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Friday, 27 August 2010

Vanity is a Human Right - does that include the Pope's shoes?

I am always pleased to see people dress well and often tell them so. That does not necessarily mean dressing expensively, but it does of necessity involve letting other people know you care about your appearance. It's not quite the same thing as having a sense of style, but if you have no sense of style, you won't get very far in dressing well.

Whether cheap or expensive, overstated or understated, dresing well means you are going to have to look in the mirror. That's fine by me. Vanity is a human right. It goes hand in hand with maintaining self-respect even when the going gets rough.

But should the Pope agree with me?

The other day I tried to imagine the vehicle which will accompany him on his upcoming tour of Scotland and England and containing his wardrobe. I tried to imagine the roadies who will look after the costumes and wondered if he has a personal hairdresser and make-up artist. And, I suppose, he must have a dresser who serves as the mirror.

And I wondered, How much do his shoes cost?

When I posted that last question on the Guardian website, a Catholic groupie calling herself "Rosary" came to the Pope's defence: she just loved the Pope's "Super Kool" shoes. And the outfits he wears.

The problem for me is this: I thought the Pope was supposed to think vanity a bad thing and modesty a good thing. I thought he was supposed to think poverty a good thing and wealth - and certainly the ostentatious display of wealth - a bad thing.

But his wardrobe is in the same league as those of pop stars and dictators.
His role model could be Elton John.
The only thing missing is a pair of shades.

I haven't even mentioned the jewellery.

I wonder, Can the Pope really be happy with the thought that there are followers out there who get giddy over his shoes - not to mention his hats?

I imagine that if I asked him that question, he would take me aside and, with a smile, say to me, "Have you never heard of showmanship?"

1 comment:

  1. Is your German good enough for this?