Kill them

Max

You’ve probably read about this already, but in case you haven’t – a 19-year-old gap-year student called Max Gogarty was commissioned by the Travel Guardian to write a blog about his trip to India. The first installment was posted on Thursday. The thread was closed down on Friday, after what can only be described as a torrent of abuse, firstly directed at Max himself, but latterly at the Guardian for commissioning the son of one of its own (freelance) travel writers, Paul Gogarty. It all got out of hand, and I understand a Facebook page having a pop was started up, and a Wikipedia entry on Nepotism was vandalised. (It’s funny, isn’t it, how quickly the phrase, “a Facebook page was started” has become almost totally meaningless. It’s like saying, “the sun rose in the morning, and set again in the evening”.

I often lurk around the Guardian blogs and the level of abuse shovelled around over there is quite astounding. Emily Bell, boss of the Guardian website, wrote about the whole furore in her column in today’s Media Guardian, basically saying we have to put up with this kind of shit, the genie can’t go back in the bottle etc. Having been on the sharp end of a bit of abuse on my own blog, I have some sympathy for the hapless Max, who may well have landed a nice gig off the back of his dad’s contacts, but much of the hatred aimed in his direction seemed unnecessarily harsh to a daft 19-year-old. We’re all a bit cocky and embarrassing at that age, aren’t we? Why read the blog if the idea of a stude going on a gap-year trip to India upsets your principles in the first place? There’s a lot of class hatred in evidence, too. How about this from a chap who – to his credit – at least posts under what might actually be his read name (and who, incidentally, had a lot of his comments removed by the moderator):

Comment No. 940701
February 14 11.52
Here’s an idea, Max: instead of setting off on yet another inane, identikit trip around Asia before you take up your place at Oxbridge (or wherever), why don’t you leave your family’s Highgate mansion FOR GOOD, cut yourself off from your father’s allowance, move into a council estate in Salford, STAY THERE, and then consider writing a blog about your experiences. Why does our society only grant a voice to those with nothing to say?

If ever a comment exposed the problems of the person commenting rather than the person commented about, it’s this one. (Surely there are bigger and more important battles to be fought in the name of equality and social cohesion than this one?) I’ve only read the first – and, so it turns out, last – entry by Max, and yes, he’s a certain type, and he’s doing what a lot of students do, and he fancies himself a bit because he writes for Skins (although, as one tenacious commentator discovered, with glee, this was actually only a 10-minute MySpace edition of Skins – so we mustn’t allow Max to get any ideas above his station about that!), but his crime appears to be his background, his dad, his address in Highgate, not his ability or otherwise to write or comment. There are so many blogs out there – the Guardian is so awash with them, nobody in their right mind would want to read even a third of them, and that’s just one media outlet – why would you bother seeking out ones you don’t like, or don’t agree with? Unless you’re literally spoiling for a fight? And who better to fight than a student from North London?

The fact is, abuse posted on open-door message boards is a sport for many. The Guardian, like all the others, doesn’t just invite comment, it thrives on it. And you have to take the rough with the smooth. (An individual blogger doesn’t have to, obviously, as there are plenty of ways of cutting out the possibility of abuse appearing on your site, and once the oxygen of publicity is removed, abuse of this kind stops being fun for those that dish it out.) Of the recommended blogs in my orbit, The Urban Woo and Five-Centres have written about different aspects of the issues raised and I direct you to their doorsteps if you want to get involved in the discussion.

89 thoughts on “Kill them

  1. He’s the fellow who washed his hands of the whole crucifying Jesus thing.Shameful if you’re Christian, probably quite astute if you’re not.I don’t agree that his background really has anything to do with it (despite some of the idiots saying it was). I do think the Guardian made a massive arror of judgement…Anyhow, it seems you’re not up for discussing it so I’ll leave well alone!

  2. He’s the fellow who washed his hands of the whole crucifying Jesus thing.Shameful if you’re Christian, probably quite astute if you’re not.I don’t agree that his background really has anything to do with it (despite some of the idiots saying it was). I do think the Guardian made a massive arror of judgement…Anyhow, it seems you’re not up for discussing it so I’ll leave well alone!

  3. The abuse was out of order (being abuse) but there were some valid points directed at the guardian and travel editor – why would anyone of any demographic be interested in this blog which offered nothing new and was quite patronising? I, with others, honestly believed it to be a Nathan Barleyesque joke when I first read it. The editor also seemed confused as to whether he approached Max or vice versa. I don’t however blame Max or his dad or his background. I also live on a hill in North London on the 134 bus route and don’t see how this shows my background or Max’s.

  4. The abuse was out of order (being abuse) but there were some valid points directed at the guardian and travel editor – why would anyone of any demographic be interested in this blog which offered nothing new and was quite patronising? I, with others, honestly believed it to be a Nathan Barleyesque joke when I first read it. The editor also seemed confused as to whether he approached Max or vice versa. I don’t however blame Max or his dad or his background. I also live on a hill in North London on the 134 bus route and don’t see how this shows my background or Max’s.

