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New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

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New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by SideEyeSally on Tue May 19 2015, 04:20

May 17, 2015
9:00 p.m.
With Amal Clooney, We Finally Have the Consummate Feminist Superhero. Let’s Not Ruin It.
By Heather Havrilesky  Follow @hhavrilesky


What will we do with our brand-new, regal, compassionate, human-rights-championing royal?

Every time we glimpse her, Amal Alamuddin Clooney is bored. Flanked by tittering, self-congratulatory figures at the Met’s Costume Institute Gala, Amal alone is not impressed. She’s at the hottest event in town, standing next to the Sexiest Man Alive, but wears the pained grimace of a city councilwoman enduring a hearing or a tired parent indulging a deluded little child. We saw the same look at the Golden Globes, one halfhearted, disinterested smile amid a sea of thrilled, smug faces, and we’ll probably see it again at every award show George Clooney drags his wife to. Amal Clooney was born to bestride the narrow world (or at least Hollywood) like an over-it colossus. That’s exactly what’s so mesmerizing about her.

It’s no secret that Americans have been looking for their own version of royalty to swoon over for years now. We tried to shove a glass slipper on Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s foot, but she was too sophisticated for all of that taffeta, plus she kept squabbling with her prince, whose struggling vanity projects never matched the aristocratic flair of his patriarch. We tried pushing Beyoncé and Jay Z into a castle on the hill, but we turned on them. For a while, we grudgingly accepted Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes — Tom even called his bride “Kate,” as if that would erase her penchant for bad bangs and suede demi-boots. Yet as Tom grew creepier and Katie’s style read more Chico’s than chic, it became clear that Suri was the only member of the family with the proper bearing for the throne.

But before Suri could come of age, there was Amal Alamuddin, the barrister with a heart of gold and a head of luxurious black hair rising like a phoenix from the smoldering flames of countless unfit Yankee royals. Over the past month, we’ve watched her dash from one engagement to the next looking like an exotic, luxe-brand Princess Diana upgrade, from dinner at Caravaggio wearing a $4,695 Alexander McQueen jacquard-knit dress on April 28, to a D.C. press conference for the imprisoned president of the Maldives on April 30, emerging from lunch at Jean Georges in a $4,000 vintage Courrèges coat on May 1, and later that night, at the Public Theater with her parents, her $4,600 Alberta Ferretti chiffon dress flittering in the breeze. Every step of the way, Amal is so magnetic she seems dreamed up by Disney’s marketers to lead a generation of princesses into the future. Their extraordinary heroine is sharp, compassionate, and multicultural, a valiant demigoddess with caramel skin who won’t sleep until the world’s most persecuted under­dogs are safe from oppression. Amal isn’t just destined for the American throne; she’s destined to make all other royals — real or fake — look a little empty and foolish by comparison.

Just look at what she’s done to George Clooney, reducing our American prince to the status of adorable sidekick, like an animated chameleon or snowman who provides comic relief and gentle chuckling in between his master’s courageous adventures in saving the world. As George leads Amal through the crowd in his baggy jeans looking docile and outclassed, Amal pulls all the focus. The set of her glossy red lips tells us she has better places to be. She doesn’t have time for this foolishness.

She’s not wrong about that. Since she married George, Amal has been juggling several extremely high-profile cases. In October, she met with Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras to discuss efforts to return the Elgin marbles to Greece; in January she represented Armenia before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, speaking out against Dogu Perinçek, chairman of the Turkish Workers Party, who described the Armenian genocide as “an international lie”; in February, she continued her work to free Al Jazeera journalists from prisons in Egypt, issuing a statement that Canada’s “sheepish whimpers are woefully inadequate” in getting journalist Mohamed Fahmy out of Egypt; and in April she held a press conference to call for the release of the former president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, who was sentenced to 13 years in prison for “terrorism” in what Amal called “a show trial.” Oh, and last week, Amal attended that Costume Institute Gala in a red strapless Galliano gown.

But what’s been most striking about Amal might be just how gracefully she’s kept the eerie glare of the Hollywood limelight away from her accomplished career. As George promotes his new film, Tomorrowland, offering good-natured non­answers to dim-bulb questions about whether his wife has a bun in the oven, Amal is nowhere to be seen. At the Met Gala, George did the talking. At the Tomorrowland premiere at Disneyland, Amal walked the red carpet, then disappeared into the theater, and George was left to face the microphones alone. In other words, if we want to hear Amal talk, she’ll be talking about human rights. She won’t be talking about love and marriage and babies. That’s George’s job. He’s the man behind the woman. Which is a pretty unfamiliar, teachable moment for George and for America.

