Sunday 9 January 2011

Modern Day Moral Panics

Those of you on Twitter will no doubt have heard of @MrKennethTong.

This person holds views (or claims to hold views - many people have suggested he's simply a troll, who is having some absolutely spectacular success) that are considered beyond the pale by many.

Those views? Well, not what you might think, from the fuss. He isn't a racist or a bigot, he isn't advocating the violent overthrow of the State, he isn't an inveterate puppy-strangler who wants to get this sport into the 2012 Olympics.

He claims that Size Zero is the ideal one for a woman, and is claiming to have a magic pill which will help them achieve that.



Yeah, me too.

But this bizarre attitude (real or fake) is apparently so hideous, so dangerous, so beyond the pale, that a Twittermob has formed, and while most are simply content to mock and rubbish his views, others (even those who should know better) are calling for him to be removed from Twitter.

And then we come to Jack of Kent's post yesterday evening.

In it, he opines:
" is not a pleasant account. It is used to relentlessly promote "size zero" body shapes for women and something dangerous and abusive called "managed anorexia". Although one can be sure that the person using the account believes they are exercising free speech, it may well be that promoting such harmful health practices should be prohibited."
Oh, how quickly the mask of reason and calm consideration of all the facts slips when a liberal rubs up against something that he or she doesn't personally like, eh?

But the Tweet that draws Jack of Kent's ire sufficiently to give this chap yet more publicity is one to a woman where he is challenged by her to 'break the law and we'll see what happens.' The person running the Tong account replies with a URL to this case and a smiley face.

And that's all.
"What should we make of this response?

Is @MrKennethTong suggesting that the link is an example of him breaking the law "without penalty"?

Is it even an implicit admission of guilt of the allegation of sexual assault?

It is simply not clear."
No, it certainly isn't. But why this should mean that a man who the Twitterverse reviles should get a starring role in a very well-written and avidly followed legal blog is equally unclear.
"We can go no further than what @MrKennethTong says on the point. Certainly there is no other information available from which one can infer such a view. I certainly make no suggestion that he was guilty of the original allegations, but I do wonder what @MrKennethTong is suggesting.

If the tweet is not an implicit admission of guilt, and there is some other explanation, it still seems to me to be an inappropriate link to post in that context.

To show off like this being cleared of a sexual assault allegation is, on any view, vile."
Ah. Right. Of course.

It couldn't be that he's understandably bitter at being accused of a sexual assault by a woman, and had his name splashed all over the papers (which even for a relentless self-publicist Big Brother contestant can't be welcome), while hers is protected by law, could it?

And so therefore picked something he thought would be an ideal allusion to goad his Twitter tormentors (a lot of whom are women), who are declaring he should have no right to hold his views, and should be hounded off Twitter because of them?

I mean, god forbid the poor sod should feel he has any right to 'show off'.

No, indeed. He should hang his head in shame forevermore, simply because a woman used her legally-granted anonymity to drag his name through the mud and through the legal system because she could, with no repercussions for her at all...

And just to compound this safari into BizzarroWorld, a commenter to Jack of Kent's blog - one 'RM' - leaves this comment:
"For those who are witheringly chastising the author for giving KT the oxygen of publicity... I went through the same thought process on Twitter, and certainly wouldn't have given him the time of day were it not for the series of three tweets highlighted above.

If drawing attention to those three posts only creates outrage, then there's certainly no point in doing so, I agree. I merely highlighted them because I wondered whether they were significant, whether they were anything over and above unpleasant bragging, whether they were interesting to the police.

A friend of mine who first drew my attention to them actually called the police..."
For those who've never heard the name before, Jack of Kent is the lawyer who put in so much time and effort on the Paul Chambers case, where a man who made a joking Tweet about blowing up an airport was hauled through the courts and convicted under anti-terrorism legislation because someone reported his Tweet to the police...

Yeah, I need a new irony meter. Mine's just gone KERBLOOIE!


Lynne said...

Dunno about managed anorexia but we've all seen what managed bulimia did for Two Shags Prescott. It ain't pretty.

Anonymous said...

Is the tweeter the same person as the person mentioned in the court case?

Maybe he was posting a link to a case naming someone with a similar name to goad his critics.

