Tuesday 21 November 2017

People are talking... Trump the troll after Heidi jibe

Heidi Klum - no longer a 10 according to Donald Trump
Heidi Klum - no longer a 10 according to Donald Trump
Francis Brennan
Donal Lynch

Donal Lynch

The first law of internet use is 'don't feed the troll'. Meaning: when someone appears on your favourite Beyonce fan message board merely to express the opinion that Beyonce "has a fat ass" you resist the impulse to react. You understand that the fatness of Beyonce's backside is neither here nor there. This is a troll, they just want an argument, and they must not be fed with one.

As of this week we perhaps need to extend this rule to the American presidential race. Because instead of running a campaign Donald Trump, it's pretty clear, is now just trolling people at will and he's getting everyone to react by making them think that it's all part of the democratic process to do so.

So far he's implied that one journalist who gave him difficult questions was having her period. Mexican immigrants are "bringing drugs and bringing crime and they're rapists." And perhaps most troll-ish of all this week, he issued the very considered and presidential opinion that Heidi Klum, star of Project Runway and possibly the hottest 40-something-year-old in the world, is "no longer a 10."

All classic trolling, which necessarily involves firstly attacking something millions of people enjoy (trolls, like certain newspaper columnists, only like to attack things that give others pleasure). And everything Trump comes out with is of course prefaced with some nonsense about "our PC friends in the mainstream media won't like THIS" even as said media are queuing up with tons and tons of troll-feed in the form of the front pages they're holding to disseminate whatever nonsense he's coming out with right that moment.

This is a part of troll MO that transcends the arena they're trolling in: Pretending that there's a group of uptight invigilators taking what they say very seriously is what nourishes and sustains the troll.

It's one things when Beyonce appreciators are left seething by some random keyboard warrior but the sad thing for America is that they are now letting their entire civilisation get trolled.

The Donald has the reach of a billion sour keyboard warriors, he is the Magna Carta of trolling, and he will continue to issue insults with the impudent glee of a toddler who has just learned a dirty word.

Doubtless there are Hillary jibes and Lewinsky jokes somewhere in his box of tricks. It's not even as good as Sarah Palin's antics, though, because there was a sense that she was going off message whereas with Trump there is such a wearying sense of calculation to it all.

But sooner or later we really need to stop calling him a businessman and accept that his glittering empire is built on the fact that there is the world's most prolific troll at its helm.

And that as funny as it was for Heidi to make a Twitter video in response to what he said, she was just feeding him.

Hands off our Francis, you Yanks

Bad news on the radio this week. Francis Brennan might be heading to America. Everyone's favourite hotelier told Anton Savage on Today FM that he is doing a pilot with a view to getting his own TV show in the States.

It's a nailed down certainty that they'll like him. The Yanks are always on for a bit of Paddy. And it's fair to say that if you put the best bits of every Irish person into a blender, you'd end up with Francis Brennan.

The Americans will inherit a gem if he heads west. Isn't it well for some, as your mother or indeed Francis might say. But we'll be stuck here, lost without an authoritative figure to sort out our domestic conundrums.

We could be headed back to the dark times, when civil war raged in homes across Ireland because no one could agree on how to place loo roll in the holder. It won't be long before we'll be back to the bad old days of putting cushions all over the sofa and dishing out inappropriate biscuits to our relations. In no time you'll see people tucking their napkins into their shirts at the dinner table and making dirty jokes in wedding speeches. We need Francis to protect us from our vulgar selves. It's high time we got hard-nosed about this. We can learn a lot from the football transfer window here. The only way to stop a large club from poaching your best players is to slap a ridiculous buy-out clause on his contract. So if the Yanks really want Francis, then we want Dolly Parton, Jon Stewart and California in return. (They'd still be getting a bargain.) The only way we'll let Francis leave the country is to fuss over a bus load of tourists on the Grand Tour of Europe. So hands off, you greedy Yanks.

Pat Fitzpatrick

Rebel Zayn ain't no Robbie

Like many a teen idol before him, Zayn Malik is determined to ditch the sweet-boy-next-door image cultivated during his One Direction years in order to be taken seriously as a musician.  To do this the 22-year-old seems to be following the Robbie Williams playbook for post-boyband credibility. 

First you ditch the band and then the missus if you have one; engage in some public fallings-out with your former 'besties' and 'brothers'; adopt a 'fierce' new look that will appal Grannies and then create as many controversies as you can. Poor Robbie had to work hard but Zayn has Twitter. Instead of using social media to do something genuinely shocking Zayn instead retweeted a post comparing Taylor Swift's stance on wanting to get paid for her work with the Miley Cyrus statement that she has made her money and she's happy to give her work away. (Insert your own joke here people).

Taylor's boyfriend Calvin Harris defended his girl and also the many musicians who need the money. Zayn got on his high horse about writing his own music and told Harris to "calm your knickers before them dentures fall out". Gosh, if this is an example of his writing then he's a long way from being as credible as Robbie.

Anne Marie Scanlon

You can't cheat on Twitter

When it comes to all these headlines about 100,000 Irish people living in fear of being exposed as users of hacked cheaters' website Ashley Madison, the last word on it should surely go to rappers Public Enemy: "Don't believe the hype."

Because if there really are that many randy so-and-sos in Ireland worried that their spouse is about to find out what they've been up to, why wasn't the story trending higher on Twitter?

Last week, as the story broke, the top topic in Dublin was actually #WeLoveYouMichael, which, oddly enough, wasn't directed at Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae, but at some boy band singer instead.

In second place was the release of the GCSE results in Britain, which is just weird. Are we such gluttons for punishment that our own Leaving and Junior Certs aren't torture enough but we have to start piggybacking on other countries' exam miseries as well?

Third was Jedward. Yes, Jedward is still a thing, not just some nightmare we had as a result of eating cheese too close to bedtime.

Interestingly, Ashley Madison was trending slightly higher in Galway, so if any reporters want to track down Ireland's naughtiest love cheats, the advice would seem to be to go West, young man.

Eilis O'Hanlon

Fat people have it too good

So the world's getting fatter and sitting down more, or at least our part of it is. It's not much of a surprise, not if you've visited a park or beach this summer where sat under every other tree and umbrella are sweaty globular masses, wheezing in the hot midday sun as thick rolls of fat roll down their body like slow gelatinous waves enveloping jean shorts and bikini straps.

Okay, so I admit that that's a mean way to describe fat people. And you'd think as someone who used to be fat that I'd have a lot more sympathy for them. But here's the thing, I don't. I don't think being fat is all that bad. On the contrary, I think it has a big upside. Most people get fat because they eat what they want and don't exercise - no-one is born with a massive arse bone, except maybe the Elephant Man. In other words, and I speak from experience, fat people treat everyday like it's a Saturday. It's a very enticing lifestyle choice. Of course there's a downside too - the Kama Sutra becomes less useful, you can't ride some roller coasters, and in a zombie apocalypse you'd be the first to go. It's also hard to be cool because let's face it no one can pull off eating a pack of Wagon Wheels, not even David Bowie. But then pizza and ice cream do taste really, really good. It's why when I have a tuna salad and see a 300-pounder with a kebab my thoughts are rarely of pity and often of jealousy.

Christopher Jackson

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