Features

The age of selfie-obsession

4 October 2014

9:00 AM

4 October 2014

9:00 AM

So it now seems pretty clear to me that we can no longer send women photographs of our genitals without worrying that we might be the subject of some horrible sting operation and consequently suffer public humiliation and possibly lose our jobs. One by one, the harmless little pleasures in life are being withdrawn from us. It is even being said that we would be wise not to photograph our own genitals at all, let alone send the snaps to anyone, because a third party might somehow acquire them and cause us mischief. If this is true, I am not sure how I am going to pass the long winter evenings ahead, when we become enveloped in darkness. Read a book, I suppose. But that is hardly the same sort of thrill, even if the book is by Will Hutton.

The whole problem has been caused by a woman who does not exist. The Conservative MP Brooks Newmark sent a photograph of his penis to a wraith, a phantom, a figment of a strange person’s imagination. The supposed woman, ‘Sophie Wittams’, a ‘twenty-something Tory PR girl’, was actually a male freelance journalist working for the Sunday Mirror. This Sophie was created, visually, by a composite of various women, none of whom had given their permission. The face was that of a Swedish model called Malin Sahlen. The bikini-clad torso belonged to a woman from Lincolnshire called Charlene Tyler. Charlene is angry at the newspaper — perhaps for very good moral reasons, or possibly, at the back of her mind, there is pique at having been used only for the torso shot and she fears that the Sunday Mirror journalist considers her a ‘Bobfoc’. That’s a term from Viz magazine meaning ‘Body off Baywatch, face off Crimewatch.’ But I am only guessing here.

Charlene has also revealed that she too sends photographs of her nether regions via her mobile phone: don’t we all, dear, don’t we all. It would seem that the air around us is fecund with millions of digitally rendered todgers and front-bottoms, pinging back and forth, one for you, one for me, the atmosphere thick and frantic with voyaging gonads travelling at a little less than the speed of light. It is a lovely thought, no? This pastime is so popular that the moment a new iPhone or Blackberry is unwrapped, the trousers are around the ankles and — ping! — here’s one of my old fella looking a bit sullen, hope you like it. The wife was out at the time. Shall we meet up?

Do you ever worry that our culture has become a little, y’know, puerile and narcissistic? Especially narcissistic. For all the immense benefits of modern mobile phone and computer technology, it still seems to me that the chief purpose to which this intelligence is put is simply to scream, over and over again: ‘I AM’. Look — it’s me. And here, to prove it, is a picture of my cock.

One writer for the Times, commenting on the Newmark story, urged us all to be less prudish and outraged by these developments. Young people see nothing wrong in ‘sexting’, m’kay?

Don’t they? They should. If you thought the selfie was the ultimate expression of an infantilised narcissistic society — well, here’s the clunge-selfie, the todger-selfie, just to take it one stage further. For lady readers, incidentally, there’s a website of which you might wish to take advantage: it’s called ‘Rate My C***’. Just take a snap, upload — and bob’s your uncle, it’ll be ‘rated’. Come on, you wouldn’t want to be considered prudish by the Times, would you?


Imagine the narcissism in a 56-year-old Conservative MP believing that an attractive woman 30 years his junior would really value, really lap up, a photograph of his implacably right-wing member. Which is poking, rather shiftily one suspects, out of a pair of paisley pyjamas. Can you comprehend the self-belief, the arrogance? It makes it all the better, of course, that poor Mr Newmark was also the ‘minister for civil society’, a position from which he has sadly resigned. It would be better only if his portfolio had been ‘minister for not taking photographs of your John Thomas’.

Of course, the story has now been politicised, it revolves around a liberal-right wing axis. Newmark is in trouble not because he behaved in a manner at which his wife might justifiably cavil, and not even because of the pictures per se. But because he was inappropriately trying to pull a bird, innit. He was using his power, as a politician, to inveigle, to sort of coerce, an imaginary female human being into giving him one. That was the supposed public interest justification for the Sunday Mirror’s sting (which has now been referred to the Independent Press Standards Organisation): men, especially older men, and especially right-wing older men, abusing their power and taking advantage of wholly imaginary women. An abuse of office; exploitation of the female sex.

In their absolutism, the liberal left will not concede that the power relations between the ageing, clapped-out politician and the beautiful young PR girl are a little more complex than that. Reading the cringe-worthy texts sent by Newmark — a sort of slavering desperation tinged with a palpable fear — there is no doubt in my mind where the real power lay in this embryonic relationship. The fictitious woman knew she had Newmark exactly where she wanted him; ‘her’ texts are flirtatious and confident and knowing and suggestive, while his are what I think we might fairly call subordinate and hapless.

And so the argument has progressed still further away from reality and common sense. It is no longer the case that men are guilty of abusing their power when they hit on some unfortunate woman and try to get her into bed, or even — à la the serially traduced Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard — have the temerity to ask if they would like to join you for a cup of coffee. They are now no less guilty if they simply respond to concerted and calculated overtures performed by a woman. Surely, in terms of gender politics, the transaction between the fictitious Sophie Wittams and the almost fictitious Brooks Newmark was utterly equal and consensual? We might reasonably condemn the man for being so infantile as to upload a photograph of his penis on social media — thank God we never made him Foreign Secretary — and also for seemingly being poised to cheat on his wife, sure. But abusing his office? I don’t think so. Truth is, in this exchange, he was more sinned against than sinning, although in moral terms he sinned as well, of course, although that’s one for his rabbi rather than the Old Bill.

