Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

How To Apologise

Friday, May 15th, 2009

On a recent edition of his radio show, beloved dandy Jonathan Ross said , “If your son asks for a Hannah Montana MP3 player, you might want to already think about putting him down for adoption before he brings his… erm… partner home”.


It’s just a joke. I understand that. Jonathan Ross is a funny man and a great  TV and radio host, and occasionally his humour is a little risqué. But he’s not Jim Davidson. He’s not one of these repugnant old-guard comedians who like to make jokes about ‘pakis’ and beating women. A joke suggesting that parents should put gay children up for adoption belongs firmly on that side of the line. It’s not a joke at the expense of bigotry; it’s a joke for bigots. The joke is not, ‘people say dumb things about effeminate boys’. The joke is, ‘effeminate boys are bad children’.

Ross responded to the outcry about the joke on Twitter, saying, “Am mortified to hear some people thought I was being homophobic on Radio show. Nothing could be further from truth, as I am sure most know.”

I fully accept that Jonathan Ross is not homophobic. He has demonstrated this time and again. But what he said was homophobic. It was a lazy joke leaning on old prejudices, which perpetuated a message that isolates and alienates children struggling with their sexual identity. No kid wants to be told that his parents should give him away. What Ross seems to have missed is that you can be gay friendly in spirit, and still say obscenely homophobic things.

Ross’s twittered response to complaints was the classic, “I’m sorry people were offended”, but without the “I’m sorry”. His follow-up said; “Have gay/bi family members so never been an issue. But I guess soemtimes you need to be sensitive to avoid upsetting folk.”

Some of his best relatives are gay! And he’s not just sorry you were offended; he’s sorry that you’re so easy to offend! It’s wretched, craven, snivelling stuff.  Bernard Manning could not have put it better himself. The twittered defence actually offends me more than the initial joke.

Over on, Michael Slezak has called on Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell to stop exchanging homophobic barbs on American Idol. I actually think they have muted their homophobia this season, possibly because Adam Lambert is on that stage, but their enthusiasm for catty ‘U R gay’ exchanges has been very notable in the past, and it’s disturbing for a top-rated family show to revel in perpetuating the idea that gay=bad.

Slezak mentions the recent suicide of a boy bullied at school because classmates assumed he was gay. That’s the collateral damage here. Carl Walker was eleven years old, and he took his own life because we live in a world where TV and radio hosts think it’s fine to rely on lazy gay jokes just so long as they themselves can insist that they are not homophobic. It’s fine to make gay kids hate themselves, just so long as they know a gay person!

Ross has been crucified in the tabloids for saying stupid things before, and it was tedious and it was overblown. I’m not interested in repeating that misadventure. I’d just like an apology, and I’d like him and others like him to make the effort not to do it again. I’m not saying that all gay jokes are off limits. I’m saying, don’t go telling gay kids that they are worth less because they’re gay.

The Ten People You Meet on Twitter

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Oprah Winfrey is the most important person in the world. It says so in Time magazine. They put out special editions just to say how important she is. She’s like Jesus, but with syndication. And without the fasting.

And Oprah twitters. This means Twitter is now officially important. If Oprah does anything, it’s important. She was Barack Obama’s kingmaker, you know. She single-handedly reintroduced the concept of books. She is the reason we even have an Africa.

Oprah has only been on Twitter a few days, and she already has hundreds of thousands of people following her - and that’s without entering into any Ashton Kutcher-style popularity contests. Yet Oprah only follows ten people. Given how important Oprah is, it logically follows that these ten people must be the ten next most important people in the world.


So just who are these ten people? Well, Ashton Kutcher, of course. Ashton Kutcher is now a career twitterer. He’s better known for twittering (I refuse to call it ‘tweeting’) than he is for… whatever it is he used to do before he started twittering. Wearing trucker caps, I think. His wife/owner Demi Moore also makes the Oprah 10. She’s best known for being married to the world’s second most famous twitterer.

Completing the Holy Trinity of twitterers is Evan Williams (pictured, above). He’s not actually important, he’s just one of the founders of Twitter. I thought this might be like the insecure MySpace founder guy who automatically makes everyone pretend to be his friend that everyone be his friend, but no, Oprah has chosen to shine her beneficent glory on Twitter and say that it is good. Or possibly he made her add him when he was on her show, and now she’s too embarrassed to take him off again.

There are two other people in the Oprah 10 who you might never have heard of. One of them is Sheri Salata, a producer on Oprah’s show, who probably set up Oprah’s Twitter account and then added herself. (How Oprah managed to get ‘oprah’ as her Twitter handle, I don’t know. It seems like someone else would have grabbed it first, doesn’t it?) Then there’s Gayle King, who is the editor of Oprah’s magazines and Oprah’s very close personal friend. Very, very close.

That leaves five spots, four of which go to the other members of the Oprah Illuminati; the secret cabal of talk show hosts who sit above in shadow. They are Larry King, Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Fallon, and prettyboy political pundit George Stephanopoulos.

And finally, legendary baseball player Shaquille O’Neal. He is John the Baptist to Oprah’s messiah. His role is to lay a path for Oprah in this new world, and to correct her when she forgets proper netiquette.


There you have it; the ten most important people in the world - after Oprah. Demi and Ashton? They Rule You. Barack Obama? Nowhere to be seen.

Though I am not one of the Oprah 10, I am on Twitter. You can catch my erratic electronic diarrhoea several times a day at