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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Myerson saga and the lives of others

The Daily Mail have been enjoying themselves all this past week at the expense of Julie Myerson and her book about her skunk-hound son. That's to be expected. Successful, photogenic, liberal, well-paid members of the chattering classes must expect that when something goes wrong with their lives the defenders of the great unlettered will rush to put the boot in.

But I bet her husband Jonathan Myerson wasn't expecting the reception he got from the visitors to the Guardian site when he published his own defence of the family's right to publish the story. The viciousness of some of the responses here seems to come from the same streak of English envy that runs through the Mail like bacteria through cheese. Everybody's entitled to their view on whether the Myersons were right to go public about their problems with their eldest son. But anyone who has lived with even the most biddable teenagers knows full well what hurt they can cause and should thus refrain from commenting on how trying the boy might have been in this particular case. In summary the attitude of the Guardian readers seems to be "ten years of intensive skunk use never did me any harm and anyway what do you expect if you write for the posh papers?"

Still find it hard to believe that Schadenfreude isn't an English word.