November 13, 2010
If anyone thinks that the combined forces of the OPP (Online Pyjama People) are going to take over the world anytime soon, please watch this hilarious video (hat tip: nosemonkey) of one of them being utterly destroyed in a television interview. Did I mention that it was hilarious?
Context: the Daily Politics is a TV show about UK politics, and we’re before the 2010 UK election. The presenter, Andrew Neil, is interviewing the head of the Libertarian Party. This guy was also the blogger Devil’s Kitchen, a fantastically offensive spewing of bile that he has now taken offline after this extremely polite mauling:
Disclaimer: Devils' Kitchen was one of the sites that published lurid conspiracy theories about Blogactiv when it went live. I submitted a rebuttal comment there, along with other sites like Midnight Sun and EU Referendum. Unlike these other two, Devil's Kitchen didn't publish my comment.
But that's not really why I'm blogging this video. Well, maybe a bit! But mainly because I never really 'got' the point of being a "swearblogger'.
If you haven't seen his old blog, it's difficult to describe how offensive it was. Wishing violent and gruesome deaths on people he'd never met because he was an angry young man. Pyjama people seem to think that foul, gratuitous and violent language makes them somehow more effective or 'real'.
All it actually does is show how juvenile they are.
Which was demonstrated perfectly by Andrew Neil in the video as he gleefully hoisted the prat by his own petard. Remember, as you watch him try to wriggle out of his own writing, that the guy is trying to launch a political party. Libertarianism is a serious philosophy. It deserves better spokespersons (along with a more nuanced and less kneejerk approach to the EU, which is far from anti-libertarian).
Having said that, I like the way he has squared up to it and relaunched his blog.
Watching the video also makes me reflect on just how self-inflated a view some political bloggers have of their own importance. Is it any wonder that some professional journalists can't take bloggers seriously when the most visible bloggers are like this clown?
But the biggest problem is that people like this destroy intelligent online conversations. If someone turns up at your local pub in their pyjamas, wild-eyed, foaming at the mouth, gibbering about consipracy theories and ranting about how they'd like to chop up everyone who doesn't agree with them, what do you do? Most people leave.
These guys destroy the signal-to-noise and send rational arguments fleeing to the hills. When what is actually needed is intelligent scepticism and reasoned debate. But that's for another post.Mathew Lowry