It reflects badly on me that I've recently been visiting www.news.com.au, reading titillating gossip about celebrities I haven't actually heard of. One such celebrity is Tracy Grimshaw, a Channel 9 journalist who was recently on the wrong end of an inexplicable torrent of abuse from celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.
During an interview, Ramsay made a somewhat rude remark about Grimshaw's appearance. She took it rather good-naturedly. At an event the following day, at a cooking display in front of a crowd of some 5000 people, Ramsay flashed a picture of a naked woman with several breasts and the face of a pig superimposed - and said the image was of Grimshaw. In what was clearly intended as a homophobic jibe, he went on to call her a lesbian.
The Australian public has revolted against Ramsay: even Kevin Rudd had criticised his behaviour. (One wonders, a little cynically, if Aussies would have been as quick to condemn a misogynistic attack against a less liked public figure.) Grimshaw called Ramsay out for reiterating the pitiful, sexist argument which is so familiar: 'If you don't like me, it shows you're a lesbian, or there's something else 'wrong' with you'.
Ramsay's behaviour towards Grimshaw was repugnant. But what bothers me at least as much is that Gordon Ramsay has built a career on being unpleasant, belittling and denigrating. There's a sizable audience who enjoys watching Gordon Ramsay treating other people like crap. I don't want to sound old-fashioned - but what's wrong with being nice, for fuck's sake?