A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

30 June 2007


In this constellation which is the internet, one of the prettier and brighter lights has just gone out.

Philipa of Fortean Times (not the one BoingBoing's always referencing, the other one), is getting out of the internet business entirely:
"I'm sad to say that I've been threatened again and am sick of all the unpleasantness and charges of.. oh there's a list of nasty names. I'm paying for nothing if I adhere to all the restrictions for fear of being hauled into court while his lawyers "find something", so am ending my internet service. Thanks so much for all your brilliant comments and for your blog too; some great stuff."
For me, personally this is a dark day. There are too few people who have ever referred to my e-scribblings as "brilliant" and "great stuff" as it is. But for the rest of us it is unpretty as well. It seems a triumph of money, and the will to harrass. It is the silencing of one more democratic voice on this most democratic of media.

As I understand things (and honestly my grasp of the situation is roughly akin to the grasp the goldfish has of Sea World), it's Peter Hitchens' fault. If this is true, then boo and hiss, Mr. Hitchens, for taking this little light from us.

What exactly has Hitchens' knickers in a knot (or more properly his lawyers') I cannot possibly imagine. Aside from Philipa's public apology to him, I can find nothing but positive, even hagiographic, comment on her blog. Yet something a single mother with a young daughter might say of him terrifies him and his att'ys so much that they see it necessary to paralyze with poison torts?

O Avid Fan, I have only Philipa's word for this. She could be drama-queening the whole thing to death. I have searched for references to this row elsewhere without result. But Philipa has not lied to me yet, so far as I know. Her opinions are erudite, well-expressed, and sincere. Her actions have matched her words: first she took her blog into the privacy of password-protection, and now she's leaving us.

What can a big gun of Hitchens' calibre fear from the wee flyswatters of the blogosphere?

Farewell, Philipa. You will be missed.


At 10:18 a.m., Anonymous Philipa said...

Many thanks Metro, I'll miss you too :-(

Pip x

At 3:54 a.m., Anonymous Tony said...

After knowing Pip for 20 years plus, she is an intelligent and witty person and by no means a drama queen. Her articulate way of putting words to paper amazes me, especially after being through so much turmoil. I thought she had found an outlet where she could exercise her literary comments and valuable opinions. After a serious accident she found it difficult to string a sentence together and now, after much hard work, and the support of friends such as yourself, she now has bounced back. On being contacted by the person so offended by her comments, I read them and I find no just cause for his reaction. After discussing the matter with Pip she informs me she has closed her blogs and will end her internet connection. I think this is a great loss to her and to her circle of friends. I will try to encourage her to return but I think the reason behiond this decision is that she has been bullied by a powerful individual who has a lot of connections in high places and she, being a single mother, has been frightened off. I think this is bad as the internet is a place of free comment for all walks of life, colour, or creed.

Thanks to you all from Pip's friend Tony.

At 6:32 a.m., Blogger Lilith said...

I think this whole sorry business extraordinary.

For six months a very witty but foul mouthed right wing libertarian blogged as "Peter Hitchens". The Daily Mail was even picketed as some people were missing the irony. I can see why that might have distressed the real Peter Hitchens, but does he litigate? No, does he hell. It would show him up to be a humourless prig. Guido and Iain are too widely read, and even Private Eye had got hold of the story.

On the other hand, a single mother with a broken neck and a fractured skull with a much smaller readership than Guido or Ian Dale (where "Peter Hitchens" spoke frequently) is a nice easy target. He has shown his true colours. He is worse than a humourless prig. He is a bully. I cannot explain this situation in any other way. He has called Philipa all sorts of names and accused her of bizarre intentions.
Perhaps he is unwell. I hope Private Eye get hold of this story too.

Imagine the headlines "Peter Hitchens bullies single mother off the internet for imagined slight!"

At 12:10 p.m., Anonymous Philipa said...

Crikey I hope they don't get hold of the story - Peter's very good with words and can run rings around me; he'd turn every effort of mine to mend fences into something sinister and the readership of the MoS would invariably go up. Nope, I'm now firmly of the opinion that least said soonest mended. And I just couldn't stand him having another go at me, I'm sorry folks.

At 10:13 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

Philipa: No apology is necessary to us. You already apologised to the source of the problem.

I can't fathom it. I only know that his actions sound petty and vindictive--and entirely in line with modern conservatism as practised in the USA, UK, and sadly, Canada. Aerchie will probably wish me to add Oz to the list as well.

Dour, unhappy, miserable people who can't stand to have anyone enjoy themselves ... I find it harder and harder to claim to be conservative these days. And self-loathing is so unpretty.

Doubly tragic when the offender is such an erudite one as Peter Hitchens, whose powers could so easily be used for good.

Perhaps he most of all fears being outed as a dour, humourless prig?

Well I'll do what I can to help.

At 2:31 a.m., Anonymous Philipa said...

Thanks Metro but there's nothing you can do - I've made a fool of myself trying to fix things but Peter doesn't want that, he seems to have a personal dislike of me and doesn't want to see my face (at a public event), hear my voice, read my comments or know that I've mentioned him at all. Which, given that he's a major political commentator rather curtails my freedom and liberty somewhat! I think he would be happier if I just ceased to exist. I have small children who depend on me and the best that I can do is to end my internet service and virtually cease to exist.

Ironic behaviour from someone who gets paid for table-banging in defence of freedom and liberty donchafink? Thank goodness we cannot correspond with Jane Austen or Keats, Plato, Burke or Paine.

At 8:37 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

I like to believe that they might have shown some small measure of grace.

Odd that a man with such a command of the language apparently doesn't understand the word.

At 1:48 a.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

Hitchens isn't a big gun, he's an insecure little firecracker who actually hunted "The Hitch" down on his bicycle and begged him to change his screen name!

He's also really not much of a writer, whatever Philipa may think; Metro, you are less verbose but far superior, in both character and writing ability. And so is Philipa.

I would happily offer my rather extensively experienced anonymizing consulting services to Philipa. No one need ever know who someone else is: on the Internet, no-one can tell you're a god.

At 3:09 p.m., Anonymous G Eagle Esq said...

Bonjour M Metro

It is important to draw the right conclusions from any misfortune

I trust & expect that the Lady ApilihP is not leaving us ... and that she will continue to be a most welcome Kommenter here and elsewhere

The Lady needs to get out more away from her own Site into the Blogosphere away from any unPleasantness

eg by visiting our Friend the anti-Soviet AERCHIE who has 2 especially delightful Elephants currently on display

Yr obedt servt etc

G Eagle


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