Katie Hopkins is once again hitting the headlines with yet another trademark barb. The former Apprentice star (the only contestant ever to say ‘I Quit’ to Sir Alan) has directed her wrath onto someone that threw themselves in front of a train, presumably in a suicide bid (and not a misguided attempt to re-enact the opening scene of Skyfall).
Personally, there’s nothing that Hopkins has posted that has outraged me, and this occasion is no exception. While flippant (and what else can a Tweet be?) she’s right to be annoyed. I actually think that throwing yourself in front of a train is one of the most selfish ways to kill yourself. You have to think of the driver, the passengers and emergency services that have to endure the horror of your actions, not to mention the poor member of your family that has to identify you. This wasn’t the point that Hopkins was overtly making, but the argument of “how can you moan about a delayed train when someone’s died?” can seem less solid when you look at the whole picture.
But in these ultra politically correct days, God forbid we post what’s on our minds for fear of offending someone. Several responses to Hopkins claimed her comments were ‘anti-mental illness’. As if mental illness is a good thing? I’m all for getting rid of its stigma, but the ultra-sensitive way in which some go about this can actually hinder the cause.
I find myself sick to the back teeth of seeing links to Katie Hopkins’ Twitter feed with comments like “she’s gone too far this time…” and “absolutely disgusting, lock her up and throw away the key…”. Of course, she doesn’t give a monkeys and absolutely thrives on causing outrage, but much of the reaction at times a tad frustrating.
Hopkins has been fairly supportive of ex-footballer Jimmy Bullard, who was voted off I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here following a “bullying row” (as labelled by the popular media) when he spent approximately 30 seconds laying into X Factor nobody Jake Quickenden.
As part of a short exchange, Bullard asked Quickenden “Why the fuck are you in here? What are you? What sort of skill have you got?”. And fair enough. Quickenden is a relative unknown who has only been in the public eye for a matter of weeks. And indeed, since joining I’m A Celeb, he’s shown very little of note to prove he’s anything but a regular (boring) person compared to the other more established faces.
While I’m sure “Bullying Bullard” made for an irresistible headline for news outlets desperately looking for a story to stretch out of the ITV show, a bully – he is not. An annoying little shit, possibly, but not a bully.
“Bullying” is a label that’s nowadays more carelessly thrown around than the words of some people that are actually accused of it. Again, being ultra-sensitive can be even more detrimental.
When I was at school, I only ever experienced what I would call ‘bullying’ once. It was very light, in my opinion, and it only served to make me a stronger person, and grow a pair of balls. Not right away: I never faced up to the bullies, spent most of my school years introverted and was a fairly quiet pupil. However in the years to come I told myself how I should have reacted at the time, and have used that experience when reacting to real, grown up problems. And I’m a better person for it.
Looking back now, there were probably many occasions that if I were at school in 2014, would be classed as bullying. A bit of name calling, a few jokes at my expense, someone sending me a rude message on Faceparty (under 25’s look it up) all stuff that went straight over my head, even at an age where the smallest of problem seemed like a major catastrophe.
Had I been a pupil in 2014, I’d probably be a nervous wreck. I’m glad I was brought up in a world where, although I knew I could turn to people if I was in trouble at school, I had a better grasp of what was real bullying and what was something I could handle myself, and even turn to my advantage.
And it’s probably for that reason that I never cringe or experience outrage at any of Katie Hopkins’ tweets. My only negative reaction is reserved for those sensitive souls who can’t cope with what she has to say next.
To coin a phrase: If human beings had tiptoed around for generations, the soles of our feet would be a lot weaker.