Terence Blacker: Can't the Editors of Time magazine see Pippa Middleton is a national embarrassment?

Astonishingly, they think these sisters ooze class. Have they lost their marbles? A Page 3 girl would make a better role model

Share
Related Topics

There is, sad to report, a new reason for national embarrassment. Unusually, it has nothing to do with Jeremy Clarkson, Julian Fellowes or Simon Cowell; indeed, unlike those Britons, this source of shame can be relied upon never to say anything controversial.

Time magazine has just announced its annual Time 100 list of the world’s most influential people. No British politicians appeared on the list, but the Middleton sisters – one a new princess, the other the sister of a new princess – are included, heralded as “avatars of aspiration”.

Surely Time has discovered, not before time, a sense of humour. But, no, this is not satire. “Latter-day Mona Lisas, they smile mysteriously and keep their mouths closed,” reads the citation. “In an age of bleating, tweeting, confessional celebrity, the middle-class Middletons show real class.”

The British media clearly agree with this mind-boggling assessment. Having despaired of being able to write anything interesting about the Duchess of Cambridge, the press has promoted Pippa Middleton as a figure of endless fascination and glamour. This week, she did something in France – snog a Frenchman, was it? – and her activities have been the subject of slavering coverage.

There is nothing wrong with a woman in her twenties gadding about in Paris, but the idea that she should be considered as someone to be envied, emulated and even admired reveals just how silly and defeatist our culture has become.

In what way do the values embodied by Pippa Middleton represent “real class”? She became famous simply by virtue of her sister becoming engaged to a prince. When the wedding took place, it proved so uneventful that desperate editors made a story out of the shape of her bottom which became the unofficial symbol of the event. She does a trivial, part-time job for the family firm, and shows no inclination to do anything interesting with her life apart from going to parties. She has not used her fame to any charitable effect, but has availed herself of a £400,000 publishing advance for a book, presumably ghost-written, on party-planning. In her smiling, dimpled way she has done more harm to the cause of women than any airhead celebrity or Page 3 girl.

No ambition, lots of parties and a much-|photographed bottom: Pippa’s way of life is all right, if limited, but when one of the world’s best-known news magazines ranks it as more significant than that of any political leader, something odd and alarming is going on.

If Pippa Middleton has had any influence, it has been to remind the world that looks, connections and social class are still what matter most in 21st-century Britain. Time’s “latter-day Mona Lisa” offers these simple aspirations for a young British woman: don’t work, keep your bum trim, and, above all, develop a talent for smiling and saying nothing.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Rafael Nadal is down and out, beaten by Dustin Brown at Wimbledon – but an era is not thereby ended  

Sad as it is, Rafael Nadal's decline does not mark the end of tennis's golden era

Tom Peck
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy