‘Amid a global pandemic, the Met Gala seemed more irrelevant than ever’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

Kim Kardashian at the 2021 Met Gala
Kim Kardashian at the 2021 Met Gala in New York
(Image credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

1. This year’s Met Gala finally jumped the shark and needs to be put out of its misery

Piers Morgan for MailOnline

on ‘ostentatious’ celebrity culture

“Where do I even start with this towering monument to hilarious hypocrisy and horrifically hideous ‘haute couture’?” wrote MailOnline columnist Piers Morgan after last night’s Met Gala in New York. From Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “white dress with the words ‘Tax the rich’ sprawled across in it in red lettering” to Kim Kardashian’s “fusion of giant black trash bag and Taliban burka that covered every inch of her face and body”, the ball was “the most materialistic, vacuous, obscenely ostentatious example of capitalism imaginable”, Morgan said. It has always been “a preposterous load of old twaddle”, but this year, “against the backdrop of a global pandemic that’s exposed so much of celebrity culture as a pointlessly aggravating waste of space”, it “seemed more irrelevant than ever”. There was one positive side to the gala in Morgan’s eyes though: it gave “us all a good laugh” watching “the world’s biggest stars make complete and utter fools of themselves”.

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2. Young won’t play generation game for ever

Hugh Rifkind for The Times

on unsuccessful youthquakes

“If a generation is 25 years” then it’s “almost half a generation since Ed Miliband told us he represented a new one”, Hugo Rifkind wrote in The Times. You probably don’t remember that “but I do”, he added. “I was there in the Manchester Conference Centre, in 2010, when he said ‘new generation’ 15 times in a single speech.” About a third of under-40s went on to vote Labour, “about the same as for the Tories”, Rifkind said, and Miliband’s successor, Jeremy Corbyn, “also had high hopes for a youthquake”. The lesson of all this is “you don’t win with the young”; however, you “do win with the older”. So the Conservatives’ new social care policy will “take money from younger working people and give it to older, not-working people” as well as “protect older homeownership” says Rifkind. “This column is not to be a call for generational strife,” he added, but “is it not a pretty grotesque political failure, all round, that [the young] get shunted so far down the agenda?”

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3. With many climate activists unable to access vaccines, should Cop26 go ahead?

Mohamed Adow for The Guardian

on excluding essential voices

As a Kenyan from a farming community “that has experienced the ravages of the climate crisis”, no one is keener to see a successful Cop26 climate summit than Mohamed Adow, the director of the climate and energy thinktank Power Shift Africa. However, he writes in The Guardian, “due to restrictions placed by the pandemic on those attending from the global south, I fear Cop26 will not be a success”. The UK government might be offering vaccines to delegates unable to get them at home, as well as paying for their hotel quarantine, but “obstacles still remain”. “As one of the millions of unvaccinated Africans, the thought of travelling to Scotland, where cases recently spiked, is a scary one,” says Adow. Because of this, he thinks the conference should be postponed to next spring. “I’ve attended 11 Cop meetings so I am aware of their importance, but delaying the Cop three months doesn’t mean delayed climate action,” he says. “What we don’t need is a climate summit without the voices of those suffering the most from the climate crisis.”

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4. We’re doing a bad job of pretending it’s back to politics as normal while we wait for a possible third wave

Marie Le Conte for The Independent

on fearing the worst

“Are things back to normal in Westminster?” Marie Le Conte asked in The Independent. MPs, staffers and peers returned to parliament at the beginning of last week and “business as usual seemingly resumed”. But, if you look closer, she added, not everything feels quite right. “For a start, there is the reshuffle that has been on the cusp of happening for what feels like months.” Similarly, Labour leader Keir Starmer “seems to be dragging his feet a bit”. Then there is the “general mood” overshadowing Westminster. “The first week back after recess is usually quite a fun and hectic one,” said Le Conte. “The past ten days should have been especially hectic and fun, given that Westminster was last normal in March 2020; instead, it often felt a bit flat.” Le Conte had an idea of why: “we are pretending that everything is back to normal but we are all, to different extents, terrified that things will soon take a turn for the worse again”. And, what makes it even harder, she added, is that “there is nothing we can do about it, apart from keeping our fingers crossed that things really are getting back to normal”.

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5. How did the Tories become the only party to protect women?

Suzanne Moore for The Daily Telegraph

on feminist clashes

Labour MP Rosie Duffield, who in 2019 “reduced the Commons to silence by talking of her own experience of abuse, stalking and coercive control”, cannot attend the Labour Party conference later this month because of threats to her security, Suzanne Moore wrote in The Daily Telegraph. “Her crime? Saying on Twitter that only women have a cervix.” Duffield has not backed down, Moore went on, “saying repeatedly that she is a feminist and has always supported the rights of trans people ‘to live freely as they chose’”. What is Labour doing and “where is her support?”, she asked. “Labour has alienated lifelong members and trade unionists to appease its well-heeled activists.” The way different parties pander “to males, non-binary people and every other group except boring women” leaves “many of us politically homeless”, said Moore. “It is not physically possible for me to vote Conservative. But which party will protect our rights, enshrined in law?”

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