Bridie took me to task tonight, accusing me of being a troll. She spends her days monitoring and responding to comments on her company’s social media platforms, so is particularly sensitive to commentary she views as gratuitous, self-serving – nasty.
I was taken aback. Really? I thought I was being funny. Maybe not.
The contretemps started with a new Netflix pic we’d been watching starring Australian actor Chris Hemsworth. It was great. Sort of. The narrative was unoriginal and the style a bit derivative – Matt Damon from the Bourne franchise meets Liam Neeson from Taken. But the camera work felt fresh. There was certainly enough happening on screen to keep me looking up from my pizza and Sangiovese.
At one point, as Bridie squirmed at the unfolding story, I picked up my phone and took her photo. I used the image for a post on my Instagram story, tagging the film and the actor with a shout-out.
I was deep into my third glass by then.
When I opened Instagram again a few moments later (I’m addicted, remember), the post at the top of my feed happened to feature my new best friend, Chris Hemsworth. I read his post’s caption with half an eye, a bit distracted by the carnage playing out on the television, but still sober enough to choke on my wine at the actor’s (or his media team’s) wordplay.
Now, I have nothing against Chris. He appears to be a hard worker. He keeps himself in shape. He’s easy on the eye. Displays moments of comic timing. Is charming, self-deprecating and generous on the talk-show circuit. I congratulate him for his success as an actor and efforts as an ambassador for Australia in the film industry.
However. None of that earns him a conceded pass for social media. So I put down my glass and posted a comment on his post, a smart-mouth correction that will likely remain buried amid the more-than 17 thousand other comments there.
Bridie read my words and was appalled. “Mum! That’s the sort of thing I have to deal with every day. It’s awful. No one cares what you think.”
Maybe, I bristled. But he’s a public figure and I’m a member of the public. Instagram is a communications channel. Sure, it’s primarily about the images. But anyone who plays in the social media sandbox opens themselves up to engagement with the public. And this public is profoundly irritated by bad spelling, especially from someone with so many followers who will read and possibly perpetuate that ugly mess of letters promoting honey.
I understand no-one cares that Chris Hemsworth can’t spell. But I can spell. And every now and again, usually after three red wines, I want to remind people of that fact.
But there was more to my comment than vain self-promotion. It was a cry of despair. I’m bitter and bitchy and reduced to being a sarcastic troll because the world does not appear to value tidy language, and tidy language is my jam.
I understand Bridie’s sympathy for the poor bastard who might monitor Chris’ posts, but it’s unlikely my stone will even scratch his brand’s rugged facade. In any event, it’s not personal. Doubtless there are dozens of other cinematic (and, by extension, social media) stars who also butcher the written word. Chris’ harmless beehive post with its cringe-worthy caption simply provided a canvas to rage against a world where my small skill set has limited value.