Watched Q and A last night. It was another one of those writers' festival episodes. One of the panellists was an interesting bloke called Glen Carle. He was a former CIA operative who clearly had deep misgivings about his nation's use of waterboarding and other brutal methods of extracting information from prisoners, and so he wrote a book about the whole issue. For this reason the panel engaged in quite a bit of discussion about torture.
That was weirdly apposite because Kathy Lette was also on the show. This grotesquely narcissistic woman has a personality so relentlessly, remorselessly unpleasant that it constitutes a potent form of torture all on its own. If the Yanks want a non-bruising "advanced interrogation technique" that will swiftly reduce their al-Qaeda prisoners to dribbling, compliant wrecks, they should just lock 'em in a room with Lette for a few hours. She'll no doubt rattle off hundreds of her stupid puns and one-liners, all harvested from her many vapid, pointless books and rehashed a squillion times at countless dinner parties with the Pommy squitterati.
The transcript of her little monologues is distressing enough on its own, but it is at least bearable when separated from the ghastly sound of her immensely self-satisfied voice and the terrifying visual image of her crazy eyes and shit-eating grin.
Here's a sample:
TONY JONES: Let's hear from Kathy Lette on this.
KATHY LETTE: Well, I think, you know, love prepares you for marriage the way needle point prepares you for around solo the world solo yachting and divorce rates are very low in the West now. They’re kind of lower than Britney Spears’ bikini line, which is quite low. And the thing is that, you know, marriage suits men much more than it suits women. Married men live longer than single men. They have heart disease and mental problems, whereas single women live longer than married women, have less heart disease and mental problem. So I think it’s women...
JEFFREY EUGENIDES: (Indistinct)
KATHY LETTE: I think it's women who are getting PMT, pre-monogamy tension and one of the big issues for my generation is that we thought we were going to have it all and we just ended up doing it all.
I won't inflict any more of this on you but I think you get the picture. Everything she said was utterly excruciating.
She almost never really answered any of the questions asked by audience members; just used them as an excuse to launch into another self-obsessed rant full of lame decades-old gags.
Most of these were about how miserable married life is and how horrible and useless men are. Apart from being both negative and annoying in the extreme, this was also quite mystifying.
She's married herself, so why's she always carping about the institution? And it really made me wonder what the hell is in it for her husband, the high profile human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson. She clearly despises men as much as she does marriage. So why is that man married to her?
The only reason I can come up with is that he is just as much of a pompous blowhard as she is. So it's a "birds of a feather" type situation. They are the only two people on earth who can understand each other's insanely high levels of self-absorption, or something ...
Speaking of Robertson: He's another Q and A favourite. So it was just as well they weren't on together. That would have been too horrific for words. So we should be thankful for small mercies, I suppose.