So there they all are then, zinging about our heads — the money shots, the porno pics, the female genitalia, the even more horrible penis shots bringing to mind that famous scene from Alien. Everyone is doing it, we are told. In which case, everyone had better watch the hell out. A few weeks back we had the case of a bunch of female celebrities — attractive actresses and the like — who were appalled beyond words to find that the sex films they had made with their boyfriends, or simply shots of them with no clothes on, had been hacked and were appearing online.

Once again there was a howl of outrage from the soft-feminist lobby that this was tantamount to rape. My suspicion is that, such is the world, the hacked images will not have greatly diminished the earning power of those who appeared in them.

Invasion of privacy? Up to a point, Lord Copper. But only up to a point. Because by now you should all know the score; such shots are a hostage to fortune, so don’t do them. If you possibly can, try to resist pointing your lady garden at some bloke holding a camera and smirking at you: it probably won’t work out well in the end. In a perfect world we might all be free to film ourselves acting out porno fantasies in the days off from filming Downton Abbey, but the world we live in is a few inches of crinoline short of perfect. There are people out there who make a tidy living from hacking stuff illegally, and those people might just include your current boyfriend as well as Julian Assange. Oh — sorry — that’s different, is it? Assange is different? Why, exactly?

And then there’s that new thing we have to deal with, for the non-celebrities — revenge porn. Bin your boyfriend or your girlfriend unceremoniously and by the end of the day you might find intimate snaps of yourself doing the rounds of the social network sites. Without your consent. The government may be about to bring in new laws which recognise ‘revenge porn’ as something separate from simply malicious communications, which is how the offence has been classified in the past: a bill will be brought before parliament later this month.

The current narrative is that there are too few police prosecutions for revenge porn and even fewer convictions. Well, fine. But is there a huge difference between posting intimate photographs of someone online and telling people that some poor sap had sent them a shot of his penis online? If one is an invasion of privacy, surely the other is? Or is it only the actual images that carry any clout, so to speak?

The truth is, if you don’t want your gonads appearing on public display, and don’t want anyone to know that you’ve taken snaps of your own gonads, then don’t take the snaps in the first place. Privacy is a compromised commodity these days. If you wish to retain your job, or maintain a squeaky clean image, then behave in private with the same sense of decorum as you would behave in public.

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Show comments
  • Guest

    Excellent article Mr Liddle . We most certainly live in a narcissistic world ,a talkative Nymph named Echo who fell in love with Narcissus, was spurned and led him
    to watch his own reflection ( the daffodil being named after him)
    There have always been vain, self obsessed people, the type today who are forever putting themselves on youtube ( singing and dancing ) The’ Americanisation’ of society and the general shallowness and lack decorum or common decency. These are those who are now being caught out by their own vanity and lack of values.
    Unfortunately everyone wishes to be a celeb, we have even have our politics being
    cheapened by those ghastly x factor style tv debates. Vanity, vanity, vanity.

    • Guest

      Also that dreadful man in the paisley pyjamas. I’d rather Cary Grant in a silk
      smoking jacket, sitting by a fire, thank you.
      And David Cameron no more selfies, its so Tony Blair.

  • artemis in france

    A very witty and roundabout way of agreeing with Ricky Gervais who received a lot of abuse for givng the advice in your last paragraph, Rod. You are, of course, both correct and it is baffling that so many people need to be told how to behave to protect themselves.

    • rtj1211

      They forget the bag over your head on Clapham Common variant…….

  • Guest

    Men should never send women pictures of their meat and two
    veg, to be quite honest they’re not in the same league as the statues of Neptune anyway but I suppose women are hardly Venus so both should as you say behave well in public.
    But there is an issue, they think they’re safe whilst in the privacy
    of their homes whilst using the internet, which is not private, Eh!

  • picquet

    Howls of outrage are now arising in the throats of the liberal/left/feminist quasi-freedom groupings. How dare you say that it’s unwise, that we should desist from the snap and send? That’s just another example of the fascistic tendencies of the Evil Telegraph reader, so it is. To protest, we’ll rip off our bras and knickers and march around the streets proudly. Or something else involving huge, plastic, neon organs. And if any fascist leers, we’ll have him under every law the State can throw. Freedom! (yelled in the voice of the great Scots ..er Welshman).

    • Samson

      The left have all decided against the supposed joys of the c*ck photo, after mental images of a Tory MP with his bits dangling out of his paisley pyjamas became commonplace. The left headquarters must have forgot to send out the memo.

    • Matt Smith

      We could worse than legalise full nudity in the streets. In parts of Canada it’s legal for women to parade around topless, equality wouldn’t you know!

      It’s not like people don’t flirt with walking around nude already in the summer or when out clubbing.

      Perhaps if there was more nudity it would be less shocking and consequently have less impact. Do they have the same kind of problems in Holland and more Scandinavian countries?

