Daily Mail headlines used to get round the tiny issue of libel by heavy suggestion hack jobs, so an article on a working mother (DM pet peeve) might be: Is this the worst mother in Britain? Actually ‘Britain’s Worst Mother’ tends to change constantly. Back in the eighties it was Julie Burchill. Then working mothers took the hit. A few years ago it was criminal mastermind Karen Matthews In recent years the titles have changed to disingenuous: Why DO women have cankles? Why DOES this woman look older than she did thirty years ago? Why DO women hate their bodies?
Ok so what ARE Samantha Brick’s actual opinions? The people I know who have met her say she’s lovely, warm and engaging. Yet she’s carved out a niche as a professional troll, specialising in pieces that encourage readers to either hate her, or feel superior. Her latest one is that she’s been on a diet for twenty years, as any self-respecting woman would be. So when a dinner guest gave her a box of chocolates, they received a cold contemptuous stare for their pains. In perfect harmony with the DM all women are at war with each other and their own bodies stance the chocolate giving bitch was obviously on a mission to make Samantha fat. In DM world it’s the only possible reason.
‘My husband will divorce me if I get fat’ says Samantha standing proudly next to her man who resembles an overfed walrus.
Same with Katie Hopkins, a slightly more intellecturaltroll who ‘tells it like it is’ which again mainly means spitting venom at other women while siding with the menz. She got a load of attention recently because of a piece in the DM (surprise!) about how Katie would not allow her children to associate with other children she considered beneath them. The thing is Hopkins is obviously an intelligent woman and knows that at some point very soon she is not going to able to control who her children are friends with. She can’t seriously believe this.
You can’t always tell which headlines will catch fire however. On Friday I was asked to speak on BBC London about a comment made by Andres Parkes, so kneejerkingly shocking that I thought it was a windup. But no – this editor of a tiny South London newspaper said that certain people should be banned altogether from producing offspring and “possibly even neutered for the general good of society.” Seemingly unaware of the Nazis fine eugenics history (or maybe not) you would have expected a firestorm. ‘We’d love to know what you think,’ said the programme editor to me. I thought the story so ridiculous and offensive that I decided not to do it. I also felt that I was being set up for a sound bite fight. Which I was because the ‘opposite’ view was apparently being touted by guess who – Katie Hopkins!
Or maybe it’s that making nasty comments about other women’s physical appearance is considered more headline worthy than somebody suggesting that other humans are ‘life unworthy of life’ as Hitler put it.