After Nelson Mandela died, the outpouring of grief on Twitter was both expected and reasonable. Lots of RIPs and such. But Twitter isn’t a place for people to be happy and you knew the flood of emotions would turn negative soon. The only question is who would be targeted.
And then Nikki Finke came along with this totally innocuous missive:
R.I.P. Nelson Mandela, subject of Weinstein Co’s Idris Elba-starrer ‘Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom’ which opened Nov 29 and has awards buzz.
— Nikki Finke (@NikkiFinke) December 5, 2013
So, look: Nikki Finke is an entertainment reporter who is myopically focused on the business. A key part of her job is talking about awards season. There is a movie about Nelson Mandela out now. It is, in fact, garnering awards buzz. This is her beat. It’s what she covers. What would you have preferred? Yet another RIP tweet? A deep examination of the geopolitics of the United States’ reluctance to support him during the Cold War? A personal story about how he changed her life?
Who knows. But the Twitter jackals were not pleased with her. A (very) brief sample of the tasteful responses to Finke’s tweet:
@NikkiFinke fuck off
— archambo (@archambo) December 5, 2013
.@NikkiFinke What the actual fuck
— Tom Hawking (@tom_hawking) December 5, 2013
@NikkiFinke You should be ashamed.
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) December 5, 2013
I could go on like this for days. The responses were absurd and vitriolic.
Of course, this was all for show. No one was actually angry at Finke—who could get that angry about that tweet? As we know, Twitter is for moral positioning. What these people were actually doing was signaling to their peer group that they are super-serial people. “Look at how righteous I am! I am angry at this entertainment reporter for reporting on the news through the lens of her beat! Retweet and favorite my anger to show that you are also a good person!”
Frankly, Finke probably did more to bring attention to an important movie about Nelson Mandela’s early years than anything else thus far has. People might actually be interested in seeing it now. She helped inform people with her tweet. That is her role as a reporter of news. It’s not to sit there and join in the chorus of hosannahs with the rest of you boring idiots.
Anyway, if the Twitter scolds could hop down off their high horses for one day—just one GD day—I’d really appreciate it. Y’all are making the service kind of intolerable.