      • Snipkokken Balsov

        With the changing demography, yes, big time.

      • rtj1211

        With the Canadian climate, I suspect that such activity is seasonal at best…….

      • Gwangi

        Well, Canada is Canada and so pc it’s frightening. My friend in Ottawa tells me the local screeching feminutters had a local gay bar closed down. Why? Because it had no room for women to have, er, intimate relations, but did have one for men…

  • Ali

    ‘Pelfie’
    To pilfer a pouting picture
    Of someone else,
    Which they have taken of themselves,
    A ‘selfie’
    And using it to earn dishonest dough,
    Through blackmail,
    The fee thus earned:
    A ‘pelfie.’
    The O.E.D next year will define it so,
    But you saw it first in here,
    So now you know,
    I invented it,
    And will achieve celebrity,
    And as a poet,
    Might be asked to take a ‘shelfie.’

    Pelf = money gained in a dishonest way.

  • Steven Callaghan

    Another superb article, Rod. Now where’s that iPhone……

  • Andrew Smith

    Its sad that anyone has to write this article in the first place. Everything Mr. Liddle has written here should taken for granted as a matter of common sense. Sometimes I despair.

    • disqus_JXTaH3N9kU

      You are of course absolutely right. But it is the funniest piece he has written for a while.

      • Noa

        Agreed, quite merciless in a jovial way. And Brooks Nomark’s criminally offensive behaviour, which would once have seen him doing 3 months hard labour in the nick for exposure, or intent to roger an iPhone, will doubtless see no criminal action taken. After all, far worse things happen in Rotherham and Sheffield every day, without prosecution. Still, there’s justice here, of a sort,
        Being the butt of the nation’s jokes for the next two or three years and expelling himself to his wife and family, will be no fun at all.

        • Gwangi

          Any hack who entraps anyone this way should go to the nick for a decade at least and have to sign the secks offenders register for life.

          • Jambo25

            We should possibly send Martin Brunt to jail after that poor woman’s death but not the ‘exposer’ of Mr. Newmark. If you don’t wish to be mocked all over the MSM don’t do stupid, sleazy or nasty things. I find the best way not to end in Mr. Newmark’s pickle is not to act like a sleazeball.

  • beenzrgud

    Günther Oettinger has recently been attacked for daring to suggest that people who allow compromising images of themselves onto the internet are dumb. I don’t normally agree with eurobods, but on this occasion I think he’s right.

  • IainRMuir

    And it will get more interesting still when cheap 3D printers go on sale at Argos.

    Can hardly wait.

    • abacus123

      Good grief !
      What are you thinking?

      • IainRMuir

        Rather not say.

        • Jambo25

          Just asking out of a spirit of curiosity but could such a 3D printer be attached to some form of manufacturing process to produce the lower ‘lady bits’ of specific women: say a young Jeanne Moreau? Just asking for no reason.

    • I_of_Horus

      Thanks for putting that thought in my head. I _really_ needed that. NOT

    • Airey Belvoir

      Thsat would be updating the creative efforts of the ‘Plastercaster’ groupies of the 70’s. there must be a fine collection somewhere.

    • rtj1211

      Then you can emulate David Sullivan and set up an internet business selling dildoes……

  • ohforheavensake

    And this week, on ‘Rod Liddle Doesn’t Like Stuff’, Rod Liddle looks at some stuff, and realises he doesn’t like it.

    Next week: Rod looks at some more stuff. He doesn’t like that, either.

    • abacus123

      “Next week: Rod looks at some more stuff. He doesn’t like that, either.”
      And you dutifully turn up to tell us so.- thanks

      • ohforheavensake

        Breaking News: Rod Liddle’s readers look at stuff. They don’t like it.

        • abacus123

          Breaking News: It finally dawns on Ohforheavensake that he doesn’t like Rod Liddle’s stuff and he goes elsewhere to get his jollies. – farewell.

    • IainRMuir

      The essential difference being that Rod Liddle is witty, you aren’t.

  • MC73

    Brilliant. One of your best.
    Incidentally Lord Rennard is the only libdem I have any sympathy for. His only offence was to be a porky minger. Had he been a Clooney-alike those women would have either jumped into bed with him or been terribly flattered, no matter how clumsy his approaches.

    • Freedom

      Clooney’s good-looking? I hadn’t noticed.

      • Stigenace

        Very.

        • Freedom

          Too lefty for me. And grey.

  • Simon Fay

    The Twitterscape (or whatever term maps all this “controversial” dross) is latterday pre-maternal femininity writ large and externalised. Amazonian porn/abortion activists who turn into prissy schoolgirl prigs when it suits. HAL9000 with the persona of “Rosie Webster”.

    And as for the blokes who actually engage with these creatures…

  • top drawer

  • JChambers123

    I wonder where FEMEN fit into the feminist anti-todger outrage equation…

    • Sarka

      Please, I beg you, do not give any radical male organisations the idea that it would be a good plan to conduct a load of public demonstrations…er…bottomless.

    • Liz

      Yeah it’s tricky isn’t it. Women taking control of their own bodies to protest against their control by male corporations and male religions. And women protesting against being sexually harassed. Ooh it hurts my head it’s so difficult.

