Tuesday, April 03, 2012

When tongue in cheek becomes foot in mouth

There's an interesting story about Noel Edmonds tracking down the person who started a "Noel Edmonds must die campaign" on Facebook. The culprit was traced, naturally, to a university.

I don't like the law concerning itself with what people think or, except in certain circumstances, what they say but I think Edmonds is quite right to call out this person for being, if not actually murderous then at least incapable of finding the language that properly reflects his feelings.

He could argue that he's only parroting the language of the times. An increasing number of people see the world in binary terms, where things are either "brilliant" or "crap". The people calling things brilliant don't really think that, nor do the people calling things crap. Only by grotesque overstatement can they get anyone's attention. If this boy did want to kill Noel Edmonds he would be criminally insane. If he didn't want to then he had no more business saying so on Facebook than in bellowing it through a megaphone on the street.

I know it's all "humour" but, really, even humour is about the nuances.


  1. I'm interested to understand why you said the culprit was traced 'naturally' to a university.

    Naturally, there are twats at university (I work for one; insert your own joke here), but I don't think they're any more common than in the population at large.

  2. Dave,
    If I get my girlfreind to start a lets murder David Hepworth campaign on Facebook will you pay her tution fees ?

  3. I'm guessing that Phil Collins is following this story with interest.

  4. I don't know if there are necessarily an increasing number of people expressing themselves in a "binary" fashion: teenagers/'young people' have always adopted a polarised view of the world, I think. It's a way of giving one's fledgling personality a bit of definition, of trying to stand out from the herd. I do agree, however, about the hyperbole (and high-volume) that is increasingly deployed in order to get one's voice heard above the din. This is apparent not just in individuals but in the media and advertising, too. Barely anything these days is not "sensational", "shocking", "exclusive", "new and improved", or best "on the planet". It's the arms race of attention-seeking.