  5. Either the Grauniad was being very naive indeed, or deliberate… I’m not inclined to think they are *that* naive, given the amount of blog-related stuff they go in for.The Skins references are *so* blatant – up to and including the URL, which is surely a giveaway that it has to be related – I’ve been researching the whole ‘alternate reality’ game/marketing technique of seeding the internet with attention-grabbing teasers, and this has all the signs.I think they’ve been surprised by a) the strength of the hatred and b) the lack of scepticism by people who’ve taken it at face value, but the publicity will have been considered worth it, I’m sure. No discussion of it will fail to mention Skins, ergo Skins gets free PR, without being held directly responsible for the concept.

  6. Either the Grauniad was being very naive indeed, or deliberate… I’m not inclined to think they are *that* naive, given the amount of blog-related stuff they go in for.The Skins references are *so* blatant – up to and including the URL, which is surely a giveaway that it has to be related – I’ve been researching the whole ‘alternate reality’ game/marketing technique of seeding the internet with attention-grabbing teasers, and this has all the signs.I think they’ve been surprised by a) the strength of the hatred and b) the lack of scepticism by people who’ve taken it at face value, but the publicity will have been considered worth it, I’m sure. No discussion of it will fail to mention Skins, ergo Skins gets free PR, without being held directly responsible for the concept.

  7. I don’t understand the modern internet world. If this column of Max’s was a good idea then why take it down because various weirdoes and nutters shot it down? Was it a bad idea in the first place? In which case has the travel editor been sacked or something? Or are the people who comment correct and wiser than the Guardian travel editor? In which case shouldn’t we live in fear because the people who commented seemed generally a bit wild.I don’t understand the comments in the Guardian because the people who comment are always the same folk who just go on to sneer and criticise. So why publish their comments and why pay any attention to them?Is it clear that I don’t understand?

  8. I don’t understand the modern internet world. If this column of Max’s was a good idea then why take it down because various weirdoes and nutters shot it down? Was it a bad idea in the first place? In which case has the travel editor been sacked or something? Or are the people who comment correct and wiser than the Guardian travel editor? In which case shouldn’t we live in fear because the people who commented seemed generally a bit wild.I don’t understand the comments in the Guardian because the people who comment are always the same folk who just go on to sneer and criticise. So why publish their comments and why pay any attention to them?Is it clear that I don’t understand?

  9. I just read the whole thing in full there, and really, some of those bloggers were vile. The vitriol was astounding.Is it such a crime to be middle class? That’s another blogger-baiting thread ready to kick off.

  10. I just read the whole thing in full there, and really, some of those bloggers were vile. The vitriol was astounding.Is it such a crime to be middle class? That’s another blogger-baiting thread ready to kick off.

  11. I think the Guardian has ducked the issue that id has increasingly started publishing trashy nonsense, yoof stuff, celebs on every page etc. The editorial staff basically messed up and put out a substandard glib piece but aren’t grown up up enough to admit their mistakes and instead have put the blame on their readers. I think the media are on steep learning curve as they are now under scrutiny more than ever before and although they can hand it out to teachers, mps, the NHS they are not keen on recieving it critisism back. As to nepotism isn’t this the media’s guilty secret.That being said I don’t read the comments at the foot of their online stuff as it’s rancid bile mostly.

  12. I think the Guardian has ducked the issue that id has increasingly started publishing trashy nonsense, yoof stuff, celebs on every page etc. The editorial staff basically messed up and put out a substandard glib piece but aren’t grown up up enough to admit their mistakes and instead have put the blame on their readers. I think the media are on steep learning curve as they are now under scrutiny more than ever before and although they can hand it out to teachers, mps, the NHS they are not keen on recieving it critisism back. As to nepotism isn’t this the media’s guilty secret.That being said I don’t read the comments at the foot of their online stuff as it’s rancid bile mostly.

  13. Nice clean hands: good.Evading responsibility: not so good. Not that you’ve evaded responsibility.I must admit, although I don’t really rate the quality of, well, any of the posters on Comment is Free, I’m interested in the fact that they’re directly criticising the kinds of articles which are considered fit for publication. It does seem (though I suspect I’m being ungenerous here) that Emily Bell sees criticism of this blog as simply “envy” and criticisms of someone like Bidisha as “misogyny”, but in fact in amongst the simplistic abuse one can usually find the question “why has this been published, because it’s not very good?”And I think they often have a point there. There’s also the suspicion that deliberately provocative postings are made (quite cynically) to get the numbers of comments (and the ad-views?) up. I do find it quite incredible that the general quality of postings to the Guardian (an internationally celebrated newspaper) is nowhere near that of postings to NotBBC (for example), even when Rob was letting DiscoDavey1972’s messages be read forwards, and pale quite embarrassingly in comparison with something like Metafilter. Maybe I shouldn’t.

  14. Nice clean hands: good.Evading responsibility: not so good. Not that you’ve evaded responsibility.I must admit, although I don’t really rate the quality of, well, any of the posters on Comment is Free, I’m interested in the fact that they’re directly criticising the kinds of articles which are considered fit for publication. It does seem (though I suspect I’m being ungenerous here) that Emily Bell sees criticism of this blog as simply “envy” and criticisms of someone like Bidisha as “misogyny”, but in fact in amongst the simplistic abuse one can usually find the question “why has this been published, because it’s not very good?”And I think they often have a point there. There’s also the suspicion that deliberately provocative postings are made (quite cynically) to get the numbers of comments (and the ad-views?) up. I do find it quite incredible that the general quality of postings to the Guardian (an internationally celebrated newspaper) is nowhere near that of postings to NotBBC (for example), even when Rob was letting DiscoDavey1972’s messages be read forwards, and pale quite embarrassingly in comparison with something like Metafilter. Maybe I shouldn’t.

