Twitter is brilliant in many ways. But because it is full of people it also full of problems. It is fascinating watching something escalate at times; sometimes one can’t help but take sides when these problems are arguments (these problems are always arguments). Other times you don’t give a fuck and wish they would go away. Then there are the times when you think both sides are wrong AND right. I don’t have an example of this happening though, I was just thinking about the concept of this. No, wait, I do.
So Alice Vincent, an Editorial Assitant at Huffington Post UK Blogs, put this yesterday:
Columnists basing their opinions around their children. So yawn. Your column today is one step up from a mumsnet blogpost, @gilescoren.
— Alice Vincent (@alice_emily) May 12, 2012
Let’s take this in isolation. It’s a bit shitty. When you @ someone you’re specifically identifying them and making it likely – unless they are significantly famous – that they will see what you have written. So this isn’t just someone putting an opinion across for their followers on Twitter, it is saying it to the person. Interjection: I haven’t read the source article – it’s in The Times and I don’t do that¹ – so I’m not going to make a value judgement about about the critique. Also while I am disclosing I suppose it should be on the record that I adore Giles Coren’s sister; that’s just total disclosure, though, I wouldn’t defend someone because of their sister being perfect. So, it was quite a shitty tweet. It seems a bit harsh, judging someone for being a parent. Giles Coren certainly thought so – he replied with this (and you get the original quote again, I can’t help it):
@alice_emily go fuck yourself, you barren old hag.
— Giles Coren (@gilescoren) May 12, 2012
He didn’t like what she’s said did he? Ouch. Now I think he avoids any twitstorm if that tweet ends after the word ‘yourself’. But he didn’t. Barren old hag? Meooooooww. See, this has caused a lot of people to get on his case calling him both sexist and misogynistic. Now, I’m not sure I’m down with this: his point is about her not having children isn’t it? That’s how I read it. I just thought: that’s a really offensive way to say someone doesn’t have children and I wouldn’t do it but she seems fine with calling him boring for having children. He’s just being a cunt isn’t he? Not being a sexist cunt, though. Also I’m not sure why he used the word old – she is 23. Don’t get me wrong I think his retort is offensive, OTT and mean. But she started it.
People want the right to be offensive about someone else but then also want the right to be outraged if the person uses their right of response. Coren has Cantona’d this though hasn’t he? That is a two-footed kung-fu kick into the crowd of a tweet.
Then it all gets a bit childish. She accuses him of bullying; is replying to someone bullying? Yes, he said something offensive but I’m not sure it is bullying. Unless we are using the verb ‘bully’ in the sense of someone saying something you don’t like even though you’re fine with openly criticising them. For his part Coren had a pop at her for doing it for the popularity and to raise her number of followers. She doesn’t seem like that kind of person. Also she has wisely avoided getting too embroiled in the fuss and not spent an entire day interacting with people who just want to disagree with you – which is what Giles Coren did. To be fair it beat my Sunday..wait this isn’t about football..
I don’t have much of a point when I start these you know. Sometimes they just build to a point. Mainly they fizzle out and I see how many words I’ve done and think that it’s a lot of words/time I am wasting doing this every day. Sometimes of course I abandon whatever point I was making to make some pathetic self-indulgent little remark about no-one-reads-the-blog so-what’s-the-point-anyway paragraph.
Back to Coren/Vincent. So Vincent wasn’t responsible for all the Coren bashing. She just took offence – with a very vague kind of high ground and then Coren kind of made himself look worse by making out attacking him was a short cut to some kind of fame. It was other people weighing in with the charges of misogyny and sexism. As I’ve said I think he was just being a mean, aggressive shit. Sometimes, some people might just use words they don’t understand. There’s a difference between being mean and offensive and using a gender specific word and being sexist or misogynistic. I specifically don’t comprehend how he could be classed as misogynistic for criticising someone for not having children. Something else: yes; misogyny? No.
My point, if I had one, was that there are wrongs and rights and I don’t know if I want to be on anybody’s side. Vincent should be @ing someone with negativity and then complaining when the person responds. Especially when that person has a reputation for being blunt, sweary and angry. That said, I can’t agree with Coren’s response but I think that a lot of people have labelled it as sexist is just erroneous. Sometimes you can say something gender non-neutral without being sexist. He might have been ageist though.
¹I have my moral stance on Murdoch and I wont buy The Times or The Sun. However I don’t seem to have a problem giving him blood money for Sky…WHAT??? What do you want me to do? I WANT TO WATCH LIVE FOOTBALL, OK?
If I Hadn’t Seen Such Riches I Could Live with Being Poor
It’s easy to think that, as a Manchester United fan, I have had my fair share of success over the last 20 years and shouldn’t begrudge other teams winning stuff. But this? City wining the league with two injury time goals to win it from us? Really? It was fucking awful watching it – I have accepted we weren’t going to win it for the last two weeks so to have it in our grasps for 30 minutes and be seconds away from winning the league…and it doesn’t hurt less because we have won it so many times recently. In some ways it’s worse: I know what we are missing out on, that’s why I used the James quote as the title of this last little section: this stuff isn’t just thrown together.
It also didn’t help that two of my best friends were City fans who’ve been going more than 20 years and would be devastated if they lost. I kid you not, these are like my brothers: I would sacrifice anything to help them out. But today – despite me having experienced many many titles and cups in the last 20 years – I was hoping their lives would be in tatters. Absolute fucking tatters. Theirs wasn’t though. Let’s not me melodramatic about it, once what was done was done I hoped they enjoyed it; a picture of one of them at the City ground with his dad, brother and nephew was one of the best pictures of joy/relief/celebration I have seen and I was happy for them.
Anyway, the league table doesn’t lie. The winner of a league is just that: the one at the top at the end and people denying City any praise are just being immature. They deserve the title.
Doesn’t mean I don’t want move to Antarctica for a few months though. And I will probably want to shoot a few blues by the end of the week.