12:05 p.m. August 4, 2013

Shut Up The Lot Of You

In case you didn't know it's "hashtag Twitter silence" day, the special day of the year when Really Important People keep their opinions to themselves.

I can't recap all of the fun in 300 words, but the ultra-short version is that some journo-luvvies in London have decided to put manners on the Twitter trolls by shutting-up for a day.

Don't go thinking there's a side of the angels here. One participant, India Knight, previously used Twitter to call fellow journalist Liz Jones a "rancid cunt". This morning I awoke to the depressing whataboutery of seeing another participant, The Times of London's Caitlin Moran, "called out" for using words like "spazz", "mong" and "tranny".

So… some obnoxious basement dwellers use foul language and make (not particularly credible) threats of sexual assault. A group of high profile journalists attempt to "call them out" with, er, silence. They in turn are exposed as hypocrites of the first water.

Barely a clear voice can be heard among the bloviating clowns late of the Fleet ditch. Even the free-speech warriors, having engaged the the aforementioned whataboutery, have forfeited their argument: language policing the language policers is, let's be honest, not a great strategy. If this continues much longer we'll all end-up language policing ourselves into silence.

By the way, I write this not only as someone who has been attacked and smeared online, but (like most reporters I suspect) has been threatened in person and physically assaulted (albeit insignificantly in my case) on the job. And, no, I really don't like being on receiving end of moronic comments.

As the civil libertarian Wendy Kaminer once argued, free speech doesn't mean anyone has to provide a platform from which you can be heard. What I would like to hear, though, is an explanation as to whatever happened to simple manners.

Hashhag grow up.