Friday, March 14, 2008

Demeaning Deedes

Few men of talent will have made what is known as 'good family men' I suspect.
Bill Shakespeare doesn't seem to have been one, Charles Dickens certainly wasn't and George Bernard Shaw only got away with it by adopting his own sage advice to those about to get married.
Now it seems that the highly respected journalist Bill Deedes has joined the throng. His biography quite rightly details his life, its highs and its lows, much as I suspect he would have wanted it.
I only met him once many years ago at some social event where we had a pretty inconsequential conversation wherein he referred to me as 'old cock.' But his charisma was apparent and I always read his columns, so full of common sense, up until his last, written the day before he died.
It is sad therefore to find that a British tabloid newspaper whose main cannon fodder is the private lives of drugged and drunk so-called celebrities has chosen to feature but one aspect of his life.
This paper obtains its circulation by not over exerting the brains of its readership and it is probably safe to say that the vast majority of them have never heard of Bill Deedes, nor would they have read any of his work. He sometimes used words that they might not have understood anyway.
However under the banner heading 'How legendary editor Bill Deedes' infatuation with a woman 53 years his junior tore his family apart,' they spend over three thousand words on his travelling the world in the company of an attractive young female reporter.
Nary a word concerning his long and distinguished career as a journalist, as an MP and Cabinet Minister nor of his service to his country in the armed forces where he was awarded the Military Cross. His later work for the charity 'Care' is not noted nor does his life peerage get a mention
Perhaps one should expect little more from this paper, whose sole interest is in titillating the salacious tastes of its more moronic readers.
The item immediately above was headed: 'Tipsy Pixie Geldof emerges the worse for wear after she parties at THREE clubs in one night,' whilst the one following ran: 'That's NOT what to wear! Trinny Woodall bares skin and bones in a gaping red gown,' and 'I won't become the new Britney, says Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus,' along with 'Britney Spears' pregnant sister, 16, covers up her baby bump' and ''I'm pregnant,' says Minnie Driver - but she won't reveal who the father is.'
Journalism at its very best, providing true role models for the young! Bill would have been proud to have been grouped in such illustrious company.
So here I would like to make my position crystal clear. If, on my reaching the age of eighty, there are any attractive and nubile twenty something female journalists out there who would like to travel the world with me as freelance reporters at the expense of a major newspaper, please form an orderly line here.
And, if anyone wishes to write my biography subsequently, they have my full permission to report on the matter.
R.I.P. Bill.



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