CAPTION: Verity Johnson is talented.
I quite like Verity Johnson as a writer and as a social media “guru” on the Paul Henry’s show. She is entertaining and her opinions are seldom inflected with ideology and cant. I’m not in her demographic. But she has chiseled out a place in the commercial media world, and that is no easy task. A recent item on the Henry show show Johnson is in tune with the way that media works nowadays.
Johnson told how she had been verbally attacked on Auckland’s Karangahape Road. A middle-aged woman approached her in the street called her a “hooker” and a slut in what is called “slut shaming.” The woman apparently mistook her for a prostitute, solely because she was wearing torn jeans and boots.
It’s a big leap in logic, but that is Mad people for you. Johnson produced a video commentary for Facebook and that ended up the Henry show. Johnson pointed out in the video that the woman’s comments were mean. They were hurtful and would have been hurtful to an actual prostitute, who did not deserve to be treated that way. My first thought was that this middle-aged woman sounded unhinged, Why would anyone attack a stranger, let alone based on their wearing torn jeans and boots.
Johnson could have told her to mind her own business and keep her warped thoughts to herself. Instead she responded on video and nationwide TV. “There is no reason to say those things even if that person had been a sex worker or a journalist who just happened to be buying earrings, like me, she said,”Next time, just think before you do it because the person you’re doing it to might just happen to be journalist and TV presenter who happens to make a video about it.” she said in the video.
My point – and I do have one – is that this type celebrity, and social media commentary have become a big part of the media diet. We are constantly being told us what crosses media people’s minds on twitter and Facebook, how they felt happy or proud, and how their feelings were hurt Initially public emoting was on in twitter and Facebook. Now its mainstream. If this mad middle aged woman watches the Paul Henry Show – which is entirely feasible – she might have been chastened by Johnson’s request that she should not be a dick. If so service would have been done for other pedestrians on K Road.
I’m tempted to write an item explaining how recently a bunch of hoons driving past me on Carlton Gore Road. yelled abuse, saying I was a ‘ f.cking ugly prick”/ They laughed uproariously, and drove off into the Mean streets of Newmarket. It was embarrassing, and certainly annoying. Stop being dicks. I’m a journalist. I’m not on TV. But you might end up being mentioned on my website.