Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Gail Trimble

This year's University Challenge quiz has been won by Corpus Christi College in Oxford, who beat Manchester University by 275 points to 190 in the final. Amazingly, Corpus Christi has less than 400 students, but what's even more remarkable is that the team owes its success to its captain, 26-year-old Gail Trimble, who single-handedly scored two-thirds of her team's 1,200 points in a stunning performance described by the BBC as an "intellectual blitzkrieg". This achievement has thrust the bemused Miss Trimble, a Latin scholar, into the national media spotlight and seen her hailed as a sex-symbol. She's even had an offer from Nuts magazine for a "tasteful photo shoot". Yeah, right.
This, of course, got me thinking. Would the BBC be so fascinated by her if she was just a good student quietly getting on with her Latin? I doubt it. Would Nuts magazine be craving her body if she'd never been on University Challenge? Probably not. Gail's achievements haven't changed her innate worth or beauty as a person but they have changed the way people see her. Every day we evaluate people on the basis of their celebrity status, health, wealth or outward appearance and, without thinking beyond what we see, we label them. Jesus never made that mistake and neither should we; whether with Gail Trimble or anyone else.

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