  15. We have become a nation of armchair critics and it is easy to hide behind the e-wall of the Web. We love to score and comment on almost anything and sometimes let our more basic instincts kick in. You’ve suffered many times from this for daring to have an opinion and to encourage sensible debate only for the tossers to move in like vultures.I am not really fussed about Max, if he wants to provide a blog on a gap year type trip, so what? It might be interesting or not like any other article. Okay his Dad might be involved, but that can put extra pressure on. If his stuff is rubblish then both he and his dad will be in the spotlight.What a shame we can’t seem to play nice.AnonoNick

  16. We have become a nation of armchair critics and it is easy to hide behind the e-wall of the Web. We love to score and comment on almost anything and sometimes let our more basic instincts kick in. You’ve suffered many times from this for daring to have an opinion and to encourage sensible debate only for the tossers to move in like vultures.I am not really fussed about Max, if he wants to provide a blog on a gap year type trip, so what? It might be interesting or not like any other article. Okay his Dad might be involved, but that can put extra pressure on. If his stuff is rubblish then both he and his dad will be in the spotlight.What a shame we can’t seem to play nice.AnonoNick

  17. To be fair to Max (god, I hate myself for saying that) I think most of the bile is being directed at whoever hired him; let’s face it, if any of us could get a plum gig for something we’re bad at, we’d do it. What baffles people is why the Guardian chose him over, I’m sure, the many many other applications they must get from young writers every year. The quality of his writing speaks for itself.And rather than listen to the wise old rule “when in a hole, stop digging”, the paper has sent 3 journalists to the trenches to defend him, with the latest saying the abuse is getting is like both the Chinese Cultural Revolution and hanging black men from trees. (So, not laying it on thick at all then.)P.

  18. To be fair to Max (god, I hate myself for saying that) I think most of the bile is being directed at whoever hired him; let’s face it, if any of us could get a plum gig for something we’re bad at, we’d do it. What baffles people is why the Guardian chose him over, I’m sure, the many many other applications they must get from young writers every year. The quality of his writing speaks for itself.And rather than listen to the wise old rule “when in a hole, stop digging”, the paper has sent 3 journalists to the trenches to defend him, with the latest saying the abuse is getting is like both the Chinese Cultural Revolution and hanging black men from trees. (So, not laying it on thick at all then.)P.

  19. I’ve never been on Facebook myself, it must a cauldron of hatred. Some of it must be deserved (ie George Lamb) but surely most of it is done by time wasters for a bit of fun. Let the lad go to India, most 19 year olds around our way wouldn’t have a clue how to survive in India, let’s see what develops.

  20. I’ve never been on Facebook myself, it must a cauldron of hatred. Some of it must be deserved (ie George Lamb) but surely most of it is done by time wasters for a bit of fun. Let the lad go to India, most 19 year olds around our way wouldn’t have a clue how to survive in India, let’s see what develops.

  21. Hello Andrew, I think you’re right about the level of abuse being out of proportion. When I read the original thread I couldn’t help hear Marcus Brigstocke doing his “two emms two gees” Giles Wemmbley-Hogg.He came across as a bit self-absorbed and naive but generally harmless enough.If people, however are having a go at the lad because got the gig through his dads’ connections then there are wose example than a Guardian travel blog.Mostly I think it’s envy on the part of most of the posters. Still, as I said (more of less) over at The Urban Woo – as a 30 something office drone, I am man (badger ?) enough to say I wish I has his chances when I was 19…

  22. Hello Andrew, I think you’re right about the level of abuse being out of proportion. When I read the original thread I couldn’t help hear Marcus Brigstocke doing his “two emms two gees” Giles Wemmbley-Hogg.He came across as a bit self-absorbed and naive but generally harmless enough.If people, however are having a go at the lad because got the gig through his dads’ connections then there are wose example than a Guardian travel blog.Mostly I think it’s envy on the part of most of the posters. Still, as I said (more of less) over at The Urban Woo – as a 30 something office drone, I am man (badger ?) enough to say I wish I has his chances when I was 19…

  23. I’ve always read the Guardian, and recently started contributing to their blogs. Not that frequently, maybe one contribution a week. Now, I (perhaps naively) assumed that most Guardian readers were at least reasonably bright and therefore their bloggers would be too. Boy, was I wrong. The percentage of absolutely moronic posts is huge. And I don’t just mean posts with which I disagree. I mean contributions which should be displayed in green as that’s obviously the colour these people type in.John

  24. I’ve always read the Guardian, and recently started contributing to their blogs. Not that frequently, maybe one contribution a week. Now, I (perhaps naively) assumed that most Guardian readers were at least reasonably bright and therefore their bloggers would be too. Boy, was I wrong. The percentage of absolutely moronic posts is huge. And I don’t just mean posts with which I disagree. I mean contributions which should be displayed in green as that’s obviously the colour these people type in.John

  25. I haven’t read the young man’s writing so I won’t comment on that, or how he got the job, except to say that media nepotism of the friends and/or family variety is a blindingly obvious fact to those of us who are attentively bitter enough to comprehend programme credits, feature writer lists, guest lists, cast lists etc. There seems to be a continuous whirring of this self preservation/self promotion society machine. Unfortunately it’s supporting legions of the mediocre, the perpetually ‘available’ and obviously dignity-less Media Studies z-list rabble. It’s so obvious and blatant I almost feel embarrassed for the undeserving overpaid swine. Almost.As far as Comment No. 940701 goes, detailed in your post above, I found the proposed solution not hard enough on this kind of thing. Not hard enough at all.

