Tag Archives: Wizard Of Ooze

The Baysiders: Cults Within Cults

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A while ago, I was trying to explain the Bayside movement to a couple of friends. My mother was quite involved with the group for most of the 1980s and even in the first half of the 1990s. I think she still considers herself part of it, though she’s not actively involved to the extent she was.

For those not in the know, The ‘Baysiders’ came about in the late 1960s and early 1970s, based around the ‘visions’ of Veronica Leuken, a housewife based in Bayside, a neighbourhood of New York City. Leuken claimed to start having visions of Mary, Jesus’s mother, in 1968, just before the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. After that, the visions came thick and fast and soon, according to Leuken, she was speaking with Mary and a host of Catholic saints. They gave her messages about the state of the world and future predictions (none of which ever happened within the time predicted). She had her ‘ecstacies’ recorded on tape and transcribed, which were then distributed as flyers or newsletters by her rapidly growing group of followers.

The followers gathered at Leuken’s local parish in Bayside, until the crowds started to disturb the neighbourhood and were moved on by the local government. Eventually, they were granted a site which was part of the 1964 World’s Fair pavilion in Flushing Meadows. Leuken and her followers would gather for ‘Rosary Vigils’, in which they would say the rosary for the duration of the night, while Leuken would “channel” Mary or whichever saint chose to speak to the crowd.

That’s the basic gist of what they’re about. Ideologically, they were (and possibly still are) very conservative and were committed to oppose the ‘modern’ changes to the Catholic Church, specifically the Vatican II Council, held in 1962. According to Leuken, Mary and the others were very disappointed with the changes. In fact, if you read even a smattering of the ‘prophecies‘, Mary and the other celestial, omniscient beings sound a lot like garden-variety John Birch Society members. They’re obsessed with Communism, with ‘Satanic’ infiltration in the Church, the U.N., homosexuality, the wayward youth and the minutae of how to say the Mass (“No communion in the hand”, deacons can’t have priestly powers). It also seems that Mary & Co. aren’t that big on equal rights for women, or allowing women to wear trousers, in another ‘traditionalist’ bent. Add to all that a lot of apocalyptic warnings about comets and wars and natural disasters wiping out large swathes of the planet’s populations and you’re left scratching your head about Leuken’s “God” and his benevolence and loving nature. To me, ‘God’ sounds batshit crazy and conspiracy-theory prone: he warns about the Illuminati and the Freemasons, a conspiracy to replace the ‘Pope’ with an ‘anti-Pope’, about record companies being under control of Wicca (???!!) and a ‘one-world government’.

Bear in mind that the Baysiders never separated themselves from Catholicism, prefering to protest from within. They would wear their blue berets to Mass and, instead of having the communion wafer handed to them, would kneel down in front of the priest and have the wafer placed on their tongues (as allegedly instructed by the ‘Virgin Mary’, via Leuken). They were also notable by their conservative dress, with ankle-length skirts and formal trousers (trousers only for the men, though – women were forbidden to wear trousers).

I don’t remember how my mother became part of this cult – I was still really young and in the haze of childhood. I didn’t really pay much attention to the ‘grown-ups’ and their doings. Suddenly, it seemed, she was spending time with a few Baysiders and adopting their views and mannerisms. She be-friended a strange old woman, who would bring over photo albums full of Polaroid photos with different coloured squiggles on them which contained ‘messages’, according to this woman. You see, they were taken at the World’s Fair site during these rosary vigils and ‘God’ had caused the shapes to appear on the film. It is interesting to note that Polaroid attorneys never really released a statement saying the photos were faked. The ‘zines printed by the group starting appearing in the house and my mother began to stock up on ‘holy water’ (water blessed by a priest).