      • Jambo25

        Just the same kind of juvenile/infantile self publicists as the men.

  • Pat Conway

    The age of modern technology has brought with it many utterly ridiculous trends and taking ‘selfies’ has got to be one of the silliest.

    • The Red Bladder

      Dunno, are they better or worsen those incessant snapshots of peoples’ dinners?

      • Jambo25

        People photograph their dinners?

  • Damaris Tighe

    The amusing thing is that the Mirror got the stereotype so spot on – a 20-something Tory PR girl call Sophie Wittams. Of course she had to be called Sophie. I can almost hear her slightly sloane ranger voice: ‘yah, yah …’. Wittams has just the right slightly upper-crust ring about it. And of course she had to be in PR. Brooks Newmark must have been sooooo excited.

  • The Masked Marvel

    Mary Whitehouse would approve.

  • To be fair, I consider my marriage, and the vows I made at that time, sacred. Were some gorgeous bird to come on to me, 47 year-old, bald, pot-bellied, with a greater appreciation for Mozart than One Direction, I’d be distinctly suspicious why; especially if she’d never even met me.

    And I certainly would never dream of sending photographs of my bits and pieces. Because those are reserved for my wife, and my wife only.

    Call me old fashioned, but Brooks Newmark would still have a job had he been rather more old fashioned.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Lovely comment No Good Boyo, & it sounds as if you should change your name!

      • GraveDave

        Almost brings a tear to yer eye. And no, I’m not being sarcastic.

    • Freedom

      To be fair, if a man with elephantitis came on to me, with his bald head and hairy pot belly and his fervor for the Bay City Rollers and disco bands even worse, I’d respect his marriage vows ; )

      ‘Because those are reserved for my wife, and my wife only’. I hope she enjoys them!

    • John Hawkins Totnes

      Trouble is, words like ‘vows’ and ‘sacred’ are disdained, and despised by our culture. How can they be reintroduced?

      • Matt Smith

        That’s the tricky part. Nowadays new concepts are mainly introduced by the government on account of health and safety. They’ve tried at least, with tax bonuses but that’s only really relevant to the top 10% of the population.

        If they got their hands on marriage I’d be worried anyway! It’s bad enough that sex education is taught (poorly) by schools rather than parents.By the same token the only way to promote marriage and monogamy would be via ones parents. The problem is there are fewer couples married every year for a host of reasons, not just the cost in an ever increasing poverty stricken lower class and more divorces than ever.

        The internet has expanded the grass that could potentially be greener and it’s down to the declining morals in society to save us.
        With religion no longer the carrot and stick of choice for many, the government spouting more nonsense than sense to many of us and ever decreasing family values and ethics I can’t see a return to the institution of marriage with it’s necessity to pull as a team and work hard at it.

        For me the Queen is the best example of marriage, her husband puts his foot in it on every possible occasion, sometimes threatening the diplomacy of her post, and her country! Rather than throwing him out on his ear she constantly forgives him, accepting his limitations in that arena but not excluding him from the next occasion.

        She’s a shining example of what to do when your husband (or wife!) makes an arse of themselves or worse still, you! She sets a good example, if only more people would follow it.

      • rtj1211

        Well a good start would be allowing people plenty of experimentation in a non-sacred set of relationships before giving such vows. You can’t realistically vow as an informed adult to give your entire being to someone else if you know nothing about sex, are still emotionally immature and aren’t yet clear what your professional prospects are.

        Most marriages of previous generations which broke up should never have been consecrated in the first place. Family pressure, societal pressure, ‘it worked for me so it’ll work for you’ nonsense.

        If you need ‘immaculate conception’ ‘virgin at marriage’ etc etc then you really can’t be surprised if 50% of marriages lead either to divorce, domestic violence or silent civil wars………

        • It’s an intriguing comment. It’s certainly thought provoking and worth a considered response:

          I think in the first place, you’re associating words such as “sacred” and “vow” with religion. While they certainly have strong religious connotations, they aren’t necessarily so. They indicate an attitude so strongly held that breaching them is inconceivable.

          I think the key is “emotional immaturity,” although I don’t see what professional prospects have to do with marital fidelity — the general idea is that your marriage remains inviolable “through richer and poorer.” It seems extremely shallow to say, “I’m divorcing you because you don’t earn enough,” and while I don’t doubt that such people exist, that hardly constitutes emotional maturity.

          But I certainly am convinced that some people marry because they perceive it as a kind of super-date, to which the friends and relatives are invited also. They do it primarily because they see it as romantic and fun, not as a life-long commitment as such. I would suggest that is completely the wrong attitude.

          Similarly, when people live together before marriage (and I’ve encountered a number of people who stated quite openly that it’s an experiment to see whether they’re “compatible” before tying the knot), both partners are going into the relationship well aware that the door is wide open for them to walk out of the second they feel like it, and — especially if no children are involved — with very little consequence. If they do subsequently marry, the ceremony really is little more than a ratification of that unstable situation. So it’s hardly surprising if people co-habiting on that basis are more likely to divorce.

