I frequently tire of Twitter. It’s not the reduction of all thought to 140 characters, which is an excellent corrective against unnecessary prolixity, it’s that it gives strangers a chance to be breathtakingly rude to you. In fact being rude to the celebrated may be the main point of twitter for its adherents.
Ninety eight tweets will say extraordinarily flattering things, and yet it is the two who unexpectedly insult that one remembers. Why should this be so? Why should criticism matter more than praise?
I got one the other day, accusing me of being a money-grabbing bastard. I’m not sure of the context in which they found it necessary to search me out and abuse me, but I know I hated them instantly. I rarely concern myself with money, and almost never at the start of any project. Here is the money I grabbed from my last three projects:
What About Dick? Writing $0
Acting: Scale. (Probably about $2,000)
Olympic Games Closing Ceremony $1
Writing and Singing new Galaxy Song for BBC $0
(It’s true the BBC gave us about $1000 for recording, but of course we spent way more than that.)
Hardly money-grabbing is it? But why should I care so much about a careless tweet from internet twits? I think it’s because their shocking misjudgments of my character and what I hold dear is insulting, and while I can avoid insults and slurs in the newspapers by simply not taking them, or hateful reviews by not reading them, somehow an insult that pops up on your personal computer has come into your home, and my initial response is neither kind nor gentle.
When I foolishly tweeted something about Harry Redknapp (ironically the week before he moved to QPR) ninety percent of responses totally agreed with me but one aggrieved Spurs fan accused me of knowing nothing about football. Well excuse me! I have been watching football since 1956 when I began to watch the Wolves become the first team to compete in Europe. I became enchanted by magnificent football when I watched Real Madrid (with the great Puskas) destroy Eintracht on a flickering black and white screen. I was at Wembley in 1966 to watch England win the World Cup and there again two years later to watch Manchester United win the European Cup.
I gave away my Season Ticket for Chelsea on Capital Radio in the seventies when they got rid of Osgood, Cook and Hudson, the only reason to watch them, and I have subsequently devoted myself to watching every game I can without prejudice, for I will no longer support a football team. It’s like dating a hooker: they’re certainly going to let you down.
So how to counter such rudeness? Usually a simple fuck off will suffice, but then sometimes people thank me for that, which is perverse. It also seems rude to the rest of the Twitterverse who get to witness my bad manners. Somehow it’s setting a bad example. I have used GFY as a more polite form of response, since anyone who doesn’t understand the acronym can hardly complain, but that too seems unnecessarily bad tempered, and oddly the Glaswegian whom I used it on seemed to appreciate it, and it was quite a feather in his cap to his fellow Glaswegians. But then Glaswegians have a much healthier attitude to abuse. Perhaps I need to learn from them….
So, to Twitter or Twitter not? Tweet me (like a fool).