Kay Burley, the Sky News presenter and ubiquitous autocutie, wasn’t really on my radar until the Paris Massacre on Friday. She certainly wasn’t the first celebrity or civilian to take to Twitter to offer her sympathies but hers was quite possibly the most ill-judged load of old sentimental twaddle. Ben Fogle came a close second suggesting that the downpour over London on Saturday was ‘God crying’ and bronze goes to some dumb ass bodybuilder posting a near-naked selfie of his buff bod with an Eiffel Tower painted across his six pack.
But Kay’s offering far and above brought down the scorn and brought out the humour on Twitter that I see on a daily basis. Never has Twitter blown such a collective raspberry to celebrity stupidity. Kay posted a picture of a lugubrious, overweight labrador – hers? – under the caption ‘Sadness in His Eyes’. Now, restoring my faith in common sense, UK Tweeps rained lampoons down on the silly woman.
There was no malice towards Kay, only pity that she is clearly an opportunist incapable of reading the national and international mood of sadness, dignity and respect for the dead. The first comedic post I saw was a horse under the caption ‘This horse is still in shock’. Before you knew it, there was an avalanche of photoshopped pictures of animals, Marais potatoes, mops, buckets and hoovers with eyes and downturned smiles painted upon them.
I couldn’t resist it and posted a picture of a melancholy chimp with his hand over his mouth with the caption ‘My chimp simply couldn’t get over it. He’s on his fifth banana already and still inconsolable’. Ridicule is a terribly effective way of deflating ego and soundly slapping down someone so selfish that they use a tragedy of such magnitude to try and ambulance chase.
These lady newsreaders are ruthless. Catherine de Medici had nothing on them but, then again, the autocuties don’t have the clinical brain of Madame Serpent to know how to manipulate mass emotion and make the people think they are actually decent, empathetic human beings. The dignity of the people of Paris in the aftermath of this atrocity has been remarkable. I think the concept of lighting-up international monuments such as Tower Bridge, Sydney Opera House, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and – most poignantly – the Eiffel Tower was incredibly moving.
I was less impressed by yet more stupid celebrities taking to Twitter and holding signs up describing their reaction to the tragedy in one word scrawled on a sign hanging around their necks. Now, forgive me, but can you remember the punishment at school for sins when you had to sit at the back of a class holding a sign saying ‘Dunce’ or ‘Bed-Wetter’ or ‘Serial Masturbator’?
Holding-up a piece of paper on social media is so lame because it features the Tweeter’s face. Ego again. Can’t they write something dignified in more syllables than ‘Sad’ or ‘ Crying’ or, worse, simply drawing an Emoji? For our older readers, an emoji is a cartoon used to describe an emotion. The Paris emoji is a sad round yellow face with a tear in it’s eye that is not, quite frankly, an appropriate response to over 100 innocents being slaughtered by maniacs. Emojis infantilise us.
So much more appropriate a message of unity is to hold the terribly grand, solemn Requiem Mass in the Cathedral of Notre Dame as will happen tomorrow. Now is the time for unity and a collective resolve to fight Islamic State (or ISIS, or IS or whatever) as ruthlessly as they execute us in the name of religion. When someone as vacuous as Kay Burley makes such an inept, stupid statement on social media, she galvanises a more mature, compassionate and intelligent response.
What we need is a call to arms not a picture of a fucking labrador that is probably thinking about a Scooby snack rather than one of the worst atrocities of the 21st century so far. I am utterly fed-up of the infantilisation of society that, doubtless, has been exacerbated by Twitter because one has to say a lot in 140 characters and a picture.
It is to our credit that most of the people I follow and follow me can carve a political statement, a slap for stupidity or a joke that makes me ‘lol’ in such a short space and so swiftly. When less intelligent or amusing people try to engage, they are inevitably tarred and feathered as Kay Burley has been.
We had another sign around the neck of a Muslim shopkeeper in Nottingham or Leicester basically saying that we can’t blame Muslims for Islamic State so please give him a hug. The point is valid but I await Twitter’s response. Granted, some of the people on Twitter are jackasses. There have been more than a few hashtags about Paris after the massacre offering – get this – Paris Hilton their prayers!!!!!!
But the lion’s share of the people who engage with me could write comedy for Radio 4 even though, let’s face it, a primate could do better than the rubbish BBC Radio 4 commissions like The Now Show or anything involving smuggy-smug Mitchell and Webb, Sandy Toksvig or Jeremy Hardy. Don’t even get me started on anything involving ‘inclusiveness’. Was Warren Mitchell inclusive? No. Was he effing hilarious as Alf Garnett? Yes. RIP.
It clearly wasn’t coincidental that Islamic State tried to annihilate the staff of Parisian satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo before they attacked the city on a larger scale. Youth will always question and humour will always win.