Ask Agatha #9 – I Was Hacking Good


My past stands in the way of my future.  I wanted to be a press mogul like Robert Maxwell and Rupert Murdoch, but lacked the moolah. I planned to raid my paper’s pension fund, but found the cupboard bare because Maxwell had beaten me to it.  I decided to be a legendary editor instead, convinced I could be like William Rees-Mogg, Andrew Neil and Paul Dacre.

I was hacking good, publishing scoops carelessly hiding on celebrities’ private phones.  I became a financial legend, hiring two expert city slickers who were so good that I found myself inadvertently buying on Friday the shares they planned to tip on Sunday. I made tidy profits when those shares rose as markets opened on Monday, though the regulators didn’t quite buy my story that it was financial genius on my part.

I courageously published a photo of UK troops abusing prisoners, and equally courageously defended it when it turned out to have been posed by actors in a truck parked in a lay-by off the M47.

After my resignation, I became a chat show host in America, earning a reputation for insulting Americans, who in my opinion, deserved to be insulted. Fired from there, I returned to become an all-purpose UK celebrity. Again, I was dogged by blunders and criticized as if it were my fault that I always said the one thing most likely to insult my guests and upset people.  Basically, you have to be a bit of a bully to attract attention on morning television.

Agatha, I don’t want to be a seedy chat show host forever. I feel greatness in me, even if it’s only great mediocrity. I want to be the star I was destined to be.

(signed) “PM”


Dear “PM,”

You underestimate your strength. Your genius is that you are so bad that it becomes good. People are not interested in the boring, celebrity self-serving, tittle-tattle that your show promotes. What grips them is the sheer awfulness of your incompetence. They watch your shows, not to see inanities puff up their latest movie or book, but to be shocked by your incessant howlers. Make a virtue of it.

Long before either of us was born, an early TV celeb, called Gilbert Harding, made a career (and a lot of money) by being rude to contestants on “What’s My Line.” He became legend, but you could eclipse him.  Look up everyone whom the public currently idolizes, and publicly heap excrement on them. Start with the Duchess of Cambridge, then go after Meghan Markle, Duchess of Suffolk. Then have a go at the Royal children.  The outrage will boost your viewing figures into the stratosphere. Your destiny is to give malice a bad name, so revel in it.

Agatha xxx

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Agatha Antigone is satirical. She has a weekly Wednesday column at the Continental Telegraph and was born in Central Europe in 1965. Her claims of descent from Romanian aristocracy cannot be authenticated because her papers were all destroyed in the Bosnian War. She holds a Diploma in Structural Studies from the Fritz Meyer Institute of the University of Bucharest, and is the author of several academic monographs. Her media career, launched in Pecob magazine, now features columns in over 30 publications. She found international fame with the celebrated letter-opener hand-stabbing incident with a US journalist live on CNN. Her best-selling book, “The Tobacco and Alcohol Diet,” was published in 17 languages, derided though it was by academic nutritionists. Her infamous public marriage to a Carpathian sheepdog was formally annulled by the Pope and Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church, though it further confirmed her international celebrity status. She took out Maltese citizenship in 2015, and now resides on the island of Gozo with her partner of 23 years and three teenage children. Agatha tweets at: