Julie Burchill: Carla Bruni is standing up to the stoners. Lauren Booth just covers up for them

Some girls strip off for the camera, some veil up for a murderous, gynophobic, theocratic dictatorship
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The Independent Online

"Sticks and stones may break my bones – but names will never hurt me." I was reminded of the highly sensible old saying when I read about the typically level-headed and well-modulated attack on First Française Carla Bruni and the actress Isabelle Adjani for daring to add their voices to the international protest against the proposed stoning to death of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, the 43-year-old mother-of-two accused of adultery, by the Iranian newspaper Kayhan.

This paragon of the free press is directly under the supervision of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government and has its editor appointed by the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khameini – and don't you just wish you could be a fly on the wall at one of their editorial meetings.

"That Carla Bruni – she says we shouldn't stone adulteresses to death."

"She must be a prostitute!"

"Yeah, and her Mum!"

"And that actress – Isabelle Adjani? She says it too."

"Right, that's it. She was in that film Ishtar, with that Zionist thug Dustin Hoffman – I hated that film! That's 103 minutes of my life I'll never get back again!"

"She's probably a prostitute too!"

"OK, there's our headline – FRENCH PROSTITUTES ENTER HUMAN RIGHTS PROTEST. Now, next up – who's the stunna getting stoned to death on Page 3 today?"

It's hard to believe that a regime can be both as evil and at the same time as babyish as that of the halfwits who run Iran, but let us not forget that these clowns also boast another newspaper, Hamshahri, which four years ago launched a Holocaust cartoon competition. "You're against stoning, you must be a prozzie!" seems an unbelievably low level of political discourse.

But when you consider that only three years ago an Islamic school in London was revealed by Newsnight to have school textbooks which, at one time, described Jews as apes and Christians as apes, dogs and pigs, it's actually rather sophisticated.

I must say that I was perplexed, though, by the reference to Mrs Sarkozy as a "hypocrite", while drawing ungentlemanly attention to her sexual generosity over the years. (Sexual charity, even, if you count Mick Jagger, who looks as if a very bored giant practised origami on his face for a very long time.)

Surely wishing women not to be put to death for committing adultery, if you are yourself a woman who has slept with married men, is the opposite of hypocrisy – ie, damn good sense? Surely a hypocrite would be a woman who had committed adultery yet wanted other women to be stoned to death for it?

Surely a good example of a hypocritical woman would be someone like the journalist Lauren Booth, who now she can no longer make a shilling from being related by marriage to Tony Blair works for the Iranian-funded television channel Press TV – headscarf and all! – and blithely ignores the savage state persecution of free-thinking women while having enjoyed fully all the freedoms the West has to offer. Her paymasters' primness is beginning to rub off on her – here she is serving it to Jennifer Aniston in a weekend tabloid: "Her character indulges in a threesome with two other women, sleeps around with numerous men and takes drugs. The former Friends star gets paid millions ... clearly, wearing nothing and behaving like a slut on screen is where the power lies in 2010 Hollywood.'

It could be the Supreme Leader of the Iranian Islamic Republic himself speaking! Come on Loz, everyone's got to make a living – some girls strip off for the camera, some veil up for a murderous, gynophobic, theocratic dictatorship! Let she who is without sin cast the – oh, but your lot do that anyway, don't they? The website Iranian.com, a voice of the country's exiles, said it best: a photo of Miss Booth in full modesty drag, with the headline HAS THIS WOMAN GONE MAD? and the comment "in donning the hijab, she is kow-towing to the very fundamentalism that holds the fate of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani in its hands ... to use the language that Booth might to describe Israel's excesses, it is shameful and disgusting that she a) works for Press TV and b) agrees to wear Islamic headgear on screen."

THAT'S hypocrisy, if you like. But hats off – veils, even – to Tehran for one thing and one thing only in this whole sorry, shameful affair; using the word danseuse as a term of abuse.

An insider said that Mme la President was "deeply shocked" by the personal attack, but I bet she wasn't. She knows that men often demonise and vilify what they can't have. Face it, the Pres may have been promised 72 virgins in heaven – but I bet he'd give them all up for one night with Carla B.

Solitude: I want to be alone, but you shouldn't

One of my earliest memories is lying under my bed, about eight years old, pleading with my mother. No, it's not the start of a sorrow memoir; rather, I was begging her to tell the schoolmates who had called on the off-chance that I might want to hang out with them – doing unspeakably childish things no doubt - that I was out. Because I WANTED TO BE ALONE.

More than four decades later, I haven't changed. I don't know if it's to do with being an only child, or having been serially married since I was a teenager, but because I actively pursue solitude so, I find it hard to accept the idea that loneliness is now a greater problem than it's ever been.

Before the usual line-up of bed-wetters and seat-sniffers whip themselves into a frothing frenzy at my perceived insensitivity, can I just say that OF COURSE I understand that the old, the isolated, the unemployed and/or the housebound can suffer extreme loneliness. But I don't accept that the young, affluent and employed are suffering a plague of alienation which is made worse by communication technology. Not unless they're VERY BORING.

It's our old mates Chicken and Egg here – someone who doesn't like being alone is always going to be a likely candidate for loneliness. Because if even you can't get a kick from your own company, why on earth would anyone else crave it?

Shoes: Cure for unhappiness is not on your feet

I've been seeing this Shoes musical on billboards everywhere, and I can imagine the legions of fragrant posses wafting into it next month, high on rosé wine and girl-power, bless 'em. But I shan't be with them.

To me, straightforward sexual fetishisation of shoes seems marginally less sad than the sort of half-witted girlyism which actually wears slogan clothing advertising one's belief that shoes are the cure for all unhappiness. Imagine if men did this with ties; said they were "better than sex" (sex with who – a corpse?) or wore T-shirts bearing the message I SEE TIES! We'd think they were 10 types of tragic. Well, if you're out of your twenties, the same goes for women and shoes. Get over it, weirdo!

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