Rod Stewarts beheading video: another way of taking offence | Marina Hyde

The incident in the desert may be a little off-colour but nothing is more vulgar than demanding good taste from our rock stars

At long, long last the needle in the Instagram haystack. There is finally something I want to look at on the photo-sharing site. You have to wade through a fair few million shots of peoples arses, unsuccessful stabs at insouciance, poolstheyve got a timeshare on, misguided sense of what constitutes a fantasy version of themselves, and an all-pervasive sense that nutrition is not just an acceptable but an electrifying topic of conversation. Then after all that, you find it: Rod Stewart apparently doing an Islamic State beheading while on tour in Abu Dhabi. Posted by his wife Penny Lancaster. I swore Id never do it, but its happening Im breaking out the hashtag. #blessed #soblessed.

Admittedly, there are questions to be asked. Primarily: why did none of the media outlets that ran this footage headline it First cut is the deepest? I dont know exactly why it was those subeditors got into the business, but Im pretty sure it wasnt to leave that one on the cutting-room floor. Shame on them.

Before we go on, though, lets take a closer look at the footage. We set our scene in the Abu Dhabi desert, where Rod and the rod-tourage are dancing along the top of a sand dune. The rear is brought up by Penny, who captions it: Rod Stewart (leader) band doing a Beatles sand dune crossing. Not quite, Penny they werent doing a conga across Abbey Road. Anyway, after that Penny peels off and descends the dune while behind her back, Rod seeks a volunteer from the line-up for a purpose as yet unknown. A woman appears to put herself forward but shes rejected in favour of a bloke, because ultimately Rod Stewart is and always has been a ruddy gentleman. The bloke kneels down, Rod wields the imaginary knife; the deed is done. But still, nothing in the footage is as slashed-to-the-waist as Rods shirt. Then its down the dune for a bit of cuddle with Pen. As her next caption has it: #sandyafternoons. Everypicture tells a story.

For long-term admirers of Rod, such as me, the incident is yet another amusing addition to the canon of a man whose spirit is permanently distilled in the 1978 album cover of Blondes Have More Fun, in which Rod is shown wrapped round a brunette. He is by all accounts a laugh who revels in his good fortune, and who tellingly has yet to find the wife who doesnt want to spend a very jolly and amicable Christmas with all the ex-wives. I suppose this business in the desert may feel a little off-colour to some but then, so did the hilarious telegram he sent to his mate Elton Johns eyebrow-raising wedding to Renate Blauel in 1984. You may still be standing, it read, but wereall on the fucking floor!

Isnt he majestic? I cant think of anything more unbearably vulgar than demanding good taste from our rock stars. Mainly, then, Rods desert antics are to be welcomed for the bind in which they placed the Daily Mail. On Wednesday, after hed been snapped travelling to his O2 gig on the London underground, the Mail ran an article headlined: In praise of Rod Stewart and what luvvies can learn from him. Barely 24 hours later well, what the hell are they supposed to do with this? How many Hail Central Lines do you have to say to atone for this?

Rod
After hed been snapped travelling to his London O2 gig on the tube, the Mail ran an editorial headlined: In praise of Rod Stewart and what luvvies can learn from him. Photograph: Lorne Thomson/Redferns

Alas, we know the timeworn path these things now have to take and you can be sure it doesnt count for anything that Rod sang the theme tune to the Falklands war. A line has been crossed. A line in the sand. Even since I have typed the above, Rod has felt moved to issue an apology for the larking about. Far from being a mock Isis execution, he clarifies somewhat hopefully, what they were doing was spontaneously playing out Game of Thrones.

Aha. Wrong John, guys! He was beingJon Snow, not Jihadi John. Clearly clearly the papers have gone and got themselves confused by an ecosystem. If Sir Rod had done it on snowy Ben Nevis in January, they could have headlined it The KNIGHTS watch. As it is, hes cocked up with the backdrop. Rod is consequently now several hours into a classic modern Wonderland scandal, in which people are calling for him to be stripped of his knighthood presumably because theyre insufficiently gifted ironists toshout: Off with his head!

For the benefit of the last 300 earthlings not to have earned a media studies degree from the University of Life, I merely offer a reminder how this offence process typically works. Rod Stewarts wife posts a silly video on Instagram. Then a reporter (or many reporters) rings up the family of someone who was genuinely beheaded by Isis Hello there! Sorry to bother you and asks them if theyve seen it. They probably havent, so they are directed towards the clip. Then they are asked how distressed they are, and how much it has upset and offended them and shamed their dead beloveds memory. I will leave you to decide who has behaved most offensively in this chain of events.

In the meantime, do remember that Rod is a chap who has added to the gaiety of various nations, which is infinitely more than can be said for the endless armies of halfwits taking offence on others behalf. I can only hope his desert storm blows over quickly. No one wants to see this get to the point where the PR solution is a sombre acoustic version of I Was Only Joking, performed in an undisclosed Levant location for hero Brit special forces. (Actually, what am I talking about? Would definitely watch.)

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/03/rod-stewart-beheading-offensive-tabloid-hypocrisy

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