By Ben Pensant.
‘Welcome to the real world, matey boy. It’s a place where people are held accountable for what they say and do’.
In case you’re wondering, the ‘matey boy’ in the white-hot tweet above is knicker-sniffing Tory Toby Young, who recently crawled out of the sewer he’s been lurking in since that glorious week in January when his reputation was destroyed by the social media outrage machine. The author of the quote is one of the north-east’s sharpest minds, a proud liberal whose name I won’t mention as I was so bowled over by his caustic wit I forgot to write it down. And his target was the shameless stink-piece shat out by Young in the pages of alt-right hate site Quilliamette, in which the four-eyed toff bemoaned the fact that he lost a huge chunk of his income because a handful of left-wing people didn’t like some naughty jokes he made on the internet six years ago.
My heart fucking bleeds, slaphead.
The ballsy riposte was just one of hundreds that told Young where to stick his self-pity, though this one in particular cut to the core of what the modern left are all about with scalpel-like precision. Because when this proud Geordie says ‘the real world’ what he actually means is ‘Twitter’, a place where people aren’t only held accountable for what they say and do but also for what they don’t say or do. Or as Young found out, for stuff Polly Toynbee and Owen Jones pretend they say and do.
None of which bothered our truth-bomb detonating northern correspondent. An informed, educated liberal, there’s no way he would make such sweeping judgements about Young without first reading the sordid articles that sealed the bald fascist’s fate. In fact I’m certain he’ll have re-read them several times, just to be sure. Because that’s what informed, educated liberals do, dummy.
So it stands to reason he knows fine well Young isn’t a eugenicist, doesn’t hate the disabled, and has no desire to stop working-class students from entering higher education. He’ll be fully aware Young is none of the things he was hysterically accused of being but will have sensibly decided the vile Punch hack deserved to lose his job anyway. That Young has helped secure scholarships for numerous kids from disadvantaged backgrounds and is a patron of the care home where his disabled brother lives will have been digested, dismissed, and deemed far less important than a snooty essay from thirty years ago or a tweet about an MP’s titties.
Because we can’t go around holding people accountable for the good stuff they say and do. Not when they’re Tory Brexiters with a habit of provoking joyless left-wingers by saying stuff they disagree with. That won’t do.
So like the thousands of other brave progressives who decided because they didn’t like Young that made him an evil misogynist intent on sterilising the homeless and bulldozing wheelchair ramps, this northern star simply ignored the decent things Toby has said and done and focused on the bad things he hasn’t. (We can discount the possibility that he actually knows bugger all about Young and just sided with the mob because Toby’s a Tory. An informed, educated liberal would never do that.)
How our hero would react to losing his livelihood because a tiny gaggle of curtain-twitching nobodies accused him of saying stuff he didn’t say isn’t clear. Nor do we know what the various painters, musicians and stylishly bearded creatives who retweeted his comment would think if it were them being publicly shamed for making lame gags about knockers. But it’s refreshing to know that those at the cutting edge of the arts are in favour of punishing people for offending polite society. And anyway, Good People don’t need to worry about being publicly shamed for making lame gags about knockers as Good People don’t make lame gags about knockers. Simples.
Or so I thought. But as illustrated by the recent witch-hunt against left-wing filmmaker Jamie Gunn, even the Good People aren’t safe…
Let’s be absolutely clear, when indie movie mogul Mike Duplass tweeted that conservative shit-stirrer Ben Chappelle was a ‘nice guy’ he crossed a line. I’ll happily admit I don’t know the slightest thing about Ben but I do know he’s a Nazi. And not just any old Nazi but a Jewish Nazi, the very worst kind. That he also wears a silly cap, moonlights as an ambulance-chasing lawyer, and is a key member of alt-right network The International Black Widows just reinforces how misguided Duplass’ endorsement was.
Needless to say, within hours the actor was hit with a barrage of justified bile, as people he didn’t know expressed their anger at the actor for having the nerve to like someone they don’t. Indeed, his problematic plea to followers to ‘cross the aisle’ and follow shifty Ben on Twitter was met with an avalanche of hatred that would have flattened lesser men. But as the insults, death threats, and petitions to boycott This Is Us mounted, Duplass found the mental strength to use the faux pas to his advantage and did the one thing guaranteed to melt leftist hearts: He caved in to the mob.
In these selfish times it takes immense courage to admit you were wrong. But it requires King Kong-sized cojones to thoroughly abase yourself for the benefit of a handful of brain-damaged pitchfork wielders you’ve never met.
