Who is the worst person on Twitter?
We could discuss this one for hours, as my brother Dick and I do here on our must-watch “interesting stuff that has happened on Twitter” show.
But for me, really, there is only one serious contender. Or rather, there was…
Deactivating my account on Sunday at 1pm. Until then, will be tweeting only about what a toilet this place has become. #twexit
— Graham Linehan (@Glinner) October 12, 2017
Why, though, is this such good news? And how, more to the point, does this guy Graham Linehan — of whom many of you have probably never heard — qualify as the worst person on Twitter?
Surely there must be many more awful people out there: ISIS killers; evil dictators; Antifa terrorists; people with Twibbons which say “I Heart the NHS”; and so on?
Well yes, I grant you that Linehan has not killed or physically tortured many people. None, in fact, as far as I know.
The reason, I would argue, that Linehan has earned his special place in the innermost circle of Twitter villains is the unrivalled ugliness of his output: the viciousness; the weird absence of warmth, wit or insight; the preening arrogance; the disdain for any of the Untermenschen who disagree with him; the demagogue-like exploitation of his fawning, credulous fans; the round, unvarnished nastiness and bullying, swaggering cruelty of almost everything he says and does; the levels of hypocrisy bordering on the Weinstein-esque…
What makes this so particularly odd is that Linehan, by rights, ought to be a really fun guy. He co-created one of the funniest sitcoms of the 1990s, Father Ted; then the almost but not quite as funny Black Books; then the better-than-OK-ish sitcom about geeks, The IT Crowd; finally, the worse-than-OK Count Arthur Strong.
Sure you might argue that the quality of his writing has declined over the years but in no wise could you argue that Linehan is a no-talent. Father Ted, at least, was a classic — truly one of the greats. And if you had to guess, after seeing it and enjoying it, what the authors were like, you’d probably guess warm; whimsical; lovely; slightly zany; wry; likable; surreal…
Not for one second would a phrase creep into your mind ending with a four-letter word whose first letter is “C” and preceded by the words “Complete and utter…”
But that’s what you get whenever you look at Graham Linehan’s Twitter feed, every time without fail.
Do I have a personal history with Linehan? Well, yes. Duh. Who on the right hasn’t, at some stage, fallen victim to the poison-dripping fingertips of this ultra-woke SJW Twitter avenger.
Here’s my account of the worst example, but it wasn’t the only one. As anyone who gets on the wrong side of Linehan can testify, the way he uses his Twitter bully pulpit — he has 696,000 followers — is quite terrifying in its sledgehammer-to-crack-a-nut relentlessness.
Charlie Nash reported on one such incident for Breitbart News last year.
A 21-year old student had said something ever so mildly critical of Linehan on Twitter.
Linehan responded by trawling through the young man’s Facebook pages, finding a picture of him with his mother, and then using it publicly to ridicule the poor lad in front of his Twitter bully mob. It’s exactly the kind of targeted abuse which, when enacted by someone right-wing gets an instant ban.
As Nash noted:
If you ever want to be called “cancer” or “an oxygen thief,” tweet the words “Graham Linehan” along with anything that doesn’t kiss his ass in some way. You’ll find your notifications become exciting after an hour or so.
Also, for a supposed feminist, he can sound awfully misogynistic towards any women foolish enough to take what he considers the wrong side of the political argument. Women who stood up for GamerGate, he argued at the time, were “stupid and ill-informed.”
The problem with Graham Linehan is not that he is tiresomely, predictably, painfully woke left-liberal elitist on every issue going…
(Though he is. Among his hates: Donald Trump; Brexit; GamerGate; Conservatives; Breitbart News; FoxNews; Israel; toxic masculinity; Republicans; Islamophobia; etc…)
…his problem is that he is so bitter, angry and puffed up with his own delusional sense of superiority that he has simply lost his moral compass; in short, as Charlie Nash once said, that he is such a terrible human being.
Of course, Twitter can be an ugly, even brutal place. But though it certainly attracts its share of drooling trolls spitting bile they tend to be basement loners with very small followings. Those Twitter users with audiences in the tens of thousands — let alone, as in Linehan’s case, the hundreds of thousands — tend to try to aim a bit higher than that. They see Twitter as something of an art form: a pub conversation in which low blows may occasionally be employed, but where the main aim is to be somehow interesting, funny, informative, witty or at least creatively snarky.
You’d think that a man who has earned his millions by his pen, creating one of the funniest ever sitcoms, would be more than capable of competing at the highest Twitter level.
But he just isn’t.
If you’re not woke — like Linehan thinks he is — then basically you’re scum. He won’t engage with your arguments. It’s straight for the vicious ad hom.
One of his favourite techniques — see above — is to post a photograph of people who have vexed him, so as to expose them to the ridicule of his sycophantic and often unpleasant fans. They duly oblige with a string of insults: like Medieval villagers pelting someone in the stocks with rotten fruit.
Here, for example, is one in which he draws his bully mob’s attention to a disabled man who has made the mistake of supporting GamerGate.
— Graham Linehan (@Glinner) December 5, 2015
Linehan has complained in the past about having been bullied. But this deliberate orchestration of mob hate — and for the most trivial of reasons: on the basis of people’s looks? For heaven’s sake! — is about as bad as Twitter gets. It’s designed to demean, even dehumanise, opponents in much the same way the Nazis did when they produced their caricatures of hook-nosed Jews in propaganda rags like Der Stürmer.
Here he is, on similarly charming form, on the subject of Theresa May
— Snozzle Banger (@SnozzleBanger) June 10, 2017
Any conservative who tweeted as aggressively and unpleasantly as Graham Linehan does would have been banned by Twitter long ago. Linehan can’t see this. He is so blinded by his presumed moral superiority that he appears to imagine that Twitter censorship ought only to apply to users on the right, not ones on the left.
So here is Linehan, irony of ironies, announcing he is quitting Twitter because it has turned into a “toilet.”
…. I'm going to deactivate my account after I've done a bit of housekeeping. Twitter is a toilet and I don't want to be complicit anymore
— Graham Linehan (@Glinner) October 12, 2017
Well yes, maybe Twitter is a toilet: a stagnant, noxious overflowing one. But nobody did more to contribute to the giant, steaming blockage that made it that way than Graham Linehan.
He will not be missed.