Thursday, 11 February 2016

Keyboards for Justice

I’m having a break from the booze. So far this year that makes it 42 days and counting... not that anybody is, actually, counting. By now I should be feeling much more alert, sleeping like a baby (waking up crying in a puddle of piss?) and my liver ought to be doing cartwheels of joy. The truth is rather more prosaic in that I’ve hardly noticed. I have no desperate craving for the plonk and I can’t honestly report anything having changed very much. Maybe it’s a slow-burn thing and in another few weeks I’ll grow an athlete’s physique and the intellect of Brian Cox. I bet I don’t get his lovely hair though...

I’m the same way with most things; I’ve never noticed a sugar rush, get no buzz from coffee and when I was drinking – and I can put it away - I rarely got hangovers. Cheese has never been a thing of poetry for me and most grub, no matter how exotically prepared and however heavily eulogised over by the foodies, generally tastes exactly as I expect it to. I don’t scream for ice cream and pizza leaves me nonplussed (it’s cheese on toast, basically, without the handiness). I had a go on one of them there joints once as well... meh. Not much in life ever really amazes me – as an eternal pessimist I am occasionally pleasantly surprised when the shit merely stops the fan and isn’t spread asunder, but otherwise everything works on an even keel.

I reckon I’m an okay judge of character, trusting nobody very far until they’ve earned it and expecting nothing, despite all the promises. So, no, I wasn’t surprised by David Cameron using the Calais Jungle to scare up a Remain vote. And I’m not in the least bit disappointed by the sheer lack of backbone displayed by the oaf Boris Johnson’s fence-sitting. It doesn’t come as much of a shock to see the cabinet’s Eurosceptics bound and gagged ahead of the next carefully rehearsed negotiation performance. Life lurches along, from one mildly predictable, undramatic moment to the next.

But I suppose the one thing that I never quite get used to is how surprised other, mere mortals, are when they get panned for saying something stupid on social media. The creation of Twitter’s ridiculous ‘Trust and Safety Council’ is typical of the age in which we live. ‘Sticks and stones’ we used to counsel and ‘ignore him, he’s not worth it'. But no, the collective ego of the online world, it seems, is so delicate only an ersatz Thought Police will do. Expect similar Quangos to proliferate in the material world as the delicate snowflakes expect comfort blankets for all areas of their lives.

It is one thing to protect your children from their ignorance and to defend people from out and out bullies, but as a species, internet man has over-evolved into a whining, bullshitting, keyboard-frapping, waste of fucking time. The internet promised so much – freedom of speech, a worldwide platform for all views, legitimised by popularity; direct democracy for everybody. A new kind of politics. An end to the tyranny of elites. Power to the people and all that bollocks. But so far, like me quitting the booze, the internet has yet to live up to its more ambitious promises.

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