This time a few months ago, I wasn't a huge fan of Nigella. I found the finger licking and pouting to be as disconcerting as it was disturbing. However, despite the fact that her recipes make you feel like you're being gently lured into an obesity inducing quicksand of vanilla sugar and condensed milk, they are still amazing. I'm eternally grateful to this 'scandal' for giving me knowledge of her delicious Ham In Coke recipie. It turns even crap supermarket gammon into a thing of exceptionally tasty beauty.
Like a lot of people, the first time that I got a sense of Nigella as a person was after reading the evidence she gave yesterday. Obviously, I've seen 'that' picture. Having previous experience of this type of behaviour, I actually burst out laughing when I heard the excuse 'I was helping her to focus'. Stressed out and in need of focus during this busy Christmas period Nigella? Here, let me hold your throat for you....
In all seriousness, I hope that there are no lasting effects from either the incident, or the campaign which she alleges she was subjected to. In my experience, the excuse above is typical of a individual capable of putting their hands on another person in such a fashion. The skill seems to be in rendering the truth of the transgression to its most mild, banal and inoffensive form. Which works, until you spend two seconds scratching at the surface.
After hearing evidence from Nigella, in which she talked about threats of ruination from the same man, I expected to see the media outlets and journalists who had previously been outraged by her treatment discussing this aspect of the situation. What did we actually get? 'Nigella admits to taking coke'.
Wow, a famous person, with the money and freedom to do whatever they want, whenever they like, took some drugs a few times. I never would have expected it.
Seriously, are we supposed to think that celebrities don't take advantage of the drugs that are no doubt readily available once even the vaguest modicum of fame has been bestowed upon them? Oh my god, there's that famous stick thin supermodel snorting some coke. Never. Look, there's that comedian who ended up addicted to smack. Let's all die of shock.
Don't get me wrong, I understand the 'role model' element. However, if you are seriously holding up the PR veneer of a person that you've never met as an example to live your life by, you've got more to worry about than being sucked into an underworld of drugs by their salacious behaviour. If you're allowing your children to model celebrity bullshit without explaining the shallow falsity of the whole circus, you might want to re-examine whom your misplaced rage should be directed at.
Although libel laws will always play their part, this was a chance to discuss far more important issues which are generally under-reported anyway. What did we end up with? Sensationalism about irrelevant crap. I've written about my position on the idiocy of drug criminalisation previously. This isn't really anything to do with that. It's to do with the fact that I'm bored of hearing about invented scandal that no-one actually gives a shit about. Yes, there are issues with addiction and real dangers in taking both legal and illegal substances but the debate that is provoked by celebrity scandal is neither realistic nor rational.
Why do the media act as if people expect celebrities to behave as paragons of virtue? What do they think that we'd be doing if we had the resources which allowed us to live a debauched lifestyle? Yes, there are many people out there who would never take drugs, regardless of resources, but to try to pretend that we don't know that human beings are prone to living to excess is ridiculous. Particularly when the potential for excess is handed to them upon a plate.
Just for once, could we use the abomination that is celebrity 'news' to have a reasonable debate about something that actually matters? I already know that famous people take drugs.
I just don't care.