It’s not just political correctness that inspires pompous indignation. The self-consciously dim-witted pannelist from QI made some vaguely derisive comments on a little-heard podcast about Liverpool F.C.’s tradition of not playing on the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. A lot of their fans have reacted with more fury than the homeless man whose ear he once bit. He was wrong, perhaps – and I’m all for people criticising his opinion – but he didn’t take mock the victims and his characterisation of Dalglish as a “tight-mouthed, furious, frowning, leaning-forward, bitter Glaswegian” was, in my view, quite charitable. Yet, as well as a storm of death threats, he’s faced with things like this…
Spokeswoman Sheila Coleman said: “It was insensitive, particularly coming this week.in the run-up to the 23rd anniversary.
“I’ve spoken to people in our group who are hurt by what he has said.” He’s apologised, but it would be good if he could educate himself as to why it’s caused so much offence.”
If you’re hurt by comments that had no personal relevance to you and weren’t of any real-world consequence the biggest problem is not the supposed insensitivity of the person who voiced them but the acuteness of your sensitivities. I mean, what’s the problem with Davies’ accusers? That he said things that were wrong? The man’s career is based on saying things that are wrong. He’s not the President of the Royal Society, he’s Stephen Fry’s whipping boy. That he was rude? If, as a fan of Liverpool football club, you don’t want to hear people being rude about your side you shouldn’t listen to an Arsenal-themed podcast. It’s like a Christian wandering into a Synagogue and being surprised to hear a less than devotional account of the life of Jesus Christ.
In a lot of cases I suspect this is dislike masquerading as abhorrence and distress for the purposes of magnifying self-righteousness and that’s unpleasant whether the subject is football or foreign policy. Others, though, seem genuinely disturbed and while it’s their right to feel whatever might occur to them it’s a sign of dangerous immaturity to be an unable to manage knowing that people exist who don’t share the beliefs and ideals one holds as sacrosanct. And, besides, it’s just boring.