I was at a screening of Saving Mr Banks. (A lovely film, incidentally).
There were a handful of previews. Some cartoony crap, something weepy with Kate Winslet and something near-glorious. Near being the operative word.
Think Kramer looking at the ugly baby. (I was likely a dash more histrionic, but no quality recoil can ever be truly bridled).
Recently, my brother confronted Dad about The Steve Martin Issue. About why we grew up poisoned against him. About why - in line with his disturbing dedication to shielding us from Dr Seuss until our 20s - he kept us far, far, far away from anything involving Martin.
Dad, alas, suffers from a disorder called Random Celebrity Hatred. Meryl Streep. Monty Dwyer. In fact, apparently, all morning weather men. Nicole Kidman. Tom Cruise. Geoffrey Rush. Richard Wilkins. Any comedy duo. Trios even more so. People affiliated with the Police Academy films. Particularly those who make sound effects with body parts.
My brother’s own litany is equally fat and nonsensical. Robin Williams. George Clooney. Rhonda Burchmore. Julia Morris. Michael Caine. Keira Knightley. In fact, any and all celebrities from England. Celebrity chefs. Australian ones, mostly.
And seemingly I’ve not managed to dodge this family malady.
My loathing of Cate Blanchett and all of the had-the-potential-to-be-good movies that she’s ruined (Blue Jasmine and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button being obvious examples) doesn’t strike me as all that interesting. Just as I’ve never warmed to the taste of beetroot, I’ve never warmed to her. Thank God He Met Lizzie in 1997 was more than enough. And I’ve never thought of this as any big deal.
Revealing this aloud however, apparently is a complete no no. Just as you’re not supposed to admit that you really don’t like jumbo bloody prams, say, or cyclists who prefer footpaths to designated bike lanes, daring to disparage Our Cate stirs up everything from astonishment to vigorous outrage.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the same people who narrow their eyes at my “heresy” are also the same folk who will quickly rattle off their own list of highly resented celebrities. Cate Blanchett we apparently have to swaddle and stroke and hold so very close and dear, but pretty much everyone else is fair game.
I could try and justify my views here. I could reveal a distaste for her perpetual channelling of her inner-prefect. Her overacting within an inch of her life, private-school-Eisteddfod-entry-style. I could say that. But is it all that important? Does it really matter why we we dislike someone?
Are we not permitted to simply be indifferent - if not outright decorously hate - random public figures on the grounds that it’s actually quite unnatural to love everything, everyone?
When news.com.au republished the story, the comments followed a very predictable path.
The quickest and cheapest way to discredit a woman is by saying she’s bitter, that’s she’s jealous, that’s she’s clawin’ for a catfight.
Women know this malarkey. It’s how men dismiss us. It’s how we dismiss each other.
The accusation is quick, it’s cheap and it’s also ridiculously inaccurate. It makes pretty much no sense that women would cherry-pick just one woman to project their apparent rampant jealousy onto. Equally, at least in my case, if I’m going to indulge in the inevitable head-fuck that is envy, there are plenty of women within actual hair-pulling reach I’d be sooner inclined to pick.
Yes, yes, there’s a time to champion more-not-less love, to advocate for copious quantities of kindness and Kumbaya sing-a-longs and giving strangers smooshy cuddles. I get this, truly.
But sometimes someone will just make our skin crawl. And that’s okay. That it’s normal. That in a culture so celebrity-preoccupied, dropping a few from our hearts is really no biggie.
I’m currently hosting a 4-part “Wednesday Mornings” radio show for 3RRR. You can listen to the first and second episodes online. Episode 3 goes to air live on February 5th at 9am: RRR 102.7FM: we’ll be talking Melbourne fashion, Melbourne food and Melbourne tourism. And I play my favourite music. Feel free to voraciously hate it all. I won’t mind.