There are those who'd say that it's actually quite difficult being a columnist. You know, scratching around for something to write about, agonising over whether it's entertaining enough or not, wondering whether to do any research or not - and then just deciding to barrel through with some ill-informed prejudiced horseshit because you're of the school of hard knocks and tough luck and you reckon you know best:
Yes yes, I know. It's easy to mock. It may even feel right to mock someone so lacking in empathy, so ice-heartedly brutal, so lacking in compassion and understanding of other human beings and how they live their lives; it might seem like the most natural thing in the world to call them a purulent weeping wound on the arsehole of life. But would that be right? Would that be fair?
The Mail's defence of JSP's ignorant tripe sandwich to the PCC was, as ever, based on the right to offend by being completely fucking pig-ignorant and not doing any proper research, dressed up as 'well, she's entitled to her opinion'. It's one we've seen before towards Melanie Phillips's absolute tosh based on no credible evidence whatsoever regarding gay foster parents.
And of course that's true. If I had the opinion, for example, that all columnists are deviant scum who masturbate over pictures of raped kittens, that would be just an opinion as well, wouldn't it? But I think it would be wrong to express it if I couldn't be bothered to actually go and check for myself whether that was actually anything near to being the case or not - just out of, oh I don't know, a desire to try and be accurate as well as provocative, or wanting to have professional standards due to my privileged position of being able to have a platform in a national publication for my views, and wanting to get it somewhere near an approximation of correctness because of all that money I'm being paid, maybe. No...? Oh, no, then. Please yourselves.
So, it's pretty clear what columnists get paid for - to be provocative, not to be accurate. Say something controversial, whether it's true or not. And of course I'm all for freedom of speech, and I wouldn't like to see anyone prevented from doing so, not even the rubbish likes of Janet Street-Porter and chums. On the other hand, seeing as there is something called the PCC, why not try and be accurate in the first place? Why always fight complaints, rather than just admitting that you got it wrong because you did no research and couldn't be bothered to find out whether what you say was supported by any facts or not? Why be so fucking lazy?
More than anything, it's the pisspoor standards of these big-shot publications that is the real let-down, and again I find myself disappointed rather than angry. You'd kind of hope that every now and then one of these bozos would have their work chucked at them and be politely told that it's frankly not good enough - that they should anticipate or at least look into the counterarguments, if only to prove their own case. But maybe that's thinking too much. Maybe that's expecting too much. Just be provocative. Just say whatever you like, whether it's got any basis in truth or not; it doesn't matter, it's just a column that you get paid thousands of pounds a year to churn out. It doesn't matter that if you're shown to be wrong countless times, it erodes the credibility of everyone else working for the same organisation and trying their hardest to break real news? Why bother trying to make it right, so long as it's controversial?
Anyway, just for the record, as someone who has suffered miserably, deeply and profoundly throughout several years with the so-called 'trendy illness', let me just state that I haven't gone through it to pretend that I'm somehow fashionable or because I've got so much money that I don't know what to do with myself. A good clip round the ear doesn't actually work sometimes, and sometimes, some people are less capable of dealing with certain events and experiences than other people.
If you really can't understand that other people may experience the world differently than you, then all I have is pity rather than anger, because you must be a pretty vacuous piece of shit, and your life must be pretty empty - apart from all that misplaced hostility and ridicule towards people who can't help being any different from how they are, no matter how hard they try. Fuck you, and fuck your school of hard knocks attitude, Janet Street-Porter.