I'm an old hack, and I'm quite often warm to the touch if not properly pissed, but I try not to get baffled by new technology. The users of new technology can be another matter, though.
On Thursday nights, my enjoyment of Question Time is enhanced hugely by reading and making live comments on the prog via the medium of Twitter. This week, Romaine Rand, sorry, I mean Germaine Greer (Why did Clive James ever bother with that pseudonym for his old Sydney University chum?) was on the panel and she suggested that daughters kissing their fathers goodnight were being programmed to flirt. Now, I'm quite fond of old Germaine, but I couldn't let that one pass, so I posted the following on the tweets:
"Germaine Greer suggesting daughters kissing dad goodnight is flirtation. In my case, it's more like being gobbed on. #bbcqt"
This is true. Kissing my daughter goodnight is a deeply unsexualised act akin to attempting the same manoeuvre with Roy Hattersley. She's always awash with dribble, and, when moving in for the pucker, she takes great delight in producing even more and leaving me feeling like my fizzog has just gone through the 30 degree cycle with her stained t-shirts. Tonight, I exclaimed "Eurggghhhh, you're so slobbery". She replied "No. You are". That I was now the slobberier of the pair was indubitable, but I had not produced any of the offending liquid. The comment was retweeted by your friend and mine, The Urban Woo, shortly after which both of us received the following response from some chap:
"Rubbish. Don't blame men."
To which I replied:
"Don't blame men for what?"
"Is that combative. don't blame men for the faults of mankind is what I meant."
Slightly at a loss to work out what point he was making, I responded:
"I'm not sure what this has to do with observing that my 3yo daughter dribbles on me when kissing me goodnight."
"Tonight I said to her 'Yuk, you're so slobbery'. She replied 'No, YOU ARE'."
Now, one of the things I like most about Twitter is that people you don't know can say interesting things in response to your gibberings. Indeed, people can start by disagreeing violently with you, but you end up following each other having reached some kind of entente cordiale. You might never agree, but you respect each other's right to yada yada, and it'd be a boring shithole of a world if we all thought the same. So, despite my hackles rising, I decided not to give mateybollocks both barrels. His response to the above was one word:
Curiouser and curiouser. I only ever block spammers. People who disagree with me are always welcome to continue doing so. However, as I understand it, blocking someone merely means that they can't follow you. They can still see all of your tweets if they so wish. Given that I began with no desire to follow this bloke, and that he was declining in my estimation with every word he typed, I responded accordingly:
"I wasn't following you anyway, was I?"
Then came a line that wrong-footed me a little:
Reader, I can honestly say I thought it was a joke. The person in question describes himself on his Twitter biography as a "poker of waspsnests and pisstaker of the pompous", so I assumed it was all some kind of edgy humour. Suddenly, the "Blocked" made sense. He was trying to be friendly. As such, I replied:
"Well spotted. I sense a kindred spirit."
Then a desire for context made me look at his timeline, and I was shocked and baffled by what I found, not least:
"there are some really shitty human beings on twitter."
One of his associates evidently asked what he was on about, to which he replied:
"am having some real shit on twitter tonight. Paedophile stuff. Is it not monitored?"
"Got a guy (blocked now) doing paedo stuff about his daughter."
to say nothing of:
"He has 805 followers. make of that what you will."
"maybe this guy should be exposed."
He meant me. And what did he mean about my followers? That much was very unclear. I tried to follow him. He really had blocked me. However, at the same time, he had started following me. So, presumably, he could see everything I was posting, having opted in. I just couldn't discuss anything with him. Funny, I thought. Later he suggested to one of his correspondents that it was fine to "Defend the internet by all means but do not allow freaks to flourish". Physician, heal thyself.
Assuming he could see my posts on account of following me, I tweeted the following:
"Right. There's someone on here who thinks I was doing 'paedo stuff' about my daughter. I was actually doing the complete opposite."
"If [name of point-missing tit] unblocked me, he & I could have a proper discussion about him accusing me of being a paedophile."
I'll be frank. I'm riled. I'd quite like to have a frank exchange of views with this person, but that isn't going to happen, because he's blocked me. I can't see any way in which my original comment can be construed as "paedo stuff". The only possible way I can read it as such is if it was seen as an expression of disappointment that my daughter was hockling at me rather than flirting with me, but then, who would read it that way? Am I missing something?