Dylan Jones: 'People say you find the biggest bitches in Hollywood, but actually you’ll find them in British politics'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

"Life's a bitch," they say, "and life's got lots of sisters." Oh, and don't we know it: men often like to think that bitching is one of the defining characteristics of women – even women we love. It's also something men often pretend is beneath them.

But if we're honest, we know that it's not. You know we bitch. And we bitch for exactly the same reasons women do: out of indolence, ego and spite. As Morrissey once so adroitly explained, we hate it when our friends become successful, and so we bitch about them almost as much as about people we genuinely dislike.

The thing is, we don't call it bitching, we call it power gossiping. Actually that's not true, as we'd hate to give it a label, but power gossiping is what it is. If we can undermine someone, we will. If we can plant a seed of doubt, tell a tale of unbecoming behaviour, then we will.

We used to call this sort of thing character assassination, because that somehow dignified the process (even though we knew it really didn't). And if we could slowly build up a picture of someone we wanted to undermine – regardless of how inaccurate that picture might be – then we would, by stealth, and with joy. Because, just like those venal, gossipy women we despise, we are nasty, insecure beasts at heart.

People like to say that you find the biggest bitches in Hollywood, or in the fashion business. But you actually find the biggest bitches in politics, and – surprise, surprise – the biggest bitches are always men. Politics is all about power – power at someone else's expense. And there's no better way to undermine someone than by starting a whispering campaign. Because once a campaign is started, you can't stop it until it's over. And if you've been malicious enough, it's usually over pretty quickly. I've been told the same story about a high-profile British politician at least half-a-dozen times over the past three weeks, and I'm becoming so inured that I've started to believe it. In fact, I can even picture it.

Like I said, life's a bitch, and life's got lots of brothers.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

Comments