You’ll have seen the article by now and you’ll probably have shared it with friends, be that either over the internet or otherwise. And that’s why you’re part of the problem.
On Tuesday, the Daily Mail published an article by Samantha Brick, ‘writer, award winning producer, journalist’, in which she displayed to the world her high opinion of herself.
“But there are downsides to being pretty — the main one being that other women hate me for no other reason than my lovely looks”, Brick explained. She finished the article with the line: “Perhaps then the sisterhood will finally stop judging me so harshly on what I look like, and instead accept me for who I am”, prompting many – I’m sure – to reply with words similar to ‘a deluded bitch’.
The article, like most things easy to laugh or get angry at on the web, went viral. At the time of writing, the article has 5,190 comments, with the vast majority of them calling Brick out for her breathtaking arrogance. Celebrities mocked her, allowing the article to reach yet more people. Fake Twitter profiles were created, pretending to be Brick. Hilarity ensued.
And, in doing so, the world has given the Daily Mail exactly what they wanted.
The more people talk about the article, the more people will find it and click on it. Advertisers will be reaping the rewards. The article has been successful, make no bones about it.
And let’s get this right, this is not bad journalism. It, in fact, does everything a column should: provoke debate, give the world a talking point. The fact that an awful lot of people don’t agree with the opinions held by the writer is not a sign of the dumbing down of journalism; it doesn’t show that journalism is ‘dead’, it shows that it’s alive and well and fully capable of causing a stir and setting the agenda.
Of course, it isn’t exactly groundbreaking journalism and Hugh McIlvanney is hardly going to be spinning in his grave, but then that wasn’t the purpose of the article (well, you’d hope not, anyway). The intention of the writer was not to create amazing journalism – it was simply to communicate a controversial opinion well (which she did, frankly) and then sit back and watch the furore commence.
And that’s exactly what’s happened. Everyone is now talking about the article, to such an extent that Brick had another piece published today in which she claims that the hatred now felt towards her just serves to prove her point: that people are jealous of her good looks. Channel 4 discussed the article in their main news slot tonight. Seriously. More hits, more revenue. The Mail are loving this.
To make matters worse, Brick and the Mail now have the moral high ground. Today she spoke of the ‘bile’ from the public in response to the article. She mentioned the ‘trolls’, the Twitter mob, and the bullies. You’ve hurt her feelings, internet, and that’s not very nice.
Just as a fair few people agreed with the original article (I know, shocking – people can have a different opinion to you!) an awful lot of sympathetic comments have been sent Brick’s way. So now the Mail have succeeded in showing that the internet is a vile place where people can’t make points without abusing someone.
They’ve succeeded in driving yet more traffic to their site, taking the internet by storm and taking over other mediums as well.
Imagine the smug look on Paul Dacre’s face right now. He’s won.
The Daily Mail have won again. Well done, world. Well done.
I do realise the irony, by the way, of me criticising people for talking about an article and then me talking about it myself. But the Mail have already won, there’s no going back now.