I am the guy who banged on that #BeerPeopleAreGoodPeople. My predictive text still predicts that hashtag, even now.
In many respects, I still believe that. The people I have met through beer are some of the most caring, kind, generous and supportive people I’ve met. Many of them kept us above water, when the waves were crashing over our heads. Those people didn’t do that because I’m a beer blogger. Nor because I organised a beer festival.
They’re simply decent and lovely people.
And that’s something, because I’m not the easiest of people sometimes.
Since that fateful day 16 months ago, I find myself “changed”. More tolerant of petty foibles than I ever was previously, but simultaneously more reactive to bullshit. From going nose to nose with newly empowered racists on the last bus (trying to get an elderly African lady off it) to calling out knuckle draggers of a different – beery – stripe…
That thread was – to put it mildly – a bit of a tangent on a post about minimum alcohol pricing in Scotland on a Facebook Beer Forum. And, being fair to the admins, one of them called it out.
But you can’t unsee some things…..
To give credit where it’s due, this post from David kind of prodded me into action
OK. I’m no spring chicken. I’ve got a few years under my belt to put it mildly, so I simply don’t buy that some of the reactionary bullshit that goes on online is an age thing. It isn’t.
Some people – whatever their age (and irrespective of gender) – are resistant to change. They don’t like that their “funny pump clips” with prominent cleavage being called out, criticised, condemned.
And rightly condemned.
Such clips – actually – aren’t funny. Such “branding” is lazy. And cheap. And thoughtless. And demeaning. Especially the latter.
Am I the only person in Bolton who cheered and shouted “about ******g time” when Bank Top Brewery discontinued the brewing of Old Slapper?
And I’m led to believe that some pubs over ordered it so they could keep it going… For. Fucks. Sake.
Tits on a Clip aren’t funny. Full. Stop.
Comments about tits at a beer festival aren’t funny.
Abuse of (perceived) power isn’t funny.
“Come To Daddy” isn’t funny.
What all these things ARE is offensive.
Freedom of Speech is all well and good in theory, but it’s a qualified right. It is most certainly NOT the freedom to offend.
One of the things that had heartened me over the last few years is lessening of the average age at beer events. And seeing more women of all ages getting involved in beer. Drinking, writing, brewing. Groups like Ladies That Beer, building communities. The beer world is FULL of talented women, writers like Melissa Cole (who was more of an influence on me than I can ever describe), friends like Tara, Elaine, Michelle – some of the most talented brewers I know.
And do we really need to go into the history of brewing on these islands? Because it sure wasn’t men who ensured that the family had something safe to drink….
The striving for equality obviously threatens some. For others – especially on social media – they see it as an opportunity to vomit misogynist bile. I’ve followed some of the “adventures” of Melissa on Twitter, NOBODY should have to put up with the shit that she does. Nor any woman who puts their head above the parapet. This shouldn’t be viewed as bravery, it should NOT be exceptional. There shouldn’t be a parapet in the first place.
Equality of treatment is something I’ve fought for as a trade unionist for nearly 30 years. It’s something I care passionately about. I could be treated like shit, but as long as you are too, I have no argument. Of course, I’d rather we were all treated well, with respect.
Yes, I come from a position of privilege. I’m a white, heterosexual, male. In that respect, I have to put up with none of the shit that some of my friends do. In some respects, I’m lucky.
Like I said, I’d like all to be treated with respect. To accept differences. All differences. Physical, emotional, intellectual. I’m obviously a naive Utopian.
Also, like I said earlier, I’m far less tolerant of bullshit than I was 16 months ago.
Be kind to one another. But if you can’t, be prepared for challenge. Because I will for sure, I’m sick of the nonsense.