The vicious circle of twatitude.
It won't have escaped your attention that a good section of the commentariat appears to have declared the general public to be twats. Of course, they aren't talking about the general public at all. The actual general public are completely indifferent to what the commentariat thinks about anything. A good percentage of the general public never watches the news, listens to the news when it comes on the radio, reads a newspaper, or so much as visits a news site unless a huge, earth-shattering story like man bites dog breaks. The real general public, if they are on social media, use it to stay in touch with friends and acquaintances and talk about everything other than politics or the news. The commentariat are really talking about the people who don't agree with them.
And now, especially following the Syria vote, MPs too have decided that the general public, i.e., anyone who contacts them, are for the most part twats. They're a bit more discreet than most hacks, but former MP Tom Harris rather lets the cat out of the bag. Think Hugh Abbott in the have you ever had to clean up your own mother's piss episode of The Thick of It, only without agreeing with him that the public are another fucking species as it's impossible not to like him.
Harris, bless him, thinks just as how the way someone treats a waiter tells you a lot about their character, the same should be the case with how MPs get treated. Leave aside just for a moment how there are plenty of waiters out there who could do a darned sight better job than a good number of the MPs we currently have, and just focus on the thought process behind that. Waiters, MPs, what's the difference, apart from the power they have, the wage they get, the people they serve, the clothes they wear, the having to deal with incontinent brats barely past shaving whining about how their steak isn't precisely medium rare? I'm stumped.
Just for good measure, Harris brings up Jess Phillips MP telling Diane Abbott MP to "fuck off". Harris and all the people cheering on Phillips don't like Abbott. Abbott just happened on this occasion to be right, in telling Phillips to stop being so sanctimonious about women not getting top roles in the shadow cabinet when there were more women overall than ever before, but that doesn't matter. Phillips is to put it mildly, another of those MPs who believes the world revolves around them and if their name isn't in the press on any particular day they have failed. They adopt a faux of-the-people persona, write comment pieces about how hard it is being an MP while at the same time not suggesting for a moment that they want or deserve sympathy, and then carry on stirring the pot for all it's worth. The media as a result love them, regardless of how idiotic, repetitive, narcissistic or publicity seeking their comments and reactions are. Simon Danczuk and John Mann have made great careers out of being loudmouth blowhards jumping on every passing bandwagon, with only the former ever held anything approaching to account. Phillips will apparently stab Jeremy Corbyn in the front if it comes to it, thinks the public wanted to hear from Corbo that terrorists with AKs and bombs strapped to them will be shot in the head 10 times on sight, just like that Brazilian jihadist was, and the party needs to stop going on about Trident. Because you haven't been able to move for the Labour party obsessing over Trident of late, rather than about itself thanks to say twats like Phillips not knowing when to shut the fuck up.
Which brings us to the media as a whole. They love twats even as they denounce them. They couldn't exist without twats. While the commentariat denounce petition writing twats and complain about free speech being eroded, the hack at the screen opposite them writes up the latest piece about whichever petition some idiot on Twitter has just started, and how many people a second are signing it. The editor demands yet another piece on what Trump just said, and another to go with it on what it all means, and then a thinkpiece by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett or someone of that ilk on why Trump has a dodgy hairpiece and herpes. Of the brain. Look at what this twat is wearing! Look at what this twat thinks! Look at how this twat looks tired!
It doesn't seem to occur that you can only go on regarding everyone as a twat for so long. This is being borne out by, you guessed it, Trump. The media in America might be slanted to the right to a ridiculous extent, but Trump supporters still don't believe a word they write. And why should they? They think the media are twats, and the people behind the media think they're twats. It's a vicious circle of twatitude. The same is the case here. We saw it in the Labour leadership election, where the "modernisers", the "moderates", whatever you want to call them, exasperated the grassroots to the very limit. The result was Jeremy. You see it with the SNP and their supporters, who are convinced the media is biased against them, which it is, and that it matters, which it apparently doesn't considering the election results. Look at this opening line from a Wings Over Scotland post, and try not to see either projection, or an irony so overwhelming that it should by rights knock you off your feet:
A strange phenomenon we’ve remarked upon numerous times since the independence referendum is the inexplicable undying rage of a certain subset of Unionist voters.
We heard lots about how the internet was supposed to be this great democratic force, how it will transform everything, how nothing will ever be the same ever again, the end of history, and so on. In fact what it seems to be doing is quite the opposite: we've never been exposed to so many different views, and yet at the same time we've never been so prepared to dismiss them when they don't fit with our prejudices. Like the old Marx (Groucho) joke about those are my principles, and if you don't like them I have others, if we don't like the fare offered by the lamestream media, there are a whole host of new and improved alternative news sources that will tell it just like it is. Their content might be unbelievably narrow in scope and subject, but when they think the same people are twats that you do, what does it matter?
Naturally, you can discount all of this as I'm a twat. Indeed, I'm an even bigger twat than most, as I'm a twat pointing at twats being twats while being a twat myself. If there's a coda to all this, beyond how we so often mistake those we disagree with as being twats or being the majority when the majority is never very interested in anything you're doing, it's that disagree on how serious what this group or this person or that petition writer is currently doing, there are some individuals who would rather we were less human, and they're not necessarily the Trumps of this world. For example, see the conclusion of this otherwise fairly reasonable Laura Bates piece:
The feminist endgame is not to publicly punish everybody who makes a rape joke, or ban every advert that uses rape as a titillating way to sell products. It is to create a society in which it would never occur to anybody to do either in the first place.
That's a world I for one would not want to live in. A society where we cannot make jokes about anything, to anyone, where the very human spirit of finding humour in the bleakest aspects of our nature is denied, even if that means Dapper Laughs or Jimmy Carr still existing? Count me out. I'll take my chances with all my fellow twats.