And yet, come the end of the year, with every web site, newspaper and chav mag producing a 12 month retrospective, Katie Hopkins is leaping out at me from photos, from sound-bites and no doubt from tomorrow’s fish and chip wrappings too.
Katie Hopkins said this. Katie Hopkins said that. Outrageous Katie Hopkins. Katie Hopkins, how could she? Kate Hopkins rent-a-gob.
The latter moniker – rent-a-gob – I’ve seen in more than one publication. If I were her I’d copyright it right now; she seems the kind of girl who’d be up for making a fast buck.
My initial response was probably akin to that of many people: revulsion, a knee-jerk reaction to dismiss her as just another transient sneery mouthed reprobate. The shrew equivalent of a one hit wonder in the Gallup pop chart. Someone mad enough (and hard hearted enough) to make some money out of being universally disliked and then forgotten about.
But then it hit me that the most revolting thing about this kind of media event isn’t the poor hapless individual at the eye of the storm but the storm makers themselves. The thunder and lightning of the newspapers and TV execs who book her on their shows and shovel the excrement that falls out of her mouth into their column inches. The howling wind of the glossy mag editors who deliberately provoke her with irresistible punch-line issues and un-PC bandwagons that she can’t stop herself from jumping upon. And worst of all the all-pervading insipid rain of the general public that read and watch and Tweet and Poke and Klout about all the immaterial, unimportant nonsense that Katie coughs up just so she can watch us splutter and retch in joyous outrage and thus feel justified in doing it all again and again and again (and then smugly listen to the chink of cold coins falling hollowly into her deep, deep, soulless pockets).
I feel sorry for her.
She plainly craves recognition. Craves “fame”. Wants people to know her name, to know her by sight.
But it’s a bit like accepting the job of village idiot just because you can’t bear to be anonymous.
I daresay she’ll make a killing. I don’t know what the going rate is for appearing on a TV chat show these days but I bet it’s easier money than a real job. There’s already talk of her being on the next series of Big Brother. I’m sure they’ll make it worth her while just as she’ll make it worth their money. And then there’ll be the inevitable fall from grace. Then the carefully planned radio silence. And then the abashed, contrite, redemptive return. The cathartic outpouring of all her issues and how horrible it was to be so universally reviled. There’ll be a book deal on that particular horizon. Maybe even a regular appearance on kid’s telly or a TV magazine show with plenty of conscience.
And of course her opinion will be sought and bought on the next poor rent-a-gob that the media people will have temporarily shoehorned into the limelight by this point. Because there’ll always be another one. It's a fast moving queue. Like the role of Master of the Dark Arts in the Harry Potter books, nobody stays in the job for long; it’s cursed:
“So you want to be the next village idiot? Fantastic! We’re the people who can help you do it and we’ll all make a lot of money out of it into the bargain…”
Lord knows I’m more than happy for the village idiot to be reformed and redeemed but do we have to go through the endless pantomime of salacious baiting and vampiric bloodlust first?
Can’t we quieten the great god rent-a-gob once and for all by just choosing not to listen?
Because at the end of the day, who’s the greater idiot? The idiot who shouts or the idiot who drops everything to listen?
Did any of you lot actually hear what I just said…?