These sniveling online bullies deserve condemnation, not pity: CHRISTOPHER STEVENS looks back on weekend TV
Rosie Jones: Am I IAR*tard?
Long before social media existed, mild-mannered Prime Minister John Major had the answer to online trolls: “Society needs to condemn a little more and understand a little less.”
He meant that the more we try to rationalize and forgive the hateful behavior of a few nasty-minded individuals, the easier it becomes for them to continue to victimize the rest of us.
Comedian Rosie Jones, who has cerebral palsy and is frequently vilified by strangers on the internet, made the mistake of treating them as reasonable human beings in her investigation into trolling, Am I IAR*tard? (Ch4).
She made an eloquent case that while Twitter and other companies need to do more to stop abuse, it’s up to all of us to condemn it wherever we see and hear it.
Highlighting one of the most disturbing words thrown around to make fun of people with disabilities, he invited some of his anonymous bullies to discuss his behavior on camera.
CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: Comedian Rosie Jones, who has cerebral palsy and is frequently vilified by strangers on the internet, made the mistake of treating them as reasonable human beings in her investigation into trolling, Am I IAR*tard?
None of them came forward. Of course they didn’t: every anonymous stalker on social media is, by definition, a whiny coward.
But she tracked down a man who had been in prison for sending death threats and sexually violent messages. He was willing to introduce himself, as long as he could wear a mask and disguise his voice.
This was another mistake, for it made a pathetic nullity seem more sinister and powerful than it actually was, an effect made worse when Rosie projected her image onto a dank warehouse wall. She was turning him into a troll from fairy tales.
Although he claimed to be sorry, the man had all his excuses ready: ‘We’re not necessarily evil people, we’re just a little broken inside and we need help.
“I was incredibly drunk,” he added. ‘I was a completely different person than I am now. I was going through a lot in my personal life. He suffered from mental health problems.
New Yorkers who exposed their troubled relationships for analysis on Couples Therapy (BBC2) were also able to rattle off all the lingo. “We need to get to a place of a dynamic relationship that works for both of us,” said a woman named Christine, whose girlfriend Nadine’s constant cheating was so blatant it gave her stomach aches.
CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: Highlighting one of the most disturbing words thrown around to make fun of people with disabilities, he invited some of his anonymous bullies to discuss his behavior on camera (Rosie Jones pictured)
Sex was the root of the problem for the four couples we met as this series returned. One man couldn’t see why his wife objected to her visiting prostitutes, and another woman was sleeping with a close friend of her husband’s.
For new parents Josh and Natasha, the problem was the opposite. They weren’t doing it at all. Natasha just didn’t have the energy and her husband was being a bigger baby than hers just born from her.
What is never clear on this show is how real the case studies are. The subjects are so eloquent, as new dramatic twists emerge in their stories, that it’s easy to suspect they’re actors improvising around a script, even though the producers insist they’re genuine couples.
They admit that psychoanalyst Dr. Orna Guralnik is not using her real office. Instead, the sessions are filmed in a studio with a six-person camera crew behind a one-way mirror that encloses the set.
After the meetings, Dr. Orna visits her own therapist, or “clinical advisor.” That’s when we see how critical she really is of her clients. Far from being neutral, she has strong opinions about her sex life.
It turns out that she condemns as much as she understands.