Well yesterday was one of those very exciting days to be a Twitterer - the days when the whole place goes up in arms over someone being a cunt. The someone was, as is so often the case, connected to the Daily Mail
and the story was Jan Moir's now-infamous opinion piece about Stephen Gately's death - to all intents and purposes she said the coroner must be wrong, because obviously he died because he was gay. Oh, and anyone in a civil partnership is pretty much asking for an early grave. Nice. If you haven't seen the article yet, don't give the Mail
more website hits - it's reproduced on ONTD
so read it there (if you can - apart from being homophobic, Moir's article is also so badly written it's really hard to get through.)
Helped by celebs like Stephen Fry (@stephenfry
) the article was seen, and hated, by so many people that the complaints crashed the Press Complaints Commission's website (unfortunately, due to the PCC being set up by the papers themselves, and set up in such a way that it's very hard to actually take any action against offenders, all the complaints were automatically rejected because they didn't come from people named personally in the article.) But hopefully the stink that got kicked up will have some effect in itself - it's hard to ignore that kind of reaction, even if Moir's response has inevitably been to set herself up as the victim of a witchhunt. Her self-justification didn't stop the advertisers pulling their ads from the page, which is surely the most satisfying part.
The political and satirical blogs very quickly got on the bandwagon - Jamie Sport's (@JamieSport
) spoof in the Daily Quail
is great - and by the end of the day the other papers had joined in, with Charlie Brooker (@charltonbrooker
) getting a quick and spot-on response up on the (Guardian
) website (I think the article also appears in today's dead tree version.) But back on Twitter itself the most fun-in-a-puerile way was Peter Serafinowicz (@serafinowicz
) suggesting that since the Daily Mail
obsessed with the gays, maybe the paper itself was, you know, hiding something? And so the hashtag #thedailymailisgay
was trending yesterday afternoon.
It'd be nice if this all led to the Mail
being held accountable for its actions but let's not expect miracles. Still, it does feel satisfying when you get to use social networking to let people know that if they spout hate in an influential paper, readers might actually notice and take you to to task for it.