As I noted on Thursday, yes, there was some hostility in the many, many responses to the first and only entry in Max Gogerty’s short-lived travel blog for the Guardian… but reading Andy Pietrasik’s response and this editorial follow-up from Caroline Davies in the sisterly Observer, one might get the impression that there was only hostility aimed only at Max… and with no good reason.
This is a shoddy and pathetic tactic; what you’re seeing here is a bunch of adults putting the spotlight on a teenage boy because they daren’t accept responsibility for their own poor judgement… by pretending that those who are criticising their poor judgement are instead picking on that same teenage boy!
And take a look at this…
Caroline Davies – Hate mail hell of a gap-year blogger (Cyber-bullies who attacked young author are accused of class hatred): Max… was last night alone in India at the beginning of his trip, while his father accused his detractors of class hatred and envy… Some contributors were uneasy over the tone of many comments. One wrote: ‘The amount of hate, envy and hypocrisy that’s been on display here is shocking.’
Let’s take a look at the contributors Caroline uses to justify her ‘accusations of class hatred’ sub-header:
1. Max’s Dad.
2. Some guy called ‘Eleutherios’ who, to date, has only made a single comment on the Guardian website (and just happens to agree 100% with ‘Maxdad’).
I smell a sock-puppet… and I think it stinks that Caroline Davies uses one to support her dishonest argument.
Oh… wait… I think some blind hatred might have sneaked in there. Let me tone it down for you so no-one thinks I’m picking on poor
Max Caroline without good reason:
I think it’s a pity that Caroline couldn’t find the time to consider or include this direct response to ‘Eleutherios’ from ‘Fulmerford’ (who, BTW, has contributed to over 40 threads on the Guardian website) in her opinion piece:
Eleutherios, let’s see if you can ‘liberate’ some sense out of this: responding to someone’s comments not with a counter-argument but just by decrying their presumed motivation is a, well, a really shoddy way to debate.
I mean come on! It’s like going: “Smack is bad.” “No it’s not.” “No it is, here’s the reasons.” “Oh you’re just saying that because [you’re] bitter that you don’t take smack.”
Is ‘ad hominem’ just Latin to you?
If you recall, Nadine Dorries played a similar game, by portraying all negative responses to a personal attack of her own as a series of personal attacks.
What ‘Eleutherios’, Andy Pietrasik, Caroline Davies and Paul Gogarty are guilty of is playing the man by pretending that everyone else is playing the man in an effort to stop anyone from looking sideways at the ball.
And in doing so, they put more weight on the shoulders of Max – the boy they’ve strategically cast as a victim and claim to be defending.
Yes, there was a fair degree of trolling and abuse in the original thread. Though the thread was totally out of control by the time I got there, I didn’t regard that abuse to be helpful… but I also think it’s less than helpful when certain parties seek to exploit the abuse that was there, and use it to draw attention away from valid questions and objections.
This defensive play is not designed to protect a teenager… it is designed to protect the reputations of adults who should know better.
Personally, I think it sucks. But I’m obviously a hate-filled lynch-mobbing cyber-bully, so please feel free to ignore me.