Sunday, 27 September 2009

Know me by my name

I got my nickname in the following way. I was a bit rolly-poly as a baby, so my mum called me Podgy. This was later shortened to Pog: pretty much all my childhood friends and acquaintances knew me as Pog, some still call me it. When I opened my first email account with AOL, Pog had already been taken. Everyone was talking about the new phenomenon of "surfing" at the time, so I added surf as a suffix. The rest is history.

There's a big difference between calling someone by a nickname, and calling them a name. It is one of intent. One is friendly, one is not so friendly. Yesterday I called Tim Ireland out on his use of the term "idiot". In fact you could say that he makes his intent all too clear. It's not nice.

Tim also has a little gang of acolytes who like to follow his bullying ways. Their mugshots or "work" can usually be found here. (I notice Tim's own entry has now disappeared, probably because he is at the centre of some sort of "terrorist" imbroglio.) Except one that is. Beau Bo D'Or makes a good joke by showing a man who has just written "Julie Moult is a genius" on a steamy window, shown from an outside perspective which inverts the inscription. Like any good satirist his work can be taken in more than one way, thereby preserving an ambiguity over his own position. I usually couch against explaining jokes, but I wanted to make clear here that I don't think Beau Bo is demeaning Ms Moult in any way, in fact he's drawing our intention to the importance of perspective.

Matt Buck understands perspective too. After all, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Someone regarded as a nutcase by some, could be seen as a genius by others. Over at Liberal Conspiracy I have been frequently labelled a "troll", and Tim Ireland loves to remind everyone that I am a "sock-puppet". The answer of course is to take ownership of these bits of petty nonsense, and embrace the terms. My trolling usually takes the form of asking awkward questions, my sock-puppetry seems to have taken on epic proportions until one breathless commentator exclaims "he's posting comments bloody everywhere".

It is a curious feature of the human condition that those who rail against flaws in others often display that same flaw themselves. So it is that those who seek to exploit others perceived weaknesses are often vulnerable to the same kind of attack. Tim Ireland for instance is most uncomfortable about references to his own nickname "Manic". At item 36 of this bizarre instance of replying to a spoof list of interview questions, Ireland says:
And now that you bring it up, the nickname also dates from a more innocent time on the web, when there were fewer people around wanting to be a cock about it.
That's OK then. Or perhaps it's about time you changed your nickname. In fact I can't make my mind up about this, or whether he is really calling for the return of an earlier age of bliss on the internet.

As well as addressing Tim by name, we can also now address him by post. I know this because he wrote:
my home address has been repeatedly published online
and Sunny Hundal wrote:
a shadowy bunch of operators who are publishing his name and home address all over the internet
and Justin McKeating wrote:
and finally his home address made public on the internet
It's not exactly a secret, is it? In fact it is so widely publicised I am beginning to wonder if he about organise some kind of mail order business. I wish him luck in his new venture. I hope it distracts him from his name-calling campaigns. Maybe he should adopt a new nickname for a complete change of image. No idea what this should be, perhaps you have an idea? Answers on a postcard, please!


James said...

Tim's right - you're an idiot.

Martin said...

Got no opinions of your own, James?