Then he blocked me on twitter today.
I understand the sheer teacup storm nature of this topic and I know how silly it is to be so upset over something as insignificant as a twitter block, but when someone you've practically idolised for years, someone you can say genuinely had an indelible impact on your life, actively decides to push you aside, it bloody hurts. My friends consoled me and wondered if it was a technical glitch, as twitter is so fond of falling victim to. Some friends, and other people who I have never spoken to before, asked about it, and the answer was confusing:
"you don't insult my friends - by last name - on twitter."
I honestly had no idea what he was referring to. I checked my tweets and wondered if he was referring to a tweet where I'd commented on former congressman Alan Grayson's hair (which was never intended as an insult), or possibly my discomfort over using Olbermann's show as a platform to ask for political donations. Then more tweets revealed this:
"she addressed him as "Lewis""
The Lewis in question is Richard Lewis, the comedian. My tweet being mentioned here is this:
"What do Bachmann's looks have to do with it, Lewis? #Countdown"
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's physical appearance was mentioned in one of Lewis's comments, which I found unfair since it's unfair and extremely misplaced to emphasise style over substance in politics, especially in regards to women, who have faced such discrimination for so long. I never followed up on this tweet except for a couple replies to friends, and my tweet wasn't meant as some malicious insult to Lewis. Olbermann's justification for blocking me came here again in another reply to a friend of mine:
"Just the last name is far more insulting than just the first. We're done here."
This is new to me. I've always been told that it's ruder to refer to someone you don't know by their first name, since it adds an edge of condescension to the equation, and with twitter, tone is so hard to grasp sometimes. Countdown is a political show and it's commonplace, or at least it is in UK, to refer to political figures by their surnames. I do it all the time and I know I'm not the only one. 140 characters requires brevity. The choice of surname wasn't meant as some damning critique of Lewis, nor was it meant as the insult of the century. Besides, Olbermann refers to someone by their surname a few tweets earlier. Maybe it's only rude if you're British:
So what do I have to say to this all? Honestly, I'm more confused than anything else right now, but there's some undeniable sadness and anger. Mr Olbermann, I think what you did was extremely petty. Not just blocking me but blocking anyone who you construe as disagreeing with you or daring to question you. I understand that you must get a lot of extremely insulting and possibly threatening messages every day and I can't imagine what it's like to deal with that, but your actions here are downright confusing at best. I've supported you and your show for so long, even during times when you were heavily criticised, because I stood firm in my belief that you stood up for what was right. But I'm done now. I'm not going to creep around on egg-shells for you or anyone else. I believe in the power of words and the responsibility that comes with them. If you think I'm being some sort of bully for using someone's surname then maybe you should think about the impact you have when you refer to a network as a "political whorehouse" or a female commentator as "a mashed up bag of meat with lipstick" or when one of your guests calls a rape accusation "hooey" or when a frequent guest on your show says, in reply to GOP's false equivalences over violent rhetoric "Well, I think that's what they said about the burning of the Reichstag, if I recall correctly." Practice what you preach, Mr Olbermann. I call you that because it's polite. So I'm done.
I also vote.