On twitter recently, I noticed some unusual activity on my account. Lots of comments that made little sense to me and then some abuse which further piqued my attention.
Have I tweeted something insensitive? I didn’t think so. And yet, it seems I am in the middle of my first twitter storm. More squall than storm but still… It does not take me long to find the tweet that people are so offended by…
It is a photograph (that I imagine is staged).
It is a couple (male and female) at a swimming pool, holding hands with their backs to camera. He is an enormous, sumo sized guy. She is a beautifully slim blonde with a bikini top and thong. They look mis-matched – and why I added a caption…
“Is this guy, rich or funny?”
Some crimes I am guilty of here. This is obvious? Not a great joke nor original. Not my finest hour. But at the time, I thought it was comic and worth a punt. When I posted it in 2014 – it garnered no reactions of outrage – unlike today, when someone dredged it up and reposted it on my behalf.
Body shaming seems to be my greatest crime – with most comments taking a line…
Maybe he is just a lovely guy and she is not a shallow twat like you, you arsewipe…
Others took a more economic but equally worthy line… ‘Mate, really?’
25 years of being a comic – 7 Edinburgh shows – 4 BBC R4 series, 5 books… I am not known as a man who offends. In fact, being bland is a common accusation I have battled against.
I do not need to cite examples of mis-matched love – where the young and beautiful female falls for the rich, powerful but ugly man. Go to any nightclub in the middle east and you will see precisely this reality and why men in Moscow and St Petersburg might wonder where all of its beautiful young women have gone. I myself punch above my weight and something I have done stand up on in the past. But not these days, I guess. Too risky?
The sensible reaction is to delete my tweet. To show contrition to these sensitive types. But I’m happy to leave my feed as it is – and anyone wishing to sift through it to find anything else that might offend is welcome.
This is not bone headedness on my part. I like advice – and why I have my latest novel, I’Gabriel out to various readers – so I can take on board their views.
But I am leaving this tweet out there because I don’t think that it really offends and is more an example of our ever heightening sensitivities. That and people using it to moralise and signal their right-on credentials.
I have been called names all my life. At school I was ugly and I’ve endured crass height jokes all my adult life. Never very pleasant but somehow, I have managed to survive.
And perversely, I even quite enjoyed the little torrent of abuse that was laid at my door, albeit for something I said 5 years ago. My new novel, I’Gabriel, in-part, hinges on a twitter storm and so it has been useful – and might even help me with my inevitable rewrites as various readers report back.
I’Gabriel is the shortest novel I have written. At just over 50k words – it is just a day’s read – and deliberately so since we all have no time to read these days.
And for the people who are so offended by my one tweet in more than 13,000 – it is a novel written specifically with you in mind – since it challenges our modern victim culture that has taken root so successfully – and serves the professionals who have created it and allowed it to flourish but not the young people who are indoctrinated by it.
I’Gabriel will be published soon… (March most likely) on kindle and as print on demand.