Devil’s Advocate is a regular column purposefully assuming a distinctly alternate viewpoint on one of the hot topics of the week.
So it was supposedly another ‘lucky escape’ for Katie Waissel for Sunday, as she escaped the boot from The X Factor for the 14,364th time this series.
But how exactly was it a lucky escape? The following days have seen yet another barrage of disgusting insults thrown at her with feverish glee and no little let-up.
If confused visitors from another galaxy were to wonder aloud why she is being forced to suffer so, how would we explain? Well, it seems that Katie’s somehow brought it on herself by shamelessly wanting to be successful (the cheek!), having talent and also believing in herself (the nerve!), and possessing a confidence that has been deemed ‘unbecoming’ (the witch!). Strange, isn’t it, that it only seems to be ladies who are disallowed from publicly flaunting such self-assurance, as it seems absolutely fine for male rapper after male rapper to boast about how their very presence on earth is proof of God’s existence, so miraculous are their skills.
It wasn’t her fault that she was chosen to be among the final contestants for this series of The X Factor, picked over media-appointed charity case Gamu. She merely did what she had to, and from then on it was Cheryl Cole’s choice. However, it seems that she’s still a bit too loved by the public to face a full backlash.
So instead it was time to focus a nation’s fury on a relative unknown. And if there’s anything that shows off how cretinous we as a nation are, it’s how young women such as Katie are treated when the morons at large get wind of a free-for-all, finding somebody naïve enough to expose their dreams for a primetime audience to pick apart.
Thus plenty of people who should know far better feel absolutely no shame in insinuating that Katie’s a slut, as though even such sexual proclivities would be relevant as to whether or not she can actually sing. There’s absolutely no proof beyond some dodgy tabloid claims, but that’s still more than enough evidence to make her out as some sort of scarlet woman. How lovely.
Then – oh, and then! – there’s all the bile about her appearance. Let’s get this right: we’re taught over and over again that it’s not all right to make fun of someone’s appearance, with anti-bullying campaigns galore endorsed by completely suitable role models such as N-Dubz, but it’s open season when faced with someone we don’t like? I must have missed the second part of that lesson on morality, otherwise what we currently have on our hands is a load of slavering half-wits who think it’s okay to make slurs against a 24-year-old in public forums that she and her friends and family are bound to read, and which the person in question can do nothing about – for if they had the temerity to complain they’d only be making it worse for themselves. It’s beyond cruel. It’s also bullying of the most despicable form, ganging up against someone who’s completely defenceless.
She’s not the first though, oh no. Personally, I never found Heather Mills to be particularly likable. Given that I don’t actually know her though, it seemed only fair to withhold judgement. Though I can say with absolute certainty is that I far preferred her to the vile idiots – which on that occasion unfortunately included Jonathan Ross – who thought it okay to make jokes about her disability, just because they thought she was a gold-digger.
I can never imagine the bravery that it would take to carry on after losing a leg – the rehabilitation, the regrets, the fears, the indignities. However, I can pretty much must up the same sort of fury that I’d acquire were that luvvable wuvvable ‘Wossy’ taking the piss, not by some sort reasoned argument about her divorce from Sir Macca, but instead by poking fun at the horrendous result of a tragic accident. Mind you, this sort of treatment has also fairly recently been doled out to Jade Goody when she first appeared on Big Brother and “Dr” Gillian McKeith on the current series of I’m A Celebrity, among many, many others. (Actually, is it just something to do with long-haired blondes? Maybe if Katie goes brunette and opts for a bob she’ll be flying to the top of the charts come Christmas-time.)
As though it wasn’t bad enough, this all comes at a time when Ann Widdecombe, a woman with hateful views and a disgusting voting record as an MP, somehow gets away with it all by dancing ineptly on Strictly Come Dancing, thus ensuring that in a week of two she’ll be officially hailed as a ‘national treasure’. (Perhaps it’s funny, though for some reason my mouth’s adopted a sneer rather than a smile.) Katie’s never done anything to us, yet somehow Ann prospers despite her active support – while in a position of power – for the sorts of laws which harangued homosexuals and her own sex.
To put it plainly: currently children in Britain watching TV on a Saturday night are learning the invaluable lesson that it’s better to be a nasty, empty-hearted buffoon than a talented, ambitious individual. Because if you’re the latter, it’ll be fine for others to do whatever they wish to unsettle, unseat and unnerve you, before throwing you to the other wolves so they can have their share. Shame on us all. If there's any justice Katie should go on to win The X Factor, it's the least she deserves after being able to withstand such abhorrent behaviour with a quiet dignity.
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