The Cataracts that Obscured the Po-Faced Reflection

I no longer know what is offensive, though I am aware that my poverty stricken grammar and punctuation skills will normally stir a kraken or two. (this has been written very quickly, so be prepared to slavver Grammarian beasts)

Today, it was a tweet about JMW Turner.
I thought it was just a silly joke, I was wrong.

“rather than go to the JMW Turner exhibition, I am going to save money by spending a day walking along the Thames without my glasses on.”

I tweeted that, then went off for a cup of tea and a small slice of chocolate cake.
I didn’t mean it as an attack on Turner, it’s a bit late for that. It was meant as a silly money saving tip idea (I see the new Viz is out) and also based on stories that his style was partly down to cataracts and, in later life, short-sightedness.

On my return, reasonably full but I could have done with a bit more icing, I find a tweet

“What a fucking stupid tweet. Not sure why it’s made me so angry but it has.” with my original tweet attached.

Then, from a follower of this fellow.

Rather than go to your next live show, but I’m going to save money by watching a potato rot in a cupboard instead.

Publicly shared by placing a dot before my twitter name.

As these were public tweets, I RTed them and commented

“wow, a silly joke about Turner is taken very seriously, ah, this must be the internet.”

Then, it all got tetchy. I was accused of RTing passive aggressively. I don’t think I was being passive aggressive. I think I was being jauntily aggressive and laughing in the face of those who designated themselves to occupy Olympian heights of po-facedness. I see no reason why people are allowed to be publicly derogatory and share around their misunderstanding as truth with all their followers, but if I do that, it is cruel and unfair and interfering with the discussion they were having about Constable on their timeline. (I think one of them did realise there had been a misunderstanding and I wasn’t declaring that the artistic imagination of human beings is shit and that all art must be destroyed by a MechaGodzilla)

They can ridicule me to their 1000 or more followers, but as I have more followers than that, the game is now abusive. I think if someone has a very low level of followers, I might write something directly to them, but after a few hundred, where must the line be drawn. Are we only allowed a Twitter spat with people with exactly the same number of followers. Had they just tweeted directly to me that I was a dick (uh oh, this opens the floodgates), well that’s the internet.

I was also a bit annoyed as it was po-faced fury from the left, and that is exactly the sort of cliche, like The Guardian putting a colour spread on diamond and gold media trinkets immediately after a photo spread on squalor, that makes me itchy. I don’t like to think I was part of the process of handing the ammo over to the “and of course the Socialists have no sense of humour” shooting party. It is all the sillier because the little fey fisticuffs of occasional adjectives in which we partook, briefly, may mask that we have things in common and might even get on if we met at a Grace Petrie gig. I believe I saw that Grace followed one of them and she is usually a good judge of character. Or it may turn out that we’d be breaking ginger beer bottles over each other’s heads if we collided in the Tate Britain canteen.

Is there an equation which tells you the percentage difference of followers that makes RTing public misunderstandings/derision etc acceptable, and when the gap is too great?

Has anyone written the rules up yet?

I am only going to make jokes about Dadaists in the future, or futurists in the Dada, one or the other.

(To allow their timelines to return to normal and get back to talking landscapes, I deleted my RTs etc quite quickly. I noticed the original provocateur has not bothered to removed his angry misunderstanding of me from his timeline. I am tempted to RT it again, but instead I will be safe in the knowledge that I get to atheist heaven first, a place where nothing happens and nobody knows they exist, because they don’t. It is very quiet there.)

I am off being accidentally offensive about science or brains or something on my Autumn tour – from Croydon to Newcastle, Belfast to Goole, Bridgwater to Cardiff and more. Details HERE

New 3 hour DVD packed with apologetic offence (and silly things) is HERE

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13 Responses to The Cataracts that Obscured the Po-Faced Reflection

  1. liliannberg says:

    Your tweet was funny, I laughed, but knew it would raise hackles. One mustn’t make fun of artists – they are a protected species, god knows why? Thing is Turner had poor eyesight towards the end of his life. So what, most people do. No one can be sure if his blurry style was intentional or not. One of my students painted a portrait of me once, with her glasses off, and liked it so much she continued to paint this way, until the day she was accused of copying Turner. On came the glasses and the work suffered.

  2. johnshepherd says:

    I love Turner’s work and I loved your tweet-joke.
    Ignore the numpties.

  3. psychtld says:

    “rather than go to the JMW Turner exhibition, I am going to save money by spending a day walking along the Thames without my glasses on.”

    That’s piss-funny. I honestly cannot see how that could be taken so offensively as to have been called ‘fucking stupid’: it’s not like you said ‘JMW Turner was a dizzy twat for thinking he was any sot of painter!’ That would have been nasty and offensive.

  4. lanceleuven says:

    Meh, screw ’em I say. If that bothers them so much they should check how many followers people have before tweaking their nose.

  5. As a friend of mine says: “You don’t have to answer a barking dog”

  6. I know you’re a cohesive fella, but there are those who are equally seeking the divisive. Also, the ability to be verbally offended is down to subjective interpretation. So, say what you want; you’re not a mind reader.

  7. I dare you – I double dare you – to start making jokes about “gamergate” on Twitter

  8. In honour of you I am going to never see a Kandinsky again and instead just rub my eyes really rather vigorously until I can see through time.

  9. Nigel Gresley says:

    I agree, the Tate Britan caff does superb ginger beer.

  10. I thought it was funny and you could make pretty much the same joke about Monet – another genius

  11. David says:

    You use words like “allowed” and “rules” as if your free speech is being monopolised by the people who want to have a grouch. Maybe you (and your pal Gervais for that matter) just need to get some perspective and stop treating the peanut gallery like the censorship bureau it isn’t?

    • robinince says:

      the use of those words was jokier than you deemed them to be. Tongues are sometimes in cheeks.

      • David says:

        Fair enough. I caught this blog post off a RG retweet. Since he’d lately been invoking free speech without any kind of mock-seriousness to defend unexpectedly-contentious tweets, I assumed this was part of the same narrative. I plead Poe’s Law.

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