My salad dressing days

How to uncover a phenomenon
April 27, 2007, 9:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

1. Be a journalist. Partiuclarly one who is young and overly eager to please the editor of an otherwise waning publication.

2. Make a random observation during your lunch break.
Example #1: Athena, darling? D’you see those two women having lunch over there? Yes, the ones wearing pashminas, knocking back a bottle of Bolly. They’ve got four kids and two live-in nannies apiece and spend their days shopping and lunching!
Example #2: Millie’s new boyfriend is such a cad!

3. Extrapolate, extrapolate, extrapolate! You know of three ‘textbook’ yummy mummies who hang out on the Kings Road ergo the world is positively teeming with them! Submit some hastily-cobbled-together copy to your editor.
Example: The Rise Of The Yummy Mummy or Would you buy a date from a cad?

4. Persuade your chums in another sphere of the meeja to run with your par-baked utterings. Preferably a meeja outlet with a smidgen more credibility than your advertsing-rich, circulation-poor little ‘zine. Woman’s Hour works well.

5. And lo, a ‘phenomenon’ is uncovered (by clever lil’ you!), a stereotype is born and the rest of the universe will scratch their dandruffy heads in puzzlement and conclude that it’s only that they don’t know any yummy mummies or cads. And on the basis that they don’t want to look stoopid in front of their friends, they will adopt an emperor’s new clothing approach to ensuing office banter about said noo phenomena and say ‘God, yes! Yummy mummies/cads/purple slingbacks are EVERYWHERE!’ or ‘Jeez, I can’t move in The Top Floor restaurant of Peter Jones/The Wolseley/Shelly’s for them!’

6. Then, if you’re lucky, there will ensue a publicly fought (albeit profile-raising) spat over Who Really Invented The Term.

7. And the newspaper-reading/TV-watching/internet-surfing public will have been informed…enlightened…encouraged to believe that the world is full of mono-dimensional morons who conform to a tick-list of character traits.

8. Ta da!


For some highly entertaining deconstructions of the contents of The Observer’s monthly Woman magazine, please read the blog of Ally McBile and Dolly Mixedup.

Gotta love/give it to The Onion


9 Comments so far
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Remember Whotsisface in Waugh’s Vile Bodies? The bloke who did the gossip column after Thing stuck his head in the oven? Green bowlers, if I remember rightly.

Comment by Mangonel

What do you expect when everyone these days is a columnist; when people like those little girls in The Standard are encouraged to give their opinion on every facet of society?

It’s not new, though, is it? In the 1890s, for instance, Punch was making fun of the Esthetes. They were hardly legion.

Comment by Bela

bela, I think you’ve just done the first ever reverse Andrew Keen.

Can I claim this as a phenomenon?

Comment by GreatSheElephant

Oh, GSE, how can you puzzle me like that on a Monday morning? I have things to do, shopping lists to write, people to annoy… LOL! Who is Andrew Keen?

OK, back in a tick. Google, here I come!

Comment by Bela

OK, my head hurts now: I know all there is to know about Web 2.0, etc. But but but, I agree with Andrew Keen. I think.

I’m in danger of talking myself out of blogging.

Why does he have a blog, btw?

I don’t mind being a phenomenonmenonon.

Oh, I wish Blogger would stop ordering me to ‘Enter the letters as they are shown in the image’. I did!!!!

Comment by Bela

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If you’re interested, please contact me with your monthly rate.
Also, please let me know if you have any other sites.
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PS- please don’t publish this comment – I couldn’t find other means of contacting you

Comment by

hah! looks like you’re going to be one of them there fancy columnists, if your last commentator is anything to go by! you forget to mention that the columnist also has to make up some idiotic and tenuous acronym to go with said phenomenon. something like … erm, let me see … LOGWIC (lazy oxbridge graduates with impeccable connections)

Comment by rivergirlie

Hello Urban Chick,

Been reading you on and off for a bit and finally added you to my blogroll.

Some women in my office have been discussing Kate Moss at Top Shop for over an hour, which is making my head hurt. Ditto the amount of column inches generated by the whole thing. So enjoyed your post muchly…

Comment by Interval Drinks

about when you wrote this, I was doing an essay about the ‘discovery’ of ‘facts’. uncanny!

wish me luck with this word vrfctn…

Comment by Justine

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