Author Archives: Stephen Knight
After the recent confusion caused by a statement heard on BBC Newsnight that “Men are raised to hate women” I decided to ask the journalist responsible for an explanation.
The outcome was unexpected and inspired me to pen this blog post, which in turn led to in my view, unfairly, hours of bizarre accusations from a tiny number of individuals
Although the overwhelming majority of (I realise this is not indicative of being right) people seemed to agree that clarification was necessary, and the initial statement was too much of a generalisation to be helpful to say the least, the very small number who did take issue with me seemed to fall in to two camps.
Some argued that the statement was perfectly reasonable and not deserving of question. And that it was actually my lack of understanding that was the real problem, or the manner in which I questioned.
Others seemingly fell afoul of a catastrophic inability to differentiate between the following two statements, (one genuine, one imagined):
“What exactly do you mean by that? Please explain”
“Sexism and misogyny are not genuine problems in society”.
I could not attempt a defence of the second statement, even if I were stupid enough to actually believe it, or want to.
Obviously there are a lot of good people who feel incredibly passionate about sexism and misogyny for incredibly valid reasons (captain obvious) and may have felt I was somehow denying the importance or existence of these issues. As explainable as this perception may be on some level, it is not even remotely accurate to anything I have said, implied or argued.
Twitter has been big news of late, with reports that they plan to implement an abuse reporting function. I’ve been asked a few times what my thoughts are on the matter, and I’m all for it.
Threatening and unlawful behaviour is completely unacceptable and those who engage in such a manner should be held accountable. I displayed my willingness to side with this sentiment recently by reporting a clearly threatening tweet (not to me) to the police.
My only concern is: how will this be regulated? Will Twitter have the manpower (or women!!!!!) to efficiently distinguish abusers and trollers from genuine disagreement or attempts to engage in meaningful discourse? Given the vast numbers of Twitter users and the seemingly unrealistic task of policing it, is it likely to be an unmanned, automated process? An algorithm simply reacting to multiple ‘abuse reports’? Only time will tell.
‘Troll’ seems the buzzword of late. The problem is, that “troll” in the context of the internet has no unified definition. I personally take trolling to mean the act of intentionally making insincere statements to an individual, or individuals in order to provoke a response, or as they would call it, a “victory”. Others use it simply to describe an individual who seeks out arguments online.
I’m trolled daily in the former sense. People will tweet me en masse with clearly disingenuous statements in the hope that I may respond. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. It often depends on how dull my commute to work is that morning.
Back in March I started Team Good For Good’s Sake (#GFGS). The idea was to raise money for a good cause, simply because we agreed that doing good is worthy for its own sake.
The result was staggering. Nearly £11,000 was raised. Thoroughly spanking the myth that one cannot be good without God firmly to the other side of mythsville.
It is for this reason I have started a new cause for us to support, this time WaterAid. This is a great charity. Please click to see just what it is they do, and how important it is. Please click ‘Sponsor Me’ below to donate.
You can also donate via text by texting GFGS99 £5 (or any amount) to 70070.
I’m still constantly awed by the intelligence and compassion displayed by the people who interact with me on Twitter. This kind of thing strikes me as special, and I’m fully aware that it cannot last forever. Because of this, I think it’s great to use our shared camaraderie to do something worthwhile whilst we can. Why? Because we can.
Rather than having a short space of time to raise funds, as was the case previously, I’ve decided this will be an on-going initiative, ending on Christmas Day. I realise £10,390 is probably impossible to repeat or better, so I have set the starting limit to £500, but you’ve surprised me before!
I’ll provide any updates here and tweet them out accordingly.
What will we have achieved by Christmas day?
Recently (Fri 12th July) I was fortunate enough to be part of The Herd Mentality Podcast hosted by Mr Adam Reakes, with special guests Mr Oz Atheist, and a young up and coming comedian, eager to make a name for himself, Ricky Gervais.
He’s going to be big one day. Remember you heard him here first.
I had lots of fun. I’m a huge fan of Ricky; I’ve been to his live shows, adore his sitcoms and hold fond memories of laughter-filled evenings gathered with good friends, cold beverages and a download of his latest podcast.
The irresistible combination of wondering what Karl Pilkington will say next, how exactly Ricky will react to it, whilst Steve Merchant tries to hold it all together has made me laugh to the point of abdominal pain. Please seek them out if you haven’t already listened to them.
It is for this reason, that hearing the disembodied voice of Ricky booming from my laptop seemed familiar enough for me to forget I was actually part of the conversation at times. And I often did. This is fine by me however, as I said, lots of fun!
A huge thanks to Adam and Mr Oz for making this happen. They were responsible for all the technical aspects and organisation respectively. All I had to do was take the day off work (already worth it), sound disappointingly Mancunian (I’m not Prof Brian Cox) and be entertained by two Aussie gents and my favourite comic. A great way to spend a morning, I hope you’ll agree.
A massive thanks to the Podfather himself for giving up his morning just to have a chuckle with a few like-minded strangers. I was really taken aback by Ricky’s generosity and praise. It’ll stick with me. Kindness is magic.
“How dare you have a go at Rihanna!” is still making me chuckle. Haha!
Thanks to anyone who has already listened and sent kind words our way. I’ll never cease to be amazed at how rewarding just having fun on Twitter has become.
Please subscribe to the Herd Mentality Podcast and check in on the previous episodes too. There’s some great stuff in there. Also, please check out the hilarious Ricky Gervais on his YouTube channel and subscribe. Go and get the guitar…
Red Nose Day (Comic Relief) is a biennial UK telethon event, which aims to raise money for charity. The hook is on the promise of entertainment in the form of famous faces ‘doing something funny for money’. It is hoped that this will attract viewers, and hopefully donations along with it. (Our team raised over 10k! Just saying)
Over the years, some incredibly talented, hilarious performers and Lenny Henry have appeared during the TV event to participate in various skits, some live, some pre-recorded, some funny, some cringe-worthy. It doesn’t matter, it’s all for a good cause.
This year, Rowan Atkinson of Blackadder and Mr. Bean notoriety gave his time to appear via a pre-recorded sketch. In the sketch, he appears in character (tongue firmly in cheek) as the ‘New Archbishop of Canterbury’. Rather than provide an exhaustive description of the, in my view, rather tame contents, you can watch it in full below (until the inevitable swooping of BBC Ninjas):
After the initial live broadcast over 2,000 complaints were received, only a quarter of which, were related to the religious content. This prompted the BBC to issue an apology in conjunction with complete removal of the ‘offending’ skit from their online, on demand service, iPlayer.
I pressed the official iPlayer Twitter account for more details regarding their conclusion that the content was so inappropriate as to merit complete removal from its services. They were kind enough to direct me to a pre-existing statement, an excerpt of which, is below:
It was clear from this feedback that the Rowan Atkinson sketch was problematic for a number of different reasons, with many viewers noting the subject matter, the language used and its placing early in the evening. It is clear to us that this sketch did not translate as we had hoped and as a direct result of viewer feedback we took a swift decision to remove this from BBC iPlayer.
I requested further clarification from the BBC on some key points, but as of yet, I have not received a response.