After last week's post about Cassi van den Dungen's ill-fated Paris Fashion Week trip, where hasn't the story appeared? First The Sunday Telegraph, then The Melbourne Herald Sun, The Brisbane Courier Mail and Ninemsn.com.au. Yesterday, Seven Network's Morning Show devoted an entire panel discussion to the subject, with The Herald Sun's Luke Dennehy - who apparently "broke the story" - crossing live from Melbourne to anchors Kylie Gillies and Larry Emdur and fashion commentator Melissa Hoyer, to discuss van den Dungen's Facebook rant against "frog eaters" and "snail slurpers" - as if it was an international incident (see below). Even the UK Telegraph picked it up.
Noone mentioned that van den Dungen herself was insulted on Facebook last year by Australia's Next Top Model co-hosts Alex Perry and Charlotte Dawson, both of whom are, unlike van den Dungen, old enough to know better. With Dawson charmingly telling this blog that "We don't give a shit" about the fallout.
Also overlooked, the facts that: the Facebook rant came at the beginning of the trip, not the end; that van den Dungen travelled to Paris under option (ie reserved) for one exclusive appearance; that the option had already been facilitated by her Sydney agency and that all IMG had to do was get her to the castings/meetings (which by all accounts it did not do very well); and that many, many models are optioned for show exclusives, with no guarantee of success.
In spite of all the tut-tutting from commentators, you have to wonder whether the old adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity rings true here. The incident has only served to further raise van den Dungen's profile. According to Hoyer, most people in the fashion business probably wouldn't care, "because she really is the perfect look for a successful model".
Now today comes word from the distinguished Times of London newspaper.
It uses the van den Dungen anecdote as a springboard into a laundry list of historic insults and snubs served to the French by the English - and vice versa - as documented in Stephen Clarke’s new book, 1,000 Years of Annoying the French, which is to be published by Bantam Press on March 18th.
The Times story begins:
"The insults aimed at 'frog-eaters and snail-slurpers' last week were nothing new. What the model Cassi van den Dungen typed on to her Facebook page last week — after the frustrated runner-up in Australia’s Next Top Model failed to find employment on the catwalks of Paris — is just the latest faux pas in a long history of diplomatic gaffes. Relations between the French and anyone impudent enough to speak English have always been enlivened by wars and name-calling. That we’re supposedly friends these days seems to have only exacerbated the problem.
Just in case you naively imagined that the entente might be getting more cordiale, here are the Top 20 foot-in-mouth moments . . ."
Some of frockwriter's faves include:
"- In 2008, Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni declined a planned second night’s stay at Windsor and returned to Paris a day early. What rudeness!
- Édith Cresson, the French Prime Ministere, declares in 1991 that “one in four Englishmen is gay”.
- In 1990, The Sun, in full anti-EU rage, tells all “frog-haters” to face France and “tell the feelthy French to frog off”.
- Le Monde published a 48-page supplement about the Liberation of France in 2004. The first mention of non-French troops appears on page 18.
- Churchill on de Gaulle: 'He is like a female llama surprised in his bath.'"