By David Worboys • 22 October 2020 • 12:43
Scum-bags and toe-rags. Contributors to the “popular” newspapers and Twitter tend to dismiss people they don’t relate to, or whose opinions they don’t share, in the most aggressive language. If the victims are fortunate, they may get away with being described as morons or idiots. At worst they are scum bags or toe rags.
Celebrities such as politicians, TV presenters, pop singers, footballers and royalty are constantly picked upon by invisible-commentators armed with a pen–or a keyboard. From Jeremy Corbyn and Bob Geldofto Wayne Rooney and Prince Harry, they have been mocked or viciously attacked.
Popular female targets range from Diane Abbott and Kim Kardashian to Meghan Markle, VictoriaBeckham and Nicola Sturgeon-all decent, harmless people with their own ways of doing things. Although it’s not easy to feel sympathy for people who are self-centred or palpably evil, I don’t find these terms appropriate even for such people in our society.
Donald Trump may be a thoroughly unpleasant person, self-absorbed, dishonest and unprincipled. He may preach lies and nonsense about his opponents and may have deeply flawed intelligence and judgement. But this doesn’t make him a scum bag. The Sunday Times claims still to be a quality paper and it has some interesting columnists and excellent contributors on subjects such as history, politics and economics. But, as it seeks to appeal to all levels of taste and education, it also has Camilla Long.
I have not met her and can only judge by what she writes, but she comes across as a bitter woman who hates the world around her. Many of her subjects have granted her an interview in good faith and almost all of them are, judging from her text and photographs, more attractive, more successful-and nicer people-than she is.
She, therefore, reacts resentfully by tearing them apart in the most hateful way. She mocks their appearance (buck teeth) questions their intelligence (airheads) and sneer at their occupations (clothes horses)for no apparent reason. Furthermore, she writes as if her readership goes along with her diatribes. “As we all know, she hasn’t a clue how to dress. ”Several things alarm me about this.
First is the esteem in which she seems to be held by the readers of this once fine newspaper (under Harold Hobson), and second, the fact that she was voted interviewer of the year in 2016 at the British Press awards.This exemplifies gutter journalism. To judge from her writing, she regards sex as something dirty. Her favourite words include, “bum”, “tits”, “shag”, “cock” and “crap”, terms we used at school.
She seems obsessed with body parts and bodily functions, described in suitably barrack-room language. What happened to kindness and courtesy? To me this crude intolerance towards the different views and choices, the character and appearance of others suggests she has her own problems. But she is not a toe rag.
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