Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008 7:25 pm by M. in ,    4 comments
Very slowly, the Gordon Brown Heathcliffgate incident is calming down, but there are still several mentions in the press.

Sarah Evans in The Birmingham Post:
It is hard to find anyone who wants our country to be run by Heathcliff, the anti-hero of Emily Bronte's 1847 novel Wuthering Heights.
Ever since our Prime Minister, apparently with no shade of irony, acceded to the suggestion by a New Statesman journalist that many women saw him as a Heathcliff figure, media commentators have been exposing the dangers in such a role model.
The general consensus is that it must be a long time since Gordon Brown read the novel, and some speculation that the closest he may have got to it is the classic Laurence Olivier 1939 film adaptation.
Indeed, most newspapers have published photographs of the dashing young Olivier as Heathcliff next to the 50-something Gordon Brown.
The Prime Minister did add that he could be considered "an older Heathcliff, a wiser Heathcliff".
We see Heathcliff age during the course of the novel and it cannot be generally regarded as an improvement in terms of positive leadership qualities.
Wisdom is not a virtue for which the world of Wuthering Heights has much time. Gordon Brown pointed us in the direction of his wife to provide a reference on his romantic qualities.
It begs the question of what Cathy or Isabella would have said about Heathcliff's capacity for romance. Cathy would have stopped eating for weeks at the very thought. (...)
If you think Heathcliff is a bit on the obsessive side for a PM, the female characters created by women tend to make him look quite wishy-washy in the introspective stakes.
Think Charlotte Bronte, Virginia Woolf ,Rebeccca West, Alice Walker, Sarah Waters.
Male novelists produce virtually no appropriate women -"Telling", I say, "That's how it is," responds my husband.
We considered Nancy in Oliver Twist but she is too on the Heathcliff line. I think Betsy Trotwood, David Copperfield's aunt, is a strong contender.
Bruce Anderson in The Independent:
This is not politics. It is is vivisection. Unable to resist blundering into unforced errors, Gordon Brown cannot decide whether he is Marie Antoinette or Heathcliff. "Dithering heights'' might become the defining phase of his premiership. (...)
It is almost the recess, and the Labour Party cannot wait. August is usually good for governments. There is no Parliament, less political news and the hope of decent weather to improve the voters' mood. That said, few Labour MPs question Gordon Brown's ability to find the thorns on every rose-bush. They never had much of a summer at Wuthering Heights.
The Independent (Ireland):
In fact, only two groups of people really want him to stay in power. One is the cartoonists. They have had a wonderful time ever since he confirmed that he saw himself as "an older, wiser" version of Heathcliff, the classic creation of Emily Bronte in the novel "Wuthering Heights".
The original Hollywood film version, made in 1939, still turns up regularly on afternoon television. It stars Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff, with support from Merle Oberon and Irish actress Geraldine Fitzgerald, who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance.
She died just three years ago at the age of 91, but anyone who had the good fortune to enjoy her famously feisty company during her regular visits to the Dublin Theatre Festival can easily imagine the scorn with which she would have greeted Mr Brown's comparison. (Nicholas Leonard)
It really seems that the Heathcliffgate shocking wave is getting even at the sports journalists in the UK. That's the only explanation we can find to the following comment that can be read on Eurosport concerning transfers in the Premier League:
Tottenham defender Ricardo Rocha met Hull City manager Phil Brown at the club's training ground on Friday.
The subjects discussed included the works of Emily Bronte, differential equations and a possible move to the KC Stadium. (Alex Chick)

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  1. Am i the only one who thinks this is going a little too far now?

  2. Definitely. But then again it was going a little too far already when it had just begun, wasn't it?

  3. Tell me about it. The whole comparison and how it has been pounced on is ridiculous.

  4. What many of this critics seem to have overlooked is the fact that Gordon Brown had been compared to Heathcliff by the media before, which was ridiculous in the first place too, of course.

    But you know, summer and the need to fill up news reports...