And somehow, Amal has effortlessly rendered our most sophisticated 50-something bachelor tongue-tied and foolish. “I’m always very proud of her when I see her speaking at the International Court of Appeals in Strasbourg, you know, with her robe on,” George tells ET. “It’s a nice-looking robe.” George also volunteers that Amal’s style is “eccentric but fun” and wants us to know that Amal is “an amazing human being” who’s “caring” but also has “a great sense of humor” and is “one of the smartest people I’ve ever met.” George is stating the obvious, and it’s touching, but he sounds a little bit like the star forward’s parent on the sidelines at the NBA finals, trying to claim ownership of something that was never really his in the first place.

This is all only fair, since, let’s be honest, Amal makes all of us look a little stupid. She’s a fashion icon who, it’s easy to imagine, is dismissive of fashion icons, a megastar who would rather not be associated with megastars if she can help it. If you drew a Venn diagram of what the world wants from a feminist superhero — and by the world, I mean feminist scholars, People readers, fashion bloggers, and guys who buy Maxim — the middle circle would include Amal and Amal only. This is a circle that, for decades, we’ve been told, or told ourselves, was a null set — impossible to enter. Amal satisfies every requirement, including the flatly sexist requirement that all women be impossibly gorgeous and thin and young-looking while they do whatever important shit they’re supposedly doing (and getting paid far less for it). Which might even have us consider whether making mere mortals feel bad about themselves isn’t a bigger piece of what celebrities actually do than giving them something to look up to.

And now that we have our impeccably dressed, savvy, superintelligent, insanely accomplished princess, what comes next? What do we do with a woman who is this much better than us? If history serves as a guide, we’ll probably track her weight loss and weight gain by the ounce. We’ll probably notice when lines appear on her forehead, then we’ll question her choices when those lines disappear. We’ll probably claim that she’s cheating or that she took on the wrong oppressed nation-state or that she is cold or insincere. We’ll launch theories about her desire for children or her distaste for them. We’ll cast aspersions on her fertility, the freshness of the eggs, waiting around in her ovaries for George’s once evasive but now overeager swimmers like bored coat-check girls between seatings. We’ll probably let her know that we’re Americans so we don’t like strong women, not really, not deep down inside, and we don’t like snooty British accents, either, unless you’re Madonna or the host of So You Think You Can Dance.

What will we do with our brand-new, regal, compassionate, human-rights-championing royal? We’ll try very hard to destroy her. Her life in the spotlight will begin with the words “George Clooney Gushes About Married Life With Amal,” and it will end with the words, “You Broke Her. Are You Happy Now?” and “See, This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.” But maybe it’s time we at least tried.

*This article appears in the May 18, 2015 issue of New York Magazine.


Last edited by Katiedot on Tue May 19 2015, 07:09; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : corrected spelling mistake in title)

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by melbert on Tue May 19 2015, 04:44

Could one of the mods change the spelling of Consummate in SideEye's title please?

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by SideEyeSally on Tue May 19 2015, 04:45

Thank you, melbert.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by Katiedot on Tue May 19 2015, 07:08

What do we do with a woman who is this much better than us? If history serves as a guide, we’ll probably track her weight loss and weight gain by the ounce. We’ll probably notice when lines appear on her forehead, then we’ll question her choices when those lines disappear. We’ll probably claim that she’s cheating or that she took on the wrong oppressed nation-state or that she is cold or insincere. We’ll launch theories about her desire for children or her distaste for them. We’ll cast aspersions on her fertility, the freshness of the eggs, waiting around in her ovaries for George’s once evasive but now overeager swimmers like bored coat-check girls between seatings. We’ll probably let her know that we’re Americans so we don’t like strong women, not really, not deep down inside, and we don’t like snooty British accents, either, unless you’re Madonna or the host of So You Think You Can Dance.

What will we do with our brand-new, regal, compassionate, human-rights-championing royal? We’ll try very hard to destroy her
Hahahaha! Never was a truer word wrote.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by Donnamarie on Tue May 19 2015, 13:19

The media is guilty of all this and more.  Their overwrought obsession with Amal is ridiculous and so predictable.  Most ordinary people I would go out on a limb and say don't see her this way and probably don't care.  But the people who hang on every word the media puts out there about her will and have either become Amal haters or Amal lovers.  

