Simon Carr: You can go too far in cursing

Now when Brown is accused of anything, it improves his reputation

Share
Related Topics

In the Kabbala – or it might have been in a Dennis Wheatley novel quoting the Kabbala – there is the warning that curses have to find their mark otherwise they return to the curser. Life tells us that this assertion is true and useful, and the best argument against cursing there is.

We in the media are always cursing people. It's actually written into my employment contract. We send out evil thoughts, and sometimes they find their mark and create a victim of some public figure – an MP, a pop singer, a football player. It doesn't look very nice written like that, but there it is.

However, when the curse fails, the target rises up stronger than he or she was before. It's karma, or cosmic justice, or that thing Nietschze understood.

For instance, for two years, Gordon Brown's fortunes were sinking day by day under revelations, accusations, raillery, mockery. He couldn't do anything right. And then came his letter of condolence to the soldier's family. The Sun – and not only they – piled in, publishing page upon page of the most retributive scorn.

And from that very moment the prime minister's fortunes began to improve. Somehow, the curse missed the mark. Now, when he is accused of practically anything, his reputation improves. He's been bullied so much the accusations of bullying seem wet. He may dish it out but by Crikey he can take it.

Under this law, you wouldn't want to have spent six months telling him that he was "pathetic" and "a loser". Those curse-like sentiments may yet return to Cameron with a vengeance.

Something similar happened to Nick Griffin on his Question Time appearance. He was thoroughly vilified and yet he wasn't crushed. Goodness knows, it wasn't his performance that saved him. His enemies were diminished slightly more than he was by the appearance.

It may not be a cosmic law but a sense of fair play in the public. When media tormentors get above themselves – or ourselves – public opinion comes in on the side of the underdog, no matter how doglike he is. What are the "lessons to be learnt," as politicians say? It shows that good manners are a more powerful weapon than abuse.

At a media reception once, I saw the Queen smile gently at one of us and turn away without saying anything (her interlocutor had tried to prolong the conversation). Oh, how we winced, how we came away with the feeling our colleague had got above herself.

Also, if we moralists and accusers produce the full list of charges, with all the conclusions in capitals – the readers and consumers don't have anything to add. They aren't engaged. They pass on.

So, we need to be more devious. That is, much better mannered. With Nick Griffin, we should have said: "How interesting, Mr Griffin, tell the viewers more."

And to damage Gordon Brown ... but then why would you want to damage Gordon? He's come through the fire – he's tempered and new. Everyone admires Gordon now. (I'm trying to follow my own advice, and it isn't easy.)

simoncarr@sketch.sc

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Manager - OTE £40,000

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This web-based lead generation ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Benedict Cumberbatch attends a special screening of his latest film The Imitation Game  

Benedict Cumberbatch race row: What's the actual difference between 'coloured' and 'person of colour'?

Matthew Norman
Pressure is growing on Chris Grayling to abandon the Government bid to advise Saudi Arabia on running its prisons (Getty)  

What in sanity’s name is Chris Grayling doing in the job of Justice Secretary?

Matthew Norman
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century