As society becomes more liberal, there are fewer legitimate hate figures. But we’ve got to sneer at somebody - haven’t we? There are groups of people you only have to mention, or make a feeble joke about, to get admiring laughs. If anybody points out that the sneer targets don’t really exist, or don’t do what they are rumoured to do, and even if they did it wouldn’t be funny, the original jokester is outraged.
So who can we sneer at?
cyclists (use the road meant for drivers)
Ugg boots (uggly)
American spelling (wrong)
Apple users (snobs)
Fiona Bruce (smug)
James Corden (ubiquitous)
Richard Dawkins (abrasive)
Brian Cox (smug)
Sandi Toksvig (That voice!)
Myleene Klass (bland)
Caroline Quentin (loud and "a fishwife")
illiterates who misplace apostrophes
hipsters who eat avocados
journalists (liars and doorsteppers)
actors (luvvies declaiming Shakespeare)
Tescos and the people who shop there.
Those awful people in front of me in the checkout queue.
Music liked by teenage girls (Some people even used the Manchester bombings as an excuse to sneer at music liked by teenage girls.)
Kids today (And some people even used the Grenfell disaster to point out that young people ought to imitate firefighters, not pop stars or footballers.)
Vegans (It's OK to tell complicated unfunny jokes and shaggy dog stories about them, and share them will all your friends on Facebook. It used to be "vegetarians".)
Here’s a quick question for my vegan friends: I’ve been buying vegan cheese and milk for two weeks now, and been learning how to cook a wide range of non-meat and non-dairy dishes. My question is, how much does it cost to go to one of those Swiss clinics? (Via Twitter. The jokes are always as funny as this.)
The Beckhams (He has a high voice and tiny eyes, apparently.)
Kirsty Allsop (Craft is middle-class, we don’t need her "jolly hockeysticks, headgirly" programme, complained writers-in to the BBC.)
Public mourners (Who stage silent demonstrations after disasters or terrorist attacks, and leave flowers at the scene.)
Black Friday, Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day (Chavs buying chavvy things, hypnotised by the media. Somehow media hypnosis doesn’t work on us.)
Coca Cola (The bubbles are evil because the company is a branch of US imperialism and the stuff is "so aggressively marketed".)
the media (always "panicking" and "over-reacting" about the weather)