This whole article is a parody of this. If you haven’t read the horrible Rod Liddle piece, you probably won’t get this.
My New Year’s resolution for 2012 was to become a bigot.
Nothing too bigotty: a light moment of racism posing as ‘political incorrectness’ on national TV; working myself into a really frothing high dudgeon at the idea of the poor once a week; or that newly-invented bigotry: hatred of the disabled.
There’s lots of money to be made from being a bigot. If you can reliably work the readers of a tabloid into a lather with a mixture of baseless opinion and made-up statistics, the editors will literally chuck money at you until you can afford to go and live in Florida like Littlejohn.
And it is far easier to be a bigot than it ever was. It used to be thought of as bad form to cultivate outright hatred of the disabled. It was felt that you had an unfair advantage because they were, well, disabled. Nowadays, however, with the imprimatur of the government you no longer have to be ashamed about kicking people’s crutches away. After all, what are their crutches but a crutch? Thanks, Lib Dems!
And being a bigot is incredibly fashionable: from Clarkson to Littlejohn, from Jeremies Kyle through Vine, the airwaves are dominated by men in middle age who are desperate to find someone to blame for their thinning hair and thickening waistlines. Impotent? That will the fault of the gyppoes at Dale Farm! Sense of malaise at having done nothing with your life? It’s probably the fault of the spendthrift Labour government. With every follicle that closes our moral certainty increases.
The world is shit. And it’s everyone else’s fault.
And who can blame us? Not you lot. Every time we find a new scapegoat, you all get to put the boot in, too. As long as we cultivate an air of national nastiness, in which there’s no problem that can’t be solved by puking hot bile at it, you can all vent your frustrations, too. Just realised that the mortgage payment will bounce? That’s the fault of a feral youth.
The latest figures about bigotry came out this week. They suggest that 50% of those writing deliberately provocative, ill-informed, poorly-constructed opinion pieces in the tabloids are actually fit for proper work. Some of us don’t believe a word of what we’ve been paid to say, and yet we churn it out, day after tedious day. Some have been doing it for more than a decade.
But when you suggest that these people are nothing more than loathsome pondslime you get accused of victimising the mentally infirm.
Well, I’m not. I’m victimising the morally infirm.
Or at least, I’m trying to. But it will probably go in one ear and out of the other. Like the imaginary bullets Melanie Phillips dreams of firing into the heads of gay Islamicists from the BBC.
The Right-wingers will say, hey you fat old fag-enabler, more money is spent on Jobseekers’ Allowance than is spent on maintaining out eight or nine top bigoted columnists. To which I say: not by much.
But that doesn’t make being an awful, twisted bigot; a festering, crapulent, pustule of a person, who has a picture in the attic of someone who gave up long ago and hanged themselves in despair; a monstrous toad who fell into a bucket full of wet lips okay, does it?
That’s like saying we shouldn’t get worked up about people being cautioned by the police for the common assault of a pregnant woman because murder is much worse.
It’s a silly argument.
More than anything, though, those posing as bigots just to get their tabloid-assured moment in the sun, and the odd appearance on Celebrity Come Dine With Me are doing a disservice to those who really need our help: the actual bigots. Rather than directing our expressions of concern, and warmth, and facts to those who could really use them, we end up shouting at Rod Liddle. So nobody wins. Except Rod Liddle.
It has been easier to pose as a bigot ever since tabloids started espousing positions through their own self-interest that would previously only have been held by unspeakable turds: in favour of torture, against human rights, in favour of turning our backs on refugees, the idea that disabled people are disabled through some fault of their own, demonisation of the poor.
I think we should all pretend to be bigots for a month, and… No, hang on. That’s a horrible idea. A stupid idea.
Let’s not, eh? Let’s really not. Instead, let’s not be bigots at all for a while. The next time you hear the news, or the government, or a neighbour saying something that is clearly intended just to get you blaming someone else for your problems, why don’t we all have a cup of tea? Or a sit down? Or a ponder of the ways in which we’re culpable for making other people’s lives miserable.
Tell you what, let’s all pretend not to be bigots for a month. Or a year? Who knows, we might discover we’re not actually bigots after all…