Video titled "Margaret Thatcher supporting women candidates. RIP" by YouTube user Louise Mensch.
Hello, I’m Bertie. This column is basically a place for me to call bullshit on girl related stuff that I think is dumb.
So there I was, happily collating information for this week's PGB… Female Tory… Terrifying… Handbags… "I hate feminism, it is poison"… and guess who popped into my mind? Louise Mensch, of course! I checked in at her Twitter and her blog Unfashionista to see how she was dealing with the news of Thatcher’s death, and – oh shit – it turns out she's having a catastrophic meltdown.
Things Louise Mensch has posted on the internet in the last three days: Shaky, voyeuristic smartphone videos of Thatcher, overlaid with adoring commentary. A kajillion tweets. Retweets of her own tweets about her own plastic surgery blog posts. I don't know if the big MT's death brought this on, but I guess it might have something to do with it. Louise is out in New York, already struggling to start a new life, when one of her heroes goes and dies in the land she left behind. One of the pillars that her identity was built upon has collapsed. Her Eden is burning.
I’m a lover, not a fighter, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to duck out of revelling in the death of an old lady, and spend some time focusing on somebody who is genuinely in need of a little more attention. So this is my open letter to you, Louise Mensch – the true heir to the Tory throne, currently AWOL on a misguided sojourn in the New World.
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Can we please speak, blogger to blogger? I’m worried about you. You don't seem like your old self. Where once there was steely matriarchal reserve, now there is twee flippancy. Your website has devolved into a series of iPhone photos of you sitting in your husband's lap and posts titled "My Life In Crushes". You seem different. You seem… happy. But are you? Are you really, Louise?
It's been a big year for you, leaving the UK behind to find your true self among the skyscrapers and lifestyle blogs of New York City. But can you honestly look me in the eye and tell me that they "get" you? As the only other female Tory as obnoxious and terrifying as you goes the way of all things, are you really doing everything you can to keep her torch burning? You're not being enough of a ballbuster, Louise; you know it, I know it. Don't let those Americans who laugh really loudly and ruffle your hair when you tell them you used to be "kind of a big deal, politically" prevent you from igniting that fire that lies within, from storming back over here and reclaiming your rightful crown as Queen Thatcher 2.0.
A quick scan of your Twitter reminds me of the woman you used to be. However, while I applaud you for being the only fashion blogger on the planet who didn’t reduce Thatcher to a haircut, handbag and cobalt blue “power suit” from ASOS, you really can't tweet with a straight face that she was the "ultimate female role model". I mean, that'd be like saying that not a single left-wing leader will ever be mourned like Margaret Thatcher.
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So anyway, back to your crippling isolation. Aside from the phone pics, your blog has become a sort of diary in which you document your transition from self-diagnosed “frumptress” to New York housewife-about-town. Your obsession with undermining your past self is actually pretty disturbing. Are you suppressing elements of who you really are to fit in with your new crowd? I'm guessing you've read L'Etranger – maybe this just isn't the right world for you. You're Ally McBeal at an all-you-can-eat buffet, you're singing Thatcher-era Duran Duran songs at NY karaoke clubs, the real you is getting lost in translation. You're trying not to kill an Arab on Rockaway beach and when you come back, you're wearing a thermal vest “tonight as a tee-shirt to Foals at the Albert hall – cute with leggings”. Imagine that phrase coming out of your mouth. It doesn’t quite work, does it?
I don't think you really care what you're going to wear to discuss Thatcher's death on This Morning, I think you're channelling deep insecurities about not insulting liberals regularly enough. But the ghost of Thatcher is real, Louise, very real, and it's behind you, pursuing you through the streets of Manhattan every night like a Paul Auster protagonist.
Maybe you’re developing a slight personality split (you do have two Twitter accounts) and maybe you’re identifying the New You with somebody who doesn’t really exist outside of your blog. Louise, are you spending too much time on the internet? Are you trapped in that labyrinth of a website you got Escher to design for you? Are you forgetting what it is to be IRL?
As someone who grew up using the internet as a diary, this list you made of things that are wrong with you reminds me of when I was counting calories at 17, desperately trying to figure out who I really was:
Are you feeling some of that pressure too, Louise? Are you going through a second adolescence? Do you feel as though people don't understand your hidden depths, because everybody expects you to be completely happy now that you have a haircut and ride around on planes and go to watch Foals? Do you sometimes find yourself wondering "If I don't tweet this, did it even really happen?" or "How many Facebook status updates is too many?" or "Should I get an anonymous Wordpress…"
Look. I don't want to undermine your new life or anything, and no, I don't think anyone in Corby will have you back any time soon. But can we drop the pretence? You're bored to tears and you want to fly back over here and reclaim your rightful place on Thatcher's throne. There's only room for one terrifyingly obnoxious, ruthless female Conservative at a time (I'm almost certain there's an actual quota) and Louise? Baby, you were born to do it. Please don't let us down.
Follow Bertie on Twitter: @bertiebrandes
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