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

Database Administrator

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: The role could involve w...

Science Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified secondary s...

Deputy Head of Science

£22000 - £36000 per annum + MPR / UPR: Randstad Education Southampton: Our cli...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Nigel Farage has urged supporters to buy Mike Read's Ukip Calypso song and push it up to the No 1 spot  

My limerick response to Mike Read’s Ukip Calypso

Simon Kelner
The number of ring ouzels have seen a 30 per cent decline in the last 10 years  

How the sight of flocks of ring ouzels helps to turn autumn into the new spring

Michael McCarthy
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London