I’m a fan of controversy, I live for it. I bathe in the muck of righteous indignation and moral outrage. Give me a scandal and I’ll give you a massive, throbbing hate-erection. I’ve always had a certain respect for people who are able to take this little indignant seed that lives in all our bellies and cultivate it into a great, twist, painful plant, that takes roots in our intestines and grows our through our nostrils.
One such master of this form of rhetorical witchcraft is Katie Hopkins, a woman who has turned pissing people off into a very lucrative livelihood. She’s had multiple calls to have her banned from speaking, and a vast majority of supposed advocates of “freedom of speech” seem to have a pretty glaring blind spot where she is concerned. She’s targeted fat people, disabled people and refugees fleeing war zones, and has earned the hatred of those on both sides of the political spectrum, earning pretty sizeable fandoms AND Hate-doms in the process, and offending pretty much everyone except David “That’ll do Pig” Cameron and that guy in that field one time.
..here’s the thing.
She’s kind of a genius.
There isn’t really a “British Dream” in the same way that the uppity colonials have, but I’d wager if there were one it’d involve earning a living by moaning about things. This is what Katie Hopkins does. Not only that, but she’s so good at it that she pretty much has a 100% success rate. When Hopkins says “Rescue Boats? I’d use gunships to stop migrants” she isn’t presented a nuanced treatise on the relative value of human life in a post-nuclear, pre-singularity world, she’s crafting a an aerodynamically perfect bile bullet designed to carry out two very specific social functions.
A) Galvanise the far right little englanders that would probably sell their houses to lick her armpits, and
B) Piss off all the liberals by poking our bleeding hearts with a pointy stick.
That’s her whole spiel in a nutshell, the details may change, but she’s always reading from the same basic playbook, and the really messed up part? It works. Every. Damn. Time. All of us, from the absolute cretins who think that “she says wot people wanna ear innit? bloody foreigners ruin everything!” While chugging down their German beer and putting increasing pressure on their Swedish furniture, to the OTHER set of absolute cretins who think that “We need to ban this sick filth NOW! It’s reductive and transgressive, not to mention problematic and a whole bunch of other words my social studies teacher taught me last week!”
And here’s the thing, if you think that you’re safe because you fall into the much vaunted “third party” category, I’ve got some disappointing news for you sweetheart. You are part of the Katie Hopkins pain train as well! Hell, even I am, because I’m writing about her. Katie Hopkins has turned the talking head game into a solipsistic, kaleidoscopic perpetual motion machine powered by Nightmare Fuel that makes Dante’s hell look positively pleasant.
And she’s growing in popularity!
I still remember a time when Katie Hopkins was just a shouty has-been from a shit season of the Apprentice, now, she has a column in a national newspaper, her own tv show and over half a million followers on Twitter, She’s a brand, and you helped make it happen.