Monday, February 07, 2005

Ellen MacArthur: the impact of impersonations

Clare Balding was absolutely right in yesterday's Observer. Ellen MacArthur is both her own worst enemy and an unfortunate and unwitting butt of comedic observation. Yes, the daily diary of her journey does keep her in the public eye (or ears). But the persona regularly ridiculed by the Dead Ringer's star Jan Ravens - it's one of the few impressions I can pull off myself; just ask Mr Cloud - captures the problem of placing herself so squarely in that public gaze. Reporting on the stresses and strains of her journey on an almost continuous basis makes her appear ineffective and her efforts almost accidental. This is a shame, because the navigational, business and technical skills she is using are clearly exceptional. Unfortunately, the image of the panicked, moaning 'little hero' under stress, so deftly captured by Ravens, doesn't do her any favours. I wish I'd blogged this point when I first thought of it - about two weeks ago - as I would then have 'scooped' Balding's comments. But it's a pretty pathetic topic to feel scooped about, so I'm less bothered than maybe I appear...

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