Nick Griffin on the Jeremy Kyle Show!

train-wreck1

Well, it’s a big fucking day here on Planet Hype.

People all over the world are peeling back the shrinkwrap from their eagerly-awaited copies of Windows 7 and those who queued up last night to get their hands on their copy at mdnight are probably jacking off to porn as we speak and marveling at how fast the pages are loading or something equally mindless.

Microsoft are encouraging people to have ‘Windows 7 Launch Parties‘ FFS.

The only logical outcome of celebrating such an underwhelming event must eventually be ‘Congratulations on a successful morning dump’ telegrams from the Queen. (I’d get one every fucking day!)

It’s another Microsoft operating system – not some sort of Second Coming – and merely makes Vista less of a fucking pain in the arse than it was.

So, just get the fuck over it.

However, if Twitter is anything to go by, the Windows 7 launch pales into insignificance compared to BNP leader Nick Griffin’s appearance on tonight’s ‘Question Time’ on BBC1.

As I write this, UAF supporters massing outside BBC Television Centre have breached security, been ejected and now Griffin is in the building ready for an early recording of the program.

My own view is that Griffin should be allowed to speak so that he isn’t denied his rights and, hopefully, so that he will be revealed on national TV for the obnoxious turd smoker that he is. The UAF – those self-appointed guardians of free speech for everyone but fascists – would seek to deny the British public that possibility. Go figure…

What interests me more, however, is how much of the hype that’s been built up over Griffin’s TV appearance is all about ‘trainwreck television‘.

Whatever happens tonight – Griffin makes a total arse of himself, someone else makes a total arse out of him, the audience get stroppy, fistfights break out between covert BNP and UAF members, someone has a ‘grassy knoll’ moment, etc, etc – I’m sure that it isn’t going to make boring viewing, but, then again, neither would a nun being torn apart by rabid stoats.

And isn’t that what it’s developing into?

Another chance for the great British Public to see something shitty happen to someone else from the comfort of their living room sofa?

People are planning – again, if Twitter is to be believed – Question Time parties and there’s even a Nick Griffin drinking game that I’m sure is going to be de rigeur in certain circles tonight.

I’m not against fun – and, let’s face it, Nu Labour have taken a lot of that particular commodity out of our lives because it’s very, very bad for us – but are we really so hard up for entertainment that what could be a worthwhile debate is transformed into the Jeremy Kyle Show for the tweeting iPhone owner?

Hashtag abuse?

Arse Elektronika 2009

Never has it been so easy to complain or express your displeasure about anything as it is today.

Twitter, e-mail and web forms now mean that you don’t have to stir from your screen to pop a letter in the post box or even pick up the phone and talk to anyone.

At last, the public is empowered.

But is it?

Some facts and figures:

Jan Moir writes an article in the Daily Mail (circulation figures are about 2.2 million daily) which people find offensive, a Twitter hashtagging frenzy ensues and 22 000 people complain to the Press Complaints Commission.

Frankie Boyle makes a joke about the Queen on ‘Mock the Week’, 75 people complain (the viewing figures are about 5 000 000 a week) and then the BBC Trust clears the joke as it didn’t go ‘beyond audience expectations’ for the show.

In Jan Moir’s case, the outcome of the complaints has yet to be revealed, but if only Daily Mail readers complained I make that 1% of its readership who set the process in motion. Of course, that doesn’t include people who were offended by the online version of the story. So, the number of potential readers of the story could be considerably higher and thus the percentage of complainants even lower. Added to the PCC complaints, we even have formal allegations of a hate crime being committed although I can’t find any figures for such complaints to the Police. (Moreover, how many people would have been blissfully unaware of Moir’s article, had her name not been hashtagged to fuck?)

Frankie’s outrage percentage is even lower – just 0.0015% of viewers complained. In fact, the 75 people who complained did so about a repeat of MTW. The first time it was aired the number of complaints was 6 or 0.00012% of viewers.

