Friday 16 August 2013

All Aboard!

So another day older and the Internet Outrage Bus, powered by the mighty, howling hamster wheel of rage, rumbles steadily on its way to Offence Archipelago where its cargo of miscreants will be discharged into Shameonyou Square to protest and demand the immediate execution of anybody, anywhere, who causes the tiniest amount of distress to anybody, anywhere. But don’t panic, I shall have the snipers positioned and ready to do good work.

Honestly, it’s as if some people have nothing to but patrol social media with a view to taking offence on our behalf at the flimsiest of imagined slights, the tiniest of unintended slurs. Oh wait, that’s exactly what they do. In order to seek out the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against humanity, these hair-trigger guardians of our freedom from freedom, lurk quietly in the background, sniffing out the smallest morsel of distress like a... like a... well, like a troll, actually. So, the moral crusaders are resorting to trolling other people’s conversations to bring about a world in which, should anybody be offended, somebody must be jailed.

I expect the police are delighted. One press of the [Caitlin] Moron Button and it'll be, “What did the nasty boy say, ma’am? You can’t tell me because it was so hurtful? That’s good enough for me, get him in the back of the van, lads.” No hassle, 100% clear-up rate and very little in the way of knives and fists and broken bottles to contend with. In the future you will all be incarcerated for your own safety and any argument will be treated as insurrection, to be met with extreme state-administered violence; you may be forced to listen to hippies loudly playing bongos without any apparent irony at an anti intolerance demo near you.

Through the door just now, an important communication from South East Water; what can it be? Important supply-disrupting work to be carried out? Compulsory water meter fitting? An increase in the charges? No, it’s a “How did we do?” survey, whose sole purpose is to head off at the pass any future attempt to claim they didn’t listen to their customers; to prevent any offence been taking. Never mind the piss that’s been taken with their customer’s money, offering £2000 in prize money for a draw from completed surveys, let alone the cost of paying somebody to write the damned thing, plus printing and postage. I’m outraged, but I suspect it’s the wrong sort of outrage for Twitter.

So where is it all going anyway, this outrage entourage? Once speech is curtailed entirely will we find offence in the way people walk, or the clothes that they wear? Or the quizzical expression on their offensive-looking physiognomy as they try to present a mien of absolute neutrality? Luckily, science has the answer. It seems that in the future we may be able to exist just as brains, detached from our frail and hateful human bodies. Free from the possibility of animation and thus physical contact and able to wage war ONLY with words. Oh and remote controlled robots.

 Bring it on. I look forward to a lexicon-laden labyrinth of illiberal legal offence-seeking bollocks to occupy us well into the next millennium.

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