Mr Disgusting speaks: Giles Coren hates his readers and the feeling should be mutual

A brief disquisition on a dickhead.

The bosses at The Times and Sunday Times seem to think Giles Coren is a draw. He appears in the papers at least three times a week and ads for his radio show — the broadcasting equivalent of being accosted by a cokehead in the private member’s club of the Fourth Circle of Hell — adorn most editions. I’m not so sure it’s true though, particularly as Coren seems to treat his privileged position and audience with abject contempt.

His latest dispatch is a prime example of the “Will this do? And if not ‘Fuck you’” approach that Coren takes to his copy. Under the headline, Your fat brain can’t wait for a Bridgerton binge, he delivers a screed against anyone who has consumed more than one episode in a sitting during the lockdowns.

Perhaps Coren has not read any of the many articles in the very newspapers in which he appears that list all the television that’s a ‘must-see’ or maybe he was just, as Fleet Street’s premier Phil Space, simply groping around for a topic to fill the column inches he wastes on a weekly basis. Regardless, his rant is extremely revealing. He writes:

…have you been bingeing? I assume you must have been. Because, from what I’ve read in the papers and seen on social media, that’s what everyone is doing. Nobody has watched, for example, the first two Bridgertons and quite liked them and declared that they might watch another one tonight.

They’ve all “binged” the whole lot in a day and lie dribbling and bereft now, like depleted meth-heads, endlessly googling “Brodgrton sewrries 2 rlls date?” with their numb thumbs and boggled eyes, unable to conceive of life without another fix of thin, bonktastic gruel, loosely set in the olden days.

That’s a classic Coren paragraph melding needlessly unpleasant imagery shot through with his hatred of anyone less fortunate than him (“depleted meth-heads”) with an insistence that he is too intelligent to be taken in by the things that his lessers enjoy (“another fix of thin, bonktastic gruel”).

Despite having only recently tipped into his fifties, Coren likes to write as if he were a geriatric colonel from the shires scrawling indignant letters to The Daily Telegraph’s letters page. Having been in a secure position at The Times since 1993 — 23 years in luxurious captivity — Coren observes the real world with anger and confusion. He continues:

… you are intellectually obese. It’s the new epidemic. Your mind has grown so flabby with overconsumption of dreck TV that, like the pudding-faced kids in the tower blocks who live on fried chicken and Red Bull, it is now all you want. And we are, as a result, living through an intellectual obesity crisis.

I suppose Coren’s expensive education — Hampstead School followed by Westminster then Oxford — leads him to assume that he is born to rule but not having the ambition, application, or aptitude, he has settled for sneering at the common people from the confines of a column. That crack about people in tower blocks would be palmed off as a joke if you confronted him with it, but that thought and the formulation of words used to express it would only occur to someone who actually felt that.

Further down the piece, Coren comes to what he has been watching and, acting as if it was not a show on Netflix that has received hymnals in every one of the broadsheets, writes:

I’ve been watching a French show called Dix Pour Cent [Call My Agent], on and off, for a year or so. It’s good. It’s grown-up and inclusive and funny and the foreign language makes it just enough of an effort to watch that it keeps you glued. People I recommended it to said, “Ugh, French? Sorry. After a long day I just want to binge on rubbish.”

But in the last few days, with the announcement that a fourth series has been commissioned, everyone has gone tonto for it. This is not because it is suddenly accessible. Or suddenly not in French. It is because there is now a lot of it. And the dead-eyed, box-goggled, brain-whacked masses can at last be bothered to flick it on with one fat thumb and sit there dribbling for a day-and-a-half until it is over.

When Giles like it, you see, it was sophisticated. But it had to be delivered in bulk for the bovine masses who aren’t as smart as him or as inclined to refer to it by its French title to further assert their superiority.

Mais bien sûr, Giles est un salaud.

Having done the insults Coren realises he needs to stick in a bit of ‘analysis’ to give the column a bit of weight. His attempt is lacklustre:

We haven’t chosen this way of watching you know. It has been chosen for us by the networks and platforms, for whom the easiest thing is to churn out endless iterations of the same product and get as many of us hooked as they can — just like McDonald’s. That’s why on the Netflix homepage there is a banner promotion for “Binge-worthy TV Programmes – when it comes to great TV, portion control is for suckers”.

We haven’t chosen Giles Core you know. He has been chosen for us by the newspaper and editors, for whom the easiest thing is to churn out endless iterations of the same supercilious, self-satisfied snark shovellers.

But whenever Coren tries to position himself as better than you, just remember his track record. Here are just some of his greatest hits:

In 2008, he called Polish immigrant ‘Polacks’ in print and told them that “if England is not the land of milk and honey it appeared to them three or four years ago, then, frankly they can clear off out of it.”

In 2010, he tweeted a rant about his neighbour’s child playing the drums, which read:

“Next door have brought their 12-year-old son a drum kit. For fuck’s sake! Do I kill him then burn it? Or do I fuck him, then kill him then burn it?” He followed that up with the ‘punchline’: “Child for sale, charred and partially fucked. Has own drum kit.”

In 2011, he used his Twitter feed to break a privacy injunction and ended up facing the prospect of criminal prosecution over contempt of court.

In 2015, an article he wrote for The Sunday Times managed to shoot up the chart of Most Disturbing Things Giles Coren Has Ever Written, knocking fantasising about fucking and killing his neighbour’s child off the top spot.

In Giles and Kitty go to Antigua, he wrote about going on holiday with his then 3-year-old daughter:

I sit and stare at her, like the dippiest lover, not talking, transfixed by her beauty. Unable quite to drink it all in. Missing heartbeats at the way she gazes out at the sea through her long, curling lashes while slurping Coke through her pursed, plump little lips.

And doing this I realise how being on holiday with my tiny daughter is the most insanely romantic holiday, in some ways even the sexiest holiday, that I’ve ever had.

In 2017, he wrote a column for Esquire involving his then four-year-old son, in which he wrote that the boy was a ‘fat little bastard’ and a ‘chubby fucker’, going on to rant:

Arse on him like Vanessa Feltz and a full-frontal presentation at bath time that puts one in mind of a Gavin and Stacey-era James Corden or a well-waxed Christopher Biggins, all giggly on too much rosé.

He went on to write that he didn’t care what the boy grows up to be as long as he isn’t fat.

In 2018, his sockpuppet account on Twitter — written in broken English, named after a Polish character in his awful novel, and used to attack people who criticised him — was discovered by Jonathan Nunn.

Having read that consider how long you’d last in your job if you said or did the things that Giles Coren says and does.

He is paid handsomely to be a disgusting person and yet considers himself the superior of his readers and humanity in general. Watching a few boxsets pales in comparison to what Giles Coren consider acceptable.

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