Social Media

  • X Man: thin skin meets humour

    The excessively wealthy man-baby commonly known as Elon Musk is a well-known egotist.

    However, Musk, who has recently been awarded a massive and unwarranted boost to his already considerable riches by Tesla shareholders, has another asset that is less well-known, namely an excessively thin skin.

    Whilst Musk is a deeply unpleasant character who will not hesitate to insult others, once famously calling one of the rescuers of a boys football team trapped in a Thai cave “pedo guy as he felt slighted by his the person he insulted, Musk can’t handle the mildest of mocking, as the following exchange on Twitter/X shows.

    Elon Musk tweets Legalize humor! The response from Liam Nissan reaads Says the guy who banned me for calling him Sissy SpaceX.
    Think before you tweet…

    It is often said that with the wealthy the most sensitive part of their anatomy is the bank balance. Be that as it may, the above exchange proves this is not necessarily a default position for all plutocrats. In the case of Musk the ego is clearly his most delicate organ.

  • Vos passeports, s.v.p. !

    An irony of our times came to light at the 80th anniversary D-Day celebrations as yet another dubious Brexit bonus emerged, further illustrating the Untied Kingdom’s third country EU status, as well as depicting a bureaucratic obstacle not faced by those arriving in Normandy on 6th June 1944.

    The screenshot below of a post on X/Twitter by the Brexitshambles account needs no further comment, apart from to add that the parachutists not only had to show their passports, but get them stamped too, so that officials can check in future whether they’ve overstayed their maximum term of 90 days in a European Union member state. 😀

    Post reads - So you thought we'd reached Peak Brexit? Watch British Paratroopers who after being dropped into Sannerville, France, to commemorate D-Day, had to show their passports to the French Douane... @Nigel Farage must be so proud

    Update: 07/06/2024: Today’s Guardian has reported on the above incident, noting that ‘while immigration checks for British troops on exercise abroad are routine, doing so at a public commemoration is deemed exceptional‘.

  • Conservatives’ National Service proposal – social media responds

    Yesterday’s duff election idea from the soon-to-be-annihilated Conservative Party was the reintroduction of mandatory national service, otherwise known in more plain-speaking parts of the world as military service or conscription.

    Your ‘umble scribe remembers older people during his 1960s childhood advocating the return of conscription as a panacea to cure all the evils that emerged during the 1960s like social progress (e.g. the abolition of the death penalty, the decriminalisation of homosexuality, legalisation of abortion, etc.), youth culture, colourful clothes, the consumption of drugs other than alcohol and tobacco, contraception, sexual promiscuity and everything else they didn’t like about the time.

    Needless to say, the Conservatives’ idea to revive conscription has been widely ridiculed on social media.

    First out of the blocks, a lovely post parodying not just the idea itself, but Britain’s misplaced and chauvinistic idea of its own greatness, when in reality thanks to Brexit, it’s a small island off the west coast of Europe that has shut itself off from closer ties with its neighbours.

    Advert reads Army - Be the best. Caption reads The Tory National Service plan.

    Also featuring on social media posts was ridicule of the Conservative Party itself, particularly its more unpleasant members such as the dishonourable member for Stoke-on-Trent North, one Jonathan Edward Gullis (majority 6,286). In a previous life Gullis was a schoolteacher.

    Post reads  Dear Rishi, this is Johns mum.
He cant do National Services as hes two busy doing MPing and has a sore tummy. Love Johns mum xxx

    Whether the poor spelling and punctuation are deliberate is unknown.

    A different line of attack was taken by those who are critical of the Tories seeing everything as an opportunity to make money such as the grasping ‘Baroness’ Michelle Georgina Mone, who during the Covid-19 pandemic succeeded in selling the British government £200m of useless PPE via her husband’s newly-established PPE Medpro company.

    Photograph of Michelle Mone below the words Hi Rishi. It's Michelle from Mone Military Uniforms.

    Meanwhile in the offline world, Former chief of the naval staff, Admiral Alan West, has described the plan as “bonkers” and added it would deplete the defence budget.

  • General election – the trolling begins

    Yesterday the unelected prime minister of the Untied Kingdom, one Rishi Sunak, standing at a lectern in the pouring rain in Downing Street, announced to the assembled media sheltering under umbrellas and tarpaulins that a general election would be held on 4th July, an historic date given that in 1776, England’s north American colonies unanimously declared their desire to secede.

    To many Mr. Sunak’s announcement was utterly bizarre. It was poorly managed, badly staged and had the unmistakable feel of an impetuous last minute decision, never mind the fact that the alleged prime minister was almost drowned out by Steve ‘Mr Stop Brexit’ Bray playing D:Ream’s Things Can Only Gert Better on a portable sound system in Whitehall.

