Does no one find the Kate Clanchy saga ridiculous? Like something out of Nancy Mitford or Muriel Spark? Miss Goody Two-shoes with her crème de la crème?
Kate’s a minor poet, who got attention online by exploiting the poetry of newsworthy minorities, mainly refugees and Muslims. She came undone when she claimed a Goodreads reviewer had made up quotes from her memoir, Some Kids I Taught And What They Taught Me, to smear her as a racist. A Twitter pile-on revealed that the quotes were real. And “Three Women Of Colour” became the figureheads of the backlash that would see Kate let go by her publisher Picador. She then became a martyr on the Cancelled media circuit.
Some Kids reeks of phoney. Like a sex crazed Victorian missionary writing about chastity. She’s as selfless as a barracuda.
But then she’s hardly the only one using the disadvantaged to advertise their Goodness. Joanne Harris plundered her platform for kudos, then tutted at her when that became good optics.
The book won the Orwell Prize because it seemed worthy as long as you didn’t read it or think about it. A talisman for Goodness.
And she probably is a great teacher. She needs them to reflect well on her. Her disgust for the low status disadvantaged – fat, poor, white, working-class, disabled; and her fetish for the things that make her high status students high status – religion, skin colour, ‘foreign’ noses, eyes, skulls, hair, clothing, customs – probably won’t show in the classroom. And though she makes them write about their difference to bask in their multicultural halo, that’s the perfect preparation for the mental torture the culture industry will inflict.
A sad sidenote is Monica Ali, suffering a catastrophic loss of confidence, because she felt she wasn’t allowed to be fully herself, but could only write about the Bangladeshi side of her family.