SEE that Jeremy Corbyn. You know what he looks like? A Geography teacher. We know that because the Times told us this morning…
And the Independent told us as well…
The Sun has already told us, although the Islington North MP is yo-yoing around between the ranks of head of department and supply teacher.
They are not the only papers or websites who in the last couple of weeks have made sure we are fully up to speed that Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t look like your normal Labour leadership contender. He looks like a a geography teacher. A bloody geography teacher, who the fudge does this guy think he is?
Of course, all of this easy repetition says worrying things about how we decide who should be assigned to which jobs in politics simply on the way they look: they can’t be too young, too shiny-faced, or too old, or too trendy, or too bald, or too corduroyed, or we will find a label like ‘geography teacher’ and plant into every last article we write about them.
But it’s also a concern, that as a nation we haven’t the imagination to think of something else with which to describe an older man with a check shirt, beard and slightly old-fashioned suit. We are now so locked into the geography teacher cliche, we haven’t even left ourselves wriggle-room to alter the subject. People will look at us blankly and say ‘no he doesn’t, what are you on about’, if we say Corbyn looks like a sociology teacher or a history teacher. It’s always geography, always the same line.
The first time a guy of this vintage was told he resembled a geography teacher, whenever that was decades and decades ago, it must have been a funny chip. But deadened by repetition, there is no acidic wit to it all, and yet it features almost as routine in newspaper columnists’ work, sitcoms, tweets, and now news coverage too. Truth be told, ‘geography teacher’ probably needs its own new line in the dictionary to gently explain what we all now accept someone is saying when describing a man in this way, for it no longer means someone who can expertly explain the formation of an oxbow lake.
The point of the geography teacher revolver of course is to make the subject of the comment sound uncool and a bit frazzled by modern times, especially in Corbyn’s case after he had the audacity to seek high office while looking like one.
Still, with all the other people who have been routinely told they look like geography teachers in the papers over the last few years for wearing the wrong pullover or skipping a shave, you could probably create quite a charismatic school geography department. Nick Faldo aside, you’ve still got Roy Keane, Jarvis Cocker (obvs), Evan Davis, Bradley Cooper and 007 himself Daniel Craig now kitted up and ready to teach the kids about flags, and capitals, and stuff.