Anyway, that’s ‘people power’, but I’d argue that ultimately it’s disempowering us.

Look how a few people managed – with the not inconsiderable help of the Daily Mail – to get Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand removed temporarily or permanently from the airwaves. The bandwagon jumpers then managed to hike the number of complaints to 38 000, many of whom freely admitted to not actually hearing Ross say ‘fuck’ on Brand’s late night radio show.

Then there’s the recent ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ ‘Paki’ row. 400 complaints so far – and interesting to note that use of what’s now known as the ‘P word’ garnered far fewer complaints than someone saying ‘fuck’ – although no viewer ever heard the word ‘Paki’ on ‘Strictly’ as it was said off-air.

A few years ago, most people, if offended by such things, would have pissed and moaned a bit and very few would have bothered to take it any further, but now they can.

A recent Daily Telegraph article on the Moir case has some interesting points about the whole subject of empowerment through the internet.

I spoke just now to a well-respected gay journalist whose own anti-Moir tweets have been RT’d all over the place. He did make one interesting point: “You wonder whether the question of free speech has crossed these people’s minds. Is this really a matter for the Press Complaints Commission?”

There’s a difference, I think, between social media users who employ every rhetorical weapon at their disposal to hit back at Moir, and those who want to stop views like hers being expressed in future.

I’m all in favour of criticising Moir for her spite, and especially the twisted leap of imagination that took her from Stephen Gately’s dead body to an argument about the nature of civil partnerships. Not only is that criticism fair, but it has worked: Moir’s reputation is in tatters this evening. But, my God, the social media world harbours some pretty smug and self-righteous individuals. The words “I’m sorry, but you’re not allowed to say that!” are never far from their lips – or, to put it another way, only liberals are allowed to be offensive.

Wise words, I feel, and ones of warning too.

Do we really want freedom of speech jeopardising more than it already is and the power to pass judgment  on what people say appropriated by a few self-righteous types with a Twitter account?

And we’ve all seen how few people it needs to sway a frightened MSM.

Is this really empowering people?

Or is it just one more way in which we actually lose the power to choose for ourselves what we read, see and hear in the media?

Putting the twat back into politics

Far be it from me to come out in support of David ‘Bullingdon’ Cameron, but I thought this was actually rather amusing.

As for the BBC’s po-faced description of the word ‘twat’ as a 4 letter word…well, at least Call me Dave didn’t say ‘cunt’.

Twitter/blog fail

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Damn those bloody carrier pigeons…

Battle of the tweets

In the interests of balance (maybe not, although it makes interesting reading all the same)  the Guardian has set up a twitter feed from the Press’ point of view.

Here’s  a tweet which reveals a certain macabre humour on the part of those under siege:

RT@ secretsquirrel: Apparently seen in bank HQ window during #G20 protest: “While you are here protesting, we are repossessing your homes”.

Amazing, the first real time police/protesters clash – all due to twitter.

I wonder if Stephen Fry is following some of the protesters?

Retwittering

I’m still on twitter, tweeting away but I’ve decided to ‘unfollow’ (a hateful word) all the celebrities I originally chose to follow.

So, it’s goodbye Ross, Brand, Fry, Wallace, Gorman and Innes.

To be frank, they were really rather boring and most of what they said seemed to consist of telling us what new sushi bar they’d visited or what TV program they were about to go and appear in.

It beats me why Fry in particular is so popular and it really pisses me off when he almost cries because he can’t tweet more of his inanities at us.

So, now it’s a means of keeping in touch with friends and all of a sudden the signal to noise ratio has greatly improved.

Twittering on about Twitter

Despite it being another one of those internet crazes that are sweeping the world, I like Twitter.

It’s easy to grasp, not as wordy as blogging and the fact that you only have a limited allowance of characters you can use in each ‘tweet’ – 140 to be precise – makes you think succinctly…or not…

I’m there as SteveShark – hope to see you soon!