Yesterday’s Independent had two stories that reflected each other in the revelatory way skewed mirrors sometimes do. The first had to do with Naomi Campbell, who is still spitting fire about her treatment at the hands of British Airways. She denies that the company has banned her from its flights, and her luggage from Terminal Five. It has, however, ‘disrespected’ her. In the Devil Woman’s own, reported, words:
Someone from British Airways asked that I return to fly with them but this will not occur so early. I am speaking for all those that have been disrespected.
As a teacher of English (‘in my spare time’, according to the still mysterious ‘Luke Rocchi’), I wouldn’t know where to start with a text like this. Its sheer unnaturalness suggests machine translation from some arcane bureaucratic dialect. I may be quite wrong, of course; it may simply be the way people chat to one another in the world of high fashion. As in: Jean Paul asked that I share a line of coke in the back room but this will not occur so early. I particularly like the second sentence, which bears no logical connection to the first but smacks of Ms Campbell in what she probably imagines to be Nelson Mandela mode. Naomi, champion of ‘all those that have been disrespected’. It’s good to know she’s prepared to speak up for all the little people whose luggage also went astray but who didn’t have sufficient elegance or promptness of spirit to gob in a copper’s face.
A few pages later in the same issue there’s an article about the cosmetic surgeon, Martin Kelly, who died unexpectedly, and tragically, a few days ago. Kelly spent a fair amount of time reconstructing the septums (septa?) of people who share Ms Campbell’s world and habits, but he also, and principally, dedicated himself to people who don’t, including a small girl in Afghanistan, whose face was so deformed the local Taliban considered her a ‘devil child’ and wanted to have her stoned to death (with stones, not cell phones). Thanks to Kelly’s work, she is no longer a devil child. Now 11, she wrote to thank him:
First of all I say hallow to my doctor Moten Kalli. I’m Hadisa Husain from Afghanistan. I’m at school now and I’m very happy. I don’t have any problem and I’ll never forget you, and I’m waithing for my next opration. Thank you.
The spelling might not be perfect, but for efficacy of communication Campbell could learn a thing or two from it. No disrespect intended.