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: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have previous experience...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently  

Shia LaBeouf to Luis Suárez: Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Ellen E Jones
Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay's Chris Martin “consciously uncoupled” in March  

My best and worst stories of 2014

Simmy Richman
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015