My mother would tell my older sister and I (our other siblings were deemed too young, at that time, to understand) about prophecies like the “Plague Of Children” and “The Warning” and “The Chastisement”. It sounded scary as shit, but for some reason, it didn’t really bother me that much. My sister was really frightened and, it seems to me, carried around that fright for a long time. When I was 11, my mother asked if I wanted to go to a vigil. I agreed, mainly as an excuse to stay up late. We got on a coach in Hartford and on the two-hour trip to Flushing Meadows, I was sat with my mother and surrounded by Baysiders. At one point, someone shouted “Look at the sun! It’s spinning!”, everyone immediately looked over to the setting sun and agreed that it was indeed spinning. I didn’t see it spinning, but it did seem to change from a orange-ish to green colour for a few seconds. That may have been my eyesight, though. I didn’t count it as a ‘miracle’.

At the pavilion – there were hundreds of people setting up deck chairs and blankets and clutching rosary beads. There was a statue of the Virgin Mary at one end of the pavilion and that end was already crowded with believers. Then, they started saying the rosary…and saying the rosary…and saying the rosary. This went on until midnight or maybe 1 a.m. I can’t quite remember because I grew bored and fell asleep. It definitely wasn’t worth getting to stay up late for. I can’t remember if my mother had brought our Polaroid to take ‘miraculous photos’. I was woken by my mother and wearily got back on the coach to go home.

I think I may have gone one other time about a year later, but after that, I eschewed any involvement with the gatherings. I couldn’t see the point in saying prayers over and over and nothing seemed to happen. The problem was, I still couldn’t escape their influence on my mother. I went to a Catholic middle-school and in my sixth-grade year, my mother kept me out of sex education class (in a Catholic school!!!) – which was pretty humiliating at the time. She used to hector my sister and brother and I about listening to rock music (which she claimed was ‘the devil’s music’). She tried to keep me from hanging out with a friend who lived down the street because his family were a bit too secular and liberal for her liking (at least, that’s what I suspected back then).

Eventually, as I grew into my late teens, I was finally able to shuck off any trappings of Bayside. My mother continued to see her ‘Sider buddies and go to the vigils – but I stopped taking any of it seriously (not that I had taken it that seriously in the first place). While I still considered myself a Catholic, I was a liberal Catholic and getting moreso all the time. In my mid-twenties, I gave up on the Church altogether, having decided that I really didn’t believe in it’s teachings anymore. I chose agnosticism as my path and have strived to keep to it as much as possible – getting rid of any long-held dogma.

Leuken passed away in 1995, which led to a schism in the Bayside movement. Her husband continued the vigils, but ousted one of his wife’s assistants – who promptly formed a rival Baysider sect. Mr Leuken passed away in 2002 and another woman has stepped up to lead the ‘original’ group. The Catholic Church still denies any authenticity to the prophecies…and the beat goes on. The strangest thing about the Baysiders, it seems to me, is that they’re more conservative than the main religious organisation they branch off from. Unlike certain sects of Sufism, which branches from Islam and Zen, which parts ways some from Buddhism – the Baysiders seem to want to turn back the clock with Catholicism and return it to a perceived earlier, ‘better’ period. They’re sincere, but ultimately misguided, as the world is passing them by. I suspect they’re all up in arms about the recent gay marriage vote in Ireland and still predicting that ‘great comet of fire’ is just around the corner. But hey, at least they probably agree with the current ‘Pope’ regarding the matter.

One Of *Those* Posts – Things I Enjoyed

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I usually avoid doing those “year end” kinda things – ‘cos really, it’s only the year-end in the Gregorian calendar, not in loads of other calendars. Anyway, here’s a list of some things I liked this past spin around the sun. In no particular order or category:

The Summer: Even though I left my job at the beginning of June, I had quite a good summer this year. I visited my family back in the U.S.A. for two weeks – I hadn’t seen them in nine years, so it was a treat to see all the nieces and nephews and my cousins and their little’uns. I also met a friend and did a bit of record shopping, too. Back in the UK, it proved to be a decent time, as the weather (mostly) brought sunshine and warmth. Compared to last year, this year was a model season.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II: I first heard this band through Marc Riley‘s 6Music show a couple of years ago. I kinda liked their strange, psychedelic R&B-influenced sound, but not enough to pick up the first record. Riley started playing the first single off of the new album, “Swim And Sleep (Like A Shark)” and it became a near-instant earworm. The album was released in February of this year and I bought it shortly after. I find there’s not a bum track on it – though for those with short attention spans, “Monki” can probably overdo it a bit.