  26. I haven’t read the young man’s writing so I won’t comment on that, or how he got the job, except to say that media nepotism of the friends and/or family variety is a blindingly obvious fact to those of us who are attentively bitter enough to comprehend programme credits, feature writer lists, guest lists, cast lists etc. There seems to be a continuous whirring of this self preservation/self promotion society machine. Unfortunately it’s supporting legions of the mediocre, the perpetually ‘available’ and obviously dignity-less Media Studies z-list rabble. It’s so obvious and blatant I almost feel embarrassed for the undeserving overpaid swine. Almost.As far as Comment No. 940701 goes, detailed in your post above, I found the proposed solution not hard enough on this kind of thing. Not hard enough at all.

  27. I’m in two minds about this to be honest. The first thing I read about it was in the Observer on sunday. I forget who the author was, but after reading their account and the quotes from Max’s dad I did feel quite sorry for Max. I then read the blog, followed by the comments, and my attitude changed somewhat. First of all, the blog was terrible. Badly written and horribly cliched. Secondly, I couldn’t help thinking what a wasted opportunity it all was. Here he was going off to travel the world and it seemed the main thing he was interested in was moonlight beach parties with other “gappers”. Surely they could have found someone a bit more interesting to write about their gap year. None of this would be too much of a problem if it were on his own blog. There a thousands of poorly written cliched blogs by not particularly interesting people out there. This was in the Guardian though. Surely they have a responsibility to make sure they produce quality content. I’m sure there are thousands of budding writers out there desperate to get the kind of exposure he’s got who are a lot better than him.So, I understand why people are pissed off by this. It seems to highlight the “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” aspect of the media. Given the press’ attitude to the Derek Conway affair there’s a certain element of hypocrisy there. Some of the comments on the blog were abusive towards Max, but the vast majority were aimed at the Guardian’s commissioning editors. Some of them were pretty funny too. You’ve got to admit, there was also something slightly Nathan Barley’esque about that blog. It was well bum!

  28. I’m in two minds about this to be honest. The first thing I read about it was in the Observer on sunday. I forget who the author was, but after reading their account and the quotes from Max’s dad I did feel quite sorry for Max. I then read the blog, followed by the comments, and my attitude changed somewhat. First of all, the blog was terrible. Badly written and horribly cliched. Secondly, I couldn’t help thinking what a wasted opportunity it all was. Here he was going off to travel the world and it seemed the main thing he was interested in was moonlight beach parties with other “gappers”. Surely they could have found someone a bit more interesting to write about their gap year. None of this would be too much of a problem if it were on his own blog. There a thousands of poorly written cliched blogs by not particularly interesting people out there. This was in the Guardian though. Surely they have a responsibility to make sure they produce quality content. I’m sure there are thousands of budding writers out there desperate to get the kind of exposure he’s got who are a lot better than him.So, I understand why people are pissed off by this. It seems to highlight the “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” aspect of the media. Given the press’ attitude to the Derek Conway affair there’s a certain element of hypocrisy there. Some of the comments on the blog were abusive towards Max, but the vast majority were aimed at the Guardian’s commissioning editors. Some of them were pretty funny too. You’ve got to admit, there was also something slightly Nathan Barley’esque about that blog. It was well bum!

  29. I hardly think anyone should be sacked over it. It’s just a blog that was stopped. (Oh, and by the way, I realise I am adding to the chatter about this, but since nobody gains financially from us talking about it, I don’t really think it’s a bad thing. Comment Is Free is, after all, free – as long as we all agree never to respond to any of their ads!)If a Guardian websearch for Max’s dad, Paul, didn’t lead to a whole string of logged travel articles, I might have thought it was a spoof, too, but it seems both are genuine. (Although I’d hope a spoof of this type of person would be a whole lot funnier.)My guess is that either the Travel editor wanted a gap-year India blog and asked around his or her tiny circle of friends, and travel writer Paul said his son was about to embark upon one, so they signed him up, or else Paul mentioned to his editor that his son was off to find himself and would they like a blog? Max seems to have writerly ambitions. You can’t really blame him for using his dad to get a foothold in the media. It’s only a blog – it wasn’t going to appear in the actual newspaper, was it? I agree they must get thousands of budding teenage writers, but you’d think they’d rather “discover” one than employ an existing writer’s kid, so perhaps these thousands are worse at writing than Max? Often – as I’ve found it – it can just be a simple case of lucky timing. I know it’s paid work, but it’s not comparable to Derek Conway, who is an elected member of parliament. Let’s keep our nepotism in perspective.Curlygirl – which aspect of this is only interesting to Londoners? The Guardian website is international. Comments come from everywhere, not just London.And nepotism exists in every line of work. That’s not to say it’s acceptable, but when a plumber employs his son and doesn’t advertise the post, that’s nepotism. Just not the kind that offends delicate sensibilities – or is it that plumbing isn’t a job that makes people who post on websites jealous?

