Are we becoming desensitised to bullying and general unkindness? Yesterday's exchange between Andrew Marr and the Prime Minister was a case in point.
You've heard all about it. Further proof of the ongoing yobbification of society at all levels was aired yesterday on the BBC.
Interviewed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, BBC journalist and political broadcaster Andrew Marr was unceremoniously asked:
- "A lot of people in this country use prescription medication and pills to help them get through excessive gangliness and rangy limbs. Are you one of them?"
"This type of bullying is becoming all too common in all areas of life in this country. You get the Daily Mail picking on fat people, skinny people, bald people, whoever. It's all turning so unkind. From school playgrounds to Guido Fawkes, from Russell Brand to Jonathan Ross", Marr continued. "I mean, if you want to criticise me for the way I do journalism, or want to question my professional conduct, then fine. But to go on with smears about the personal area of my life is low stuff".
He added: "This is particularly insensitive as I've had serious problems in my life what with being called tall sorts of names. 'Stretch', 'twin tower', 'pylon', 'street-lamp'. Once I ran home in tears when some kids where shouting 'inflatable advertising waver' at me from across the street".
Later in the day, the BBC issued a statement expressing fury at Gordon Brown's treatment of Andrew Marr. The corporation said that the allegations, which had been circulating on the internet, had been categorically denied in advance by the journalist and described them as "outrageous and disgraceful smear".
[Also see "BBC's Andrew Marr legitimises right-wing smears"]