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Vanity Fair's Margot Robbie cover story manages to offend every sensible human being

Trinaa Prasad | Updated on: 7 July 2016, 18:40 IST

There are plenty of idiots in this world, because idiocy once caused can very rarely be cured as the human suffering from it is rarely diagnosed on time. So if you've read, heard or seen the numerous screenshots of the Rich Cohen-Vanity Fair article doing the rounds on social media, hope you observed a minute of silence in compassion for one such specimen so far gone, we'll never get him back.

Apart from reading like the tale of an attention-starved, trying-too-hard teenager, Cohen's cover story on Margot Robbie is also incredibly ignorant, racist and reeks of a superiority complex that's utterly bewildering.

Misleadingly titled 'Welcome to the Summer of Margot Robbie', the article is mostly about the writer and his profound feelings about Australia, his profound observations about actors in general and Robbie in particular and his profound discoveries ranging from time zones as well as landscape-fauna-culture differences which are not really differences.

We could elucidate, but that would sadly dilute Cohen's wordsmithassery. The first paragraph is so beautifully complex, there should be studies conducted over it.

"America is so far gone, we have to go to Australia to find a girl next door. In case you've missed it, her name is Margot Robbie. She is 26 and beautiful, not in that otherworldly, catwalk way but in a minor knock-around key, a blue mood, a slow dance. She is blonde but dark at the roots. She is tall but only with the help of certain shoes. She can be sexy and composed even while naked but only in character. As I said, she is from Australia. To understand her, you should think about what that means.

Australia is America 50 years ago, sunny and slow, a throwback, which is why you go there for throwback people. They still live and die with the plot turns of soap operas in Melbourne and Perth, still dwell in a single mass market in Adelaide and Sydney. In the morning, they watch Australia's Today show. In other words, it's just like America, only different. When everyone here is awake, everyone there is asleep, which makes it a perfect perch from which to study our customs, habits, accents."

What is this paragraph even? Why was it allowed to exist? How can we get it removed permanently before the aliens spot it and judge us for it?

The line, "Australia is America 50 years ago, sunny and slow, a throwback, which is why you go there for throwback people" has given humans everywhere and Australians in particular A LOT to crib about. In the world of compliments, "America 50 years ago" ranks only above "brains like Donald Trump".

But if you think that's the only bit of the interview that's offensive, here's another slice of heaven:

"Margot lived with her mother and three siblings-her parents divorced when she was a kid-in a house in the hills (in Gold Coast), the sleepiest part of a sleepy city at the bottom of the world (BOTTOM?). Her mother is a physiotherapist. Her father does some farming and some other stuff. Now and then, she stayed with cousins who lived in the hinterland of the hinterland, where there really were kangaroos and a dingo (wild dog, FYI) really will eat your baby.

When she talks about it, you see the arid country, the horizon on every side, blue sky, yellow fields. "But I don't like to talk about it," she says, because it only "encourages stereotypes. People always want to know, 'Did you have kangaroos outside your bedroom window?' I'm like, 'Yes, but none of my other friends did.' Or 'Did you have snakes running around?' And again, 'Yes, in our house, but this isn't an Australian thing'."

Eh. So much for not stereotyping.

With a mind so complex, a vocabulary so rich, an imagination so colourful - is it any wonder that this article is trending? Welcome To The Summer of Margot Robbie is at this point exactly where the world's first viral article was 50 years ago - its existence amuses, shocks but will (hopefully) soon be forgotten only to be remembered in year-end listicles and rundowns.


Edited by Abha Srivastava

First published: 7 July 2016, 18:40 IST