Sunday 14 January 2018

In which Craig becomes a Samira Ahmed-style snowflake...


Today's Radio 4 Profile of Oprah Winfrey, presented by the accomplished John Peel impersonator Mark Coles (one of those people who always sounds as if they're being sarcastic even when they aren't being sarcastic), featured the following anecdote: 
Mark Coles: And there were plenty more says Sandra Pinckney, who shared a flat with Oprah Winfrey for a while. 
Sandra Pinckney: Oh my God, her dates! I mean, this one night she was going out. It was a Friday night. She said, "Sandra, when he comes don't say one word to me!", and I said, "What are you talking about?". So the doorbell rings and I'm waiting for her to answer the door. She's nowhere to be found. I answered the door  and [laughing] here's this guy. I mean, with all respect to short people, I mean, he was short and he was very funny-looking. And [laughing] so I said, "Oh! Well, come in and let me just get Oprah. She's ready. She's somewhere. Just hold on". I looked into my room, the closet, her room, the bathroom. And then I heard something in her closet. I opened the closet door [laughing] and there she is sitting in the dirty clothes hamper, hysterical, tears running down her eyes cos she knew what this guy looked like, and she knew what I was thinking.
Well, I have to say, as a short, funny-looking man myself, I found that anecdote grossly offensive and am appalled at the BBC for broadcasting it. 

I will be writing to Newswatch, Feedback and Points of View and tweeting about it endlessly for the next five years until Mark Coles, Sandra and Oprah are sent to join Toby Young in Virtual Reality Siberia. 

It's completely unacceptable.

As Samira Ahmed might say, there's surely a case to be answered that broadcasting anecdotes like this has an assault/normalising effect.

Should the next President of the United States be a heightist, appearance-obsessed bigot like Oprah - someone who can't see beyond a short man's funny face to the human being who shines like an angel behind it, and who laughs with her friends at the expense of funny-faced, short men? 

The worse-than-Carrie-Gracie-level problem here is that short, funny-looking men just don't have the social media clout of other vulnerable minority groups. We're never likely to get taken up by BBC Trending.

That won't stop me though. I'm on a mission to interfere in the next US election now. I'm like Nick Bryant, Katty Kay, Anthony Zurcher and Jon Sopel on steroids. Oprah will become the next President of the United States over my (short) dead body!


  1. Also there is a strong implication there that Oprah was in the closet and didn't want to come out of the closet. Surely we have moved on beyond that?

    1. True. I'm getting more and more offended by the minute.

  2. Hate speech the BBC don't mind: heightism, anti-Americanism, stale male and pale jokes, gingerism, Norfolkophobia, and all that stuff in the Koran.


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