I think Amal is a remarkable woman.  I like her.  No surprise here right?  But she is not this bigger than life person.  And damn if they won't make her out as one and then do their best to "destroy" her in their own way. The last paragraph Katidot posted is a media confessional for sure.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by PigPen on Tue May 19 2015, 14:24

Just look at what she’s done to George Clooney, reducing our American prince to the status of adorable sidekick, like an animated chameleon or snowman who provides comic relief and gentle chuckling in between his master’s courageous adventures in saving the world. As George leads Amal through the crowd in his baggy jeans looking docile and outclassed, Amal pulls all the focus. The set of her glossy red lips tells us she has better places to be. She doesn’t have time for this foolishness.

Am I the only one that finds this comment degrading to George?

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by Donnamarie on Tue May 19 2015, 14:40

Yea PP they're belittling and asinine.  But this is the way this author and some of her fellow media cohorts choose to portray George. All to make their points about Amal.
It's BS!  George has nothing to worry about.  I'm sure he would get a kick out of reading that he is merely an "adorable sidekick".  This too shall pass.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by SideEyeSally on Tue May 19 2015, 15:15

From my perspective, the article was written "tongue in cheek".  To state that Amal is "regal, compassionate, human-rights-championing royal"...WTF?  "Amal makes all of us look a little stupid."  "Amal isn't just destined for the American throne;  she's destined to make all other royals - real and fake - look a little empty and foolish by comparison."  Really?  Trust me, no one (in America) is that vested in this relationship except Amal and George.

The article paints her into this flawless woman.  Is this yet another product of Clooney PR?  

Heather, are you a friend of Tina Brown or Anna Wintour?

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by LizzyNY on Tue May 19 2015, 16:02

Katiedot wrote:
What will we do with our brand-new, regal, compassionate, human-rights-championing royal? We’ll try very hard to destroy her
Hahahaha!  Never was a truer word wrote.
IMO the only true thing in the article. Possibly the most obnoxious article I've read in ages - maybe ever! Evil or Very Mad

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by Doug Ross on Tue May 19 2015, 16:07

PigPen wrote:Just look at what she’s done to George Clooney, reducing our American prince to the status of adorable sidekick, like an animated chameleon or snowman who provides comic relief and gentle chuckling in between his master’s courageous adventures in saving the world. As George leads Amal through the crowd in his baggy jeans looking docile and outclassed, Amal pulls all the focus. The set of her glossy red lips tells us she has better places to be. She doesn’t have time for this foolishness.

Am I the only one that finds this comment degrading to George?

Nope

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by / on Tue May 19 2015, 16:14

Overall, the article is a bit too much. Amal is obviously not all of this. But in the end, she does make a point.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by Missa on Tue May 19 2015, 16:29

I took the fawning tone of the article to be a jab at the tone of most of the coverage Amal recieves from the media. She makes a good point: it won't be long before everyone turns on her. Maybe that's why she's decided not to walk the press lines with George. If the press won't ease up on their own, she'll pull back herself.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by Alisonfan on Tue May 19 2015, 17:39

Donnamarie wrote:The media is guilty of all this and more.  Their overwrought obsession with Amal is ridiculous and so predictable.  Most ordinary people I would go out on a limb and say don't see her this way and probably don't care.  But the people who hang on every word the media puts out there about her will and have either become Amal haters or Amal lovers.  

I think Amal is a remarkable woman.  I like her.  No surprise here right?  But she is not this bigger than life person.  And damn if they won't make her out as one and then do their best to "destroy" her in their own way. The last paragraph Katidot posted is a media confessional for sure.



Donnamarie you 100% right most ordinary people don't care.They know only she is wife of George Clooney.
They do not care the rest, who here know these girls

Haifa Wehbe Lebanese over 7 million fans

Deepika Padukone over 22 million fans

Sonakshi Sinha over 17 Million fans

May Hariri also from Lebanon.

Amal Clooney as you so right to say most people don't see her as famous in own right! only wife of famous handsome husband and  don't care about. Just Clooney fans know so much.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by Donnamarie on Tue May 19 2015, 18:07

i don't think George and Amal follow all this too closely.  And I don't think she or they will make any adjustments in the way they lead their lives to soften the media coverage.  They will live their lives according to how they want to.  And the media will continue to trip over themselves to talk about them.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by Joanna on Tue May 19 2015, 18:51

I agree that the article is offensive to G&A but as it's
so shallow anyway it's really not worth commenting on.
But....

