Who knew Celebrity Big Brother UK would get so interesting so quickly? Day two, and they’re still making awkward small talk (everything relaxes on day three, when they start having farting competitions).
They’ve done the usual thing of stacking the house with people they think will be incompatible: a cage fighter, a football player, the ex-girlfriend of a Rolling Stone, a page 3 girl, a Hollywood madam, a fundamentalist preacher, and so on.
As an aside, Stephanie Beacham is a delight to watch. So polite, yet so snarky.
I had a major coffee-nose moment when Heidi Fleiss responded to a question about children. Check it out.
[the group is sitting around a table.]
Heidi Fleiss: No, I hope I never have babies, that would kill me. Because I’d be every minute ‘Is the baby ok? Is the baby ok?’ I’d worry too much.
Stephanie Beacham: You hope to never have babies?
Fleiss: I’ve never had kids. Thank God for abortion, my God!
[Nicola claps her hands to her face in shock.]
[Steve Baldwin points at Fleiss and laughs uproariously.]
Fleiss: I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I wouldn’t be a good mother. You know? I shouldn’t have kids.
Beacham, scoldingly [Beacham is deaf in one hear, hard of hearing in the other]: Not so noisy, boys. I can’t hear Heidi talk.
Whatever else you think – and this thread probably isn’t the place – I found it utterly refreshing to hear someone exclaim “Thank God for abortions!” so sincerely on telly. Had a little fist-pump, I did.
Oh yes! This is how your friends talk when you’re together alone, but never in a public sphere. I agree with you, it is refreshing to hear that kind of frankness out loud.
As much as I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment, I have to object to men’s invisible sky fairy being given credit for what really has been the hard work of feminists. And – that kind of “frankness” is expressed out loud every single day – it’s just that women of a certain level of class privilege get the chance to say it on tv under the cloak of “humour” and so therefore it carries no political value. If she’d said “I’ve been fortunate enough to have had access to safe, affordable abortion services” then it might actually be making a statement.
But then it wouldn’t be on BBUK.
It made me like cause it’s clear she respects children enough to know that she doesn’t have the emotional and mental reserves to raise one. This is the opinion of a person that wants what’s best for kids.
I don’t think that’s it, Nacey. I think her “emotional and mental reserves” are fine. She just doesn’t want to waste them on nappy-changing. I think she identifies that there is probably more to life than that, and all power to her I say.
Linda: Please don’t assert that you know another woman’s emotional and mental reserves better than she does herself.
Sorry, Lauredhel. I didn’t mean anything negative by it. It’s something I’ve related to in the past when I was in the midst of my music career. I’ll check myself in future.
[Nacey: answered in email]
Linda – But the humour is part of what makes that comment from Fleiss radical in the public sphere. For abortion is something that is only supposed to be spoken about in the heaviest of tones in public – proof that as a woman you found the decision to have an abortion necessary but regretable, proof that you paid your penance appropriately for such action, proof that abortion is a terrible act that follows a terrible mistake on your part.
I find Fleiss’ flippancy to be the statement.
Yeah, I’m with blue milk on this one – does anybody else remember the nonsense over the Amanda Palmer song, the one that she reckoned the powers-that-be wouldn’t air because she wasn’t suitably *upset* about the abortion she was singing about?
Being casual about abortion is indeed a statement in and of itself.
Another thing I find statement-y is Beacham’s next comment: “Not so noisy, boys. I can’t hear Heidi talk.”
Which makes the male reactions seem like a microcosm of abortion debates in the public sphere: men, shut up a minute, and let the women whose bodies you’re discussing get a word in edgeways. (Or to be more gender-neutral; shut up about other people’s bodies a minute, and let the women with those bodies talk).
I think there’s a point at which an expression like “thank god” stops meaning anything particularly religious and is really just an expression. Like I find myself at work saying “oh god” or “oh Jesus” despite the fact that I’m staunchly an atheist, and then finding myself thinking d’oh, I have offended the (very nice) Christian who sits two down from me who says “oh my gosh” and would never say Jesus (except in the context of praying, one assumes). People who actually think there is a supernatural deity responsible for things (presumably not including abortion) don’t tend to use these expressions in such a way. I actually found it quite an amusing juxtaposition, given mainstream Christianity’s position on abortion.
I regularly give thanks to chance / the universe / the Great Flying Spaghetti monster for my three abortions. Because if I hadn’t had them, I wouldn’t have the children I have today. Of course, I would probably love the ones I would have had just as much, but now that these two are born, I can’t imagine any others. Just the other side of the “you wouldn’t be here if your mum had aborted you” inanity.
Oh, and to have five? Not. going. to happen.