To maintain the pretence that alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is a wonderful human being, that Brexit is A Very Good Thing, that the UK is still some kind of world superpower, and that Covid-19 is not really killing tens of thousands of citizens, all this requires a unique skill set. A skill set that would be no use at all outside the hermetically sealed press bubble. But inside that bubble, it is richly rewarded.
Some of those thus rewarded are plainly dishonest and bad faith actors. Others merely know what their paper wants them to churn out, and oblige. As a result, their copy is ultimately forgettable. But from time to time, one of their number rises to the occasion, and produces something so bad that it is, well, bad. We had to wait until the very end of December for the very worst example. But it was worth the wait, or, maybe, not.
For it was not Desperate Dan Hodges who penned the worst column of 2021. Nor was it Richard Littlejohn recycling the kind of stuff he did back in the day at the Sun, where he recycled the kind of stuff he did before that at the Mail. Nor was it wacko Allison Pearson, or anyone else from the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph. No, the worst column of 2021 came from Jan Moir of the Mail. The subject matter is familiar to all.
“Ghislaine Maxwell gave Epstein a sheen of respectability but if you strip away the private jets, it's the Rotherham and Rochdale grooming scandals all over again … guilty of sex trafficking schoolgirls, but she is also guilty of betraying her own sex in unforgivable ways”. Sounds like Ms Maxwell is going to get both barrels here. And then, and then.
“The youngest victim in the Epstein/Maxwell scandal was 14, and most were in their mid to late teens. Which makes me wonder, at what age does someone move from child-victim status into a person who is responsible for their own actions?” One can imagine the sound of sub-editor heads hitting desks. But not at today’s Mail. And so she went there.
“When she was 15, Greta Thunberg began the school strikes and public speeches, which made her an internationally recognised climate activist”. WHAT THE MERRY FUCK DOES GRETA THUNBERG HAVE TO DO WITH IT? Would Madam care to dig a little deeper? Er, yes she would. “Shamima Begum … was the same age (15) when she travelled 3,000 miles from London to Syria to become an Isis bride”. WHAT?!? JAN! WAKE UP!!
As if. “You cannot be both enlightened and misguided at the same time, whatever your age”. ER, HELLO, THIS IS IRRELEVANT. But such is the quality of today’s punditry - not unadjacent to rock bottom - that Ms Moir gets away with it. Not only that, but she may even get herself into contention for another of those equally irrelevant awards, where the good and great of the media class reassure one another that they are still wonderful.
In today’s topsy-turvy world, nursers and carers earn a pittance, while the likes of Jan Moir are paid a fortune to churn out mindless rubbish. The state of Britain in a nutshell.
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