    The Guardian’s political sketch writer John Crace had lots of fun with Sunak’s soggy discomfiture, with his latest piece, entitled ‘ Cringing in the rain: soggy Rish! kickstarts his farewell tour‘.

    However, it was not just professional journalists like Mr Crace who were having fun at Fishy Rishi’s expense yesterday. There was plenty of response to the unexpected news on social media too.

    One stand-out contribution to this came from the Trades Union Congress (TUC), which posted a very barbed comment at Mr Sunak and his Conservative Party which has been notoriously anti-trade union since the inception of the organised labour movement, mischievously recommending that Mr Sunak should join a union if he was being mistreated at work.

    Forced to work in the rain unnecessarily? Join a union.

    In addition, the X/Twitter account allegedly run by Larry, the Downing Street cat (also known as the Chief Mouser to the Treasury. Ed.), also joined in the fun, giving full rein to the belief that cats are allergic to rain.

    Lots of people asking me where I was when Sunak announced the election. I was inside, because it was raining. Only an idiot would have gone out in that... #GeneralElection

    It has noted by some that the timing of Sunak’s announcement is rather curious. Was it really timed to knock the Post Office Horizon public inquiry and the contaminated blood scandal off newspaper front pages?

    Have your say in the comments below.

    No doubt lots more banter and trolling will be forthcoming over the next weeks…

  • Blakey’s discourteous successors

    Cyril 'Blakey' Blake played by actor Stephen LewisFrom 1969 to 1973, ITV aired a comedy entitled On The Buses. One of the main characters in this mixture of sexism and misogyny that passed for humour at the time was Cyril ‘Blakey’ Blake (right) played by actor Stephen Lewis. One of the duties of inspectors in those days was to check passengers were travelling with valid tickets.

    Skip forward half a century and inspectors have been replaced by so-called Revenue Protection Officers, by FirstWorstBus, which along with its fellow WorstGroup subsidiary GWR, has a virtual public transport monopoly in the Greater Bristol area. GWR also employs Revenue Protection Officers.

    Your ‘umble scribe had the misfortune to encounter two of these successors to Blakey yesterday afternoon, when they board a no. 24 service on the Stapleton Road. Dressed like pound shop police officers but with the words Revenue Protection Officers embroidered on the back of their uniform, the larger of the two proceeded to address the bottom deck of the bus: “Hi guys. Please have your tickets and passes ready for inspection”.

    Guys? Neither we the travelling public nor you are American! Besides that, guys in this country normally end up on bonfires every 5th November or thereabouts.

    That was informality bordering on the discourteous, which got your correspondent thinking of a more courteous and appropriate form of address, after a long discussion with others on social media yesterday and more especially bearing in mind the fact that some degree of formality is required when dealing with the public in a formal/official capacity.

    First of all the Hi! needs ditching. Far too informal. As an interjectory greeting, it dates to the 1860s and originates in the American Midwest. It should be replaced by a Good (morning/afternoon/evening) (delete as appropriate. Ed.).

    That’s the easy bit done. In these enlightened times ladies and gentlemen might not cover how everyone chooses to identify, e.g. the non-binary. Everyone would therefore seem to be the most apposite way to address a diverse inner-city busload of passengers. So, for the benefit of any passing WorstBus successors to Blakey, my suggested form of greeting when doing your job would be: Good (morning/afternoon/evening), everyone. Please have your tickets and passes ready for inspection, please!

  • A bloody portrait

    In today’s attempt to divert attention to the dire political and economic situation of the English Empire/Untied Kingdom, the media are today awash with the story of the unveiling of a portrait of Mr Charles Philip Arthur Georg Mountbatten-Windsor, frequently referred to by the gullible as King Charles.

    Here’s the BBC’s example.

    Here’s what all the fuss is about.

    The new portrait of Charles Philip Arthur Georg Mountbatten-Windsor looking flushed

    The BBC also records varying public reactions to the portrait, as long as they do not stray from the sycophantic.

    Many were initially taken aback by the vivid red colour with some saying it looked like fire. Others described the painting as “unexpected” but “modern”.

    However, not so much sycophancy exists on social media where much more republican sentiment and an alterative reading of history were apparent, as in a post on X/Twitter (or whatever the man-baby called Musk is calling it this week. Ed.) by Sandra Eckersley.

