Recently the likes of Janet Street-Porter have been heartily bitching about blogs, which to her constitute a lake of online 'verbal diarrhoea'. It can't be denied - no, it can't, shush - that most blogs are indeed dreary streaks of semi-coherent shite, whose only purpose is to drone about the banalities of life with all the verve and wit of a lobotomised June Sarpong. But it's hard to imagine any blog being more poorly written, more clangingly solipsistic, more of an embarrassing knitting-class of tangled neurosis than the witterings of highly-paid madwoman Liz Jones. She wrote a column (a posh blog, essentially, like a Durex-assisted wank) for the Guardian for two years about preparations for her disgustingly expensive wedding, and managed to get a bestselling book out of her experience of single and married life. You can't say it isn't fascinating, but it's quite a painful stretch from the *good* kind of fascinating.
Jones' husband, one Nirpal Dhaliwal, is actually supposed to be the subject of this article, but his immediate relegation to paragraph two is apt. His very existence is defined by his subjugation to Jones, her all-consuming madness, cats, clothes and beauty products. By virtue of this, and since he was attracted to her in the first place, he is also a manifestly insane individual. Jones has written ad vomitum about him and his galloping deficiencies, and he occasionally feebly responds in kind with a sort of baby-gorilla chest-thump.
Last Friday he played an absolute blinder in the Daily Mail's deeply unpleasant Femail, by explaining 'How feminism destroyed real men'. A radical box-fresh idea that naturally brought the nation to its shamefully carpet-burned knees. And only Dhaliwal, whose myriad idiocies as detailed by his screeching wife are the sole reason he has a public profile at all, has the intellectual clout and gravitas to tackle it and break it down for the rest of us. Dhaliwal's thesis - try and keep up - goes thus: 'Back in the Nineties, emboldened by the successes of feminism, women sought to slay the dragon of patriarchy by turning men into ridiculous cissies [sic] who would cry with them through chick-flicks and then cook up a decent lasagne.' He goes on to point out that women actually want real men who can dominate them, rather than the 'pliant... effete' fops that they've made men into. Made with their own bare, furious, hormonal hands. Dhaliwal snorts with glorious dearth of self-awareness that he is 'a true feminist' because he only wants to be with a strong woman, like his wife, and in the same breath talks about 'the backfiring feminist conspiracy' which has feminised men and turned them into daisy-sniffing cockless wonders. (As we typed that, Word just tried to change it to 'cockles' - the feminist, Stalinist conspirators get everywhere.) So far, so irksomely misogynist drivel. But the real and proper belly-laughs come a little further on:
'The female orgasm is the natural mechanism by which men assert dominion over women: a man who appreciates this can negotiate whatever difficulties arise in his relationships with them. Last Christmas, my wife threw me out after discovering I'd been cheating on her. On the night we got back together, I made strong, passionate love to her. Unfaithful as I'd been, I was not going to let her have me over a barrel for the rest of our marriage. I needed to keep a sense of self and not allow her to mire me in guilt and a desperate quest of forgiveness. I needed to let her know what she would be missing if we broke up for ever. I gave her a manful bravura performance that night, and at the height of her passion, I asked her: "Who's the boss?" The question threw her. Initially she wouldn't give me a reply, but I enticed it from her. "You are," she finally gasped. "You are!"'
He is, you know. The manful, bravura boss. He's the boss of her, and the boss of himself, and we can't quite finish this sentence because we think we just wet ourselves. The grim fascination of the hellbound Jones-Dhaliwal union lies in the chicken/egg poser: which came first, this created monster or that one? The only real difference between he and Jones seems to be that she doesn't *realise* she passionately wants to be hated. Which one of them is therefore the furthest down Fucking Unsalvageably Demented Avenue is debatable. Dhaliwal is a magnificent thoroughbred specimen of a narcissist that any student of psychology would jump at the chance to examine, but his brutish, childish personality must still pale beside the infantile, punishing, terrifying make-up of his wife.
Now, we don't throw around such nasty mental health-related terms lightly, and we do try not to presume people's dickheadedness before it's been independently verified. But one seldom sees a less ambiguous case of two people being screamingly bonkers, totally evil and pointless. It's rather satisfying to know it, even though they are getting filthy rich from writing absolute crap about each other, and we're not.
Dhaliwal would be doing a disservice to his own sex, who last time we looked hadn't actually morphed into a race of subservient Hugh Grant-esque blusterers, if it weren't for the fact that none of his absurd generalisations have anything to do with men. It's all about him. The subtext of the thing - 'I deeply resent the woman without whom I could never have landed a book deal, she has emasculated me, and... and that makes me... oh *God*! What have I *become*!?' - could brain a charging hippo. He's trying to make his own weaknesses and failings universal, so they can be someone else's problem, namely ours. He's got mad skills in this.
In a Guardian interview (the paper's indulgence of them is a bit beyond an ironic joke now) during which the journalist's colleague turned up and berated Dhaliwal for his many sins, the beratee justified himself with Feeble Deflection #1 - 'I'm not the only shit husband, shit boyfriend, whatever.' The colleague leaves soon after this dazzling critic-silencer, her half-full wine glass standing like an accusatory pointy finger on the table. Dhaliwal, unperturbed, replies to a text from Jones, thus proving to the rather wet and admiring journalist that he Really Cares. (The journo obviously has a battleaxe of a missus who's ripped his balls off and fed them to her closet-lesbian friends.)
Their relationship, judging from this and the excruciating yet horribly compelling M1 pile-up that is Jones' writing, is some perpetual face-off. A tantrum-off, a sulk-off. Just as you can't believe some chronic junkies are still able to ambulate, it beggars belief that the Jones-Dhaliwal union is still intact, when it's like the ultimate battle between shattered self-esteem and universe-gobbling ego, squared. You're forced to judge them as they play out their lives in public. It's another reason why they should be put in a bin and sent to Saturn with only a bag of crisps and a gun and two bullets (if they're good). They compel you to have horrid thoughts about them, thoughts that are so un-Christian they could make Rowan Williams spontaneously combust. Their relationship only exists to be dissected. It's a pathetic big-eyed lab monkey with electrodes sticking out of its arse.
At least if they stay together and bombard us with ever more soul-destroying bollocks, Dhaliwal won't get to impregnate any other woman, and the Antichrist will be thwarted in his mission to inhabit a human body for a bit longer. Which is just the kind of nasty, unimaginative thing one of the pair of them would spit out, but that's what happens when you read their drivel. It takes over your brain. Don't do it, kids. Just shout 'WHO'S THE BOSS?' if you see Dhaliwal in the street. (A crude but effective loudhailer can easily be fashioned from a rolled-up sheet of paper.)
Oh please stop now.