Isn't it offensive to all of my American friends 
on here when the writer says in effect "we Americans 
can't cope with intelligent women so we knock them down."

Really ???? How offensive is that !

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by Donnamarie on Tue May 19 2015, 19:01

Right Joanna.  But I look at the tone of the article.  Sarcastic and fairly arrogant.  I don't take anything she said seriously.   Heather what's her face could have written a much more thoughtful piece but probably wouldn't have gotten as many readers.  Sensationalism sells.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by annemarie on Tue May 19 2015, 19:43

I don't see anyone turning on George or Amal they are husband and wife , if the press want to take pictures and write stupid stories fine Amal has not said one word to the press.The woman is getting on with her life and doing her job which is what she is supposed to do.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by LizzyNY on Tue May 19 2015, 20:26

What is truly offensive is that this woman was given a forum for her stupidity. I find what she said offensive on many levels .

As a woman - There are millions of talented, accomplished women who are changing the world WITHOUT the advantages Amal has. She is not the only talented, intelligent woman on the planet (and I am still waiting for her to do something that actually impacts the human rights of more than one or two people.) It's interesting how the writer manages to put Amal on the highest pedestal in the world, while at the same time painting a rather off-putting portrait of her.

As an American- I didn't know we were feeling so bereft of royalty. scratch :We already have our own version - entitled twits who think because they have money or fame they are somehow "special". The media has them convinced that they are royalty (or maybe it's the other way around), even if the rest of us don't buy it.

To be honest, it's fun to watch the British royals. They are attractive and seem like decent, hard working people but I don't think we want to import them permanently. I think we're happy watching from a distance. Smile

And as a fan of George - I don't think I need to explain. (But, in case I do, the article is demeaning ,degrading, dismissive, insulting - I could go on..)

All that being said, I could be wrong. Maybe Amal IS the second coming and I just didn't get the memo.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by annemarie on Tue May 19 2015, 20:32

The whole article was insulting to Americans and Amal, George.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by Joanna on Tue May 19 2015, 20:42

Thanks Lizzy, Donnamarie & annemarie for your comments above.
Your last sentance Lizzy made me laugh....very witty.

One thing I've noticed from the recent articles that 
I've skimmed through are the constant references to 
"the red carpet" appearances that George has made.

Are they all colour blind when the Tomorrowland 
carpets are blue ?

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by LizzyNY on Tue May 19 2015, 20:51

Jo - It really doesn't matter what color the carpet actually is. "Red carpet" is just a generic name for the carpet leading up to the event. I guess when they first started these things the carpet was always red - now, not so much.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by Alisonfan on Tue May 19 2015, 22:01

You should read evening standard paper.Very degrading to George Sad

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by lelacorb on Tue May 19 2015, 22:33

if George had continued to be himself, even after marriage and continue to bestow virtue 'real or presumed his wife, no one would have written an article so' degrading

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by Joanna on Tue May 19 2015, 23:49

The writers "degrading" George must be just 
jumping on the bandwagon, and not using their
brain cells to think of an original topic.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by Joanna on Wed May 20 2015, 00:23

LizzyNY wrote:Jo - It really doesn't matter what color the carpet actually is. "Red carpet" is just a generic name for the carpet leading up to the event. I guess when they first started these things the carpet was always red - now, not so much.

Thanks Lizzy....I was thinking along those lines as I wrote my comments
about the blue carpet. LOL

They should choose a Sand colour.....nothing clashes with the colour 
of a beach IMO.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by annemarie on Wed May 20 2015, 00:27

George is being himself just happy and showing it no matter what George did someone would have had something negative to say it comes with the territory of fame.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by annemarie on Wed May 20 2015, 00:41

I  read that Disney chose the blue carpet because it would go well with the existing colors and environment of the city of arts and sciences.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by Katiedot on Wed May 20 2015, 07:02

PigPen wrote:Am I the only one that finds this comment degrading to George?
Nope, not really. IMO it's only degrading if you think it's actually true.

Missa wrote:I took the fawning tone of the article to be a jab at the tone of most of the coverage Amal recieves from the media.
Yep, she's making a point in the way she writes the article and is making fun of the stupid way celebrities are written about.