A Field In England/Kill List: Pixie and I watched “Sightseers” early in the year and I really enjoyed it, particularly for the performances of Steve Oram and Alice Lowe, as the main protagonists. “Sightseers” was released in 2012, but we missed it in the cinema. Director Ben Wheatley was finishing up “A Field In England” even as were sending the rental DVD of “Sightseers” back. I was back in the UK in time to watch A.F.I.E. on BBC Four in early July and it blew my mind. Set in Civil War-era England, it involves some deserters who are tricked into helping a necromancer into searching for a ‘treasure’ hidden in a deserted field. There’s madness, psychedelic mushrooms and magick thrown into the mix. I thought it was brilliant and I’m definitely buying the DVD. I watched “Kill List” shortly after and while it wasn’t quite as visually arresting as A.F.I.E., the story, in places, seems far more intense. A soldier-turned-hitman gets lured back into the business by his friend and ‘associate’. At first, it seems like a routine mission, but things get progressively weirder as the film goes on. The ending scene is a shocker and it’s wonderfully played and is a genuine “Holy shit!” moment when you realise what has happened. Superb.

Fuck Buttons: I’d heard about them a couple of years ago, but I wasn’t quite sure I’d like their music. I checked out a couple of clips on You Tube, but I filed them in the “kinda interesting, maybe check them out later” dept. This year, they released their third full-length album, Slow Focus. I listened to a few of the new tracks and really liked them – so I bought up the back catalogue (not tough, as it’s only two records so far). At the moment, “Tarot Sport” is my fave, though “Street Horrrsing” has it’s ace tracks, too. I also found out that Blanck Mass is Benjamin John Powers‘s (of F.B.) ambient side project. Blanck Mass’s track Chernobyl was used to excellent effect in “A Field In England”.

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time (the stage version at the Apollo Theatre, London): You can read my longer review in the last post. Excellent staging and cast – highly recommended. You won’t be able to see it until the beginning of January, as part of the ceiling in the theatre collapsed during a performance – luckily there were no fatalities.

Leonard Shlain – The Alphabet Vs. The Goddess: I didn’t get to read quite as many books this year as I wanted to – but “The Alphabet…” was quite entertaining and enlightening. I read it while on holiday in the States. Shlain’s theory posits that while worldwide literacy has been very beneficial on the whole, it has also brought subjugation of women in almost every culture in which it’s been introduced. You may not agree with it, and find his research lacking – but I find it quite compelling and very possible. Copies are still available – I bought mine quite cheap off of eBay.

Horrible Histories/The Wrong Mans: H.H. finally finished this year, after it’s fifth series and it’s a shame, because it got better and better as it went along. The song/band parodies were ace and their send-up of “Masterchef”, ‘Historical Masterchef‘, was seriously funnier than most adult sketch shows, to me, anyway. “The Wrong Mans” is a series on BBC Two, that was shown in the early autumn. It stars Matthew Baynton, who was part of the H.H. cast and James Corden. I’m not really a fan of Corden’s, so I thought it could go either way. Luckily, Baynton held his own and Corden’s usual antics were limited to just a few scenes. I thought it was good, for a modern Hitchcock pastiche. There’s not much wiggle-room for a second series – but then, teevee writers can come up with some convoluted shit in order to keep a franchise going. We’ll see…

The World’s End: The final film of Edgar Wright‘s “Cornetto Trilogy” (featuring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) was released this past year. To me, it didn’t have quite the gut-bust laugh quotient of “Shaun Of The Dead” or “Hot Fuzz“, but it’s still a quality flick. Part 90s nostalgia, part sci-fi and part “you can never go home again” story – it makes a fitting end to the trilogy. I won’t go into plot specifics, in case you’ve not seen it, but I will say that “Fuck off back to Legoland, cunts!” is one of my fave film lines of the last ten years.

