BY JAMES BEMBRIDGE
Twitter is one of those places where being sober puts one at an instant disadvantage. With a glass of whisky in hand, the talk seems somewhat less tedious, the company less ugly and the tweets of Femi Oluwole not so ineffably stupid.
More fool me, then, for going on there as sober as a judge last week and making the – quite anodyne, I thought – point that Ash Sarkar, the woman who once proclaimed to ‘f*ck like a champion’, is hardly the quiet, retiring type. This soon aroused the rancour of her rancid groupies and before I knew it, I found myself mobbed: ‘Bald blokes hate it when BAME members have the audacity to have confidence’ wrote one. Another put his condemnation in somewhat more terse terms: ‘f*ck off you bald w*nker’.
This needlessly taxing encounter forced me into asking THE question that is never asked but should OFTEN be asked, would Twitter not be a better place if when applying for an account one first had to pass some form of mental health assessment?
Alas, one need only see Twitter’s answer to Bertha Mason, Carole Cadwalladr, and her 580k strong repertoire of dribbling bedlamites to conclude that sanity really doesn’t sell. And even if Twitter were to screen for sanity, to see what passes for psychiatry on there one wonders if the lunatics have not already taken over the asylum…
Only last week a high-flying criminal psychiatrist by the name of Bandy X Lee took to Twitter to exalt the virtues of Adolf Hitler: ‘He improved the daily life of his followers, had discipline, and required more of himself to gain the respect of his followers’, she opined. This would have no doubt caused worldwide condemnation had she not then gone on to argue that it was for this reason that Donald Trump is actually worse than Hitler. Ordinarily, someone like Miss Lee would be regarded as a crank and routinely ignored, but Twitter seems to have a mystic draw to cranks as Brighton does gays, and soon enough she had progressive supporters making the point that ‘no, actually, considering Trump, Hitler wasn’t so bad’. Such hot takes were of course adorned with hashtags of #BidenIsMyPresident and lurid fisting emojis.
Unfortunately, Twitter allows the certifiably insane to filter into echo chambers which occasionally leak out into the rest of relatively sane social media society. Take the militant vegan for instance. Like zombies, one or two of these etiolated creatures can cause no harm, but a whole horde of them can give one a real headache. The anaemic folk become surprisingly animated once you criticise their diet of dust. I merely opined that one of their breakfasts looked revolting before having to waste a whole day wafting away their vegan flatulence. Regarding that vegan breakfast, I think one of my followers put it best when he said ‘I’m an atheist, but even I know that this displeases God’.
Then there is the scourge of the BBC Circuit Conservative or Tim Stanley-ism as Laura Perrins more accurately diagnoses it. This is the type of conservative commentator who the BBC thinks suitably wet to invite on and who is all too happy to play the fool to earn his keep. They are of course a harmless, beetle-like breed, though they are all the more loathsome for being harmless. For it is not the player on the other side who scores a succession of goals against you that you truly despise, but your ineffectual goalkeeper who lets them in – and by God do Tim and his ilk let them in.
The BBC Circuit Conservative will often tweet some obsequious lefty point in the secret hope of being thought of as rather interesting by the media class. ‘Oh, I would never have expected him to say that’, he imagines them to say in between their mousy mouthfuls of fermented sourdough. Not to exhaust the example of Tim Stanley – I fear the examples are inexhaustible – but in response to Joe Biden asking whether he looks like someone who supports Antifa (something he never denounced) Tim simply states ‘no, he does not’. He adds no more, clearly thinking this to be a profound point in itself. It is enough that it has come from a so-called conservative.
Not to be outdone by the BBC Circuit Conservative is the Bearded Boil. They are the more common trolls to encounter on Twitter. Bald with a round, neotenous face – a beard being the only hint of testosterone about them – thick framed ‘quirky’ glasses completing their lecherous look. These are the ‘male feminist’ types – aka sex pests. The Bearded Boil will discourse for hours about progressive aims, instances of low level bigotry and the inescapable tyranny of working class men and their potent whiteness. Even paedophiles have found a home on Twitter – how can that be even possible in 2020?
Considering how many Bearded Boils wished J. K. Rowling dead for her comments on transgenderism, it is perhaps no coincidence that another Twitter tribe, the Plural Pronouners, often look like nothing more than the Bearded Boil but in a dress…
Rather than Twitter reducing mad, one-legged and sane into equal and individual accounts (the blue tick system failed when it handed them out to numerous Walts), can the company not force individuals into linking accounts to ID and then shepherding away those who are under the care of Nurse Ratched? Yes, Parler does exist and maybe we should all move over there some day but lunatics are already filling Parler’s pages – they have missed a trick. To be free of the psycho manics and hideous paedo librarians firing mad tweets from their dusty attics a mandatory mental health test is surely the sensible way to go?
James Bembridge is Deputy Editor of Country Squire Magazine.