A bumper day for picture stories in the Telegraph. First up, there’s the photo op for the launch of the Guinness Book of Records, which shows that the Barnum model of photo opportunity has never gone away – this picture of He Pingping, the Mongolian man, who, at 2ft 4in, is the world’s shortest man being a direct reference to the one staged by PT Barnum, below.
I believe that Barnum would revel in the way that the Guinness Book of Records has legitismised his interest in the biggest, smallest, oldest and oddest – and he’d surely revel even more in the fact that the sort of picture opportunities he was creating with General Tom Thumb 140 years ago are still as eagerly lapped up (and copied) by news editors today as they were then.
And then there was the image of British Catholics venerating the remains of ‘the greatest saint of modern times’, the Carmelite nun who died in 1897, at Portsmouth Cathedral.
It is rather astounding that such mediaeval-seeming devotional practice still takes place in this modern era, replete as it is with the Jordan vs. Pete parables and the secular Sleb iconography of Heat and its peers. More astounding still is the fact that people are knowingly coming to look at a coffin containing only portions of the saint’s thigh and foot bones, her body having been divided into three after her death. Normally nowadays that’s the sort of behaviour that lurid tabloid headlines are built on…