Matt Berry – Witchazel: I’d been meaning to pick this up for a loooong while and was given the CD as an X-Mas gift this year. It’s as good as I’d anticipated and for anyone who digs early 1970s psychedelic/progressive folk and English whimsy, this is a must-have. Berry is a comedic actor who’s appeared in some of the funniest shows of the past five-to-ten years: The Mighty Boosh, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace…and (the somewhat patchy) The IT Crowd. The guy’s also a solid musician and I’ve got his second album “Opium” as well (his first album, “Jackpot“, is waaaaaay out-of-print and you most certainly won’t find it on the interwebtubes or eBay – trust me, I’ve looked). Berry’s newest series, “Toast Of London” was broadcast in the autumn and it looks like a second series has been commissioned. “T.O.L.” uses “Take My Hand“, from ‘Witchazel” as it’s theme tune.

There’s loads more music, some teevee and books I enjoyed – but then this post would be mammoth and would stretch your reading patience to it’s limit. Hope your year was near what you wanted it to be and roll on Gregorian calendar year 2014!

Happy Autumn Equinox

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We’re already into the final quarter of Gregorian calendar year 2013 – another one almost over. I admit to liking early autumn. It’s still fairly warm and the foliage on the trees looks lovely. It’s a bittersweet time of year – even though I’ve not been in school in twenty years, I still get that “summer’s over” feeling in September. You know, that ‘oh man, what a drag’ sentiment mixed with ‘but hey, a new (Gregorian) year is on the way’. Like I say, bittersweet.

Here’s one of my fave autumn tunes – it’s by the one-and-only Nick Drake. I love everything about it – the gentle finger-picked guitar chords, Drake’s melancholy-but-hopeful vocal and the lyrics. “Summer was gone and the heat died down/and Autumn reached for her golden crown…” and “Time goes by from year to year/and no-one asks why I’m standing here/but I have my answer/I look to the sky…for this is the time of no reply…” Beautiful and evocative. I often wondered what he is looking to the sky for. The space brothers? Angels? I love how he never says – I just picture him in comtemplation while the weather gets colder.

In contrast – here’s another autumn-type tune from Led Zeppelin, from their mystic-tinted fourth album. The title of the album is four symbols, representing the four members of the band. Consequently, it’s just been called “Led Zeppelin IV” or “The Symbols Album”. The song is called “Four Sticks”, allegedly because drummer John Bonham used two sets of drumsticks while playing the central beat. The main riff is a nice Page rocker, but the interesting bit is when they get to the chorus. The chords are minor, which gives a strange, haunted feel to the music. For me, it just conjures images of autumn evenings – especially with the lyrics: “When the owls fly in the night/and when the pines begin to cry..”. I still have no idea what Plant is singing toward the end. Some Tolkien-esque phrases, I reckon – something about strong shields and boots marching. Grok it in it’s fullness:

Film As Language? Kubrick’s “The Shining”

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My first year of high school was spent in a Catholic one. I had attended a Catholic middle school and some of my good friends were opting to go to a Romish institution, rather than a public high school (that some other of my friends had chosen to do). I took the entrance exam and was accepted. Most of my classes were in the second-tier strata. The top level classes were called the ‘Honors’ cirriculum. I was only placed in one ‘Honors’ course, called “Literary Arts”.

The course was taught by a white-haired and goateed rotund man called “Allen”. Come to think of it, he looked a bit like Robert Anton Wilson‘s evil twin. He seemed quite pompous and pretentious, too. Our first day in class, he had us write down a speech that started “You are the salt of the earth….” – I wish I could remember the rest and I don’t have my old notebook anymore. It’d be hilarious to read it now….some ghastly prose. Apparently, he had a thing for the young ladies, too. Allegedly, he would get a bit chummy with some of them and there were rumours that he touched the legs of a few (skirts were required uniform for girls – I don’t think trousers were allowed) to make sure they were wearing tights/nylons (I can’t remember if they were required as part of the girl’s uniforms as well). I suspect that was an urban legend amongst the students, though – I can’t imagine that would’ve been tolerated, even in a creepy Catholic school.

