Monday, October 09, 2006

Mindnumbing Muppet Number 7: Gillian Evans

Presenting the latest in a series of Mind Numbing Muppets - a Soundtracksforthem response from the underbelly of the keyboard to the kaleidoscope of dazzlingly silly cahnts who impose themselves on us via their access to the media.

Number 7: Gillian Evans

Gillian Evans is one of those ponitificating middle rank academics populating the society page of the Guardian with regular downbeat pop-tinged sociological observations on Britain's urban social ills. If she exemplifies anything it's that some mutant version of imperial anthropology was alive and well over at the Guardian last week as she sets out to discover what it means to live on a council estate. Gillian relates to her subjects with all the respect Coronation Street script writers imbue in stock comic characters like the Battersbys. Her subjects are a supposedly dwindling and arcane tribe called the working class, complete with their own peculiar atavistic practices and ancient social habits. Faced with a downscaling in her own economic situation, poor Gillian resolved to 'overcome [her] previous efforts to distance [herself] from the people' sharing her estate in order to research and study them in a rather vicious colonisaiton 0f class for academic career led purposes. The odd article appearing in that newspaper of the British chattering classes - the Guardian - is of course a handy bonus.

Her neighbour, Sharon becomes the arcetype of the working class house wife with whom the 'educated talk of the middle classes is useless,' so exhausted she is with the dull concerns of her drab working class life, opting instead to settle for the 'permanent joke of the body's sexual and excretory functions.' In Lady Gillian's eyes, the sign of how common you are is how much free time you allow your childern to play evoking all sorts of moral cacophony on feral childern and improper working class parenting leading to anti-social behaviour. Gillian revels in purposefully keeping her children seperate from those around her for fear of them contracting common practices. Gillian finally gets profound after a statement from one of her subjects that 'the secret of bein' working class is bein' 'appy with yer position.' In a classic imperial form the article ridicules the accents of its subjects, coming replete with excerpts bracketed in explanatory notes such as 'finkin' you're upper [better than other people].' It reeks of how Anglo Irish authors such as Maria Edgeworth attempted to drown the voice of their own sub-altern peasant opposities in footnotes and glossaries.

For Gillian this is a world where social class is an issue of the clothes you wear and the voice you bear, and as a result any resentment of assertion of a rich bashing dignity is dismissed as 'an inverse snobbery.' Not surprisingly after the publication of her book Gillian decided to feck off out of Bermondsey. Could you imagine the plight of her windows if she stayed? Oh wait Gillian was probably banking on the fact that her neighbours were too ignorant to read the Guardian.

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