“Do you think there was
already tension between Harry and William before Meghan came along ?” Thus the breathless intro to yet another article about the Royal brothers. If tension were completely absent, they’d be unique among siblings… and as Judi Dench remarked, there is such a thing as good tension. So this is all conjecture and maybe. I hope it sells newspapers because I can’t think of any other way it is of use. And when I mentioned something related to Buns the other day, he said “I don’t care.” Oh dear. I was brought up to believe that “I don’t care” was the beginning of the end.
Though it may have a more flexible meaning too like when you become so saturated with something (like me with the BBC 6.00 news) that you just push it away, and for slightly different reasons, often Channel 4 News not far behind. IDC doesn’t mean I don’t care about news, it means I don’t care for the package in which it is being offered to me. I’ll find out about things some other way, via Al Jazeera or RTE or the news channel, my chosen papers, anything reliable (I don’t count social media) that has moved me on from relying on it to reacting against it.
This is not a plea to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
It is a plea to take the baby (the news) out, put it somewhere warm and dry, drain the water (the setting and the cliches) and re think. The BBC News Channel featured Katty Kay and Christian Fraser together for an hour, notable for the fact that they talked intelligently with an often unexpected range of guests, often US news (Kay was based in Washington DC) and as a watcher I was more interested in the content than the style.
I was electrified when Manny (a devoted teaching assistant to children with learning difficulties) said he didn’t care in putting his foot down with colleagues but this is a more positive use of the phrase. Through a combination of factors, he was everybody’s good guy for years to the detriment of his own interests. No more Sugar Plum, self respect in the ascendant.
Hooray for him, a constructive don’t care. But of course he does care – viz and to wit – the sleepless night after he had made the related decision. What he means is he is ready to consider his part in all this alongside everybody else’s rather than constantly seeing other people’s wishes as necessarily more important.
A fragile woman, complete with stick, was shoved aside in parking by a swollen ego in pink shorts. When she remonstrated, he was loudly disagreeable. “I should have turned the other cheek ..’” she wrote to me. Only if it works for you.
I can see a context for most things, but honestly, I have never had much sympathy for this cheek turning thing. I desire above all things to be agreeable if I can but if you set out to be disagreeable with me, I feel free to respond. Take the high moral ground and put it elsewhere, just as well sainthood was never on my list.
In Peter Jones on Friday, a shop assistant in his fifties rallied waiting customers with unnecessary volume – “Cards !” I approached, very carefully distanced – such unpleasantness may be catching – and asked “You would like me to pay by credit card ?” He assented – “It’s so much easier.” I said levelly “It also causes people to spend money they haven’t got.” “Well” he said “it’s all about self control and power.” “What an interesting conversation to have in Boris Johnson’s Britain” I said. “Thank you so much”, took my lemon oil polish and left. IDC.
There isn’t very much I don’t care about – not in the sense in which a naughty child might say it. There are things I don’t care for, which would put me at some variance with large numbers of the population – but I can’t help feeling that once you seriously don’t care about this or that or the other thing, you have closed the door on it. And I prefer the possibility of the door ajar.