  30. I hardly think anyone should be sacked over it. It’s just a blog that was stopped. (Oh, and by the way, I realise I am adding to the chatter about this, but since nobody gains financially from us talking about it, I don’t really think it’s a bad thing. Comment Is Free is, after all, free – as long as we all agree never to respond to any of their ads!)If a Guardian websearch for Max’s dad, Paul, didn’t lead to a whole string of logged travel articles, I might have thought it was a spoof, too, but it seems both are genuine. (Although I’d hope a spoof of this type of person would be a whole lot funnier.)My guess is that either the Travel editor wanted a gap-year India blog and asked around his or her tiny circle of friends, and travel writer Paul said his son was about to embark upon one, so they signed him up, or else Paul mentioned to his editor that his son was off to find himself and would they like a blog? Max seems to have writerly ambitions. You can’t really blame him for using his dad to get a foothold in the media. It’s only a blog – it wasn’t going to appear in the actual newspaper, was it? I agree they must get thousands of budding teenage writers, but you’d think they’d rather “discover” one than employ an existing writer’s kid, so perhaps these thousands are worse at writing than Max? Often – as I’ve found it – it can just be a simple case of lucky timing. I know it’s paid work, but it’s not comparable to Derek Conway, who is an elected member of parliament. Let’s keep our nepotism in perspective.Curlygirl – which aspect of this is only interesting to Londoners? The Guardian website is international. Comments come from everywhere, not just London.And nepotism exists in every line of work. That’s not to say it’s acceptable, but when a plumber employs his son and doesn’t advertise the post, that’s nepotism. Just not the kind that offends delicate sensibilities – or is it that plumbing isn’t a job that makes people who post on websites jealous?

  31. A plumber doesn’t offer lifestyle advice (beyond how to heat your home effectively) and make moral judgements on its own readership and public figures… so the analogy doesn’t really stand up there.One major point that bugs me is that newspapers, as omnipotent, unanswerable critics, really can’t hack being criticised themselves. AC – you’re probably an exception to that rule as you actually answered your critics in that whole debacle a few months back.What I picked up, from reading the comments (mainly on the travelog editor’s response and from Raphael Behr’s article) was that the Guardian chose to portray their own readership (or a section of it) as cyber-bullies filled with jealousy.The fact is, these people pay their wages and didn’t deserve that – the Max-abuse was minimal compared to the criticism of the editorial judgement. And come on ladies and gents, let’s be honest, Max’s article was absolute rubbish. I think the article opened a can of worms for people like me – who hate themselves for choosing the Guardian at the news-stands as the lesser of about 6 evils. It’s just climbed that particular chart in my eyes, so I’ll be reading it online only – only bought it for the quick crossword anyway…

  32. A plumber doesn’t offer lifestyle advice (beyond how to heat your home effectively) and make moral judgements on its own readership and public figures… so the analogy doesn’t really stand up there.One major point that bugs me is that newspapers, as omnipotent, unanswerable critics, really can’t hack being criticised themselves. AC – you’re probably an exception to that rule as you actually answered your critics in that whole debacle a few months back.What I picked up, from reading the comments (mainly on the travelog editor’s response and from Raphael Behr’s article) was that the Guardian chose to portray their own readership (or a section of it) as cyber-bullies filled with jealousy.The fact is, these people pay their wages and didn’t deserve that – the Max-abuse was minimal compared to the criticism of the editorial judgement. And come on ladies and gents, let’s be honest, Max’s article was absolute rubbish. I think the article opened a can of worms for people like me – who hate themselves for choosing the Guardian at the news-stands as the lesser of about 6 evils. It’s just climbed that particular chart in my eyes, so I’ll be reading it online only – only bought it for the quick crossword anyway…

  33. AC: with regards to Nepotism , I work in the public sector were it’s a lot less prevalent the equal ops legislation is enforced not always but mostly so it’s not everywhere. Your example of a plumber ( i know it was rhetorical device)falls down on the fact that one man operations are exempt from a lot of legislation. We are talking about large companies here and I think most people wouldn’t mind “jobs for the boys” if the product wasn’t so poor. Also the patronage inherit in all this back scratching means people won’t come out and say ” sorry we messed up this was a load of toss” for fear of falling out of the loop. No i’m not bitter about not getting a similar post I’m more than happy with my (non-media)job I am just fed up of reading a load of tat. Ps: Liked the podcast, loud enough for the train if not suitable for miners (they are burly men but quite conservative in some ways!) and it downloaded from Itune automatically too.

  34. AC: with regards to Nepotism , I work in the public sector were it’s a lot less prevalent the equal ops legislation is enforced not always but mostly so it’s not everywhere. Your example of a plumber ( i know it was rhetorical device)falls down on the fact that one man operations are exempt from a lot of legislation. We are talking about large companies here and I think most people wouldn’t mind “jobs for the boys” if the product wasn’t so poor. Also the patronage inherit in all this back scratching means people won’t come out and say ” sorry we messed up this was a load of toss” for fear of falling out of the loop. No i’m not bitter about not getting a similar post I’m more than happy with my (non-media)job I am just fed up of reading a load of tat. Ps: Liked the podcast, loud enough for the train if not suitable for miners (they are burly men but quite conservative in some ways!) and it downloaded from Itune automatically too.

