Saturday, 3 January 2015

Katie Hopkins: I'm not listening

Cross-post from Eclectic Blue

I have been reading an awful lot of things about Katie Hopkins. I do not pretend to know a great deal about her, if I am being honest. I understand she was a candidate on ‘The Apprentice’, a ‘reality’ TV show I have never seen. She is a columnist for ‘The Sun’, a newspaper I only ever look at when I am at the barber’s. And she says lots of horrible things like, ‘All Scots have Ebola so I hope they don’t bring it to England’. (I cannot vouch for the accuracy of her last remark since I haven’t seen the full text but to find it I would have to search and I am not going to do that.)

Hopkins seems to make a living not through any discernible talent, but by being controversial, by which I mean offensive. Class-ridden, bigoted, unpleasant, spiteful are just some of the words that apply to Ms Hopkins, but then you can apply that to lots of media commentators. Richard Littlejohn, Jeremy Clarkson are other examples of people who pour out right wing polemic, some of which I find very offensive, but that’s my problem, isn’t it?

The likes of Hopkins do often cross the line but that’s what her paymasters at The Sun want her to do, but perhaps their readers are masochistic and enjoy having the piss ripped out of them by a classic Tory snob. Anyway, it’s their choice to buy the paper.

And in a free country, which this remains, just about, we have to accept that people have the right to offend us, that Katie Hopkins may be an unpleasant person with unpleasant views but she is entitled be as obnoxious as she wants, within the law. Whilst I would certainly question that we have a free press, since all of it, except The Guardian, is owned by a rich company or rich individual but that’s neither here nor there. And Hopkins’ odious comments are surely not the province of the police who surely have more important things to deal with?

It doesn’t matter who we are, the right to take the piss and be obnoxious is essential. Whether you are Scot who is offended by Hopkins, or a muslim who is offended by a cartoon, you just have to accept that the right to offend exists in this country.

With Hopkins, the answer is simple: if you don’t like the stuff she writes, as I don’t, then don’t read it. If she irritates you on the TV, then switch if off until she’s gone again. But don’t let her upset you because that is what she wants.

She is the modern day equivalent of the ‘Shock Jock’, the disc jockey who set out to be controversial and so attract listeners. If no one is shocked and offended, Hopkins can disappear to the obscurity she once inhabited. You know what to do to send her there.

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