Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Feeling hurt and confused at the number of Facebook friends who have kicked your arse this week? Let me help.

Honestly, I'm going to at least try to be nice about this. I'm nice to the people on my own timeline - I call them racist dickheads but I don't ban them, or go round their houses to administer a slap or anything. And it's not at all unreasonable to have been upset by the murder of Lee Rigby. It was pretty fucking horrible that a young man was hacked to death in the street, in broad daylight. He had a family and friends who loved him and who are going to be in terrible distress.

But if you're handling your understandable upset by showing yourself to be a racist dickhead, then your arse is going to get metaphorically kicked on Facebook. It probably won't get kicked in the pub or at work or while you're walking down the street, because the vast majority of people still don't actually feel that it's OK to launch a physical attack someone they disagree with. The majority of people, whether or not they have religious beliefs (and whether that's Jesus, Allah or the Tooth Fairy), prefer to get on with their neighbours, love and be loved and just enjoy their lives without starting pointless fights about nothing. However, people are a little happier to be a little more assertive when it comes to online discussion. So, naturally, after the incident in Woolwich, everyone with internet access has been squalling at everyone else. And an awful lot of people who previously posted about nothing more alarming than their cats/dogs/hamsters and their delicious lunch suddenly found themselves getting unfriended.

So here's why unfriending might have happened to you.

1) You are whining about immigration.

This automatically marks you out as a lazy, complacent moron. Go and look up the actual facts and figures.

2) You are whining about Islam.

Religion is, as I previously stated, bullshit and frankly ludicrous. So is football. Look at it this way - if people wearing shirts that announced their allegiance to your favourite football team went out and committed a hideous crime, would you think it was fair and reasonable for anyone who knew that you supported the team in question to blame you for the actions of the nutters? That's what you're doing when you start insisting that 'Muslims' apologise for Lee Terry's death.  If Fred West, Harold Shipman, Ian Huntley or Stuart Hazell professed allegiance to a football team, should the players be expected to make big public statements dissociating themselves from murderous individuals, or is it just understood, because the players are predominantly white heterosexual men, that they are not responsible for a crime committed by individuals who happen to be in the same labelled box.

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