  35. Because so much media work is done on a freelance basis, I guess it exists outside of equal opportunities legislation. Nobody gave Max a job, they merely gave him a commission. Fleet Street is awash with “dynasties” (Jay Rayner is Clare’s son, Vicky and Giles are the offspring of Alan Coren, there are Waughs and Wyatts and on it goes), and it’s a matter of opinion whether the sons and daughters are “any good” or not. Acting and politics are the same. Does it matter if Laurence Fox is the son of James Fox (or is it Edward?), as long as he’s a good actor? That’s the same as a plumber’s son. If he’s a good plumber, fine. I chose plumber not as a literal comparison, obviously. I’m just trying to make the point that parents help their kids. My Dad worked in insurance. He might have been able to get me a job as an office junior, but if I’d been shit, I wouldn’t have lasted very long.

  36. Because so much media work is done on a freelance basis, I guess it exists outside of equal opportunities legislation. Nobody gave Max a job, they merely gave him a commission. Fleet Street is awash with “dynasties” (Jay Rayner is Clare’s son, Vicky and Giles are the offspring of Alan Coren, there are Waughs and Wyatts and on it goes), and it’s a matter of opinion whether the sons and daughters are “any good” or not. Acting and politics are the same. Does it matter if Laurence Fox is the son of James Fox (or is it Edward?), as long as he’s a good actor? That’s the same as a plumber’s son. If he’s a good plumber, fine. I chose plumber not as a literal comparison, obviously. I’m just trying to make the point that parents help their kids. My Dad worked in insurance. He might have been able to get me a job as an office junior, but if I’d been shit, I wouldn’t have lasted very long.

  37. If the argument boils down to a matter of opinion regarding Max’s abilities, popular opinion would seem to prove he’s a very poor writer…This is a much wider issue. It’s not just about Gogartys or Travelogs. It’s about an institution that’s slowly fading into mediocrity. NME did the same many moons ago. Doesn’t justify an attack on the boy or his Dad, though the father’s response beggared belief.Maybe it’s just nostalgia tainting the argument, alongside a readership growing old and cynical. Probably a bit of both.Would be interesting to compare a late 80s / early 90s NME and Guardian with their present day counterpart.

  38. If the argument boils down to a matter of opinion regarding Max’s abilities, popular opinion would seem to prove he’s a very poor writer…This is a much wider issue. It’s not just about Gogartys or Travelogs. It’s about an institution that’s slowly fading into mediocrity. NME did the same many moons ago. Doesn’t justify an attack on the boy or his Dad, though the father’s response beggared belief.Maybe it’s just nostalgia tainting the argument, alongside a readership growing old and cynical. Probably a bit of both.Would be interesting to compare a late 80s / early 90s NME and Guardian with their present day counterpart.

  39. I guess some of the abuse was rather amusing (and frankly abuse without wit is rather tedious), but what worries me about abusive comments is that they cause more and more publications to prohibit blog comments at all or make you jump through a multitude of sign-up hoops to leave any kind of feedback, thereby alienating the media and its readers from one another. I do wish the trolls would think about this, as they are invariably spoiling their own fun as well as everyone else’s!My own gap year dig begins and ends with the poem Gap Year Travels on my blog – quite a minor crime against them, but hopefully not without wit!

  40. I guess some of the abuse was rather amusing (and frankly abuse without wit is rather tedious), but what worries me about abusive comments is that they cause more and more publications to prohibit blog comments at all or make you jump through a multitude of sign-up hoops to leave any kind of feedback, thereby alienating the media and its readers from one another. I do wish the trolls would think about this, as they are invariably spoiling their own fun as well as everyone else’s!My own gap year dig begins and ends with the poem Gap Year Travels on my blog – quite a minor crime against them, but hopefully not without wit!

  41. I’m sure I’m going to invite ridicule for saying this, but I really don’t see what all the fuss is about over this Max guy.I too work in North London and have been known to go off travelling and write blogs about my travels. I can see the point that the Guardian should really be giving voice to more serious journalism, and I can see that this piece was quite frivilous.But so what if a young bloke goes off travelling and wants to experience other countries and go to parties and meet girls? What is so wrong with that?I really reject this idea that travelling is some incredibly expensive thing to do which is only available to the super wealthy. Its really not that expensive at all, and certainly isn’t restricted to a small group of “posh boys” as Max was described as.I’d be quite interested to read what Max had to say about his trip. He probably is a bit of a crap writer with banal comments but that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to have an adventure thats interesting to read about. Whats wrong with his desire to meet attractive women and go off on a bit of an adventure? Surely thats what so many blokes want to do?

  42. I’m sure I’m going to invite ridicule for saying this, but I really don’t see what all the fuss is about over this Max guy.I too work in North London and have been known to go off travelling and write blogs about my travels. I can see the point that the Guardian should really be giving voice to more serious journalism, and I can see that this piece was quite frivilous.But so what if a young bloke goes off travelling and wants to experience other countries and go to parties and meet girls? What is so wrong with that?I really reject this idea that travelling is some incredibly expensive thing to do which is only available to the super wealthy. Its really not that expensive at all, and certainly isn’t restricted to a small group of “posh boys” as Max was described as.I’d be quite interested to read what Max had to say about his trip. He probably is a bit of a crap writer with banal comments but that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to have an adventure thats interesting to read about. Whats wrong with his desire to meet attractive women and go off on a bit of an adventure? Surely thats what so many blokes want to do?

