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PP adds major injury to a minor insult

Today I essay and opinionate another ‘fair review & criticism’ of nearly mainstream online new media and bring you a piece of truly amazing wrongheadedness from the so-called keepers of intellectual honesty.

This post from Pure Petulance has to go down as the most petulant post of the year if not of all time.

Well maybe petulant isn’t the right word to describe the way Jeremy Sear has turned a rather innocuous comment made by a fellow Crikey author – that would otherwise have hardly made a ripple on cyberspace – into a tsunami of insult and humiliation of some young kid who works at McDonald’s in Geelong. But the words pedantic, stupid & nasty sure come to mind.

The story: Obscure Crikey author Leigh Josey writes a brief and obscure post about the closure of KFC in Geelong. He posts a cutout from the Geelong Advertiser featuring photos of some kids and the comments they have made and then makes a not-funny and not-really-hurtful (and certainly indirect) comment about one of them as follows:

And what do the people think? By people, we mean 12 year old McDonald’s employees…


And that’s all he said about it. But Jeremy thinks Josey has been “cruel” by wrongly estimating the kid’s age and is so worried that the kid might get depressed (or even suicide) he bursts into print to bizarrely attack one of his own writers … while being oblivious to the fact he’s doing a lot more damage to the kid himself: 

This might just be an ex-young-looking-teenager speaking, but it seems to me that Daniel Gooley, the McDonald’s employee (who is therefore at least 14), might already be struggling with issues relating to his not particularly mature physical appearance. (Also his surname.) Having a prominent thing on the internet like Crikey mocking him around the nation on the basis of something over which he has no control and over which he is possibly quite sensitive, seems to me to be unnecessarily cruel – and, given the current discussion of teen depression and suicide, it might be something that adult writers should consider when the butt of their joke is just a kid. Even if he wasn’t the intended target, and even if it was funny.

If the kid wasn’t already embarrassed by this (and I seriously doubt he would have been) he would be now after Sear’s further posting and identification of him. Worse still, the totally unnecessary references to Daniel’s appearance and surname add injury to what was hardly even an insult in the first place.

And it keeps going in the comments. While some of the commenters are clearly miffed by this bizarre post (and good on them for realising its out of line), some have taken Sear’s lead to heap more insults on not just Daniel but other kids in the photo too. Well done Jeremy.

Josey’s piece was hardly “mocking (Daniel) around the nation” but that didn’t stop Sear from jumping in to correct him and speak up on the kid’s behalf … without being invited. Who needs that kind of advocacy or defence?

It’s just like when Jeremy goes in to bat for gays and lesbians over gay marriage without being invited – he does more harm than good.

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