A rotten carcass of an issue

Hadley Freeman doesn’t find it a tragedy that Milo Yiannopoulos has been booted off Twitter after years of using it as a tool for abusing people.

Sensing a rotten carcass of an issue, the vultures soon arrived. Louise Mensch, a former MP, took a break from calling a man whose child was having an operation a “scumbag” and “loathsome tit”, desperately gripped on to Mr Loser’s coattailsand demanded that Congress “look at” this vital issue of someone not being able to log into their social media account. Poor Mensch, it must be so hard for her stuck in boring New York City when all she cares about is how many mentions she gets on Twitter. One day we will look in more detail at this strange new demographic of adults who confuse “becoming online hate figures” with “staying relevant”. Another time.

Ah Louise Mensch – she’s another who uses Twitter as a tool for abusing people.

For now, we’ll stick with the popular confusion between “constitutional rights” and “inciting harassment”. Jones has been accused of infringing Mr Loser’s freedom of speech, which I guess is true, if you believe a woman telling a bus driver that a fellow passenger is shouting abuse at her is a denial of free speech. “Why didn’t she just get off the internet?” sneered people who presumably would tell someone who was just mugged they should get off the street.

That’s the thing though, isn’t it – shouting abuse isn’t protected speech. You really have to be either a self-absorbed angry teenager or a fanatical libertarian to think it is. We don’t expect the cops to deal with rudeness, but that doesn’t mean that we welcome rudeness in all aspects of life.

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