I found the course pretty dull, and Allen’s jibes at the counter-culture (though, to be honest, I didn’t know all that much about the late 60s at the time) and his utmost allegiance to “tradition” rankled me at the time, even if I wasn’t quite sure why that bothered me. He would bleat on about people getting married “under porches” (hey???) and jumping out of planes and coruscate them for not following tradition. I got the feeling he didn’t like me much, either. I didn’t raise my hand a lot and didn’t chuckle at a lot of his cheesy put-downs of people not like him. As such, I got a lot of “C”s and “C+”s on assignments. I’m not saying he graded me low because he didn’t like me – if I’m honest, I just didn’t get enthusiastic about a lot of the coursework.

The one part of the course I did really enjoy was the bit about ‘Literary Archetypes‘. I can’t remember if he went into anything about Carl Jung and psychological insights – but I do remember him briefly discussing that there’s only ‘x’-number of stories/myths and they are continually being re-told, but in different ways. If you learn to recognise certain ‘clues’ in a story, you can figure out which original story/myth the new writing alludes to. He then led us through analysing a few different short stories and novels – such as Shirley Jackson‘s The Lottery and John Knowles‘s A Separate Peace.

I can’t quite recall which myth Jackson’s story covers – but it’s definitely on the ‘harvest-sacrifice’ tip. He told us that the colour black almost always signifies death (the black dot found on the ‘chosen one’s card). The names conjure up symbols, too – ‘Mr. Graves’ and ‘Mr. Summers’ and ‘Mr. Warner’ (geddit?). There’s more, but those are all the ones I can recall and I don’t have my notes anymore. “A Separate Peace” ‘is’, according to the archetypal analysis, a re-telling of the Jason & The Golden Fleece myth, set on a boarding-school campus. Some of the clues are a bit obvious (“The Golden Fleece Debating Society”), but there’s loads more that are well-hidden. “Phineas” represents Poseidon (his nickname is “Finny”), or something like that. I’ll really have to see if I’ve kept my notes – I don’t think I have.

That stuff seemed pretty cool – I liked the way the ‘clues’ added up to show the myth buried under Knowles’s novel and Jackson’s short story. As I say, the rest of the course seemed pretty dull – other than when we were learning about poetry rhythms and we read some rock song lyrics as poetry (even old Allen had to admit the rhymes were clever), like Eleanor Rigby and The 59th Street Bridge Song. I left the school at the end of the year, for various reasons, and finished the rest of my high school days at the public one.

Where is all this leading, you ask? I’ll tell ya’s! A friend posted a link on FaceBook about a cinema in New York City showing Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining, both forwards and backwards at the same time. The cinema staff decided to do so based on a comment from a site run by someone called The Mastermind. The comment was that “The Shining” should be viewed both forward and backward. The Mastermind studied the film and picked out ‘clues’ to it’s hidden narrative – in a similar way to Archetypal Literary Criticism, with dollops of Jungian symbolism thrown in. The theory is that written language is coming to an end, and a visual language, particularly via film and video games, “is” the future of communication. Now, I’m not quite sure about that, but who knows? He or she may be correct.

You can read the original post here. It is quite long, but fascinating. Each scene is inspected, with possible motives for camera angles and placements of objects. “Is” it what Kubrick had in mind? I don’t really know and I don’t think Stanley ever revealed his true intention for the film. Still, as an interpretation, The Mastermind certainly did his/her research!

Here’s a clip of the forwards/backwards showing of “The Shining” – pretty trippy:

The Shining Forwards And Backwards, Simultaneously, Superimposed (Excerpt) from KDK12 on Vimeo.