          On the other hand, I think that people who do avoid any kind of partnership prior to marriage are those who are most likely to take their relationship seriously, on the principle that it’s not a disposable object to be slung out the moment it ceases to please them.

          I know that sounds VERY old fashioned these days, but the older and more experience I get, the more I see the sense behind the traditional values. Rather than being arbitrarily decreed by religious authorities (which is what a lot of people seem to assume these days), I think the religious authorities advocated the tradition because it made a lot of sense.

          • Jambo25

            I think that the major problem now is a weird form of ‘Americanisation’: “Life ,liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. We expect to be happy and fulfilled at all times and if we aren’t we actively seek to do something about it. Its essentially a culture of selfishness. In that sense ‘selfie’ is a very good word to attach to it.
            Tired of sex with the wife or husband? Move on. Try someone else. Scared of getting old? Don’t worry: act like an overgrown schoolboy(girl). Hate your job or don’t like the jobs you’re qualified for? Don’t worry. Pack your job in. Somebody else will pick up the tab. We do now live in an infantilised society.
            We’ve forgotten the truths that previous generations knew. I think my generation probably still knew as well (I’m in my mid 60s). Life consists of duties as well as privileges; pain and discomfort as well as pleasure.

    • GraveDave

      Call me old fashioned,

      You’re old fashioned. But on this occasion it’s worth hearing.

    • Wotan

      aren’t you a great fan of circumcised willies?

      • What????

        I don’t have a problem with circumcision. I don’t see what that has remotely to do with the point.

        • Wotan

          no problem with 8 day olds?

          • Tell me how this is remotely relevant, and I’ll consider answering.

        • Damaris Tighe

          I think what you have here are the deranged comments of an antisemite. Why he should want to target your comment is beyond me, but they are nuts & see Jews everywhere & in everything.

          • That might explain why he chooses the name of a pagan god of lightning in German mythology, one who was rather fascinating to the whole “Sturm und Drang” movement of Richard Wagner and — dare I say it? — the Nazis.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Yes, that was my thought. Still have no idea why he targeted your post though!

    • rtj1211

      One rather suspects that anyone worth their salt in identifying likely sugar daddies would have badged you down as a ‘No’ on the first round of ‘electorate engagement’…..

      • Probably. What I don’t get is the vanity of middle-aged men enjoying high public office who imagine their bodies, having been exposed to too much time and gravity, none the less constitute some kind of bronzed, rippling Adonis, irresistible to beautiful women young enough to be their daughters!

    • Gwangi

      And yet, it is fine is women send photos of their bits eh? Or take cash for dodgy photoshoots like some female MPs and the wives of MPs? Oh Gender equality, where art though?
      PS please do not send me pics of your bits. I have 2 wrinkly courgettes in the fridge and half a mouldy melon too that I don’t know what to do with, so if I get desperate I shall have a look at them, OK?

      • Did I say it’s fine for “women send photos of their bits”? Is that what I wrote?

        • Stigenace

          Funny, isn’t it, how if you don’t mention one of the sexes somebody will pop up and accuse you of having double standards. That there hasn’t been a report of a female MP exposing her genitalia on social media for the titillation of somebody she supposes to be a young man, which is why you didn’t mention it, seems to entirely escape them.

    • Jambo25

      Entirely agree. I simply cannot fathom the mentality of these eejits who risk marriages, relationships with children, possible penury for a quick or not so quick knee trembler. One of our old friends recently informed us that her marriage was over after finding her hubby was ‘at it’ with a woman half his age. Do these people have no self control?

  • Peter Stroud

    First class piece, Rod. All very true and amusing.

  • Samson

    “…Since when was it a human right to take pictures of your genitals?”

    Since a time somewhere between the invention of paisley pyjamas and the camera phone.

  • Freedom

    ‘Todger’ is a ridiculous word. It sounds like a) a rather vicious if small and nocturnal specimen of British wildlife (hmmm…); b) a grotty instrument for unclogging a drain; c) a drink with a disgusting mix of sugar and molto-blotto alcohol; d) a cuticle remover; e) a crook landlord who takes your rent without paying his mortgage from the proceeds and then defrauds you all.

    • Airey Belvoir

      Mrs Todgers ran a respectable boarding house for professional gentlemen,( in Martin Chuzzlewit). She would not have stood for any indecent exposure..

      • Freedom

        Did she, begorrah?! In that case I take back the last potential definition.

  • Terence Hale

    Hi,
    “.Since when was it a human right to take pictures of your genitals?”. It could be because of adipose, protruding or as commoner’s say fat stomachs that you have not seen your genitals for some time.

  • Liz

    Only in the hands of Rod Liddle could a case where women’s private data was hacked, stolen and sold and downloaded by men be conflated with a case where women’s identities were stolen by men and misused to entrap a man to illustrate how the soft-feminist lobby has got too big for its boots.

    • Wessex Man

      Oh come Liz darling, all this moralizing, give us a flash.

      • Liz

        Is that Tory Boy for: I’m a boorish pig?

        • Freedom

          No, it’s Speccie talk for ‘I have a sense of humour’.

