Peter Rhodes on a spreading row, a stained-glass story and a footballer's wit
Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.
UPFIELD, the company behind Flora spread, has withdrawn from its partnership with the Mumsnet online forum in a "transphobia" row. In brief, trans activists objected to comments from some Mumsnet users and denounced it as a "hate site." Approached by these activists, Upfield decided to withdraw from an advertising deal with Mumsnet.
IN response, Mumsnet declares: "We're committed to allowing respectful discussion of an issue that is of particular interest to parents." Today, some trans folk are supporting Flora and boycotting Mumsnet, while some women are supporting Mumsnet and boycotting Flora. It's a furore of our time. It's spreading.
AND here's the sort of appalling dilemma it creates, from a woman using the forum who wants to attack Flora and defend Mumsnet but cannot: "It’s a shame I don’t eat any of their vile artificial products as it means I can’t usefully boycott them." Quite.
MOST of the online debate about Flora and Mumsnet issue is reasoned, respectful and surprisingly non-acrimonious. I can't believe it's not bitter.
A READER tells me of a recent trip to Arley Arboretum near Kidderminster where the local church has some fine stained-glass panels, each with a biblical quotation. In an unfortunate layout, the words "Father, I have sinned" are followed by "Go and do thou likewise."
WHICH leads on inevitably to great humorous headstones we have known. Like urban myths, the number of these seem to have diminished as the internet has spread. Gone are the days when you could pretend to have seen an hilarious tombstone inscription in some remote Scottish hamlet without fear of contradiction.
IN pre-internet days you'd often hear the same old tale of the careless wording on the gravestone of someone who had been shot by a servant. The final line was always the same but over the years I have heard it attributed to a cemetery in Scotland, Afghanistan, India and Aldershot, with the deceased being a captain, colonel, general or hunter. Here's a typical version: "Sacred to the Memory of Captain Anthony Wedgwood Accidentally Shot by His Gamekeeper Whilst Out Shooting. Well Done Thou Good and Faithful Servant." Does anything like this exist? Did it ever?
PETER Crouch, acknowledged as one of the brightest and funniest footballers, tells in his new book of a visit from Prince Harry who asked the gawky, stick-thin legend enviously: "How did you bag Abbey?" (Crouch's wife, Abbey Clancy, the model and Strictly winner). The answer is not revealed but it probably involved laughter. As the saying goes: "If you can make a woman laugh, you can make her do anything."
WORD of warning. The above saying was coined by Marilyn Monroe, a woman whose brief life was notably short on laughter.