Where’d ya get your name?

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It’s a valid question.

For this nom de blog, I chose a goofy one based on a band name off of one of the “Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble” mixes, created by The Future Sound Of London/Amorphous Androgynous. The band in question are from Belgium and the track I heard is “Helga“. I especially like the line “She’s god-almighty in a beer can.” When I first heard it, I swore it was a Captain Beefheart out-take. Good stuff!

“Die Hard”: A libertarian slant?

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I was watching Die Hard the other night – it’s one of Pixie’s favourite films. She owns the “Die Hard: Quadrilogy” DVD box set. I noticed, as if for the first time, that the subtext to the film seems to affirm differing viewpoints. I know, I know – it’s only a goofy action film, though a very good one at that. I’d say that it re-wrote the action film template for much of the 90s and even Noughties genre output.

Now, I suspect director John McTiernan and the scriptwriters (adapting the story from a novel called “Nothing Lasts Forever” by Roderick Thorp) never intended any political subtext for the film – they were looking for a “fun” thrill-ride for the audience. As always, though, the viewer may end up adding their own “gloss” or reality-tunnel onto the finished work.

The most common view is that “Die Hard” is an affirmation of the conservative ideology of 1980s America. Nakatomi Plaza is symbolic of the dominant Japanese economy ‘invading’ the U.S. through financial methods. The “terrorists” are German, representing America’s old World War II foes. The F.B.I., represents the Federal Government, mucking up the situation and over-extending their authority….and on and on. There’s a blog which sums up the conservative subtext deftly – it can be found here.

I even found a blog post from a Christian viewpoint, which claims the film affirms a few gospel messages!!???!!! Granted, the post is mostly about the marital strife between John McClane and his estranged wife, Holly. You can read that post here.

Into this mix, I (only half-seriously) posit that there’s even a leftie/libertarian subtext to be gleaned in between the gunshots and blood-soaked feet. Firstly, the African-American characters are the calmest and most rational, even Argyle, the limo driver, pegs McClane’s situation within a few minutes. Al Powell, the beat cop who stays in contact with McClane while he’s trapped in the upper floors of the tower, provides good advice and encouragement. They’re also intergral to the ‘sides’ they’re on. Theo, the geeky hacker-whiz working for the terrorists, is the only one who can unlock the computerised vault to get at the cash bonds the gang wants. Also, it should be pointed out, none of these characters fall into the dreaded “Magic Negro” category (O.K., maybe Powell is a little bit). Sure, they may be a bit cliched – but they’re important to the story. That seems pretty libertarian to me.

The terrorists are meant to ‘the baddies’ and yes, they do some pretty reprehensible things (did the security guard at the reception desk really need to be shot? Couldn’t they just knock him out?) – but many of the American characters aren’t much better. The two F.B.I. agents, Johnson and Johnson (a sly dig at the corporation?…O.K., probably not), come off as arrogant know-it-alls. Dwayne Robinson, the LA. police chief, does his bureaucratic by-the-book schtick and attempts to keep McClane sidelined. The film wouldn’t be complete without the 80s slime-ball and “Die Hard”s is “Harry Ellis”, played to coked-up, lounge-lizard perfection by Hart Bochner. There’s a subtle hint that Harry’s trying to get into Holly’s pants, which makes him even more of a conniving twat. William Atherton’s reporter is unscrupulous and even threatens Holly’s housekeeper with deportation, so he can interview the McClane children. Against that crew of fuck-ups and cut-throats, does Hans Grueber and his co-horts seem to be really “evil”? It’s never mentioned how Nakatomi Corporation made it’s millions – maybe they’re weapons manufacturers? Now, I’m not a fan of theft, especially when it comes to the ordinary rank-and-file, but if Nakatomi got the cash from shady deals, well…it’s all a bit relative.