          • Liz

            Oh I get it. You instruct a woman to close her mouth and sexually amuse you, to entertain your sexist bros and if she doesn’t laugh it’s because she doesn’t see how witty and subversive you are. Right, lol. No really.

          • Freedom

            What’s Fox News got to do with it? Have you ever watched Fox News? You should: it’s a change from the usual Leftist mouthpieces.

        • Wessex Man

          How dare you call ma a Tory, you little minx you!

          • gerontiusredux

            I can only dream of being called a Tory

  • Liz

    “My suspicion is that, such is the world, the hacked images will not have greatly diminished the earning power of those who appeared in them.”

    Ah well that’s fine then. Consent conshment.

  • Liz

    “The fictitious woman knew she had Newmark exactly where she wanted him; ‘her’ texts are flirtatious and confident and knowing and suggestive, while his are what I think we might fairly call subordinate and hapless.”

    And were written by a man. Who had helped himself to real women’s identities without their knowledge or consent.

    So what equalising aspect of the complex relationship between Male MPs and their female electorate does that bring to the fore exactly?

  • Liz

    “Imagine the narcissism in a 56-year-old Conservative MP believing that an attractive woman 30 years his junior would really value, really lap up, a photograph of his implacably right-wing member. ”

    I presume this is gentle self-parody?

    • Freedom

      Rod is married to a woman that loves him and vice versa. I think you can spot the difference, Liz.

      • Liz

        Well he was married to a woman who loved him, just. Then he left her on their honey moon to run off with the intern he’d groomed. Then he got her up the duff and assaulted her. Then he called his ex wife a slut in the press. But other than that: spot on.

        • Freedom

          I didn’t know anything about assault. His current wife seemed pretty happy to be with him, at the Spectator summer party. People do have rows and sometimes they get out of hand. Items get thrown. Rude gestures are made. Blows are, in my view, inexcusable. But it’s not only men that do inexcusable things. Did you know that Humphrey Bogart’s third wife not only struck him during rows but actually came after him with a knife and, as he attempted to evade her, stabbed him in the back? True. A doctor had to come and take the blade out, and they paid him $500 to sew him up and say nothing about it.

      • Kenneth O’Keeffe

        Didn’t he f…k his intern shortly after that? Some love!

        • Freedom

          I was referring to his current wife. Yes, some love: he married her.

  • Liz

    Surely, judging by the number of statues, busts, portraits, bylines of men doing their mundane deeds I can’t move around towns without tripping over, the age of the selfie-obsession was every age.

    • Jambo25

      How many of those “statues, busts, portraits, bylines of men” do you come across in your daily life? What the hell do you do for a living?

  • Liz

    “In their absolutism, the liberal left will not concede that the power relations between the ageing, clapped-out politician and the beautiful young PR girl are a little more complex than that. ”

    Maybe they lack your experience in this area.

    • WFB56

      Wow, 6 comments in rapid succession and each is progressively more aggressive. I don’t know you or Mr. Liddle but it seems that there is some personal history here?

      • Liz

        I work for a living. I have to fit my commenting in before breakfast.

  • Gregory Lauder-Frost

    He was not “right-wing” for starters, or anything close; and cases of women 1, 2 and 3 decades younger than their man are not unusual. Does God or nature have anything to say on age differences? General vanity is something entirely different.

    • Freedom

      In my experience: always a mistake. Find a man your own age (or younger, if you can manage it). Having a much older man is just giving yourself the worse part of the bargain.

      • gerontiusredux

        Not neccessarily, young Freedom.
        Us old chaps can be useful: We can change plugs and things and can shake our heads and say “It’s no good luv, the big ends ‘ave gone – I’ll have to buy you a new Roller”.
        Well okay, that last bit wouldn’t happen, but I can do the plugs.

        • Freedom

          Nice to see you back in the saddle, G. — even if ‘gerontiusredux’ sounds rather nasty and I do hope they find a cure for it! :^0

          We don’t change plugs in this country, and you don’t either any more, so it’s down to buying new things. NOW you’re talking! Roller — what’s that? Rock ‘n roller? Rolling pin (got one, thanks)? Rolls Royce? I suspect that’s beyond the budget. Anyway my hubby ain’t handy (he tells me when a light is out), and has to ask me where the screwdrivers are (both toolboxes belong to me). I don’t think age will make him any handier!

          • gerontiusredux

            Rolls Royce (I could afford a new rolling pin, but no need as their big ends never go) Of course we change plugs! – cut off the old one and on with the new. Don’t tell me I’ve been breaking the law.
            So who does the spiders and alligators in your house? There has been a minor media panic here because people are reporting giant spiders – ooh, maybe an inch across – global warming i believe.
            You don’t like my new moniker? – well suggest a better one. I thought of “I gerontius” but it sounds overly self important.

          • Freedom

            Golly! What was wrong with your OLD plugs! I’ve heard of changing a fuse….

            Geron is Greek for old man, isn’t it? So you’re the repeat of the old man. Sounds like reflux and too much acid. But you’re not acidic. That’s MY job! (Titter)

          • gerontiusredux

            “Geron is Greek for old man, isn’t it?”
            Indeed it is, though I had in mind this:
            “The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38, is a work for voices and orchestra in two parts composed by Edward Elgar in 1900, to text from the poem by John Henry Newman. It relates the journey of a pious man’s soul from his deathbed to his judgment before God and settling into Purgatory”.

