You should have read the rant I had reserved for Jan Moir…
But GeekPlanet is not about rants. It’s all about positives and challenging the stereotypes and negative feelings. Looking for the silver lining you might say.
And I have to say, I was nicely surprised by the backlash. Derren Brown and Stephen Fry were quick to tweet their disgust; M&S pulled their advertising from the paper’s website; Nestle and Procter & Gamble claim they would have done had the Mail had not pre-empted them and already voluntarily done so.
Charlie Brooker blogged the very same day, speaking out about the article and I’m gracious enough to think that Janet Street-Porter’s reply in her own column on the Monday wasn’t prompted by her editors looking for some damage reduction. David Tennant’s Facebook fan page (and hence the man himself by association) also seems to have stood up for common decency.
Yes, I did personally complain to the PCC about Jan Moir’s article. Apparently she and the Daily Mail are surprised at the backlash. I have to agree in part. I would never have read the article, never mind responded, without being alerted to it by friends on Facebook, it not being my wont to read homophobic, anti-Scottish toilet paper.
It is clear that neither Moir, nor the Mail, realised how quickly her homophobic rant would reach the people it needed to in order for the backlash to begin. In the past, it was entirely possible that it would have taken weeks, if at all, for many people to read it, by which time most hard copy would be lining the litter trays of Middle England’s cats and unusable in a direct complaint.
But now, people were tweeting within hours of the paper hitting the presses and, with the article published online, complaining on the paper’s own website. A link to such an article means that hard copy is no longer required for the Press Complaints Commission, hence eliminating the need to actually touch the offensive rag. Charlie Brooker was able to respond eloquently that same day without having to wait for editorial input and a publishing deadline. Respected celebrities like Stephen Fry were able to make their opinions known without waiting for an invite from the BBC News.
Could this be the first example of true interactive journalism? If not, it’s certainly one of the best examples of the ‘net being used in realtime to inform and advise.
The whole thing reminded me, in no small way, of Past Tense, that generally weak double episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine but which was possibly the first example, certainly in the Trek universe, of what we then knew as a tool for researching episode guides and dodgy porn being used in such a manner.
Forgive me if my memory’s a bit hazy, UK television having seen fit to pretty much ignore DS9 since its first run, but I seem to remember Sisko and co logging onto the ‘net to summon up support for a rally against inequality or something.
Back then in 1993 or so, the thought of what we now know as a flashmob, or indeed anything similar being organised over the ether was a truly wild idea and the “Net” that Sisko used bore little resemblance to the naff personal sites that we knew and loved back then. But now, with personal networking, mobile technology (for example, I first learned about the Jan Moir furore via Facebook in the pub), video capability, and a whole host of other technologies pushing the envelope, the “Net” of Past Tense is already here.
It’s funny how Trek is relatively successful in predicting technology. It kind of makes you wonder how they know. Did Gene Roddenberry actually bump into Kirk on one of the latter’s many brushes with temporal anomalies in the twentieth century? Was Q sitting on his shoulder while he typed the drafts for The Cage? Did Admiral Chekov’s autobiography accidentally fall into the long lost temporal Iconian Gateway currently under investigation at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex? Did Quark’s ship really crash in Roswell in 1947?
Or have our technologists merely looked to Star Trek for inspiration in design and construction?
I know which theory I prefer.
With mobile phones emulating the communicator since years (personally, I’m looking forward to the development of the Next Gen-style brooch communicator, which can’t be that far away), the Internet already twenty years ahead of its Trek-universe development, genuine hyposprays and tricorders under trial, the PADD already here (if not actually reduced to the size of a touch-screen mobile…) it’s easy to see why some people believe that Trek is most likely to be closest to our real future. All we need are Heisenberg compensators for transport and faster-than-light travel and we’re there.
And with any luck, people like Jan Moir will be habitually stranded on Rura Penthe.