Thursday, March 09, 2006

bad boys, right-wing style.

I just do not understand my taste in men. Unlike seven out of ten women (as reported in today's Daily Mail), I do consider myself a feminist. And yet all my journalistic idols are either objectionable misogynists, or philanderers. I'm also pretty lefty - and yet again, they are mostly right-wingers.

I'm thinking particularly of Christopher Hitchens, aka The Hitch, scourge of God-botherers and liberal America, who I was waxing lyrical about a few posts ago (but these categories apply equally to Clarkson and Boris Johnson).

Now, I know Hitch is in some ways impeccably feminist - he's pro-birth control, and opposed to religions (which largely regard women as second-class citizens). But take this exchange at the Hay On Wye literary festival a few years ago (full transcript here.

Female audience member: Excuse me. I'm not usually awkward at all but I'm sitting here and we're asked not to smoke. And I don't like being in a room where smoking is going on.

Hitch: Well you don't have to stay darling, do you? I'm working here and I'm your guest, OK? And this is what I'm like; nobody has to like it.

See what I mean? Grrr. Nannying Guardian reader that the woman no doubt was, I can't bear that derogatory 'darling' - it's tooth-grindingly awful in its 70s 'little woman'-ness.

But I think it's more my attraction to rightwingers that bothers me. After all, misogynists can usually be dealt with by pointing out that you're cleverer and more successful than them. My ex-boyfriend, to whom I apologise for writing about yet again, was Very Tory. Ooh, extremely. Some of my best friends are Tories. And yet we argue incessantly about various subjects - from tax to immigration to the public sector.

I think I've finally figured it out why I like Something of The Right. It's partially because of that hoary old political chestnut that the Left and Right have met in the middle - the Tories are against ID cards, and pretty lukewarm on the war in Iraq, just like me. Labour have presided over a disgraceful expansion of the public sector and several ridiculous laws, such as the outlawing of 'glorification of terrorism', whatever that is, and the absurd Religious Hatred Bill. So ideologically I can't have as much of a problem with Righties as I could have done in the hang 'em and flog 'em look-at-my-red-socks Mrs Thatcher era.

But it's more than that. It's because deep down I know: Right-wingers have more fun. I first realised this at meetings of the Student Union council at uni. All the pale idealistic lefties were being assidously zealous about top-up fees and the Iraq war at the front, and I was at the back with the Tories, sniggering. And there's more: has the Labour party ever produced an equivalent to Alan Clark? Or even Ken Clarke? Nope. I'll give Charles Clarke points for getting the name right, but that's his lot.

And that's the secret of these men's attraction for me - it's some awful middle-class (marginally more) intellectual take on the classic Bad Boy, as depicted in ad nauseam in EastEnders etc. It's all about fancying the bad boy in the leather jacket, puffing a fag under the 'No Smoking' sign. Yes, you know he's a bit of a twat, and that he;s probably going to die of lung cancer - but right here, right now, that's sexy. Later he will fall off his motorbike because he doesn't really know how to ride it - but by then it will be too late.

Clarke and Clark, Clarkson (hold on, I'm beginning to think there is a sinister name-based conspiracy here) and the Hitch all like (or liked) a drink, and all smoke heavily. If Kenneth Clarke weren't so fat, and Alan Clark so dead, I'd probably fancy them.

Oh dear, why must I be so perverse?


Blogger hangthedj said...

You are not perverse. You got it darn straight.

Tories do have more fun. Until recently it was always conservative politicians who were caught doing dodgy things...but now that Lib Dems like scatting, etc, I may have to become one of Hang on, just realised what I said. Please erase that from the record...

3/10/2006 1:48 am  
Anonymous Laura said...

As the old coupling line went:

"How Tory?..... How big?"

3/10/2006 10:25 am  
Blogger marrow-from-harrow said...

You make a good point. But can any of them really be as beautiful as me?

3/10/2006 10:53 am  
Blogger galatea said...

Might I draw your attention to this

3/10/2006 7:21 pm  
Blogger galatea said...

And this

3/10/2006 7:28 pm  
Blogger Paul B said...

Speaking as a dull Liberal, I think the Tories have it right. As someone or other said in the Guardian the other week, look at the obsession with the smoking ban. Ken Clarke and Tony Benn smoke and drink, and live on seemingly forever more. Robin Cook and John Smith take up fellwalking to keep fit, and it kills them both. Live fast, die old.

And I think the reason that Tories have more fun is just that after the events of the nineties, Tories simply don't have any shame left to lose.

3/11/2006 9:15 am  
Blogger galatea said...

This is worth a post in itself, but may I recommend the blog (!) of Hitchens Minor.

Come on chaps, let's stop using the phrase "political correctness gone mad"! The irony of this comment appearing in the MoS seems to have gone unnoticed.

3/13/2006 6:33 pm  
Anonymous doobyus said...

Please, post something new so I don't get the willies when I visit!!

3/15/2006 6:27 pm  
Blogger hangthedj said...

Just as an aside...did you know that Robert Webb admires Christopher Hitchens more than any living human being...told you he was better than David Mitchell...

3/21/2006 3:47 pm  
Anonymous Louise said...

Best way it's been said yet. I had an early thing for John Redwood. I should have known...

PS Come to New York. Chock-a-block with Young Republicans.

3/22/2006 6:34 pm  

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