            Redux, as in resurgent.- I’m back!

            I like changing plugs – whether they need it or not – don’t meddle with a man’s obsessions..

          • Freedom

            Yes, I got the resurgence: nothing keeps you down, baby.
            ‘Don’t mess with a man’s obsessions’: hmm, words of wisdom that I hope are reflected in my latest doomed project. (I try to stay buoyant and, failing that, unemotional.)

          • gerontiusredux

            “Yes, I got the resurgence”
            Oh, I see, yes, ok. Don’t get too subtle on me!
            What is your project? Can you tell?

          • Freedom

            I may be able to tell. In a few months. It has something to do with love relationships. Men, women. As I say, the stars are never aligned or perhaps I just ain’t boompfing right. Probably both.

          • gerontiusredux

            I await.
            I hope you are not going to be too scathing about men, particularly if inadvertently so – if you see what I mean.
            It’s five to seven and it’s dark and I have to go work but I want to go back to bed. Goodnight to you.

          • Freedom

            Oh no, I’m on everyone’s side. Liz of these pages does a good line in scathing but that’s not what I’m about at all.

            Hope you have/had a good day in spite of work and the daily grind.

  • Ambientereal

    We are somehow experimenting a kind of transubstantiation that puts us out of ourselves as a mere spectator of our lives. We are no longer interested in the society, the culture, the knowledge, the world, but we constantly look to ourselves and are always seeking upvotes. That´s why we keep doing bizarre things, that worsen as the time goes, and makes us to keep rising the (ugly) bet. Please, stop thinking about the other´s judgement and begin to judge yourselves. Think about giving a positive example to your friends and relatives, to show them what really matters in the social behavior. Stop doing nonsense in order to be popular and get “upvotes”

  • steve

    It’s the silliness that is astounding. These people purport to lead us..?. Who was that chap from the Beeb, who, when heading a committee to look into the S scandal, titled himself “Gold Commander” ,and his deputy “Silver”. Shouldn’t be left in charge of a train set. And the Establishment seems to be awash with his ilk. Selfies, vanity indeed. Just as voting with the hope of improving the lot of the peoples of this nation is in vain.

  • cromwell

    So true, so many prats in power.

  • Freedom

    I’ve listened to what Maria Miller has to say (and fabulous Rod, of course), and I understand the points raised by everyone including Freddy Gray — while still feeling that the nub has not been got at.

    The fault is not necessarily ‘narcissism’ (an idea that is actually hard to define, rather like ‘bigot’ — narcissism seems to mean liking oneself more than others like one, while bigotry seems to mean tolerating or approving of something that someone else doesn’t approve of). Many people in the Internet Age have long-distance relationships. This might mean that they’ve never actually met. They might meet eventually, or they might not. In either case, the temptation to share more intimate views of oneself has to do with the constraints of distance, rather than a need to self-gawk or be gawked at. So the context is always intended to be private, the digital nature of the pictures being a means to an end and nothing more than that.

    I suppose there are some people that haven’t taken rather sensual pictures of their lovers. Or been snapped. The difference is that in the days of prints and no Internet, it wasn’t so easy to do the wrong thing in this way. Today it’s VERY easy to do the wrong thing — to act on impulse, to reveal too much, to publicize what ought to be kept intimate. (Ever sent an email you wish you hadn’t? That you wouldn’t have sent if you had to write it out and put a stamp on it? That you wouldn’t have converted to a phone conversation? Guilty as charged.) When someone can Google my name and instantly find out my political partisanship, that’s different from when someone had to apply to the right department to find out what donations I’d made. An employer is unlikely to bother with the second effort but might well indulge in the first expediency — which could cost me a promotion or the job itself. This is why nude pics ain’t what they used to be. The morality might not have changed; the consequences have.

    The Internet has changed the playing field. The question is how much we rely on people who may be acting innocently to anticipate the souring of a relationship and the viciousness of their estranged partner as a consequence.

  • davidofkent

    Hasn’t Society improved?! I sometimes can hardly believe that this is the country that I was born into.

  • rhodie110961

    He would be better off becoming a UKIP`er, they seem to be more experienced in dealing with… uhh… deviants?… by any other parties standards.

  • mumble

    That is an awesome revisitation of the Rokeby Venus. Ten out of ten.

    • Freedom

      She has the buttocks clasped in prayer (extra wide at the top, pinched at the lower reaches, with sunken cheeks and no roundedness in between). Not my favourite look. Call it ‘the obesity bum’ before obesity has actually set in.

  • John Smith

    The Times person has to be either the horrendous India Knight or the equally bad Caitlan Moron
    Self entitlement & self obsession

  • JEK68

    In 200 years people will be looking back on today’s culture and global society, and they will write articles (probably through the power of thought) and they will say ‘their use of potentially revolutionary technology was rather bizarre to begin with, as we can see from an article written by Rod Liddle in 2014 when instant global communication was in its infancy, Mr Liddle writes

    ‘For all the immense benefits of modern mobile phone and computer technology, it still seems to me that the chief purpose to which this intelligence is put is simply to scream, over and over again: ‘I AM’. Look — it’s me. And here, to prove it, is a picture of my cock.’

