Nigella Lawson has removed the word “slut” from her “slut red raspberry” jelly recipe. She says it has taken on a “coarser, more cruel” meaning in recent years. The fruit is now described as “ruby red”. She has also changed the name of a pasta dish from “slut’s spaghetti” to “slattern’s spaghetti”.
A savvy move by Macron
Ernest Hemingway called her “the most sensational woman anybody ever saw. Or ever will.” Now the American-born showgirl and singer Josephine Baker is to receive France’s highest accolade. President Macron has decreed that she will be commemorated at the Panthéon, in Paris, alongside Victor Hugo and Marie Curie – the first black woman to be so honoured. It’s a “politically savvy move that ticks the right boxes of race and gender”, says Victor Mallet in the FT.
Baker escaped poverty and segregation in Missouri to get her big break in 1920s Paris in La Revue Nègre: “She wore little more than a string around her waist threaded with artificial bananas.” Baker joined the French resistance in the war, campaigned for civil rights, married twice, bought a chateau in the Dordogne and adopted 12 children before he death in 1975. “Yes, she danced with bananas, but she didn’t give a damn… so in France it started badly but finished well,” says French black rights campaigner Love Rinel, who approves of Macron’s decision. Or, as one of Baker’s adopted sons put it: “She loved France, and France loved her back.”
The real victims of cancel culture
The left thinks cancel culture is a “self-pitying myth spread by the right” that doesn’t really exist, says Michael Deacon in the Telegraph. And it’s true that when celebrities get cancelled, there are often no real consequences. They remain rich and famous. With an £820m fortune, JK Rowling is “too big to cancel”, despite her unwoke views on gender.
But the left overlooks a vital point: the victims of cancel culture are not the targets of it, “the rich, famous and powerful”, but ordinary folk. When a celebrity is brutally cancelled on social media, normal people who share their views decide they’d better keep quiet. Without a fortune to fall back on, many worry about losing their jobs. We’re seeing the rise of what Tom Stoppard calls “self-cancellation”, as people conceal their opinions in public for fear of being cancelled.
Don’t let climate change get you down
Climate change is so overwhelming, it’s easy to be discouraged, says Javier Sampedro in El País. Why bother trying to fix it? But climate nihilism “is as useful as a submarine windshield wiper”. For a morale boost, look to the 1980s. Scientists established that chemicals such as the chlorofluorocarbons in fridges were damaging the ozone layer. In 1987 they were banned worldwide and, three decades later, the ozone layer has recovered. According to a recent study, fixing the ozone layer stopped an extra 1C warming of the planet. It shows what you can do what you “stop crying and start investigating”.