Celebrity hells not like real world

ROSEMARY MCLEOD
Last updated 10:39 18/07/2013
Pippa Middleton
Reuters
TABLOID FAVOURITE: Pippa Middleton.

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OPINION: History will judge all things, including Pippa Middleton's breathtakingly wonderful bottom

Historians will wonder why the rear end of this woman, holding the wedding train of her sister, so energised the world when she was first seen on live TV that she has been fodder for women's magazines and tabloids ever since.

When snapped by the paparazzi, she's been portrayed as revealing the gamut of human misery when in reality she was probably just thinking about lunch.

Is it inevitable that we come to hate what we make a fetish of, or is she a whipping person for her sister, who has so far refused to have her toes sucked by balding admirers, drive herself into bankruptcy, or – worst of all possible fates – get fat, even when pregnant?

Surely she will give birth to a royal paperclip.

Small wonder that Pippa has lost her sense of humour and is this week suing the writers of a spoof sending up her harmless book on organising parties.

How ardently she must wish her sister had never met her handsome prince, and that her bridesmaid's dress had been frothy and frumpy.

Whoever she marries will inevitably also become the target of media venom, so I hope he will have a tidy backside, too, with a steel casing.

But history is about more serious matters than celebrity hells. It is also about ordinary hells, like that of the parents of Trayvon Martin, gunned down quite legally while walking through a gated community in Florida, armed with a can of iced tea and a packet of Skittles. These, incidentally, are fruit-flavoured lollies; their advertising catchline is "Taste Like the Rainbow", and they are the most popular sweet among young Americans.

That was pretty damning stuff to have in his possession.

If there is a hell, his parents will be in a special part of it this week and for a long time to come. We have missed out on the back-and-forth slagging of the dead boy that preoccupied a certain strata of American society before the trial that saw no possible wrong in killing an unarmed kid walking to a relative's house after scoring the noxious and seedy drugs noted above.

There is depressing reading there, including a claim that Trayvon was once caught by school authorities with a burglary tool in his backpack and a bunch of women's jewellery.

I don't know about you but I fail to see how this – even if it is true – justifies being shot and killed.

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As far as I know the civilised world does not yet applaud the killing of teenagers who do dumb things.

The word nobody wanted to utter in this case – but that everybody knew was central to it – was "race", I guess because George Zimmerman might just as readily have killed a white teenager in a hoodie. Yet, part of his explanation for the shooting was that there had been burglaries in his hood carried out by young black males, which rather blows that argument away.

Race aside – if you must – I don't think much of vigilantes or of any law that justifies killing people on the grounds that they make you nervous.

I can only imagine how nervous Trayvon must have felt, though, when confronted by a very large white man with a gun. There is a long and bitter history behind that situation.

History will make something of this, as it will over the commando-type police raid in Tuhoe country a while back.

Fortunately, nobody was killed there, but a community was humiliated and terrified, which was bad enough.

America has a confident mythology of its struggle to build a nation based on such rights as the pursuit of liberty and happiness, and the Tuhoe raid, though short on actual blood and gunfire, would fit snugly into its westerns, where they tell such stories to the greater glory of colonisation.

The common factor would be the flexing of white muscle against native people that will smell of roses in history books, at first anyway, even when the facts are at variance with the fable.

- The Dominion Post

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