TwitLonger

A longer Tweet on addressing how Caitlin Moran is a hypocrite.

Well, look, this is just boring for most people, so - soz. Seriously. If you possible can, run away and feed the ducks in the park.

But since I organised the #twittersilence - sum total of "organisation": suggesting it in this post http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1rlnp1i, making it clear if you didn't want to join in that was totally cool too, and then taking part in it - there have been several accusations, repeated many times during the Twitter Silence, that I'm a hypocrite. That protesting against threats of rape and death on Twitter is hypocritical, given that I use abusive language myself on Twitter. Because if Twitter is policed, Caitlin Moran will be the first one in jail!!!!!

So. The abusive Tweets. I've been on Twitter four years, and have Tweeted 65,189 times. Here are the abusive Tweets I've sent, listed in this Tweet which has been doing the rounds:

http://storify.com/BethanyBlack/caitlin-moran-champion-of-women-if-you-re-white-ab?awesm=sfy.co_cNgt&utm_campaign=&utm_content=storify-pingback&utm_source=direct-sfy.co&utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter

1) Retard. Before 2010, I used the word "retard" in four Tweets in replying to friends. Yeah. Not proud of that. Not proud at all. The language of my childhood. Not glorious. I used the word "retard" in "How To Be A Woman", too - the sentence "I have all the joyful ebullience of a retard." Wincing a bit as I write that, to be honest. When the book was published, there was, quite rightly, a protest about the word. We immediately removed the word from all subsequent issues, and issued a massive apology. The whole thing was a salutary lesson in checking your language. I don't use that word any more, and it pains me to even mention it now. And this is the first time I have, since 2010. And, again, I'm sorry. Not proud of that at all.

2) "Tranny." I have used this word three times on Twitter. Before Twitter, I spent ten years on a message board that was pretty much 50/50 straight/gay, and included a gay man in a drag act, and we always used the word "Tranny" to mean "transvestite." I had never thought it meant anything else. The second time I used it on Twitter, in conversation with a friend, someone said "That word now means transsexual, and is very offensive," and I haven't used it since, and never would.

I want to make this very, very clear: I am nothing but tearfully admiring and supportive of all trans people. I make this clear in the first chapter of "How To Be A Woman" - "Germaine Greer is nuts in her views on transsexuals", a whole chapter in "Moranthology," and in every interview, when asked "Can transsexuals be real women?" I unequivocally state that trans male-to-female have an even greater right to call themselves women than I do. I was just born a woman. They've had to work for it. They've put in pain and suffering. At all times, I have humbly doffed my cap to trans women. And I have never used the word "tranny" since that day on Twitter. I learned a thing that day. It's why I like Twitter.

3) "Mong". Twice. Once in a very elongated pun competition, and the other time in conversation with India Knight, where we were actually boggling over someone using it as a term of abuse in the Gervais case. Neither time used abusively AT ALL.

4) AIDS jokes. The Telegraph's blog pages are trying to drive up their click-rate, and have done four pieces on me in five days, concluding with today's, about how I make jokes about AIDS. Yes. I do. The disease. Because it terrifies me. I don't make jokes about sufferers - I make jokes about the disease, in the same way I make jokes about cancer and cystitis and vaginal tearing and mastitis and anxiety. I actually can't see any logic in why someone can't make a joke about AIDS, so long as the inference of the joke isn't homophobic. So, conclusion here: will carry on making occasional references to AIDS. Those jokes aren't kicking down at anyone. The butt of all those jokes is me, or a friend.

5) Threatening to cut off @DaftLimmy's cock. Sigh. What a world where I'm writing that sentence at 11.12am on a Monday.

So, to recap: Daft Limmy is a comedian. Three months ago, my husband wrote a blog about how much he liked the Daft Punk album. For some reason, this really annoyed Limmy, and he Tweeted about this eight times within twenty minutes http://storify.com/ichlugebullets/limmy-and-pete-paphides, @-ing my husband into each Tweet. This had the effect of making all of Limmy's followers pile on to my husband, abusing him, and flooding his blog with abuse.

I blocked Limmy, my husband blocked Limmy, but, obviously, that didn't stop all the messages coming through from his individual followers. At the end of this odd day - my husband is a peaceable man with a blog, who wears a cardigan - a friend commented on how Limmy's actions over a blog about Daft Punk appeared to be slightly over-wrought, and I replied - and for anyone who knows this line now, having seen it many times during this debate, do please sing along - "I know one thing - if he doesn't stop having a go at my husband, he'll be pissing through a straw."

So yes. I said it. To a friend who has a locked account. And then someone basically snitched, and RT-d it to Limmy. And I have now seen that line, said to a friend, being quoted on Channel 4 News, Newsnight and sundry blogs and columns, being used as a strawman argument against any anti-abuse campaign. "These women say they want Twitter to change, in order to prevent being abused - but then they go around threatening men's penises! Twitter is full of people abusing each other! You can never change it!"

I wouldn't normally bore on about things specifically about me, but it now seems things I have said are being used to try and damage the campaign against ALL prejudicial abuse - not just against women - that shuts down people's voices on Twitter.

And I just want to say one thing: if only people who are completely perfect are allowed to comment on things, or activate, or ask for change, then we're doomed. This world has a billion small problems, and if the only people who can tackle them are the ones who've never said anything a bit rancid to a friend at 2am, then literally nothing will ever get done.

I'm a writer. I've been a writer since I was 16. I'm mainly a humourist - I write about television and celebrities and how I hate Lola from Charlie & Lola. But I also increasingly write about welfare and mental illness and gay rights and, this week, FGM. And, without being too mawkish, I just try to be a good person. I have three pages a week in The Times, and I try to use them to spread either joy, or understanding about subjects other people don't write much about. I don't write columns glorifying cynical apathy, or calling celebrity women slutty for having four babies with four different people, or moaning about not being able to drive my car at 80mph down residential streets. I have, broadly - with wank-breaks for discussing Sherlock - tried to be a decent person.

I would very much hope that saying "retard" to a friend in 2010, and then apologising for it, doesn't mean that, in 2013, I can't protest against women getting anonymous death-threats.

People who are approaching women, anonymously, on Twitter, and threatening them with rape and death are breaking the law. They are committing prosecutable acts. I find it a bit weird that a debate about this is being repeatedly derailed into conversations about what the Times TV critic said to a friend on Twitter in 2010.

So again - I'm sorry about those bad things I said. I'm learning all the time. I'll keep learning until I die. But if "organising" a campaign - writing a free blog, whilst on holiday - suggesting that anyone who wanted to show solidarity with women who are, still now, getting multiple death and rape threats every day, could quietly and peacefully be silent for a day, is me being, in some way, awful, then I'm sorry again, because I probably won't stop doing things like that. Trying to think of some way to suggest change, and to make things a bit better. Maybe what I suggest WON'T make things better. But I'll keep suggesting things. I'd like EVERYONE to suggest things - rather than shruggingly going "Nah. This is what the world is like, and always will be." Because as I said in the original blog, people who say that usually mean "This is how I want the world to be."

And now I'm off, to write a column about the BBC One's patriotic quiz-show "I Love My Country", in which people have to put, on a blank map of Britain, a Yorkshire pudding where they think Peterborough is.

cxxxxx






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