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Homelefty_lunacyJames O’Brien – the thing that’s sent to try us

James O’Brien – the thing that’s sent to try us


Continuing our series of articles by the much-loved TCW writer Nick Booth, who died in September. It was first published on February 8, 2019. You can read Kathy’s introduction here.

I KNOW what you’re going to say about Luvvie Lout James O’Brien. He’s rude, arrogant and obnoxious.

Well, yes, I grant you that.

He’s like something from a Stephen King film, you’ll say. That awful piercing, voice that sounds like it comes from a dark, dark place.


To be fair, James O’Brien really is a shock jock. That’s how he feeds his family.

When he goes home his kids will ask what he did at work. And he will say: ‘I made people lots of people feel angry and insulted and goaded them into phoning a premium rate number.’

Wow, dad, the children will say, we’re so proud of you. What happened next?

‘My rude researchers wordlessly put the callers on hold indefinitely, where they hang in limbo while racking up the call commission that my employer shares with the line provider. It is – and I don’t think I am being unfair to say this, because listeners to my show will know I am not in any way a conceited man at all – I regard it as an honour to broadcast because you, the listener, want me to hold the great and the not so good to account. In fact, as regular listeners to my show will no doubt attest, I would humbly proclaim myself to be deeply, honestly and sincerely . . . ’

Er, OK dad, the kids will say, backing out of the door as a familiar pattern emerges.

Later, James O’Brien, like many a moral grandstanding middle-class Left-wing parent, will share his account of this touching moment online.

My seven-year-old just said: ‘Dad, you destroyed Jacob Rees-Mogg and systematically dismantled his phoney Brexit narrative. All the teachers and parents at my school say you should be presenting Newsnight!’ And then he offered me his last biscuit. I’m so humbled! I’m tweeting through my tears! #HugMeWhileITweetForTheWorld

Many of you will react to James O’Brien with horror. He arouses all your basest emotions. Fear, loathing, anger. What sort of a god would create this broadcasting chimera?

If this is how you react, I understand because I was the same.

Then I realised I had got it all wrong. The reality is that James O’Brien has been put on earth to test us. We can benchmark our own civility by the way we react to this pompous fiend in human form.

This way, we can learn to love life through James O’Brien. Rude is good.

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Nick Booth
Nick Booth
Nick Booth is a freelance writer.

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