There could be no greater dis-recommendation for Democracy, and this Internet place, than the documentary about all the little critics on Trip Advisor. Perhaps being bullied at school brings out those gloopy figures, fighting back late in life, so we should teach our kids to fight harder, and earlier on. Perhaps the Internet glories in all the awful voices, but Bukowski was right, ‘there’s enough hate in the average man to destroy you’. William Hague has just advised, at this London Cyber Conference, on the world threat of Internet attacks, but he forgot the enemies within. It’s not that the small hotel review service does not have some useful function, it is the glee with which some self-appointed, self-aggrandizing critics seem to go about it all, and with very little right of come back. At least when it used to be about professional Newspaper Reviews, those little establishments mostly got ignored, or if you wanted to play in a big kitchen, you had no right not to expect the heat. Now anything can be splashed over the net and stay there, written often before the semi-detached flick knifers have even left, while people seem to expect the Ritz at the price of a Camper van. With it goes all that little England indignation about rights and freedoms and the rest. Sure, but go and do something more inspiring with existence.
We think most of the critics should be fed to the ‘exotic’ animals on Louis Theroux’s journey into the half wilds of middle America. It is a pity the documentary could not have added some note about The Muskingham County Farm tragedy, last week, because that lay at the other end of the explosion of private owners – majestic, meant-to-be-wild animals, lying dead in the American mud. Theroux’s big-girl’s-blouse whimsy though got a little irritating, because for a programme like that you need someone who really loves or understands animals, to roll up their sleeves, get in the cages and see if it is all right or wrong. Theroux does not like them at all. Of course, the animal Theroux really studies is the Human one and a weirder bunch of primates you could not have encountered this side of Regent’s Park. Not that that put us necessarily on the side of the critics snarling at animal cruelty either, because at least some of those eccentrics do glory in animals. What they mostly do not like is people, and if they’ve been watching the Trip Advisor show, how could you blame them?