Anonymous said...

gunna be seious for a mo, oh noooooo, but this struck a nerve. So, my reaction on bieng told what I already knew in court, ie not guilty, was shock, despair, upset and sadness. Sadness I hear you say but after a year of having my name in the papers, wearing a tag, a cerfew, bricks through my window, moving home, losing my job, 99% of family and friends looking at me and treating me with suspision at best and totaly rejecting me at worst ,yes only surviving psrent included, to be told 'not guilty, your free to go' was no celbration.
I colapsed in the dock, my partner who had stood by me for most of that year rushed down from the gallery to hold me and I let out a hollow cry 'WHY!' I think in hindsight if anything satisfied the jury they had made the right decision was my unconrolable reaction to this event.
Since then as I have tried to put the whole episode behind me there have been ups and downs. There have been times when I have wanted revenge and times when I have been more charitable trying desperately to give reason for my false accusers actions. Mostly I default to there is no justice, life is not fair and we all have to roll with the punches in on way or another. My sentiment now is that of it has been and could easily be something that unless I manage could threaten every aspect of my future. Certainly there will be those who for whatever reason I will always be guilty no matter what, thier loss and not my responsibility to correct.
So I can understand someone who has had a similar experience wanting to tell the world I am not guilty, I am not guilty, I AM NOT GUILTY. I can also understand how easy it is for some to see this as bragging that they 'got away with it' because for them fact is no evidence.

Anonymous said...

PS, the selfish, vacuous, bitch should be fucking strung up!!!!!! ;)

Anonymous said...

futher to my recent comment, trying to get some points accross recently on Joan's column I came accross a sadly common sentiment. I was trying to suggect that it does not help to solve or address the problem of rape by blaming men, women, religion, ethnicity or anything but the attacker. Punishment and revenge seem to go hand in hand so easily. People's personal experiences overshadow the issue to make thier contribution valuless and offensive. Serios crimes and those who commit them should be seen as some kind of mental desease, not that those who commit serious crime should be afforded any compassion because of this. I think most of us can admit doing something wrong, nicking sweets as a child, sciving off work or embelishing an insurance claim without commiting serious fruad when you have a valid cliam to make the most of a bad situation. I genuinely believe that those who are guilty of serious crime are simply people who have been unable to kerb thier natural desire to be less than human and go on to act out the darkest of human charcteristics. Thus the only person to blame for a crime is the criminal. As a society we need to stop blaming each other and treat serious criminals firstly in terms of preventing them from commiting more crime then as sick, responsible for thier actions but sick.Asking feminist loons to acept the world as is is futile, they in some bloody minded and dangerous way refuse to go about thier lives acepting reality. You can't ask them to consider thier responsibility to thier personal safety, it not thier responsibility because in a perfect world none of us would have to. To ask them to is an insult. Ah well, we live and learn, or we become a victim of our own stupidity.

Anonymous said...

commenting recently on Joan's column it reminded me of the stupidity of most. Serious crime is committed by sick people. Blaming people in terms of gender, religion, ethnicity does not help. Revenge and punishment seem to go hand in hand to the detriment of us all. We need to see serious criminals as mentally ill totally responsible for thier actions. We've all done something bad, nicking sweets as a child, skiving off work, padding an insurance claim when we have a valid claim to make the best of a bad situation. Serious criminals are simply those who exhibit the worst of the human condition because they are unable and/or unwilling to control their behaviour. Firstly they need to be caught and stopped, no mercy because there is something wrong with them equally don't place their behaviour as an example of problems with some group defined by characteristics they share with others.
Trying to ask feminist loons to consider their personal safety is an insult to them. They live in a fantasy world, where we can do exactly as we please without regard for the realities of life. Ah well we live a learn or become victims of our own stupidity.

JuliaM said...

"...we've all seen what managed bulimia did for Two Shags Prescott. It ain't pretty."


"Is the tweeter the same person as the person mentioned in the court case?"

No-one seems to know for sure. He claims to be. But it could be an epic trolling session.

"So I can understand someone who has had a similar experience wanting to tell the world I am not guilty, I am not guilty, I AM NOT GUILTY. I can also understand how easy it is for some to see this as bragging that they 'got away with it' because for them fact is no evidence."

Indeed. We just don't know. This is just some bloke on Twitter winding people up.

Timdog said...

Curses, I was going to write about this but 3 days of childminding while my wife went on a jolly to London, and you have said everything I wanted to (including Jack Of Kent's ludicrous double-standardery)!

Nice one, great post, 100% in agreement.

Anonymous said...

Please excuse the introduction, I did not want my post as “Anonymous” but simply couldn’t work my way through the technology. Anyway, I post as Dennis on the Raccoon blog – a name chosen in opposition (maybe apposition) to Thaddeus J Wilson, whose contributions I miss. I do hope he’s OK.

I confess to being lost as to why you see an Irony. On the one hand JoK is supporting innocent intent (not that I agree), while on the other hand condemning what might be the opposite. You say, or at least I think you do, that it is uncertain to whom the Twitter posts (is that the right nomenclature?) should be attributed, but unless Mr Tong or Mr Hari is lying, their source is not in doubt.

I have no difficulty in supporting your view that the names of arrested suspects, particularly in cases of a sexual nature, should not be published. But surely this is a different matter. Here, we have a case, discontinued for lack of evidence and not tried, referred to as a possible example of power and position trumping the law.

I see no connection between the Chambers case and the Tong m