  43. Good for Max I hope he has a good time, I don’t want to hear about it though and seemingly no-one else did either really, the paper should have known that. I think that the problem was that the skins URL (which was an error apparently) and the nepotism and the cliché ridden opening posts . Combining all that with the internet’s tendency to comment when it could ignore wou were always going to get bile.

  44. Good for Max I hope he has a good time, I don’t want to hear about it though and seemingly no-one else did either really, the paper should have known that. I think that the problem was that the skins URL (which was an error apparently) and the nepotism and the cliché ridden opening posts . Combining all that with the internet’s tendency to comment when it could ignore wou were always going to get bile.

  45. The point is – surely – that The Gonad finger wags at all and sundry for getting their kids into selective/private schools etc to give them an unfair advantage, and then gets caught with its pants down doing exactly the same thing. To be a hypocrite is one thing, to be quite as sanctimonious as the Guardian is about it quite another – they deserve all the bile they get!

  46. The point is – surely – that The Gonad finger wags at all and sundry for getting their kids into selective/private schools etc to give them an unfair advantage, and then gets caught with its pants down doing exactly the same thing. To be a hypocrite is one thing, to be quite as sanctimonious as the Guardian is about it quite another – they deserve all the bile they get!

  47. Hey Richard, I have a love-hate relationship with the Guardian, as regular readers will know, but this finger-wagging you mention – I don’t pick that up at all. It seems to me that every other columnist talks about their kids being at some private school or other. I wish they did wag their fingers about it a bit!

  48. Hey Richard, I have a love-hate relationship with the Guardian, as regular readers will know, but this finger-wagging you mention – I don’t pick that up at all. It seems to me that every other columnist talks about their kids being at some private school or other. I wish they did wag their fingers about it a bit!

  49. I had an anonymous comment just now which I’m not going to publish, as I don’t publish anonymous comments, but the thrust was that I’m part of some self-serving conspiracy to keep the media a closed shop. This is quite amusing, as I don’t even work for the Guardian, so I don’t see how I can be part of their closed shop. (Also, how did I manage to get into the media if it’s a closed shop? I have no relatives in the media. I just sent my fanzine into the NME and it went from there.) Apparently, those of us inside the closed shop “blame the oiks” when we are exposed. This would not be possible, though, if certain people on certain message boards didn’t behave like oiks. (I think the word “oiks” was chosen to suggest some kind of class hatred, a charge which apparently is only acceptable in one direction. It’s OK to attack Max because of his perceived class. And I use “perceived” because that’s what it is: an assumption.)

  50. I had an anonymous comment just now which I’m not going to publish, as I don’t publish anonymous comments, but the thrust was that I’m part of some self-serving conspiracy to keep the media a closed shop. This is quite amusing, as I don’t even work for the Guardian, so I don’t see how I can be part of their closed shop. (Also, how did I manage to get into the media if it’s a closed shop? I have no relatives in the media. I just sent my fanzine into the NME and it went from there.) Apparently, those of us inside the closed shop “blame the oiks” when we are exposed. This would not be possible, though, if certain people on certain message boards didn’t behave like oiks. (I think the word “oiks” was chosen to suggest some kind of class hatred, a charge which apparently is only acceptable in one direction. It’s OK to attack Max because of his perceived class. And I use “perceived” because that’s what it is: an assumption.)

  51. Hi Andy. I have just found your blog. Well said.Yeah, the blog was not good…but no worse than any other naive 19 year old going off travelling.If you’re not interested…don’t read it!I do not understand the hate it inspired. Yes, hate. As someone said, class hate is fine if directed at middle-class people.butterflywings.

  52. Hi Andy. I have just found your blog. Well said.Yeah, the blog was not good…but no worse than any other naive 19 year old going off travelling.If you’re not interested…don’t read it!I do not understand the hate it inspired. Yes, hate. As someone said, class hate is fine if directed at middle-class people.butterflywings.

  53. I think there’s also a question of “gearing” here. Any form of posting or email-like communication comes off as sharper than we intend it to. It’s just something in the medium. People trying to be waspish and tongue in cheek will come off as snide, often without realising it. Having a go at people like this hapless individual is the graduate’s equivalent of the abuse you can hear from behind the goal at every football ground in the country.

  54. I think there’s also a question of “gearing” here. Any form of posting or email-like communication comes off as sharper than we intend it to. It’s just something in the medium. People trying to be waspish and tongue in cheek will come off as snide, often without realising it. Having a go at people like this hapless individual is the graduate’s equivalent of the abuse you can hear from behind the goal at every football ground in the country.

  55. “Why does our society only grant a voice to those with nothing to say?”Just about all of us think we’ve got something to say. The author of comment no. 940701 probably thought that (I’m guessing here) he had something to say. But give him a prime slot on (probably) the most heavily read blog on the Guardian’s website and he uses it to say, “Posh kids could only ever be interesting if they gave up all their money and lived like every fucker else in the country.” Clearly no young man living on a council estate in Salford ever goes on holiday with his mates hoping to engage in a little sexual activity whilst soaking up as little of the local culture as possible. No, no, they’re all too busy grafting by day (welding, I imagine) and spending fruitless hours each night sweating over a play that’s going to knock A Taste Of Honey into a cocked hat. That much is so obvious that I can hardly believe he wasted his golden opportunity saying it. Society will almost certainly never grant him another chance ever again. It does seem a shame.Apologies if this took up space that could have been used by someone with something to say.