    Quite a perfect summation of those times.

  • Matt Smith

    Well said sir.

    If you can’t trust yourself not to send pics of your todger then you can hardly expect someone with a grievance not to have a moment of online catharsis.

    Like the man said, if you want to be seen as squeaky clean then you actually have to be squeaky clean these days. There are few shadows left to conceal things these days.

    Not that that’s always a bad thing. I can just see someone being sentenced for uploading a pic of their parts by a judge who does so himself with some regularity, only his (or hers) have never been intercepted/arrived at the wrong destination/hacked/exploited by means of revenge etc.

    Certainly this has been the case in the past with pedophilia, judges and policemen themselves arrested and tried for things they usually prosecute, and rightfully so.

    There are moments in my past I may be ashamed of, if they came to light then there would be mild embarrassment, but I’d rather there were no shadows for anybody to hide in.

    When it comes to sexting, or taking intimate photos, if it will damage your career or future career chances then…Just don’t do it in the first place!

  • Kenneth O’Keeffe

    Since when is it a ‘human right’ to take pictures of oneself? I’d say that freedom of expression is a long established right. Whether it is stupid, immature and a sign of abject insecurity is an entirely different matter. The distinction however is an important one.

    • Jambo25

      Let’s see it as a human right but then don’t complain when the MSM informs the public that you are the kind of immature twat who does that.

  • Dr. Heath

    “We are a culture without a compass, a macabre reprise of first century Rome when “Saturday Night Live” meant live lions regurgitating pieces of Christian children. We’ve completed the free fall from a society with discrete, private, meaningful
    lives, bounded by self-respect, to a vicarious universe ruled by tabloid
    television. Celebrities wax, wane, strip, mate, marry, quarrel, divorce, slay,
    gain and lose weight, give each other prizes, write books, commit suicide, spew
    thoughtless rubbish and tirelessly present themselves, without shame or
    intelligible context. We loll in the gallery like cretins at a Punch-and-Judy,
    cheering jeering, hooting or gasping as the action strikes us.”

    I was minded of this quote from journalist Hal Crowther on reading Rod’s typically excellent article about the wonderful ‘Me-ist’ world that makes life in the 21st century so rewarding. Hal, of course, wrote this piece several years before cretins began swamping the ether with piccies of their pudenda. Since he penned this article, the urge to behave like an eight-year-old exhibitionist cretin now characterises not just celebrities but hundreds of millions of ordinary, talentless and unattractive gits who believe the world out there is interested in seeing pictures of them in the nuddy.

    • Jambo25

      Great posting. It just about sums up my disgust with much of modern society.

      • Dr. Heath

        Thanks, especially, to Mr. Crowther.

        • Jambo25

          Thanks indeed.

  • Callan

    Meanwhile any news of collars being felt over the really serious, criminal, endemic, mass sexual exploitation of young girls in Rotherham and Rochdale?

  • rtj1211

    Another media ‘outrage, outrage’ subject.

    A few pieces of advice for journalists:

    1. If you snort cocaine you should be duty-bound to inform the public of that so that they can consider your character alongside your assertions.
    2. If you have ever been remotely alcoholic, ditto.
    3. If you sired a child with a woman not your wife, ditto.
    4. If you screwed numerous birds at the office, from bimbos to superstars, whilst promoting ‘family values’, ditto.
    5. If you hack other people’s computers for a fee, ditto.

  • Gwangi

    What I can see is our hysterical feminised society yet again attempting to demonise men and boys, whilst playing the poor wickle woman role. The plods go along with this nonsense to get more arrests on their pathetic stats.
    People have and will always draw/take pics of their usually-unseen bits – it is the modern equivalent of making rude gestures in a photobooth. To crminalise teen boys for it shows how bonkers and gynecentric our society is. We badly need some COMMON SENSE in our criminal justice system or it will lose the support of most men.
    I notice no women ever get arrested for taking revenge in their own evil ways – for example, lying about fathers in family courts to stop any access (or maybe moving to another country just out of spite to stop dad seeing his kids); then there are the gorgons like Vicky Huhne and others who don’t care how they hurt their kids so long as they get revenge on the man they hate; and many writers will know bad reviews on Amazon come from exes too.
    Males tend to be more straightforward anyway; females tend to be vindictive, snide, underhand and really nasty against their foes. Ask any teacher about who are the nastiest bullies, girls or boys…

    • Jambo25

      To be fair to Vicky Huhne: I think her fury was well and truly justified.

  • C. Gee

    American narcissism is bigger than British. I’ll see your Brooks Newmark and raise you an Anthony Weiner. Weiner is super-arrogant and his wife was pregnant and Muslim. Did that scandal not reach these shores? Or is dumb a qualification for leadership everywhere?

  • Jankers

    Feminism. it will either end in a Burqa or more likely they will persuade men to wear blindfolds.

  • Mukkinese

    the “whole problem” has been caused by a minister sending pictures of his privates to women he does not know. No one forced this foolishness on him, he chose to do it…

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