In Depth

Instant Opinion: Greta Thunberg ‘upsets the patriarchy – and it’s wonderful’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Tuesday 1 October

Newspapers

The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Suzanne Moore in The Guardian

on the Greta Thunberg ‘sexy’ jibes

Greta Thunberg’s defiance upsets the patriarchy – and it’s wonderful“The extraordinary reactions of certain men to Greta Thunberg, which have nothing to do with her urgent and necessary message on the climate emergency, tells you exactly what happens when a young woman simply refuses to be sexualised. It makes them deeply uncomfortable. Thunberg’s manner may be associated with her Asperger’s, but her defiance unsettles them. Old, male intellectuals in France have been farting on because she is not “sexy” enough. Yes, really… She is a 16-year-old, and these are grown men. And they are terrified. Wonderful. Who knew you could shake the patriarchy simply by refusing to smile for it, dress for it or demur to it? A refusal to acquiesce to the male gaze has these dinosaurs squirming.”

2. Hugo Rifkind in The Times

on the BBC reversing its decision over the Naga Munchetty complaint

Kneejerk impartiality has driven the BBC mad“It is not rocket science to develop workable theories as to the private politics of, for example, Andrew Neil (long-term overlord of The Spectator), Nick Robinson (once the president of the Oxford University Conservative Association) or Jon Snow (overheard shouting “f*** the Tories!” at Glastonbury), yet all three seem to have few qualms about tearing strips off what you’d imagine to be their own side when the job requires. With all these people, impartiality is allowed to be what they do when it matters, rather than what they probably think the rest of the time. Had any one of them said Munchetty’s killer line — ‘you know what certain phrases mean’ — I don’t believe for a moment that there would have been a complaint at all.”

3. James A. Millward in The New York Times

on the People’s Republic of China turning 70

What Xi Jinping hasn’t learned from China’s emperors“On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) on Oct. 1, the party-state has much to celebrate: an unprecedented record of economic development, world-class education and technological innovation, an increasingly prominent position on the world stage. But even as the authorities go to extreme lengths to assure a triumphant birthday parade, the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.) faces its most intense international criticism since 1989, when it killed hundreds of unarmed protesters in the heart of Beijing, at Tiananmen Square. Thirty years later, international concern is focused on China’s peripheries: Xinjiang and Hong Kong… Mr. Xi’s vain dream of political and cultural homogeneity not only runs counter to Chinese traditional approaches to diversity. His assimilationism also incites the very instability the C.C.P. has long hoped to avoid.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For a weekly round-up of the best articles and columns from the UK and abroad, try The Week magazine. Get your first six issues free–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

4. Darren Lewis in the Daily Mirror

on Denise Welch’s depression videos

It’s OK to reach out to others for help with mental health“It was heartbreaking to watch Denise Welch and Ian Royce sharing their mental health battles in real time on social media this week. The Loose Women star and the former Sky News paper reviewer revealed themselves at their most vulnerable in a bid to demonstrate to others suffering in silence that it really is OK not to be OK. Soundbites and campaigning on the issue are one thing. It is quite another to reveal the naked truth about just how weakened, dismantled and utterly defeated you are left feeling on a day to day basis… When former Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis killed himself in March this year, Sheridan Smith described it as a ‘massive wake-up call’ and urged her fans to ‘reach out’ to even their ‘most confident friend’. Hopefully Royce and Welch have tapped into a new way of doing so.”

5. Celia Walden in The Telegraph

on heated political rhetoric

Mind your language: politicians who talk in clickbait are asking for trouble“As any child who has just discovered swearing will tell you, it’s not hard to silence a room and get every face in it turned towards yours. You can literally eff and blind your way into public consciousness... But ‘measured’ gets drowned out, alongside decorum and civility. So instead it’s: ‘Ha! Made you look!’ It’s talking in clickbait, with every look and click elevating your real-life ‘follower’ count and stoking your ego, and language meanwhile being devalued to nothing.”

Recommended

Instant Opinion: ‘Bigotry entrenched in British society’
A march against racism in London
In Depth

Instant Opinion: ‘Bigotry entrenched in British society’

Quiz of The Week
Boris Johnson chairs a session of the UN Security Council
Quizzes and puzzles

Quiz of The Week

Carbon apps, super shoes and VR art
van Gogh's Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat
Podcast

Carbon apps, super shoes and VR art

Flu cases drop to zero
Commuters wear face masks as they pass through Vauxhall underground station.
Getting to grips with . . .

Flu cases drop to zero

Popular articles

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021
Line of Duty series six returns to BBC One in 2021
In Depth

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 25 Feb 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 25 Feb 2021

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 27 Feb 2020
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 27 Feb 2020