching Brief: Every Woman Owes a Great Debt to Germaine Greer and Therefore a Little Forgiveness When She Screws Up-As She Did by Deciding to Go on Big Brother
Platell, Amanda, New Statesman (1996)
Given that I have only ever been called "sister" by my brothers, I see myself as the most unlikely defender of Germaine Greer's debacle on Big Brother. But defend her I must, not least because the venom of the sisterhood has been unusually toxic.
None more so than Julie Burchill in the Times who wrote: "She left because she couldn't live with the fact that Jackie Stallone is better looking." Not true. Big Brother is altogether the wrong venue to make the most of Greer's attributes, but even at 65 she is a truly handsome woman. In the flesh, she has heat; she's the kind of woman you want to warm your hands on. And comparisons of beauty are something Burchill would be advised to steer clear of. Burchill added that Greer, "like an old lady lifting up her dress and revealing her genitalia to a weeping world, simply does not understand how loony she looks". This is the kind of critic who inevitably makes the reader side with her victim, whoever it is.
Catherine Bennett in the Guardian pilloried Greer for claiming her reason for going on to Big Brother was to get the funds necessary to save her rainforest when in fact that rainforest is her Australian back garden. So what? She's still doing more than most of us for the planet.
Greer made a mistake taking part in this show and no one now knows that better than she. But every woman owes her a great debt and therefore a little forgiveness when she screws up. In the end, it was left to Jenni Murray on Woman's Hour to give Greer a firm but also fair sisterly grilling. And to ask her the question on all our lips: "Why do you wear pop socks?"
If proof were needed that irony seldom works in new spapers, one need have looked no further than the puff on the front of the Sunday Times's news review. "Please leave Heather alone, says Paul [McCartney] ... in a rare interview". McCartney has given more interviews about poor, abused 'Evver than George Best has given about his poor, abused liver. And this one, like all the others, just hardened our hearts to both of them.
Lady McCartney says the hostile press coverage has forced her to abandon public life. Who says the media never do any good?
Despite claims on Radio 5 Live by the legendary royal photographer Arthur Edwards that the Sun's pictures of Prince Harry in a Nazi uniform were worth [pounds sterling]100,000, the paper is said to have paid only [pounds sterling]8,000. …