The GuardianThe Guardian

Don’t pretend to be ‘nice’. It doesn’t get you anywhere

By Eva Wiseman

06 Nov 2022 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

In this Guardian opinion piece, Eva Wiseman argues for being rude every now and again. Discover why as she weighs in on recent acts of climate activism.

This is a column against niceness. Chuck out the nice cup of tea, bin off your biscuits, tell your neighbour exactly what you think of their drive, the project has failed… Hear me out. There were two things this week that got me reconsidering the concept, even as I screamed upstairs telling the children to share their toys. Even as I smiled at strangers and clicked the button to donate to charity and performed all the small domestic kindnesses that make up the winter fat of my life. The first thing was James Corden.

James Corden, whose documented rudeness to a waiter has surfed the news cycle like a plastic bottle, washing up again and again on our shores. For those of you who have managed to avoid the scandal, here is what happened: his wife’s “egg yolk omelette” arrived with some egg white in it. When they replaced the order, it came, not with the requested salad but instead, chips. “You can’t do your job!” Corden told their waiter. And, “Get us another round of drinks this second.” The owner of the restaurant banned him, the internet threw rocks at him, the story took on water, bobbing in and out of the headlines, and last week on his talkshow he apologised. “It was an unnecessary comment,” he admitted. “It was ungracious.” It was over. But it was not over.

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