Feb 21, 2014

Chewing The Online Fat

I don't like guns, really I don't.

It was just the funniest picture I could find when I googled 'chewing the fat'. I will not describe some of the other pictures I found....

Anyway....talking is good. It's great. Sharing, listening, caring, supporting. Frank, open discussions. Honesty. Opinions offered, disagreed with, and debated. Advice sought and given. And with the connections made online, those passages of communication have never before been so wide, diverse and instant.

But when does talk become 'gab' that we need less of? 

Obvious answers include when it's racist, homophobic, sexist, threatening etc.

But what if it's offensive to some....but not others? Screams of self-indulgence, self-importance or self-righteousness? Or is perceived by some to be good old fashioned look-at-me attention-seeking? 
I guess the conundrum is, do we ignore them, tell them to shut up, or try to debate them?

This week alone, I've seen several examples on Twitter where I've stopped in my tracks and wondered (not aloud, because that would be weird) how to react to statements which, in my opinion, were varying degrees of oh-you-should-NOT-have-said-that.

Two in particular have stuck in my mind.
Firstly, Ricky Gervais. Now, I quite like Ricky's tweets, usually. And his shows. He raises awareness of so many wonderful causes and important topics. I think he's funny and talented. And he's known for pushing the envelope. Testing boundaries. Provoking discussion, particularly about religion. 
But from the man who brings us a beautiful soul in Derek, also comes this judgemental generalisation,

"I've realised that a lot of the people who believe that being gay is a choice, believe that being fat isn't."

In my eyes, he's saying a lot of people with opposing views (to him...and me) about gays are fat. 
And that people who are fat, choose to be so.

Luckily for me, I didn't have to form a brilliantly articulate response in 140 characters, as enough people (including Kerri Sackville, GO KEZ!) took him to task with their clever, insightful words and began to debate him over weight issues, obesity, addiction and such like. 
Is that what he wanted? A twitter discussion on fatness? Was it an attempt at a joke which some people didn't find funny and backfired? Was it just an I'm-bored-I-think-I'll-poke-the-fat-people-with-this-pointy-stick-and-see-what-happens? 
I don't know. Only Ricky knows. 

Even worse was a man I've never heard of (another UK performer of some sort), whose name I have dismissed from my mind and never wish to hear again (ok, I'm old, I just can't remember it or I'd tell you), who outrageously defined depression as "lazy sadness" and proceeded to tell sufferers to just "cheer up".
Again, my jaw hit the floor, and while I was gathering my thoughts into something coherent, I saw by the number of replies and skimming them for their gist, he had not only poked the hornet's nest with Ricky's stick, but had smashed it open and fed it with steroids. 
He went on to suggest that perhaps he was just sad and ranting, which are symptoms of bi-polar, so maybe he's bi-polar and wouldn't that be ironic?
Does he really believe that, or was it a deliberate controversy-starter? Was he trying to be rude or thought-provoking? Was it attention-grabbing, as he has a new [album/book/show/whatever is applicable] coming out soon? Is he actually ill himself?
Again, I don't know. Only [insert whatever the fuck his name was] knows.

At the opposite end of the stick-pokers is Jennifer Saunders' autobiography, Bonkers.
She didn't want to share too much of herself. She's private and guarded. She was reluctant to write it at all. She didn't dish dirt or spark controversy. She divulged enough to be funny and interesting but neither betrayed nor offended anybody.
And you know what? That wasn't enough for some people!
I read reviews from people bagging it because she didn't get rude or nasty or tell secrets. They wanted that dirt dished up and they wanted it with sauce! They wanted behind-the-scenes gossip and stories, and a more intimate insight into Jen's relationship with her husband! 
What the actual fuck?
Have people of the generation who have grown up with public displays of private life such as Britney Spears' meltdown and Kim Kardashian's sex tape become so desensitised to overexposure that they need to know everything about everybody??

No. While talk is good, sometimes we really do need less gab.
(but not more guns, seriously)


  1. A great post - eloquent and insightful (and SO true) :)

  2. I'm extremely quiet and people have always pointed this out to me saying things like "You're the quietest person I've ever met!" and "You should really come out of your shell." I've often imagined turning the tables and saying "You're the loudest person I've ever met! When are going to SHUT UP?" But I never actually do it. Sigh.

    I read Kerri's post and apparently Ricky deleted the tweets so hopefully he realised he was wrong and didn't just delete them to cover his own arse.

  3. I, for one, am quite glad that Jennifer Saunders didn't succumb to the temptation which so many air-headed celebrities have to deal dirt on their associates and acquaintances (and loved ones) for lousy money. Shows real graciousness and integrity, that. But some people just want to snoop.

    Those fatsos...


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