as i start writing this i have discovered that the press complaints commission have had to create a new page on their website specifically for people who want to complain about the article that jan moir wrote a couple of days ago. the backlash against this hideous woman has been of great interest to me, and the decision of whether or not i add myself to the statistic of complaints has fluctuated back and forth. this has become way more than specifically about steven gately's death, this is now the straw that broke the camel's back.
every day it seems that i hear someone talk about "reader's of the daily mail" and their right wing, prejudiced views. that whenever anything happens they disagree with, suddenly a huge series of complaints happens. a mistake, a bit of bad judgement, a silly phone call to an actor's answer machine that was poorly thought through; someone makes a small mistake, and suddenly there is an inundation of complaints from people who have nothing better to do with their lives. these mistakes are mostly/often stupid, silly, a shame; but never life threatening or dangerous to the society we live in. that is until people start jumping on the band wagon, and suddenly the whole thing in inflated to an attack on britain.
i was pretty fucking angry and appalled when i heard about the jonathan ross, russell brand thing. but not at all about their prank. yes, it was a stupid thing to do, but by no means the worst thing in the world. the whole thing should have ended with a simple, personal apology from brand/ross to andrew sachs and his granddaughter. the victimisation of two comedians who had made a bit of bad judgement was the part that troubled me the most, as thousands of people jumped onto a bandwagon and started to incite further more of the idiot masses to write to the PCC.
it was the same when blue peter 'faked' the results of a competition. due to a piece of technology failing, the producer made a snap judgement to keep the show running and - as i understand it - used a member of staff to be the 'phone-in' contestant. instead of shrugging their shoulders and saying "fair enough, the show carried on and no-one really lost out" there was a torrent of complaints from discerning viewers about how television constantly lies to us, and "how-dare-they-take-our-license-fee-and-deceive-us-in-such-a-way"'s. whether or not you agree about the decision being the right one, the discrimination against the decision makers was hurtful, unnecessary and frankly pathetic in a world where millions of people deal with life-threatening intolerance on a daily basis.
and this is where i am further troubled, but equally smug. in both these cases, and many more, a third party commented on a happening and incited a lynching. this is all it was. if this was 500 years ago, there would be an angry mob with lit torches standing outside jonathan ross's house threatening to set fire to his stables unless he came out and allowed himself to be burned on a pyre in the market square. so why is it so different that charlie brooker comments on jan moir's article, and the lefty twitter users amongst us are suddenly led to complain to the press complaints commission? why is that different? why do i feel okay about joining the mob who write, solely on the back of the intensity of opinion of a journalist who spotted an article that i would never have seen otherwise?
the difference is this: jan moir's article was about hatred and bigotry. jan moir's article was a misinformed homophobic incitement. jan moir's article was no different to a fundamentalist terrorist's provocation to victimise innocent people on the basis of them being 'different' (the irony is not lost on me). the results of daily mail campaigns of the past suggest that the people who write in could be led to complain about anything. if jan moir had told her regular readers to complain to the PCC about the risque nature of rachel riley's dress on thurday's episode of countdown, i'm sure they would have, in their droves. they would be "shocked" and "appalled" that this was allowed on air, and demand for someone to be fired. the 'crowd mentality' would take over, and as we all know the intelligence level of a group drastically decreases in indirect proportion to the size.
but it doesn't matter that rachel riley's dress was a bit sexy for an 80 year old daytime telly audience.
it does matter that influential people breed prejudice against others with a hope to destroy tolerance. it does matter that jan moir infects mainstream media with homophobic views and tries to get away with it, without being called up on her actions. i want to live in a country where people are allowed to have whatever views they want, but when those views attack people because of their sexuality they shouldn't remain unchallenged.
i don't give a shit whether the cat on blue peter was named by a 7 year old girl from stoke or not.
i do give a shit when bigotry is encouraged and fuelled, and i'm glad that the reaction to moir's bigoted article has been so great. i don't feel i am part of a band wagon or an angry mob. i am totally aware that the words i've written (if they make sense, i'm pretty drunk) could be viewed as hypocritical. the society we live in should be tolerant, welcoming and open-minded; and anyone who attempts to remove us from that ideal should be disciplined, fired and/or burnt at the stake on piccadilly circus.
as for the hypocritical thing, no-one challenges anyone for being indiscriminately hateful towards neo-nazis. and i think that's okay.