Oh, Liz Jones, Liz Jones, Liz Jones. You write about not having 50p to cross a bridge as if it's like being murdered; you slag off a spelling mistake in a wine list in a beer-based pub for which you clearly aren't the target demographic; you go wandering around a dead woman's house to confect some kind of colour piece, but the only colour you end up painting is a rather dirty, muddy brown. I don't know what to make of you. No Sleep Til Brooklands felt pretty much the same way as I did when I read your piece today.
I've written about you before a few times. Sometimes I don't like you; sometimes I feel a bit sorry for you; sometimes I just can't make up my mind. Are you just stupid, or idiotic, or is the ditsy stupid persona a literary creation, a stroke of genius; or are you just, perhaps, actually incapable of any kind of empathy whatsoever? If it's the latter, I find it hard to rouse a great deal of hatred; and since the latter possibility is some kind of possibility, if not a more plausible possibility, necessarily, than the other two, I don't know where to go. Is it wrong to read what you write, and walk around the room, pacing like an angry ocelot peering through the bars at a fattened sparrow bouncing around, wanting to rip its wings off and tear it to pieces? Is that wrong, or is it the right response to feel? Because I just don't really know whether it is, any more, or not.
Believe me, I want to feel sorry. I want to feel the best of people. I want to think that people aren't toxic lumps of atoms splodged in the way of anything that's kind, or decent, or humane; I want to think of the world as a place in which people are, generally, good; as a place in which people don't make horrendous, appalling, cackhanded judgements about others, and themselves, and stuff - but then there's the evidence, you see, from my eyes, and ears and all of that, and then I wonder. Oh, do I wonder.
Oh, Liz. Liz. I want you to be a naive fool, or someone who simply lacks understanding of other people; there's nothing wrong with that, of course, and maybe I could understand you a little better, or the things you write, if I knew that were the case. It would make sense, then, that you'd bleat on about being poor while having an enormous house and uber-luxurious tastes; it wouldn't be because you were being deliberately idiotic to raise a few hackles - you'd simply be winding others up accidentally, and that would be, well, OK I suppose, given that that's the way you are.
But which are you? I wrestle with this all the time. But I suppose, in the end, I wonder if I should give up the guessing game for good. What does it matter whether you're a clever writer who's made up a comic persona of someone rather snooty who doesn't understand the real world, or whether you're just someone rather snooty who doesn't understand the real world? What does it matter at all, when articles like today's turn up, squeezing that corpse a little more to get some fresh juice out of it? If it's a sly comic persona, it's not funny this time; if it's really you writing that, then I do feel a bit sorry for you, but not very sorry, because it's not very good. Deliberately idiotic, or just idiotic? Maybe it's time to stop guessing, and just look at the words. And they write a pretty sad story.