12 (Million) Angry Men

As Liverpool’s season looks set to peter out disappointingly, those inclined towards irrational hatred are having a field day. It’s getting tiresome.

Today’s begins with a caveat. The following is not as news-based as usual and veers indulgently towards the autobiographical. I’m a little hacked off at the LFC world and this is what came out. You should feel free to stop reading at this point.

The somewhat exhausted comparison between football and soap opera is as unoriginal as some of the snide abuse, known euphemistically to exponents as banter, that seems to get flung at most of the characters in the Premier League’s own telenovela. At any rate, the behaviour of supporters is far more histrionic and extreme than anything in the game itself. As rivalry turns to naked hate, the outlandish extremism of some fans is so immoderate that even the writers of your favourite slice of daily melodrama would consider it over-the-top.

It really does bring out the baser side of humanity, this game we love. Racism, homophobia, xenophbia and intolerance of all kinds bubble to the surface before too long. Even when one is careful to surround oneself by open-minded and tolerant types, the incursion into one’s calm enclave of some bile-spewing troglodyte is sickeningly inevitable. “Hell,” as that clever French bloke once said,” is other people.”

As a man who puts his meagre creative abilities up for public scrutiny several times a week, this limited scribbler is well positioned to comment on the random and entirely unsolicited reactions of Jo(sephine) Q Public. 98% of the comments and responses I receive via Twitter, whether they be to the writing or the podcast, will be rational (one or two are even complimentary, if I haven’t made a complete balls of it) but when the trolls emerge from under their bridges, faces contorted by hate, well, it can get ugly.

A hoary old-stager, with caveman tendencies of my own and real-life difficulties to contend with, the occasional idiot is little but an hors d’oeuvre in the troubled banquet of my life. Sometimes, the extremity of the contempt is just comical, like the fellow who called me a POMPOUS MOTHERF*#KER (all caps meant he was shouting, you see) for using some words he wasn’t familiar with. What was I thinking? There are, however, many who are badly and understandably rattled by the kind of vitriolic hate that anonymous keyboard warriors vomit across the internet with impunity.

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