A propos of Twit(ter) - Macleans.ca

A propos of Twit(ter)

Twitter makes ostensibly media-savvy people say remarkably stupid things to the world at large


In honour of Damian Goddard’s 103-character gay marriage faux pas that likely led to his dismissal, I present a timely piece by Slate’s Jack Shafer, who tries to figure out why Twitter makes ostensibly media-savvy people say remarkably stupid things to the world at large.

In the pre-Twitter days, nobody could attract an audience of a hundred or a thousand instantaneously unless they hosted a radio show or commandeered a stage. Even daily newspaper columnists, who mine controversy for a living, had to triple-jump over an editor, a copy desk, and space constraints to deposit a barbed idea in print. Blogs have always had the potential to “offend,” but I don’t recall them having provoked the sort of responses tweets do. Perhaps composing more than 140 characters at a time pushes the id back a little bit […]

True enough. I’d also add that for some reason—its reach? The fact that its instantaneous?—Twitter has convinced many people (say, certain sportscasters) of the importance of their own brain farts on, say, same sex marriage. Baffling.

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A propos of Twit(ter)

  1. Some people don’t know when to leave well enough alone.

  2. Just to clarify, does being in favour of the ‘traditional definition’ of marriage now disqualify someone from participating in the Canadian workforce? Imagine if he mused about private provision of health care services, he’d probably have been maple syruped and feathered.

    • Well, Sportsnet says they had already decided to fire him before this, though I realize most will take that with a huge grain of salt. That said, this is a large media company with an image to protect, and my understanding is that the reaction, particularly on Twitter, but elsewhere as well, was OVERWHELMINGLY anti-Goddard. When a media company feels that something an on-air employee of there’s has said is going to tarnish the company, that on-air personality is going to get fired. Even if the thing he said that has people in an uproar was “the sky is blue, and grass is green”.

      Also, no one is banning Goddard from the Canadian workforce. I’m pretty sure his contract is probably written such that Rogers can fire him for pretty much anything he says that they don’t like. That’s how the T.V. business works.

  3. ” …. Twitter makes ostensibly media-savvy people say remarkably stupid things to the world at large.”

    Why stupid? I bet many, many people agree. I personally believe the State has no business in marriage arrangements as long as people are over 18 and no barnyard animals are involved but I think it was way over-reaction to fire Goddard.

    Rogers overreacted, I think. But that is their right to because it is their company.

    • Why stupid?? It got him fired for starters.

    • This may be a big IF, but if what Rogers says is true (that they’d already decided to let him go before this tweet) then they arguably didn’t overreact. If they were going to fire him anyway, waiting a little while now and firing him later wouldn’t have made much sense, imho.
      I acknowledge it’s a big if, but it is the line Rogers is giving out.

      • I don’t believe Rogers but arguendo I think it would have made more sense to wait to fire Goddard because it is news news now, not just sports. Rogers is associated with gay marriage debate and big companies prefer no controversy.

    • Barnyard animals? Oh, I see, so housepets are fair game, is that it? :)

      • If you need me I’ll be in my lab.

  4. So let’s get this straight. Gays have all the rights. People who oppose gay marriage have none. This is the tolerant society we now live in, is it? Wonderful.

    • No, gays have equal rights……but then you know that.

      • Supporters of gay marriage aren’t getting fired. Its opponents are. The new Canada!

        • Yup…spokespeople for large companies support bigotry at their peril.

          • Like I said, only gays have the rights. People opposed are smeared by the likes of you. The new Canada. Yay.

          • Same rights as you have chickie….and I remind you this is Harper’s Canada.

          • You being slow on purpose? They’re not getting fired. People opposed are. You’re not allowed to disagree with the social liberal agenda in this country. It’s becoming like communism. A witch hunt.

          • You’re being slow I’m afraid…as usual

            Harp’s been in charge for 5 years Dennis. Don’t complain to me about it.

            PS Communists didn’t hunt witches…christians did

          • 1. You’re both being dense.

            2. Like it or not, the current national mood on same-sex marriage is predominantly somewhere between indifferent to in favour. Giant media conglomerates don’t want their on-air personalities saying things that make advertisers afraid of losing audiences to boycotts et al., especially when they’re saying things not at all related to their job. What’s the connection to sports commentary, exactly?

            3. Communists hunted “bourgeois reactionaries.” Same difference.

          • Sports journalists like him make pro-gay statements all the time. It doesn’t cost them their jobs.

          • Correct. Because they’re not saying something that the network or advertisers consider controversial at this time.

            When freelancing on opinions irrelevant to their job, agreeing with the network line and/or popular opinion won’t get you fired.