So by teatime it was smiles all round as Duplass was inundated with warm wishes by the same people who hours earlier were demanding his banishment to the same tinseltown sin bin as Roseanne Connors. See, apologies are like catnip to the modern left and the Buckethead director’s courageous apology taking back everything he’d said about ‘nice guy’ Ben had left-wing social media pawing, licking, and rubbing their sex bits against it with self-righteous glee. And the party would have continued if it weren’t for well-meaning Gunn weighing in with a sterling defence of Duplass.
Mindful of the situation’s delicacy, Gunn wisely added the caveat that while he was supportive of Duplass he hated Ben Chappelle and found his politics disgraceful, just in case anyone thought the Sliver auteur was also a Nazi. Gunn understandably felt he was on safe ground, having spent the last few years being vocally anti-Trump: a courageous position for a filmmaker to hold in this current climate when only 99.9% of Hollywood agrees with you.
So his previous good behaviour was just about enough to keep the mob off his back. But what Gunn hadn’t banked on was the reaction of the other mob. For unbeknown to him, a sinister and extremely dangerous group have recently sprung up to shamelessly rip off the principled methods of the regressive left because they’re too intellectually bankrupt to think of their own. Yes, I’m talking about that ungodly internet phenomenon, right-wing SJWs.
Some deluded ‘non-partisans’ have pathetically tried to claim this is what happens when deranged activists use illiberal tactics, that sooner or later equally deranged counterparts will pop up and start doing it too. But this piss-weak analysis ignores an important fact: these tactics are only illiberal when the right use them.
Needless to say, it didn’t take long for Nazi spies to dig up an assortment of harmless jokes Gunn made about paedophilia, and before the ink was dry on his obligatory apology Sony’s arse fell out and they fired him as director of upcoming sci-fi comedy Defenders Of The Earth 2.
So when we were supposed to be honouring Mike Duplass for courageously bowing down to a tiny minority of left-wing freedom fighters, instead we were furious at Hollywood for gutlessly bowing down to a tiny minority of fascist fuckwits.
But the most infuriating aspect is that it was beginning to look like Hollywood was finally getting this stuff right. Sadly, mere weeks after bosses correctly removed Scarlett Johannesburg from a transgender gangster biopic because she’s never owned a cock and balls, they undo all that good work by firing a decent liberal for cracking jokes about bumming young boys. I don’t know what rankles more, the brazen inconsistency or the thought of a poor progressive’s career ruined because of some off-colour gags they once made on Twitter.
Predictably, right-wing trolls suggested there was more to the story, citing a film hosted on Gunn’s personal website which allegedly featured underage sex and was forwarded to him by a convicted paedophile. But frankly this was all hearsay and until I see the video with my own eyes I refuse to believe it exists. And please, if you have a copy don’t even think about sending me a DM on Twitter, emailing a link to email@example.com, or leaving a DVD in a camouflage jiffy bag beneath the sycamore tree on Benton cemetery between the hours of 1 and 3 am. You’re wasting your time, not mine.
So this is what we’re up against. Everywhere you look, the alt-right are using our censorious tactics against us and it has to stop. NOW. Because we can’t let the best thing about social media become the absolute worst.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s undoubtedly a good thing that a grubby corner of the internet most people couldn’t give two shits about has the power to force a Hollywood studio to fire a director. And every brave Gender Studies professor who’s ever sent a furious tweet or started an online petition has successfully earned the right to be mentioned in the same breath as Malcolm Luther King and that Rosa wife who threw herself under a bus.
But when this modus operandi starts being abused by the wrong kind of people you know we’re in trouble. Public figures and companies folding under the weight of honest-to-goodness left-wing activism is admirable and necessary. Doing it because of vindictive right-wing pressure is disgusting, cowardly and a stain on society.
If we’re to preserve the noble leftist tradition of hounding people for saying stuff we don’t like we can’t allow the right to do the same. It’s an attack not only on liberal values but our Marx-given right to be raving hypocrites. And the second we allow the likes of Ken Cernovich or Mary Joseph Watson to behave exactly like us we upset the very fabric of social media. Because the last thing the world needs is for people to start doubting the importance of Political Twitter. Go down that road and before you know it they’ll realise it’s nothing more than a worthless platform for left-wing cretins to wave their cocks at right-wing cretins while trying to get each other sacked.
So by all means laugh at Toby Young, celebrate the hits taken to his bank balance, and bask in the warm glow of knowing that you contributed to a mildly right-wing gobshite being denied a seat on an educational board that no-one outside of Westminster gives a flying fuck about.
But spare a though for Jamie Gunn: alone, frightened, banished. And all because a ragtag of alt-right rabble-rousers can’t handle rape jokes, think it’s up to them who directs the next Justice League film, and were happy to hound a man whose only crime was being a principled liberal who enjoys a bit of banter about child porn.
Still, he’s white. He’ll bounce back. Pity the same can’t be said for Bill Crosby and OJ Simpson.
What a fucking world.