Meet Gillian Duffy, a genial grandmother who is quickly becoming a British media sensation, thanks to PM Gordon Brown’s being nice to her face, then calling her a “bigot” behind her back — forgetting that he was wearing a live mike. Thanks to electronic media, including the power of YouTube, the PM has just committed political suicide. A gaffe like this is astonishing — and a real pop-culture media moment for the ages:UPDATE: I should add that as entertaining as this sort of thing is, I do feel sorry for politicians and other famous people, who always, always, always have to assume that they’re “on.” Can you imagine having to live as if there were constantly a microphone around, recording your words? I actually defended Jesse Jackson on this point when a hot mike caught him saying some discreditable things about Barack Obama. What he said was awful, and I wasn’t sorry to see him suffer for it. But it’s still queasy-making, I think, the way we all hover around, waiting for somebody famous to say something stupid, and then blow it up. Which, come to think of it, is what I’m doing with this blog entry.

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