🎵 You're just a jealous guy.... oh yeah... 🎵 : The number 1 crack that columnists and their fans love to throw at critics

... because they are very normal and not-at-all sociopathic.

I write this newsletter for… well, I’m not always sure of the reason.

On the one hand, it’s a good way to add a ‘revenue stream’ (can you tell I have to work with startup bros, sometimes?) to my ‘portfolio’ as a professional writer. On the other, it’s because I have an almost pathological desire to analyse the industry which has welcomed me into its waiting arms with all the kindness of Nurse Ratched on Pills Day.

The reason that people who think I’m a fuckhead believe I write this newsletter, however, is quite different. To that star-studded Coalition of the Willing, I am merely jealous, an oik who, having crawled his way up from the filthy scum-ridden route of Thetford Grammar School > Cambridge University > Pensions World magazine > Stuff magazine > Q magazine > Freelance > The Telegraph > Freelance > The Next Web > Freelance is so twisted with jealousy towards ‘real’ journalists that he cannot bear to witness their weekly or even daily genius.

The truth is: In my twenties, I desperately wanted a permanent slot as a columnist, frustrated that I was only ever a guest cock at the intellectual gangbang that is British comment journalism. But these days, I would rather staple my testicles to my thigh and sing God Save The Queen to the Army Council of the IRA in 1982 than have my grinning face on a byline over a weekly missive provided to the Racism Factory*. In the same way that a music critic — if they’re any good — isn’t actually jealous of, say, Billie Eilish when they write about her records, I’m not jealous of the journalists whose work is pushed through the meatgrinder of this newsletter. It is simply something to be analysed, an output from a system I believe to be broken.

Am I jealous of Caitlin Moran’s money? Of course. I too would like to have a huge house and seemingly endless opportunities while writing the same three or four columns over and over again, with increasing numbers of !!!!!! taking the place of where my soul once resided.

Am I jealous of David Aaronovitch or Daniel Finkelstein? No. I don’t have any desire to slow parcel off my credibility to sell arguments that an intelligent Year 5 pupil could pull to pieces in seconds.

When I write about something for this newsletter, I write it because it’s something that I care about. If it were simply a means of getting views, as one supine fan of India Knight alleged on Twitter last week, I would write about more popular things, like how amazing Taylor Swift’s Folklore is (but it really is!) or K-Pop or some shit.

Hammering away in the darkened shit mines of media criticism, covered in the human waste of the comment sections and the sheer hallucinogenic lies of the front pages is barely living. I’m here because I cannot help myself. As career moves go, it’s about as sensible as being a one-legged man applying for work at an Arse Kicking factory.*

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*Fact checker’s note: While the Arse Kicking factory is a literary conceit, the Racism Factory is a registered trademark of News Corporation and a solely owned subsidiary under the leadership of Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch.