So Gordon Brown has been compared to Heathcliff, and the press has done its usual Rabid Dog Grabbing the Wrong End of the Stick And Not Letting Go thing, which it does so very well. And this has made me very cross, the particular type of crossness when the Wider Public have got a fact wrong (superiority complex? Moi?). Like ... well, like an example which I can't think of right now. But in this instance, like the Heathcliff thing. I feel like writing a letter to everyone in the world, debunking all these myths which people just won't let go of.
HEATHCLIFF IS NOT A ROMANTIC HERO. HE IS A SPOLT, VIOLENT, WHINY, VICIOUS, MERCILESS, PETTY, SOCIOPATHIC PSYCHOPATHIC TYRANT BULLY WANKER ARSEHOLE. THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH WORDS TO DESCRIBE WHAT HE IS. HE IS, IN SHORT, YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE. NOT YOUR DREAM MAN.
For as long as I can remember, my mum has been urging me to read Wuthering Heights. "It's brilliant," she said, "It's magical, it's the most romantic story ever written." At Easter, I read it. And I was horrified. There I was, for YEARS, thinking Heathcliff was a sort of Mr Darcy figure, Misunderstood basically, when NO. He's NOT. I'm not saying the book isn't a masterpiece, and that he isn't a brilliantly depicted character. What I'm saying is that he's a brilliantly depicted villain. That we are holding up this man as a paragon of romantic love is at best ridiculous, at worst scary. His love for Cathy is complex and fascinating, but it is destructive, selfish, overly possessive, and in no way humanises him - or her, for that matter, by whom I was almost as horrified. Their love story is towering and magnificent but in the way that the sea is, or a thunderstorm - something out of control, dangerous. Romantic? Less so.
Or maybe it is? Maybe my definition of romantic is too narrow. Thoughts?