Belfast Telegraph

How the bile spewed out on social media, including wishing Hammond and Trump would die, make me feel incandescent

By Lindy McDowell

Frankly, I blame Prince Charles. Years ago, I noticed that Prince Charles never did anything as commonplace as just get angry.

When palace insiders attempted to convey to the media the princely sense of outrage, HRH was always described in the same way.

Unlike the ordinary rest of us, Charles wasn't annoyed, irritated or even very, very cross indeed.


So often was that word used in relation to the prince that eventually you got a sense of the man in an almost permanent state of incandescence, circuiting the Highgrove gardens blazing like radioactive mass.

Well, now we're all at it. We're all incandescent these days. About everything.

And not just raging with new-found fury. But bitter and twisted with it.

When and why did we ever get to be so horrible?

Example: a nine-year-old local girl has been savaged by supporters of an animal lovers' charity because of something she posted on their Facebook page.

Seemingly, she claimed to have contributed to their cause when actually she hadn't. The wee girl didn't fully understand the concept of donation. But if what she did was childish, she does at least, have an excuse.

She's a child.

You might expect that animal lovers, of all people, would be mature enough to grasp that. And kindly enough to overlook what was hardly an awful transgression in the first place.

But no. Amid the vitriol which poured forth was a call from some pleasant piece of work that the little girl be drowned. If you were a rescue dog re-homed with the caring creature who felt that an appropriate response to a child's silliness, you would sleep with one eye open, wouldn't you?

Moving on to motorsports...

And no, I don't have a whole lot of time for Richard Hammond either. As with Clarkson and May, his co-presenters in Continuity Top Gear, the word numpty does spring to mind.

And yes, there may well be a valid debate to be had around the added cost he's accrued to emergency services in a couple of jurisdictions.

But following Hammond's latest quite shocking accident, who would actually want to voice the opinion that they "hope he dies"?

Someone operating from an NHS web address, as it turns out.

Another compassionate member of the 'caring' community.

I wouldn't go as far as saying that social media is the root of all evil - much of what goes on there is uplifting and sound, occasionally informative and often very, very funny.

But it does also seem to bring out some people's inner homicidal maniac. Bizarrely, often over the most innocuous issues.

And as with the two cases above, very often it's those who would style themselves as caring or liberal or open-minded who are leading the charge with the bile, the abuse and the ignorance.

In America, comedienne Kathy Griffin recently posted online a pic, depicting herself holding what very convincingly appeared to be the severed head of Donald Trump. Blood dripping. The lot. It was gruesome.

You didn't have to be Sean Spicer to feel that this was a bit near the knuckle. Or in this case, the jugular. The photoshoot was - rightly - widely condemned. Griffin lost her job.

But you do wonder what goes through a rational, intelligent person's mind when she thinks a graphic depiction of decapitation might be good for a laugh.

The internet seems to fuel this lack of judgment.

People say online, things they never ever would in the real world.

People need to curb their incandescence.

Peter glows as Jeremy turns to slapstick

One of the funniest sights of election night was Jeremy Corbyn's hapless high-five with Emily Thornberry, where he missed and slapped her on the breast. It was vintage Benny Hill.

Other startling sights, I thought, included Peter Robinson, whose glowing tan, sun-bleached hair and dazzling teeth did not entirely reflect summer 2017 in Belfast.

"That's Florida," said a friend surveying the television image.

Coincidentally, that's where Mr Trump also has a home.

And Trump is also a bit on the orange side.

Could everyone be a winner with the DUP?

Proof that no good deed goes unpunished is the flak (much of it wildly misinformed) directed at the DUP ever since they offered to dig Theresa May out of her Commons majority deficit.

I'm not a DUP voter myself but, like other pragmatists, I think it is possible - and would be great -if the DUPers could get something out of this for all the community.

In return, a bit of mainland exposure to views on gay rights etc would do some in the party no harm either.

Unlikely, perhaps, but this could yet be a win-win.

Belfast Telegraph


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