          • Right, because only gays have rights on gay issues.

          • I believe I said that, in my first comment, about not knowing when to leave well enough alone.

  5. Goddard has the right to say anything he wants on the subject of same sex marriage….and we who have absolutely no problem whatsoever with same sex marriage have the right to drown the irrational idiot out with our opinions.

    • I find it so ironic how it’s those who support gay marriage that are filled with this kind of hatred and intolerance. What are you people so terrified of? Debate? Other people’s opinions? Why this angry 24/7 witch hunt?

      By the way, he doesn’t have the right. People like you fired him – in the name of rights. Quite Orwellian.

      • “Stop being intolerant of my intolerance!!!”

      • What’s to debate?

        Being in favour of “traditional marriage” is merely code for being against the rights and freedoms of a minority, in this case gays, simple as that.

        Afterall, what we’re debating is a social convention, not a physical law of the universe. Social conventions are a collective decision, ie we simply decide it should be that way. There no physical or scientific principle involved. Just people.

        So as long as we continue to follow the belief that every person is equal and should have equal rights, there is no means by which to defend a social convention that is inherently biased for or against certain members based solely on a personal orientation that causes no demonstable harm to others.

      • Sorry Dennis. I should have been clearer. Goddard is not irrational and ignorant. His opinions are.

        h/t to Mr Landry.

        By the way, I don’t hate you Dennis. To clarify. This is not hatred or bigotry towards people who don’t believe that we can choose whom to love and to marry. It is not intolerance in any way shape for form. I believe we are all equal.

        There. Now I feel better.

    • Agreed. We still have freedom of speech in this country. Goddard can say whatever he damn well pleases. That doesn’t mean that Rogers can’t fire him, though, as you know. They haven’t taken away his freedom of speech; he can still say whatever he wants. Those who agree with him can continue to cheer him on. Those that don’t can call him out for being the small-minded bigoted ass that he is.

      If he were being arrested for saying something, then it becomes troubling. Or if he were being fired for whistle-blowing, rather than blow-harding.

      Oh – I almost forgot: GODDAM THE NEW COMMENT PAGES SUCK!

      • By that logic, why can’t a person be fired for being gay, as long as they’re not being thrown in jail for it, right? Or a person who supports gay marriage. They can be fired too, right?

        People who support gay marriage only want rights to go in one direction. They don’t want to defend it in debate. They want to demonize all opponents. For people who say they’re for tolerance and understanding, they sure don’t like to walk the walk.

        I think the reason for this is they know they’re defending the indefensible. So they have to witch hunt all their opponents.

        • Bud, if you can’t see the difference between having a hateful opinion of others that you publicize, and simply being who you are and wanting equal rights, then you’ve already lost the so-called debate.

      • I’m trying to cope too, brother. Damn this incessant change!

  6. Given the above exchange, can we all agree on reasonable thread nesting limits now? I can’t even read the last couple of comments, and having a box shrunk so far as to only permit a couple of words per line is ridiculous.

    • The new “Status quo” is fine with me.

      It seems that the Disqus indentation means that discussions reach the limit quite a bit sooner than the longer discussions did on back on the ID platform.

      In general (although admittedly not so much in this case) I find that I learn a lot from some of the longer conversations, and learning is one of the main reasons I visit.

      • I can see your point; there have been some excellent exchanges that went on for many posts.

        But if they wish to keep this, the administrators must increase the width of the comment page. It should be inconsequential, as we have to open a new page anyway for comments, so we’re not breaking the main template.

        • What??

          Increase the width of the comment page? How? By getting rid of the advertising? NEVER!!

          Btw, a nitpicky thing, but I’m not so sure anymore why “we” seem to be reaching this “limit” sooner over here as compared to ID, but something about the Disqus layout sure seems different – way less compact….

  7. So should polygamists have the same rights, too? If it’s about society deciding what’s equal, then your answer should be yes. Or incest, too. Why not? Why can’t everyone be equal, according to your rules?

    • Perhaps it has something to do with consequences for potential offspring. One could argue that a binary union, be it homo or heterosexual, still provides a sense of stability for children–hopefully–but that a polygamous relationship leads to extensive rivalry between nested families. For incestuous relationships, the potential genetic impacts of such a union are obvious.

      I have no idea, I’m just throwing ideas out there.

    • Comparing a gay couple to a case of incest? Is someone supposed to take you seriously when you make such ridiculous comparisons, or do you really not see the difference?

      Are you somehow suggesting that the definition of a couple suddenly has more in common with polygamy just because you don’t like who the couples are?

      Are these the so called winning debate points you’ve been alluding to, but have not until now actually expressed?