  56. “Why does our society only grant a voice to those with nothing to say?”Just about all of us think we’ve got something to say. The author of comment no. 940701 probably thought that (I’m guessing here) he had something to say. But give him a prime slot on (probably) the most heavily read blog on the Guardian’s website and he uses it to say, “Posh kids could only ever be interesting if they gave up all their money and lived like every fucker else in the country.” Clearly no young man living on a council estate in Salford ever goes on holiday with his mates hoping to engage in a little sexual activity whilst soaking up as little of the local culture as possible. No, no, they’re all too busy grafting by day (welding, I imagine) and spending fruitless hours each night sweating over a play that’s going to knock A Taste Of Honey into a cocked hat. That much is so obvious that I can hardly believe he wasted his golden opportunity saying it. Society will almost certainly never grant him another chance ever again. It does seem a shame.Apologies if this took up space that could have been used by someone with something to say.

  57. Ok guys… In conclusion, we’ve agreed that it’s fine for the paper most of us pay for daily to fund a dreadfully written piece by a kid who didn’t merit the break.’C’est la vie’, we all say. Roll over and accept it. Disregard the fact that we’re given a tool to dispute it and answer back.Rather, let’s buy the Guardian’s defensive line. The one that was largely a fabrication. If you ignore the blog itself and look at the response from Travelog editor, you’ll see the comments there are far more relevant and are generally not abusive. They simply ask the pointed question – ‘why was this crap commissioned?’I pay my TV license. I get angry when BBC3 funds and creates shit like ‘Find Me The Face’ and I blog about it to try and restore some imagined balance in my mind.If you don’t think it’s smart to ask sharp questions of a media outlet you fund when you feel let down by it, you’ve given up!This non-event has really brought into focus how the media operates. I wish the story would grow.Be honest – the reason those who work in the media aren’t responding to this more vehemently is because they are all part of the problem. I have a friend who writes for the Evening Standard occasionally, and journalism is the most incestuous institution outside of the Royal Family, from what I hear.N.B. – I am not a ‘wannabe’ journalist with a chip on my shoulder – I’m happy in an entirely unrelated field, so jealousy isn’t a factor – though that seems to be the (insulting) defence being used alongside the weak claim of ‘bullying’.

  58. Ok guys… In conclusion, we’ve agreed that it’s fine for the paper most of us pay for daily to fund a dreadfully written piece by a kid who didn’t merit the break.’C’est la vie’, we all say. Roll over and accept it. Disregard the fact that we’re given a tool to dispute it and answer back.Rather, let’s buy the Guardian’s defensive line. The one that was largely a fabrication. If you ignore the blog itself and look at the response from Travelog editor, you’ll see the comments there are far more relevant and are generally not abusive. They simply ask the pointed question – ‘why was this crap commissioned?’I pay my TV license. I get angry when BBC3 funds and creates shit like ‘Find Me The Face’ and I blog about it to try and restore some imagined balance in my mind.If you don’t think it’s smart to ask sharp questions of a media outlet you fund when you feel let down by it, you’ve given up!This non-event has really brought into focus how the media operates. I wish the story would grow.Be honest – the reason those who work in the media aren’t responding to this more vehemently is because they are all part of the problem. I have a friend who writes for the Evening Standard occasionally, and journalism is the most incestuous institution outside of the Royal Family, from what I hear.N.B. – I am not a ‘wannabe’ journalist with a chip on my shoulder – I’m happy in an entirely unrelated field, so jealousy isn’t a factor – though that seems to be the (insulting) defence being used alongside the weak claim of ‘bullying’.

  59. “I really reject this idea that travelling is some incredibly expensive thing to do which is only available to the super wealthy. Its really not that expensive at all, and certainly isn’t restricted to a small group of “posh boys” as Max was described as.”You’re confusing ‘travelling’ with ‘taking a gap year’. They can be different beasts. My dad (from a working-class background, should it matter) told me that under no circumstances was I to take a gap year as I’d never go back to study, and if I did I should ‘give back all the money we gave you for your education’. The majority of people I knew – both at school, and later on – didn’t take one, because they couldn’t afford to at the time or spent their gap year working. It is restricted to the more wealthy at eighteen, and I don’t think it’s chippy to say so. If the blog had been interesting, I might have read it. It wasn’t. The end.Mippy.

  60. “I really reject this idea that travelling is some incredibly expensive thing to do which is only available to the super wealthy. Its really not that expensive at all, and certainly isn’t restricted to a small group of “posh boys” as Max was described as.”You’re confusing ‘travelling’ with ‘taking a gap year’. They can be different beasts. My dad (from a working-class background, should it matter) told me that under no circumstances was I to take a gap year as I’d never go back to study, and if I did I should ‘give back all the money we gave you for your education’. The majority of people I knew – both at school, and later on – didn’t take one, because they couldn’t afford to at the time or spent their gap year working. It is restricted to the more wealthy at eighteen, and I don’t think it’s chippy to say so. If the blog had been interesting, I might have read it. It wasn’t. The end.Mippy.

  61. max didn’t go to a private or selctive school. he didn’t get the job because of his dad. he got it through his writing for skins and he got that through school.

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