Samantha Brick's "woe is me for being so beautiful" piece in yesterday's Daily Mail unleashed, in no surprise whatsoever, a thundering shitstorm of critical responses. Everyone and their Brick-hating female friends weighed in on the gross inaccuracies and anti-women agenda at hand; Barbara Walters even commented on it all, calling Brick "not that beautiful." (And when The View ladies get nasty, well, it is on.) Of course, Brick knew this was coming, because jealous bitches — read: all of you — are nothing if not predictable:
"Of course, I knew when I came up with the idea that it would provoke debate. I'd even prefaced the idea by explaining to the editor that I was fully aware I was setting myself up for a fall. I knew this was sensitive territory at which women would take umbrage — but I thought it was a taboo that needed shattering."
Her only surprise was that responses (many of which the Mail helpfully, and hilariously, aggregated in this list) were so vicious. Anonymous internet commenters made her cry; of course no makeup was smudged because Brick is pretty enough not to need it. Fear not for her self esteem, though, because Brick's conclusion is that the "detractors have simply proved [her] point. Their level of anger only underlines that no one in this world is more reviled than a pretty woman."
Brick hones in on her critics, who are crucially, not just women, but British women — frumpy housewives, surely — ranting over their mid-afternoon tea:
"I do consider this particular breed of venom to be especially poisonous when coming from the British ... I have lived and worked in Los Angeles and I doubt that such a reaction to my piece would have happened there. For in the U.S. you're expected to look good and you're rightly applauded for it. Is it any wonder Victoria Beckham has decided to stay put in LA, rather than move back to Hertfordshire? She knows better than anyone how your looks can be used against you in Britain — here we reward false modesty instead and gang up against anyone who isn't suitably self-deprecating."
Herein lies the "magic" of Brick's pieces, because the Daily Mail's primary audience just happens to be the British women she's going to such lengths to both shame and incite. Coincidence? No. While claiming in this second essay that she's only learned about the art of "internet trolling" upon reading the feedback to her first, it's hard to believe that's the case. Her words constitute such classic, well-practiced troll bait. There's even a section detailing her French husband's incredulous and later vaguely-threatening response to the furor ("the tame few [comments] I've read out have riled him enough to want to take his own form of action") accompanied by a photo of him brandishing a shotgun and handlebar mustache that both mean business. And, well, if there's anyone the stereotypically-xenophobic Mail reader would loathe more than a pretty lady, it'd be a burly Frenchman.