People in the flesh are one thing. Some are hard to like, but I've always been able, more or less, to muddle along with people, even if it means ripping the piss out of them constantly to stop them getting too up themselves. I consider it a public service.
Online people are harder, because their fundamental problem seems to be an inability to spot irony (a serious issue when it comes to dealing with me). So when you try to deflate their pomposity a bit, they completely miss the point of that and get even more pompous.
I often wonder about this, because irony in print is not a new thing. It used to be that you'd see it everywhere, and it was an emoticon-free space. JD Salinger didn't put smilies all over The Catcher in the Rye
, now did he?
There was a classic thing run on the NME letters page once, a missive purporting to come from someone in the developing world, asking the question, "Where is Beatles Band?" It was not politically correct, but it was very funny, and written, so I believe, by one of the NME stalwarts, possibly Shaar Murray; one of those guys. In hilarious broken English, which we obviously love, and yet asking that poignant question, whatever happened to that great band who were so good and that everybody used to like (except snot-nosed Guardian journalists)? Where is Beatles Band?
But it wasn't smothered in smilies, and though there might have been the odd teenager who just didn't get it, it was ironically funny without having to add, NOT!!!! at the end of every sentence. This is something that could be said of that other 1970s-NME running joke, the "Er... it was a conceptual joke," joke. Which I still use, whenever I make a glaring mistake.
But kids today... I'm just a grumpy old man to them, clearly.
Going back to Salinger, I think there's a clue there. Because a lot of teenagers will read The Catcher in the Rye
and not catch the irony, not hear the authorial voice, and only realise it's even there when they are much older. And I think the problem with innernet people is that they suffer from that arrested development. Techie-type people, which are still the majority of people on-line who, you know, post and contribute to fora and commenting features, generally come from a background of not having read enough books.
Which is such
a snotty remark, but I will let it stand simply because the irony-challenged online community will find it so offensive. And that's just plain funny as far as I'm concerned. I have always loved, to the highest degree, making sweeping generalisations just because I know they will upset a certain kind of person.
A certain kind of person needs it spelt out; they need to feel you don't really mean something, or that you were mistaken in your facts and wouldn't have said it if you had known the truth. A certain kind of person clings to dogma and/or ideology and insists on absolute consistency. They love to look for holes in your argument, and point them out for you, as if you care.
As if you care.
And, honest, I really do not fucking care.
"You said A, but if you believe A then you can't possibly also believe B."
All of which is so flaming basic
, that only somebody who stopped developing in their mind at the age of 13 could possibly say it. Are we being a Marxist today, petal? Or are we a Christian today? This kind of thought prison is just the kind of thing that should get blown out of your brain when you reach adulthood and realise that, for a start, everything you were taught at school is actually wrong. And then everything you learn for the next ten years also turns out to be wrong. And you eventually stumble onto the realisation that, in the words of Albert Goldman, nobody knows anything. And, yes, I know he was writing about Hollywood, but, see, I'm taking a specific statement and making a sweeping generalisation with it just to annoy you.
It's why it's called Hoses of the Holy, since you ask. Holy hoses, because a hose with holes in it leaks all over the place, like all my arguments, and Hoses of the Holy, because people do just get things wrong, all the time, all through their lives. The majority is always wrong, nobody uses spellcheckerrrrs, and anyway a spellchecker won't ever spot if you've used entirely the wrong word. Hoses/Houses, it's an easy mistake to make.
And this has always been my take on the innernet. It's mostly full of idiots mostly getting things mostly wrong most of the time. And I will resist to my dying breath the need to explain when I'm being ironic, or sarcastic (a subset of ironic) or just 'avin' a larf. One day the innernet will catch up with the 70s, and one day all the illiterate techies will piss off to play computer games and leave me alone.
(See, I'm doing it again.)
And the next person who writes to point out a logical consistency in something I've written, I'm going to say, Go back to Vulcan, Trekkie**.
Or just this: it was a conceptual joke.
* Ironic title
** And, yes, I know Trekkies would prefer to be called Trekkers or something, but they can fuck off too.