Not by a Long way…

(As previously posted on Tumblr.)

Terrible headlines like these do draw attention – well… my attention, anyway. You may have spotted it yourself, as the article carrying this atrocious headline appears to have been syndicated all around the web.

Personally I thoroughly dislike comparisons drawn this way – “person X is nation Y’s person Z…” …Errr, no. They’re not. People are who they are, not someone else, even if they’re actually trying to be.

Which brings me to my second point and that is that I am always very weary of the origin of any such comparison. Blame the media if you wish, but personally I tend to suspect that these poor comparisons usually originate from the entourage of the person subjected to such a comparison (e.g. an agent or representative or whomever trying to ‘market’ the person concerned), or from that person’s ambitions or other sentiments expressed at some point (based on which a journalist might write a headline like the one in the article pictured), or possibly even from the person himself/herself.

Now I am not saying any of that is the case here; I am merely expressing my suspicions based on my experiences and aided by the bits that I linked to in the previous paragraph.

Bottom line: I would be totally fine if Josie Long had come out expressing, for instance, that she would love to emulate the kind of work (and success) in the UK that Lena Dunham has accomplished in the US. But even then that wouldn’t have justified drawing a comparison like the one in the above headline. She is not Lena Dunham, and Lena Dunham isn’t her.

Any self-respecting writer or editor (critic Bruce Dessau? Editor Sarah Sands?) should – in my opinion – steer well clear from poor, incorrect (and generally lazy) comparisons such as these.

But I do also point the finger at those subjected to such comparisons: even if they had no hand in making them up (which I personally don’t believe, but that aside), they and their entourages do get to review copy based on interviews they’ve given before publication (not with current affairs comments that have to be published straight away, but certainly with feature articles like the one highlighted here).

Perhaps Josie Long still hasn’t quite figured out where or how to position herself ‘in her market’ (like her recent appearance on Have I Got News For You, which was errr… awkward… to say the least, and not just in my opinion) or she is being advised poorly by her agent or whoever it was who got her booked onto that show and allowed the above headline to go through.

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