That’s about where I’ve got to in my perspective. To be honest, there’s not much more to the film other than explosions, smart-arse quips and lots of gunfire. Holly’s cop-out at the end, when she takes her husband’s surname again definitely leans in a conservative subtext – but I think that some of the other subtexts can be taken a number of ways. Or maybe I’m just daft?

When Comedians Attack!

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A friend of mine shared a blog post from a stand-up comedy site called “Cook’d and Bomb’d” on Facebook yesterday. I was intrigued by the title of the article: “Comedians using their fans for co-ordinated safety-in-numbers bullying” – so I read the post.

If you’re not familiar with Twitter – it’s a ‘social networking’ site that lets you post statements of 160 characters. It’s become a phenomenon in the past few years, mainly due to celebrity endorsers, like Stephen Fry. Unlike Facebook, which has you send a friend request to celebrities, leaving them to decide whether they want you to be able to see their profile page or not — Twitter lets you “follow” them, without any restrictions.

As such, ‘slebs’ get large numbers of followers..Fry has more than a million. That in itself is no problem – though some get very desperate to curry favour with their fave actor, or musician, or comedian, in this case. The blog post is about what happens when a ‘regular person’ has a disagreement with a celebrity on Twitter – or the celebrity spots a bad review online and ‘tweets’ about it. Sometimes, the celebrity will mobilise their Twitter followers into an internet mob, to excoriate the ‘offender’. They followers either attack the person, if they are on Twitter – or go to the online review and deluge the comments section with positive comments about the sleb and negative ones about the review and reviewer.

Ricky Gervais, according to the blog post, seems to be the biggest culprit for this type of Twitter behaviour. This doesn’t shock me that much – as Gervais has always seemed to have a bit of the “dish-it-out-but-can’t-take-it” persona. I love “The Office” and I even like some of his stand-up stuff, even though, to me, his schtick wears a bit thin over repeated viewings. The reviewer in question, wrote a disparaging comment about the second series of “An Idiot Abroad”, which Gervais took exception to. A link was added to Twitter was added to his page and away it went.

More surprising was Noel Fielding, of The Mighty Boosh, using the tactic against an art critic who objected to Fielding being chosen to interview Damien Hirst. Just recently, his followers attacked a woman on Twitter because she took offense at Fielding using the word ‘retard’. Now, there’s two sides to the story and perhaps the woman was being unjustly harsh with him – but that’s no reason for his followers to jump in and castigate her for daring to speak to him like that. After a long confrontation with Fielding’s followers, she left Twitter and reportedly tried to kill herself. I love The Boosh, though t.b.h., I’m not so hot on Fielding’s solo efforts–his “Luxury Comedy” seemed to be just weird for the sake of being weird. Still, I didn’t think he would behave in such a way – given his image as a lovable, spacey fashionista. He’s since left Twitter himself.

There was also an incident with Simon Pegg, who became incensed with a follower’s comment and asked the rest of his followers to ‘flame’ the person. After the post was pointed out to him – he did apologise and reminded everyone not to attack someone on his whim. So, all in all, Pegg comes out of it as a gentleman and thoughtful.

I remember an incident with a guy called Jon Spira, who got into an argument with “Twitter-sleb” Emma Kennedy over whether up-and-coming writers should sometimes work for free, to get their name known. The argument escalated a bit and suddenly, Kennedy was claiming that Spira was ‘stalking’ her and she was calling him a misogynist, etc. Her followers got whipped into a frenzy and the same sort of thing happened. You can read about it here. I fell foul of her temper as well – when disagreeing with her about the Diane Abbott tweet shit-storm. I’ve since un-followed Kennedy – I may have blocked her as well. I can’t recall.

I suppose it’s just one more symptom of celebrity culture – people who are so desperate to be noticed by their idols will become mindless thugs if they perceive their idol “is” being attacked and instead of letting the person handle criticism themselves. At the very least, if they feel the need to jump into a conversation – they could at least try to discuss it in a rational manner.

You can read the “Cook’d and Bomb’d” post here. Warning: for a post about comedy, it’s not particularly funny – but then, it’s not meant to be.