Shazia Mirza’s Weekend Column

Someone sent me an email recently. It said, “We have been observing you and we have reached our verdict. You are shit. You are a waste of space and a total disgrace.”

The first thing I thought was, “What have I done to piss my parents off?”

I scrolled down, but of course the cowards had not put their names or a genuine email address on the message. What kind of person would go to the trouble of sending me this? They would have to log on to the internet, find an email address for me, set up an email account to hide behind, then sit down, let their venom build up and then spurt it out.

I try to imagine such a person. A sad recluse with big eyes, no social skills, grey hair and dandruff; drives a Cortina, lives in a cul-de-sac in Luton and dreams one day of having a girlfriend. Then again, it may be some jealous woman, with a hairy chest and a thyroid problem. Or a policeman.

I was waiting in the dentist’s surgery a few days ago when the two receptionists started a debate, and looked over expecting me to join in. The first one piped up, “Oh, I’m really beginning to hate that Stacey. I agree with Simon Cowell – she’s sung far too many ballads. Why doesn’t she just put on a pair of flats and some leggings, and go out there and just be herself? Silly cow.”

Everyone is a critic these days, quick to give advice – and most of it’s negative. Those receptionists wouldn’t have appreciated it if I’d stood up and said, “Why don’t you two moany old bats just shut up, answer the phones and get some more patients in?”

“I hate her.” “I hate him.” “She’s shit, and who does he think he is?” “She’s got no talent and he’s only where he is because he’s sleeping with her.” There’s a lot of hate about, and this hatred towards people we’ve never met and don’t even know is unjustified.

Last time I was in the hairdresser’s, I was reading a magazine that had Jordan on the cover, and the woman next to me said, “Can you pass me a magazine, please? Preferably not with her [meaning Jordan] on, because I can’t stand the stupid bint.”

Not only is this a nasty comment, it is also a stupid one – the only magazine without Jordan on the cover at the moment is the Angling Times, though I wouldn’t be surprised if next week they featured a centre spread with Ms Price proudly caressing a 15lb carp.

The only thing I really hate is Marmite, and even then I don’t send the company abusive emails. When I see it in the supermarkets, I don’t feel like head butting it. I don’t even hate Tiger Woods, because I don’t know him and have never spoken to him. I’m not going to hate him just because everyone else hates him this week and he didn’t try it on with me.

Death threats towards two school boys having a bit of a laugh onthe X Factor is ridiculous. If we were to kill every nerdy, untalented twit who can’t sing, there’d be a very large pile of corpses (no venom intended).

This casual hatred is a new wave. What happened to being mildly irritated? Some people annoy me, of course, but I don’t rush to my laptop and set up a Facebook page saying how much I hate them.

Hate crimes, hate mail. Why can’t we have more happy things? There’s happy slapping – which isn’t very friendly – and happy hour, which normally involves a brief spell of happiness, followed by loudness, lewdness, nausea and remorse.

People have lost their sense of emotional proportion. Once there were people who genuinely deserved to be hated, leaders such as Hitler and Stalin, who are universally frightening. Now people liberally distribute their hatred and issue death threats to a couple of irritating schoolboys who want to have a good time on the nation’s latest opium wagon.

We’ve got happy meat, happy eggs, happy hour… Can’t we have happy people?