Here’s A Better Way To Shut Katie Hopkins & Amy Childs Up
April 6, 2015
by Martin Odoni
A controversialist must be the most useless, most non-productive job that gets well-rewarded in the UK today. Seriously. It is worse even than a Quantity Surveyor. It seemed to emerge with reactionary dimwits like Richard Littlejohn in the late-1980’s, who would go on radio or TV and just say something flagrantly, pointlessly and ignorantly offensive entirely for the sake of it, and then sit back enjoying all the attention the ensuing furore would lavish upon them.
The principle of ‘outrage-sells’ was not a new one even in the 1980’s of course. There was even an episode of Hancock’s Half Hour in the late 1950’s, in which Sid James became a magazine proprietor who published smear-articles about the rich and famous, and who actually wanted Hancock to sue him because he knew circulation would go up another ten thousand with every court case. It is akin to the ‘Any-publicity-is-good-publicity’ idea, and works particularly well when there is no need to come across as pleasant, only to be noticed.
Which brings me round to the nasty snottiness of people like Katie Hopkins, and now, it seems, Amy Childs as well. (Childs is actually someone I had never even heard of until today. But as she seems to be playing the same game and by the same technique, I thought I might as well mention her too.) I detest hideous snobs of this type to a degree that is so extreme that it deserves a new word to be invented for it. Hopkins in particular is possibly the definitive controversialist of modern Britain, and her unprovoked, ignorant verbal attacks on people, sometimes celebrities, sometimes large blocks of the population, are at times so hurtful, so self-admiring, and so pointless, that you just know she is doing it for the attention. Like so many people on the right, she follows the usual principle that The less someone is like me, the more they deserve to be spat upon. But she does it as a professional too, so she actually gets paid for doing nothing but make trouble.
Some people say Hopkins is the Ann Coulter of the UK, but I am unsure of that, as her political motivations are not as focused or developed. She is more akin to the Rush Limbaugh of the UK, a repellent controversialist in his own right, and who, while undoubtedly political, is more a Big-Business mouthpiece than a political one.
The outrage that Hopkins, Childs and people of their ilk routinely cause is understandable because, all protestations in favour of free speech aside, there is simply no practical reason for what they do, and it makes no positive contribution to any debate. For instance, when Hopkins attacked the people of Scotland repeatedly and with deliberate cruelty over the year leading up to the Independence Referendum, and afterwards, she did so to no advantage to anyone, except to the notoriety she likes to build around herself. She insulted the Scots in ways that only advanced untrue stereotypes about them being ‘scroungers who depend on the English’ for their survival (they do not as such, as there are times when the rest of the UK are instead bolstered by the revenues from Scottish Oil), and heightened the unnecessary friction that already existed between the Yes and No campaigns. She even made fun of Scotland’s life-expectancy in the aftermath of the helicopter crash in Glasgow in late-2013.
Now, I am not going to argue that Hopkins should be forcibly silenced as such, as even this needless, impractical cruelty is only verbal, not violent. (Having said that, there are times when it borders on incitement-to-hatred, so I am not entirely opposed to the idea of her being silenced either.) But I would like to point out to the people who keep getting angry with her that there is a pattern in her behaviour that you can use against her more effectively; –
She accuses the Scots of being a nation of irresponsible scroungers.
She accuses depressives of being attention-seekers and self-absorbed. (This, from Katie Hopkins!)
She accuses Muslims of being fanatics and child-abusers.
She accuses the unemployed of being idle, she accuses the poor of being uncivilised, she accuses single-mothers of being slutty, she accuses the overweight of being lazy…
No doubt, in Hopkins’ world, every Irishman is stupid, every German is obsessed with the rules, every Colombian has a semi-automatic machine gun and sells cocaine to people in Florida, every Russian’s bloodstream has been saturated with vodka before he will sit down to talk to you, every mother-in-law is fat, every American businessman has a gigantic, much-chewed cigar drooping out of the corner of his mouth, and every Frenchman has a dozen lovers on the go at any one time.
In other words, all she ever offers is stereotype.
Part of the reason Hopkins keeps getting a platform is because the media think that her outrageous cruelty is ‘exciting’, ‘interesting’ and that it ‘sells’. That she’s ‘a breath of fresh air’. Given the loud anger that inevitably draws huge numbers of people to see what all the fuss is about, that belief is understandable. But as we can see from the above, her cruelty is not exciting or interesting, and it should not be allowed to sell. For, far from being ‘fresh’, she instead talks in the most intellectually-vacuous stereotypes and endlessly-recycled Music-Hall-sketch clichés, that you are almost convinced she gets all her ideas from a collection of Punch cartoons from the First World War. There is nothing interesting or exciting in someone who has such an obsolete, self-idealising view of the world. We have heard people beyond counting in pubs around the land expressing this sort of ignorant, prejudiced manure for the better part of a century now, and even if the parameters are altered to fit the culture of the current era a little better, that does not make Hopkins’ opinions any more interesting or refreshing. On the contrary, they are so old, so stale, so overused and so over-familiar that she is utterly boring.
And that, I would suggest, is a better response to make to Hopkins than telling her, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself”. She is incapable of shame, but knows just enough about the concept to realise that when people say that to her, she has done precisely what she set out to do. Instead, we should just say to her, and to the people who give her public exposure, that she is boring. Tell them that you have been listening to stupid, ignorant opinions of this type since long before you left school, and you are fed up of hearing them. Tell them that these opinions do not suddenly become interesting, endearing or engaging just because they are expressed through a television set or a Twitter feed, instead of face-to-face. Tell them that all she is doing is recycling garbage that was dreamt up decades before she was even born. Do not waste your breath telling her she is a disgrace, she already knows. Tell her she is a xenophobic old woman from the inter-war years, out of her time and ahead of her old age, and about as interesting to listen to. Maybe, just maybe, if the media outlets that keep giving her a platform were to realise how boring and old hat she is, they would think twice about persisting with her.
As for Childs and her complaints about ‘her’ money going to ‘scroungers’, a woman who gets paid ludicrous amounts of cash to have her photo taken is far more of a drain on the resources of decent society than someone for whom less than a hundred pounds per fortnight is all they have keeping them from starvation. Again, it is an old argument, it is dependent on stereotype and cliché, it is long-discredited, and it is boring having to listen to it all over again just because it is said by some talentless, over-entitled, famous-for-being-famous, media-darlings who want to whinge about how unhappy they are at not owning every molecule on the face of the Earth.
Katie Hopkins, Amy Childs – you are both tedious, unimaginative gasbags. Just shut your boring mouths, the pair of you, and get a real job.