Latest Moonage Pictures News
May 22, 2021
Lily James and Emily Beecham in The Pursuit Of Love. Photograph: Robert/Theodora Films & Moonage Pictures Ltd/BBC Lily James and Emily Beecham in The Pursuit Of Love. Photograph: Robert/Theodora Films & Moonage Pictures Ltd/BBC Sat 22 May 2021 04.00 EDT Tomorrow night, the final part of the latest adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit Of Love will screen on the BBC, but it is imperative you do not watch it. Or, if you do, you absolutely must hate everything about it: the characters, the author, the author’s family and – most of all – everyone who enjoys any and especially all of the above. A man has decreed it must be so: “I demand an end to the glorification of these six dead posh women and their dysfunctional, unpleasant, and largely fascist family,” historian Guy Walters wrote – nay, demanded – last week when promoting his feature for the Daily Mail , which argued, well, that, for a further 600 or so words. Walters bemoaned the popularity of these “overvenerated, overrated and overprivileged women” because, ugh, is there anything worse than women who are loved too much? “Mitford moonies always take exception to the application of the f-word [fascist] to the family, but the unpalatable fact is that many of them were a bunch of sordid fascists, and those who weren’t were either communist or politically apathetic,” Walters writes. As a fully paid-up Mitford moonie, I don’t know which members of the tribe Walters has been talking to but, believe me, they are not representative. We are very aware of the political predilections of the Mitford sisters, and that’s exactly why we’re fascinated by them. Otherwise, they’d be just another posh family; with two Nazis (Diana, Unity) and one communist (Decca) among the sisters, they are thrillingly sui generis, bewilderingly headstrong, extraordinarily extraordinary. Shock announcement: women don’t have to be likable or even admirable to be interesting. They can be awkward, complex, inconsistent, morally dubious, frustrating, passionate and absurd. You know, the same things that make men interesting, too. Alas, we don’t even have the time to ask why a book by Nancy – neither a communist nor a fascist, and deeply in love as an adult with a Jewish hero of the French resistance – should be damned for the political affiliations of her sisters. (Although I’d actually far rather watch a show about the Mitfords’ lives than another adaptation of Nancy’s novel, but I’m awkward like that.) Note, also, my restraint in not pointing out the irony of an article in the Daily “ Hurrah for the Blackshirts ” Mail criticising others for their politics in the 1930s. Instead we can just file away this latest instalment in my ongoing series – magnum opus, even – entitled Men Explain Why Women Are Wrong To Like What They Like. After Walters posted his article, he was inundated with responses , largely from men, all of the “Good one, mate! Off to tell the wife why she’s always been wrong about these posh birds” variety. Because it just so happens that those “Mitford moonies” tend to be women. There’s a funny thing that happens with things that are largely favoured by women: they are treated as trash. Silly. Childish. “Guilty pleasures”, to use one of the most annoying phrases in the English language. We see this with fashion (which is dismissed in a way that, say, sport is not), with romantic comedies (which are sneered at in a way that, say, superhero movies are not) and with the Mitfords (who are written off as aristo Nazis in a way that Evelyn Waugh , who was a dreadful snob, and PG Wodehouse , who was accused in his time of being a Nazi collaborator, are not).