Thursday, 24 February 2011

Pitbull Muzzled

According to that purveyor of all things true and wise (aka the Daily Mail), former England hooker and current BBC rugby pundit Brian Moore has decided to close his Twitter account following criticism after the publication of a couple of less than tasteful jokes.

Last month Moore apparently re-tweeted a post saying: "Apparently Gary Glitter is the new Aston Villa manager. He heard the strikers are Young, Bent and possibly Keane, boom boom."

Tasteful? No.
Funny? Yes, very, at least according to my admittedly puerile sense of humour.

More recently, following England’s win over Wales in Cardiff, a (possibly Welsh) tweeter named Sam Downes sent a public tweet to Moore accusing him of being "literally the worst, most biased commentator in the history of rugby, sport and the universe," to which one Moore’s followers responded, questioning whether Downes’surname had anything to do with his medical condition, a remark which Moore apparently (and possibly ill-advisedly) re-tweeted.

Tasteful? No.
Funny? Not really, but so what?

The real point here is that the nature of a medium like Twitter is that remarks are often made that are intended largely for private consumption (or at least for consumption by followers who presumably have signed up because they know what sort of views they are likely to get) but which are, in fact, consumed by a much wider public. Tasteless jokes and remarks are part of life and therefore part of Twitter. Sometimes they're very funny, sometimes they're wide of the mark. Moore's not the first well-known figure to be caught out by Twitter (and, remember, he didn't even make the original comment) and certainly won't be the last, but for anyone to genuinely take offence at some throwaway line on a social media site strikes me as being more than a little ridiculous. I suspect that those who have jumped on the bandwagon of condemnation are motivated more by a general dislike for Moore's persona than by any real offence caused.

The fact that Moore, whose views are generally always entertaining (whether or not you agree with them), has felt compelled to close his Twitter account is a shame but, as with many so-called scandals these days, the matter does appear to have been blown out of all proportion.

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