Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Scaling the Telegraph's Troll Wall

When Billy Connolly hit 50, he celebrated the event by getting his nipples pieced...as you do. When it was done, the guy who did it turned to him and said...'well...that's one more of us and one less of them !'  'Them' being that great suffocating mass of stunted humanity who reside in that beige spiritual dead-zone.'Middle England'. Beige or 'Beige people' is another of Connolly's useful reference points to identify the dreaded straight society. Napoleon had the English as 'a Nation of Shopkeepers'. He had a point; at least he would have if he had referenced it to the South of England. The seat of political power and media control.

For those from the north or like Billy, from the Celtic fringes, the south represents something of spiritual heart of darkness. Not only in political terms but also in social and cultural values. This Middle England is a land of polite conformity. A land where a right wing, millionaire buffoon like Boris Johnson gets elected and re-elected as mayor of a great city. Can you imagine Johnson even scraping into double digits in a city like Liverpool or Glasgow!!!

Where is this going? Well, in a rather circuitous way I admit, I was heading up to Glencoe. That is, referencing the Glencoe Avalanche which claimed four lives this week and more to the point, examining the reaction it predictably provoked in the comments pages of the Conservative press. Notably the Daily Telegraph and the Mail. The Telegraph in fact, is a newspaper I read as much as much The Guardian despite its political stance. It is however, a gathering point for every reactionary fruitcake this side of Bedlam. Tory/UKIP/BNP  'Stupid Angry White Men' who inhabit a cold, cold dark land and vent their bile through their anonymous pseudonyms  . 

These cyber trolls with their silly avatars.......an EU flag with a hammer and sickle, John Bull, Britannia etc... are like a Christian Taliban and just HATE everyone and everything. To their long list of pet hates..The EU, single parents, gay people, immigrants, blacks, leftists, greens, artists,welfare recipients...we must now add mountaineers.

I'm not sure why a supposedly respectable newspaper like the DT would allow comments on a tragedy like Glencoe given the fact that the features may be read by friends and families of the deceased? However, the editor in his wisdom was only too happy to feed the trolls this week and the vile contempt and ridicule for the deceased was something to behold. Their confusion and bafflement that people would actually choose to do something that might endanger their lives, compelling in its brutal ignorance? How can this be...this is not how we live our lives in Beigeinstoke and Hemel Hempstead..these people are' thick'...'selfish'...risking the lives of others and furthermore, these 'climbers' deserved everything they got.

These comments coming from people for whom doing something edgy and daring is washing their Honda Civic on a Saturday instead of a Sunday! 

As a climber/mountaineer and occasional sea kayaker, I'm not someone who particularly wants to push the envelope to the limit every time I go out in the hills or on the sea. But really; I'd rather drop dead tomorrow than live another 40 years if I had to exist in the suburban dead zone. I don't know about 'Better dead than Red' but 'Better dead than Beige' definitely.

* I should add that to it's credit,the Telegraph has deleted a lot of the more inflammatory comments now, with entire sections now wiped. 

Billy Connolly..Not a resident of Beige-Shire

1 comment:

  1. These characters surface every time there is a mountain or adventure sports tragedy. Truth is, none of us is 100% safe in the outdoors: you can be caught up in an avalanche or landslip when just out walking; hit by a falling branch on a windy day in the most benign patch of woodland; struck by lightning if your luck's really out.

    This is in no way wishing to trivialise or understate a terrible accident and loss. But it was an accident; not an act of selfishness or negligence. RIP to those lost.