Words fail me. My light-hearted 'poem' poking fun at the lack of self-awareness among a few people (most of whom have long since broken off contact after making some sort of abusive comment towards me - "arse", "idiot", "zoomer", "Cybernat tube", etc, etc) provoked a torrent of rather baffling fury in certain quarters this afternoon. Christopher Silver accused me of being unable to take a bit of gentle mockery...which seems a distinctly odd way of saying that a blogpost that has the sole purpose of gently mocking people is by definition BAD. Laura Waddell complained that my "frankly creepy" poem was misrepresenting people, and that I was failing to accurately capture the nuance of their own positions. When I offered to take her through examples of all of the things in the poem having been actually said by specific individuals, she told me not to bother (effectively that means she didn't even want to hear the answer to a string of angry questions she had only just asked me).
It seems a rum sort of day when I have to put explanatory footnotes on jokes, but here goes anyway -
* Most of the poem was derived from a tweet posted a couple of months ago by David Officer, who expressly told people never to use the word "Yoon", not to complain about BBC bias, not to even mention JK Rowling's name (!), not to link to any blogposts by Stuart Campbell...and in true kitchen sink mode, he declared that the front pages of The National were part of the problem as well. When I took issue with him, he then launched into a bitter complaint about the fact that I had put a full stop at the start of my tweet (ie. making my reply publicly visible).
* Gerry Braiden said that I was an "idiot" for writing blogposts about Brian Spanner, and clearly felt that it was unspeakably ridiculous that anyone at all should be devoting even a micro-second to the task of uncovering Spanner's true identity - in spite of the strong evidence that he is not just some random bloke. In fairness, Scott Reid and Professor James Chalmers were less abusive, but expressed much the same sentiment. There was widespread condemnation of the anonymous guest poster on this blog who employed some initiative to track Spanner down to Ardrossan.
* James Mackenzie does not regard it as sufficient to merely block Stuart Campbell. He has an explicit policy of breaking off all contact with anyone he sees interacting with Campbell, in even the most trivial of ways. He has made abundantly clear on numerous occasions that he believes Yes people must literally pretend that Wings Over Scotland - by far the most popular pro-independence blog - does not even exist.
* Leo Mikłasz told an MP yesterday that a tweet saying that the BBC should not have "campaigned against people" was unacceptable and should never have been posted. Bizarrely, he also suggested that the sentiment expressed in the tweet was somehow equivalent to support for Donald Trump (although unsurprisingly he never explained why).
I'm sure we've all encountered Mike Small and James McEnaney, so I don't really need to fill in the blanks there.
* * *
Note on the Wings block list : Stuart Campbell is once again inviting people to block everyone on Twitter that he currently blocks, and is offering an automated way to do that. Please note that if you take up his offer, you will automatically be blocking me. After my dispute with Stuart over US election polling, a number of you said that you would be continuing to read both blogs, so it's probably fair to warn you of the consequences of what might superficially appear to be an innocent enough idea. I strongly suspect I might not be the only surprising name on that list.
For full disclosure : I was still on good terms with Stuart when he first came up with the plan of exporting his block list, and I didn't go down that road even then.
UPDATE : Having had a proper look, it turns out that I'm far from being the only surprising name on the block list. Also there are Maurice Smith, Angela Haggerty, Jenny Lindsay, Allan Grogan, Kirstin Innes, Sarah Beattie-Smith, and many, many others. It seems to me pretty tough to defend the idea that these are individuals who thousands of people should be blindly blocking without having the slightest clue as to the reason why. Stuart claims that he only ever blocks people for being a "troll" or an "idiot". That self-evidently is not true. Whatever you may think of someone like Angela Haggerty, she is plainly neither a troll nor an idiot. To a large extent, this is simply a list of people that Stuart has had particularly heated arguments with. That's fine - it's a perfectly valid reason for blocking someone on Twitter. But it's not a valid reason for encouraging thousands of other people to block them.