There’s an awful lot of us who still remember the sheer horror and draining feeling when David Cameron proudly announced to the world that one of his favourite bands was The Smiths. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with liking The Smiths, or that you should be a certain type to like them… but the whole comment seemed to smack somewhat of inauthenticity and trying to be like people he has no clue about. Cameron might have liked the music – and who wouldn’t enjoy it – but does the image and message? Not sure it quite hit the right notes.
Well, now he’s dropped another clanger, in the form of declaring that his favourite movie (that has had a big influence on him no less) is If…
Yep, If…, Lindsay Anderson’s 1968 cult classic that has the distinct aura of an anti-establishment ethos. What am I saying? ‘The distinct aura’? More like it’s plastered all over the place, not least in the famous denouement, in which Malcolm MacDowell guns down teachers and students alike at the private school he attends (Cheltenham College, to be precise).
So it’s very difficult to see what exactly Cameron is identifying with here. It certainly can’t be the machine-gunning: wouldn’t that just be a bit daft? The idea that Cameron could identify with the slaughter of his own people seems so disingenuous that it could be the worst PR stunt ever. Either that or he’s not talking about the same film as we are. But that seems unlikely. Or he’s just seriously deluded. Which is more likely, but still a bit unlikely. So maybe he likes all the bits before the slaughter, where there’s some good old nostalgia for him (or what I can only imagine as nostalgia – who knows what goes on behind the doors of a private boarding school like Eton and Cheltenham? If… could be accurate. Maybe).
But I think Sarfraz Manzoor got it the most right in his article about celebrities trying to look, you know, normal. The thing is, the more Cameron tries to look normal, the more he alienates himself from everyone. He doesn’t just need gaffes about tourettes, or nurses and being sexist in the Commons to make him look stupid/ clueless/ a complete douchebag. Nope, he’s trying to claim that he likes things he obviously doesn’t get the point of to try and make him look cool. Or a bit more normal. A comment on the Guardian got it very right with the observation that Cameron seems to like all of the cultural things that tell him he’s awful.
At least when Gordon Brown namedropped the Arctic Monkeys he ceased and desisted. At least he might have thought it wasn’t such a good idea to try and look down with the kids and went back to being kind of normal and not that try-hard. Cameron’s constant claims to liking cult classics like If…, The Smiths, The Jam and his continual obsession with namedropping Danish crime thriller Forbrydelsen is making him look stupid. Well, more than normal.