With mothers like this

To Houston, in honour of Patrick Swayze

Just in case you were getting excited, the only link between this post and the late, loved Patrick Swayze is Houston (he was born there). No extra Swayze info here, I'm afraid. (Although, saying that, I did particularly love this from Whoopi Goldberg on Swayze's passing: "I believe in Ghost's message, so he'll always be near.")

Anyway, reading this blog post from Gwen (of Gwen and Her Men fame) of the Houston Chronicle is physically painful. I imagine poor "Josh" whimpering in his bedroom in Houston as his mother strides around town . . . wait for it . . . trying to find him a date for the prom.

"What about that one girl . . ." I start. I mean a girl that I saw at his eleventh-grade orientation last year. She'd passed us in the hall and had seemed really sweet and cute and smart to me. Totally high-school-girlfriend-worthy. Not to get all gross and Oedipal here, but she'd looked like a nicer, more well-adjusted version of me at that age. When I saw her, I immediately pointed her out to my son. "Look at that girl! She's cute! You should date her," I'd said at the time.

Oh GOD.

And then:

Josh is a handsome boy. I'm not just saying that because I'm his mother -- I've had it confirmed by independent sources, and I've seen the looks that junior high girls give him at the mall. He's tall and he lifts weights in his room at night, when he thinks we won't notice. And he's a snazzy dresser, thanks to my guidance.

Gwen, do you realise what you are doing? There is a picture on your blog. This will mean your son's friends will identify you as his mother. This will mean that he will be mercilessly taunted for the rest of his days. Not finding a prom date will be the least of his worries. And stop dressing the poor boy, for heaven's sake. You use the word "snazzy". This means, by definition, that letting you anywhere near the wardrobe of a 17-year-old boy is going to result in some kind of fashion crime. Gwen, leave him be. And stop watching him weight-lift. Seriously.

Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman

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What did Jeremy Corbyn really say about Bin Laden?

He's been critiqued for calling Bin Laden's death a "tragedy". But what did Jeremy Corbyn really say?

Jeremy Corbyn is under fire for describing Bin Laden’s death as a “tragedy” in the Sun, but what did the Labour leadership frontrunner really say?

In remarks made to Press TV, the state-backed Iranian broadcaster, the Islington North MP said:

“This was an assassination attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy. The World Trade Center was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy. Tens of thousands of people have died.”

He also added that it was his preference that Osama Bin Laden be put on trial, a view shared by, among other people, Barack Obama and Boris Johnson.

Although Andy Burnham, one of Corbyn’s rivals for the leadership, will later today claim that “there is everything to play for” in the contest, with “tens of thousands still to vote”, the row is unlikely to harm Corbyn’s chances of becoming Labour leader. 

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.