    Post reads - Remarkable painting of King Charles with the unexpected subtext of Colonial British History. Soaked in blood & gore yet with a butterfly on his shoulder. As Bart Simpson once said ‘nobody suspects a butterfly’. Clever piece, beautifully executed. Great Art.

    Your ‘umble scribe believes Ms Eckersley shares his view of colonial English/British history, a series of crimes against humanity lasting several centuries, involving invasion, murder, theft, exploitation, expropriation and slavery to name but a few offences on the charge sheet.

    Needless to say, Mr Mountbatten-Windsor is rather pleased with his new portrait, apparently unworried about being depicted as wallowing in a bloodbath.
  • Deep sea life using robots – exclusive

    This blog has often drawn attention to the inability of modern journalists (or should that be media employees? Ed.) to understand ambiguity, i.e. the quality of a statement being open to more than one interpretation, and how to avoid it by using language as a precision, not a blunt instrument.

    The example below dates back to 2022, comes from India’s Republic and dives beneath the waves to the bottom of the sea. It arrived in your ‘umble scribe’s social medial timeline late last week, so apologies if you’ve already seen the howler below.

    Headline - UK researchers discover over 30 potential new species at ocean's bottom using robots. Byline - In what can be considered to be a breakthrough scientific development, over 30 potentially new species have been discovered by UK scientists at ocean&'s bottom.

    The story was originally published in The Guardian. Republic’s reporter Anwesha Majumdar does not disclose in the rewrite why aquatic life in the deep oceans is using robots.

  • For UK, see England

    For some in England – an it only obtains in England – happens throughout the whole of the island of Great Britain and the occupied six counties of the Ireland of Ireland that suffers under the monicker of the United Kingdom.

    Those in England frequently forget that England isn’t the whole of the UK. It includes Wales, which England first colonised in the late 12th century, Scotland, which has its own system of law and institutions, and the aforementioned occupied six Irish counties, the remnant of yet more colonial activity likewise dating back to the late 12th century.

    People in parts of the UK that are not England frequently view England as the most privileged part of the union, particularly when it displays arrogance, exceptionalism and a lack of tact, especially as the union did not come about voluntarily and secession from which may only be put to the vote if Whitehall is feeling generous.

    However, arrogance, exceptionalism and a lack of tact does not apply only in the political sphere, but in the reporting of politics by the media.

    The following post has appeared on the X/Twitter account of London-based Channel 4 News on 3rd May.

    Post reads Local election results - what we know so far. Below is a screenshot of a video showing a backdrop with the words The UK decides - 2024 Local Elections

    The what decides?

    The only local elections taking place in the UK were mostly in England on 2nd May and involved elections for a large number of local authorities, regional mayors and police and crime commissioners.

    By virtue of Henry VIII’s 16th century Acts of Union, the only electoral activity anywhere else in the UK involved the election of the four Welsh police and crime commissioners for the four regional Welsh police forces. As regards these Welsh elections, Nation Cymru carries an opinion piece advocating the abolition of commissioners due to the extremely low voter turnout.

    The proportion of people on the electoral register who bothered to vote was 19.2% in the Dyfed-Powys police force area, 17.19% in North Wales, 16.58% in South Wales and 15.63% in Gwent.

    This hardly the UK really decides, now is it, Channel 4 News?

  • The importance of proofreading

    Within minutes of each other, two occurrences reminded your ‘umble scribe of the importance of proofreading, i.e. the process of finding and correcting mistakes in text before it is printed out or posted online.

    If nothing else, it proves the person or company involves knows what it’s doing and writing, providing evidence of professional competence

    The first was spotted on a change machine in Terminal 1 of Manchester Airport in the early hours of this morning.

    Sticker on machine stating this machine accepts new £20 note. On the image of the note is the printed word SPECIMAN.
    SPECIMAN? What’s one of those?

    According to Wikipedia, a specimen – not SPECIMAN – banknote is printed generally in very limited quantities for distribution to central banks to aid in the recognition of banknotes from a country other than their own. Furthermore, To avoid use of specimen banknotes as legal tender notes, the banknotes are deformed, typically by being overprinted and/or punched (perfin) with an inscription such as “SPECIMEN”, “SPECIMEN NO VALUE”, “CANCELLED” or the equivalent in one or more other languages.

    The second turned up a couple of minutes later on your correspondent’s social media feed.

    Ingredients list for a roast beef and criminalized red onion relish roll
    Should those with a poor grasp of English be gaoled?

    A reverse image search reveals that the original image first emerged on social media some 4 years ago and originated in the United States. Note that the snack is accurately defined as having caramelized onion relish its long description. Y’all have a good misspelt sandwich now! 😀

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