Yesterday we and outrage over a t-shirt some womble scientist wore, the other day it was over Susannah Constantine’s photo of her daughter duck shooting.
Susannah, of the Trini and Susannah TV show fame, is made of far sterner stuff than the scientist who cried over the shirt.
She sticks it to the moaners and whiners.
I’ve learned in the past week that sometimes in life it’s better to duck. When a newspaper ran a piece about my daughter on her first shoot with the headline ‘Ten years old and smeared in blood’, the fallout was loud and instantaneous. My daughter Cece was horrified – because she’s 11, not ten.
I’m certain that the hullabaloo about her age will haunt us for weeks. But the rest of the article, which was centred on the fact that she had shot her first duck and, in the time-honoured country tradition, had been ‘blooded’ with a quick smear of the cheek, completely passed her by. Water off a duck’s back, you might say.
To her, a country girl, shooting food for the table is a natural part of rural life. My only regret is that the fuss brought about something I’ve always tried to avoid. I’ve never wanted to include my family in my professional life – and never have done – but sadly her picture was only deemed to be newsworthy because I’ve been on TV.
The one thing I’d do differently is not post the photo on Instagram. It was naive of me to think it would stop there, and naive of readers to believe a picture speaks a thousand words when it camouflages the sportsmanship, conservation, habitat management and regulation that lies behind all country sports.
The brief media clamour was, however, a sign of how times change. When my father took me on my first shoot and blooded my face, it was a regarded as a celebration of rural life. Everyone understood it, everyone supported it. My father was not a TV presenter, and no one cared what he did in his private life. But it was also 1970 and people were still watching the Black and White Minstrel Show – and that was OK too.
‘Duckgate’ – as we now call it at home – and the overwhelming response (both positive and negative) has caused me to reflect on my views about rural life. If I’m honest, it gave me a sense of pride to see my daughter tackle something adult and challenging – and succeed.