I appear to have been rescued from minor peril by an A-list celebrity. I assumed that this sort of thing happened regularly in New York, because every day here feels a bit like living on a film set. At least one Hollywood actor is a regular face in anti-police demonstrations at Union Square - a nice man who once gave me a cigarette and who probably doesn't want his political affiliations revealed without his permission. Actors are working people too, and deserve a little privacy.
So when I tweeted on Tuesday that silver-screen dreamboat Ryan Gosling had just stopped me from walking in front of a speeding taxi, I didn't quite expect the reaction that followed. I was rushing to a meeting in a pink wig, and I am a bit of a walking catastrophe at the best of times. I regularly forget that cars come in the opposite direction in America, so this is far from the first time that a passing Samaritan has had to prevent me from ambling into the traffic. This time, it happened to be Ryan Gosling, star of Drive, The Notebook and The Ides of March and moistener of millions of fans across the moviegoing universe. I am 99 percent sure that it was Ryan Gosling, unless he has an identical twin brother with a penchant for natty denim jackets. This, my lady friends tell me, is proof that America loves me and wants me to be happy.
I am informed that there are lots of women and not a few men who would gladly walk into traffic in order to be rescued by Ryan Gosling. I am not one of them, and I would like to take this opportunity to encourage road safety on the streets of New York: statistically speaking, if you toss yourself in front of a taxi today there's a good chance Ryan Gosling won't be there to save you. Personally, the only celebrities I really go weak at the knees for are major science-fiction authors, Rachel Maddow and Ellen DeGeneres.
As a feminist, it is rather irritating that I have finally become tabloid-famous in the guise of a simpering damsel in distress. But my mobile phone and email went mad, and I woke up to stories about Gosling the "lifesaver" in The New York Observer, The Huffington Post and even The Washington Post. This is final proof that America has gone mad, lost all sense of perspective, and badly needs to be rescued from itself - possibly not by Ryan Gosling, decent and upstanding chap though he undoubtedly is. I was determined not to play at all, but among the reams of interview requests was one from the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Now there's a woman I'd leap in front of a taxi to meet...
The backlash is spreading
Back in the real world, women in America have bigger problems than the occasional speeding cab. In Nebraska they will soon be forced to carry dead or dying foetuses to term. And now those who see the political capital to be made by stoking a cultural backlash against women's liberation are coming for contraception. The strategy seems to have been noted in Britain, where Andrew Lansley has criticised abortion doctors for prioritising women's right to choose - just days after completing his attack on the NHS. If it's a coincidence, it's one that follows a familiar pattern: divide and rule.
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