Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Katie Hopkins, Voltaire and the Despots

What to make of ‘My Fat Story’, in which former Apprentice candidate Katie Hopkins deliberately set out to gain four stone in order to lose it all again and thereby make a point about obesity?

One thought immediately springing to mind is that what might have worked over that defined timescale for KH, both in the gain and the loss, is not of demonstrable scientific relevance to anyone who is trying to lose weight personally or who (in KH’s forceful opinion) ought to be doing so. Another is that KH may in fact have looked better at the end of the trial, having involuntarily failed to shed all the weight she put on, than at the beginning. And when KH is caught on camera saying “I hate you, fat people, for making me do this”, we can only hope that once again she was setting out to provoke reaction, rather than seriously believing in the logic of her agonised comment.

But this of course gives better insight into what this may really have been all about. Let's go straight to the scene where KH entered into debate with four ‘fat activists’. Yes indeed, yesterday’s Not The Nine O'Clock News satire as embodied in Proud To Be Stout and their extremist offshoot Fat Louts Against Bikinis had become today’s reality. Reality that was illustrated amply by the attempt of one of the activists, under sustained provocation from KH, to report her to the police for a hate crime.

And if we tie this in with KH’s further recent attempts to rattle cages via Twitter, succeeding not only in antagonising professional offence takers so far that they reported her (again) to the police but also in bringing about a pompous police announcement to the effect that social media crimes will not be tolerated, this may only show what a valuable role she is playing in modern Britain. Namely, a professional offence giver, testing the UK's long proclaimed defence of free speech against ever increasing encroachments.

To adapt the saying that is frequently attributed to Voltaire but was probably devised by his biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it, even if it makes you sound like a bit of a prat at times, and especially if it really annoys the DESPOTS* in our midst”.

* Dangerously Earnest Squadron of Professional Offence Takers - look down to the recent "Delilah" post for explanation.

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