LizzyNY wrote:As an American- I didn't know we were feeling so bereft of royalty. scratch
On behalf of the United Kingdom (and the other random bits of countries, territories and remote islands around the planet that still like to fly our flag) I'd like to inform you that you're more than welcome to rejoin the mother country. This will, of course, require an adjustment to your currency, the food you eat (good luck with Marmite!) and which side of the road you drive on, but we're sure you'll feel endless coverage of Princess Kate and babies on your news will more than compensate you for any inconvenience thus caused. :p

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by LizzyNY on Wed May 20 2015, 12:09

Katiedot wrote:On behalf of the United Kingdom (and the other random bits of countries, territories and remote islands around the planet that still like to fly our flag) I'd like to inform you that you're more than welcome to rejoin the mother country.  This will, of course, require an adjustment to your currency, the food you eat (good luck with Marmite!) and which side of the road you drive on, but we're sure you'll feel endless coverage of Princess Kate and babies on your news will more than compensate you for any inconvenience thus caused.  :
Katie - I could live with the change in currency and the food. I'm not so sure about driving on the "wrong" side of the road. Last time I was in England I almost got myself killed crossing the road because I kept looking in the "wrong" direction!
Believe me, endless coverage of Princess Kate would be more than welcome if it meant less coverage of the Kardashians - that would definitely have to be part of the pre-nup! Very Happy


P.S. - What the heck is Marmite?

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by melbert on Wed May 20 2015, 12:28

Lizzy, you can order it online!!!

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by Katiedot on Thu May 21 2015, 05:30

LizzyNY wrote:P.S. - What the heck is Marmite?
melbert wrote:Lizzy, you can order it online!!! [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
I sincerely don't recommend you do. Unless you were fed it as a child, you'll hate it!

Um, can't think of anything on topic to add to this post. oopsie oopsie

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by amaretti on Thu May 21 2015, 05:34

Marmite is packed with vit B . Spread it on toast , it has a salty taste .

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by bgarabedian on Thu May 21 2015, 09:31

george is no. one to me, and even though he continually praises amal, I praise him. He is a great actor, just saw Tomorrowland and really enjoyed this movie with great actors and sceneary and special effects. I never hear her say anything at all how wonderful George is, she just does not comment at all. He always is saying nice comments about her, I guess George is insecure or feels intimated by her. I hope he gets over this and just know that he is a special star and has great talent and such a great sense of humor. god bless, bg

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by LizzyNY on Thu May 21 2015, 14:21

To Melbert and Katie - I have to admit Marmite does sound kind of awful,  (Sorry Embarassed ) but I know there are things we love in the US that you guys can't stand. (Sorry for going off topic - just wanted to thank you for the info.  Thumbs up! )

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by fava on Thu May 21 2015, 17:11

It's called satire folks. 

This is not the Daily Mirror or a tabloid.   The writer made deliberate literary choices to make a point.  Too many posters are taking it at face value.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by sparkie on Fri May 22 2015, 10:43

amaretti wrote:Marmite is packed with vit B . Spread it on toast , it has a salty taste .
And then of course the the best of all Vegemite.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by Joanna on Fri May 22 2015, 13:42

fava wrote:It's called satire folks. 

This is not the Daily Mirror or a tabloid.   The writer made deliberate literary choices to make a point.  Too many posters are taking it at face value.

I don't think satire is at its best in the written word, unless the writer
says they are being satirical.
Satire is best taken visually, in small doses, IMO.

It's like only using text and not the spoken word. 
That can sometimes be totally misinterpreted too.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by Donnamarie on Fri May 22 2015, 14:34

I only want to add to Joanna's thoughts that I get it was meant to be satirical but it wasn't balanced. The reporter should have put it into context because as Joanna said it could easily be misinterpreted.  And I think it was.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by LizzyNY on Fri May 22 2015, 14:36

Fava - Perhaps there was something in the magazine's presentation of the article (an illustration or caveat) that indicated it was satirical? NY Magazine is not a humor magazine where one would assume the content is satire.

That so many of us seem to have taken the author's words at face value tells me that she failed to make her intentions clear. A well written piece would not be so easily misinterpreted - if it was.

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

Post by Joanna on Fri May 22 2015, 14:43

Well said Lizzy Thumbs up!

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Re: New York Magazine: Amal Clooney, The Consummate Feminist Superhero

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