Friday, April 08, 2005

Sweet Course

In the fight for viewers, programme titles have assumed enormous importance. So last night's ITV eulogy to Camilla appeared in all the listings as 'Love Actually - Camilla's Friends Speak Out'. The day before broadcast this was suddenly changed to 'Love Actually - Camilla's Friends Bite Back.'

I initially fell for this trick, thinking they were going to slag her off although I thought it a little strange because Camilla has not publicly attacked anybody. But it turned out that they were biting back against the media for their unfair treatment of this paragon of beauty, virtue and Englishness.
This was a bit disappointing because Jilly Cooper's frightening set of gnashers could inflict a very nasty wound on anyone who interfered with her croquet mallet.

All we got were a collection of the county set who were on the fringes of Camilla's circle telling us how sweet she was and how sweet she and Charles were with each other and the sweet way they touched each other's arms.
These people love 'sweet'. It's a key word in the upper middle classes' lexicon of exaggerated and effusive discourse. Offer them a cigarette or a polo mint and you'll never get just a thank you or cheers. You'll be told it's frightfully sweet of you and thanked so much, as though you'd offered to lay them on a bed of rose petals and give them oral sex while pouring vintage champagne down their throats.

Someone who knew Camilla slightly once assured me that she was 'very nice' and that was also the gist of this programme. It should really have been called 'Nice, Actually'.
Niceness. That great English virtue that covers a multitude of sins.

From the Archbishop of Canterbury's blessing of Charles and Camilla:

Archbishop: And now abideth faith, hope, niceness, these three; but the greatest of these is niceness.
Congregation: How sweet.
Archbishop: Amen


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