Sunday, 5 August 2012

shouting insults from cars

As I was walking home a couple of nights ago, a car moved off and the driver shouted something loud and raucous at me through his open window. This seems to be a growing habit, and it's cowardly because the driver needn't ever be face to face with the insulted stranger. Mostly it's young men doing it, but it's part of a general culture of insult that's grown up in the past decade where the major culprits, like Ann Robinson and Simon Cowell, are older and where insult as entertainment has become a norm. A bad recent example is that idiot comedian who thought it was funny to say that Rebecca Adlington is ugly - surely this suggests that your comic resources are extremely meagre.
There was an element of self-conscious insult in Gore Vidal, who died this week - so it's clearly not that new. Vidal would also give the impression, sometimes, that he was shouting insults at passing macho strangers, (Norman Mailer, William Buckley) but he wasn't as cowardly and did receive some physical buffeting in reply. Even so it was a distraction from his genuine achievements, which were important in subverting rigid gender norms in the 1960s and after.