Omens of the Twitter-verse Free Speech debate

We have a Twitter account (@RegressiveAnalysis) .  It’s what you do these days as part of your “branding” or getting the word out there that you exist, or simply alerting the odd fan or follower to the latest happenings, or in our case that we’ve written a new blog.  A couple of years ago, if you‘d asked us, we’d have said what is the point of following Shaquille O’Neal’s stream-of-conscious postings in 140 characters or less?  Or Ashton Kutcher or any other minor celebrity that wants to let us know when they’re checking a book out of the library, watching beach volleyball or taking a dump.  Gee thanks for the update.  But now it seems everyone has a Twitter account, and it’s just accepted that it is part and parcel of your online profile.

Well, the other thing Twitter is good for is diarrhea of the mind obviously.  Whatever pops into your head in the moment can pretty much instantly be posted to your Twitter account.

Witness Michel Morganella, a defender for the Swiss men’s soccer team in the Olympics, who posted this after the Swiss lost to the South Koreans ;

“South Koreans are mentally handicapped retards!”

Yikes.  Our first thought is – a little bit angry and a lot of poor sport.  So, he’s been kicked off the team and sent home, and he’s apologizing profusely, but all for naught, he’s about to be tarnished as a racist.

But wait a minute… racist tweets you say?  How about Voula Papachristou the attractive (suppose we’d be considered sexist for pointing this out…) triple-jumper from Greece who also just got booted from the Olympics?  She had this to say, and it wasn’t even in response to anything to do with the Olympics;

“with so many Africans in Greece at least the West Nile mosquitos will eat homemade food.”

OMG – no.  We think she was trying to be funny.  We hope, anyways.  But regardless, FAIL.  No, Voula, no.  You don’t say things like that out loud.  It reminds us of the Simpsons episode where Homer gets confused with the things he’s thinking and the things he is saying out loud and gets them mixed up.  That was funny.   

But racist tweeters abound these days, and you don’t even have to be some Greek nationalist athlete.  How about poor Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United’s captain…. Ashley Cole testified on behalf of John Terry at Terry’s racism trial (and we may have to write about this soon, what a genius defense), and someone alluded to Ashley Cole, being black, as a traitor, to which Rio tweeted;

“I hear you fella! Choc Ice is classic hahahahahahha!!”

Now firstly, Choc-Ice, sounds like a delicious treat when we read about it.  Secondly, Rio Ferdinand is himself black.  And Rio has played beside Ashley Cole for years on the English national team.  Ashley Cole has even said that he took no offense to the comment, and saw the humour in the post.  But, nope, Rio is about to be charged with racist tweeting, and will probably be suspended for a handful of games because someone, somewhere, will no doubt have taken offense to his momentary diarrhea of the mind.  We’re sure Rio has since smashed his smart phone, and gnawed off his own thumbs to prevent his ever tweeting again in the future.  Or better yet, he probably had  Nemanja Vidic break his thumbs just by looking at them.

This brings us to the last mishap.  Some British diver that we could give two farts about lost in the synchronized diving event (what the hell is that by the way… some of the events they invent for the Olympics are beyond silly).  Anyway, one young 17-year old Brit fan was so crestfallen, his hopes for British glory in a real non-event so tragically smashed that he felt compelled to write the following on the diver’s twitter account;

“You let your dad down i hope you know that.”

Ooomph.  See now…. the thing is the diver’s dad just died.  And many stories have been written in that sappy Olympics lead-up kind of way about how the diver owed everything to his now deceased father.  So what is the reaction?  Public disgust, sure, at the low-blow.  But wait – criminal charges are going to be laid against the kid!  No kidding.  The 17-year old was arrested for his tweet.  Now, we see the progression – from self-identification as having no filter on their mouth (thumbs) to now, outright criminal tweeting.

In the end, we don’t know if we actually have a point to this whole recap other than to ask, if people are that thin-skinned in this age where any random thought, good or bad, is encouraged to be shared with the world, where does this end?

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