Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Wednesday 18/11/09

What does it feel like when you’re looking at pure hatred in the eye? What goes through your head when you’re stood there, face to face with someone that you know despises you and sees no worth in you?

What am I supposed to think when I’m stood there looking at him, right into his eyes, trying to understand where he found it inside him to hate so much?

Readers of the old London Preppy might remember this. It’s a year and half ago now, when I was still writing daily, when I came across one of the most passionate character assassinations that have ever been performed on me.

You can read about it by clicking here

What the hell, I don’t want you to tire, I’ll paste it all again here. Actually, I’ll paste his original text, without any of my comments. For the text AND the comments, fine, go ahead and click here

“I know hatred is self-destructive. I know the only person it hurts it me. Over the years I've developed a reflex action which automatically makes me stop and think: what do I gain from this? Just let them be - let go - make some changes, sure: stop spending time with them and winding yourself up. Realise that I can't fix everything in the world, accept the things which can't be changed, and focus on those things which really do deserve time and energy.

I know other people see things differently from me, deliberately work to oppose things I feel are crucially important, or even deliberately smear, taunt and inflame ignorance in order to sell newspapers - and their duckspeak becomes widely accepted as fact. I accept these things as part of this imperfect, challenging and complex world we live in.

Yet, somehow, there are some people who just itch and itch. London Preppy is one of those people. He's just a young guy with a body image problem who takes too many drugs - not that unusual in big city gay culture. I could forgive his pretentions to intellectualism (god knows I have a few myself). I could forgive his unhealthy obsession with food and judging everyone based on how they look (it's almost certainly worse for him to live it than it is for me to read about it). I could forgive his "Bret Easton Ellis" tattoo (who is of course the author of American Psycho).

What I can't forgive about his blog is the fact that, like those anorexia websites you read about, he has somehow become a locus of crystallisation for one of the most unhealthy and negative parts of gay culture. Readers are encouraged to enter his best body competition - but you and I needn't bother applying (compare last year's sycophantic winner). His blog entries are, by turns, deeply self-critical, negative and self-destructive (inviting us to write adoring comments and messages of sympathy) and gloating and proud of his gym-toned body (after which we idolise and lust after him). I'm sure hundreds of young men read his blog and find negative and irrational feelings about themselves reinforced.

The reason it affects me, of course, is because part of me agrees with everything he says. I still trek on down to the gym three or so times every week. Part of me thinks that "skinny-fat" people really only have themselves to blame. Part of me still chases after boys with v-shaped torsos and washboard stomachs and writes off those kind, thoughtful souls who don't. My eyes still linger over his pictures and the sections in which he talks about his sex life. For all of those people who have whispered in my ear exactly what they wanted to do to me, I still have no doubt that were I to meet him shirtless in a club, he'd roll his eyes and dismiss me in a flash.

Part of me, however, stands with Simon Fanshawe, who with a candid and witty twist laid it all bare. It's this part I prefer. I'm far from perfect, let me tell you. But I try and recognise that everyone has an inherent value, including myself. Some have speculated about the cause of the gym obsession in the gay community and made a connection with HIV/AIDS in the 1980s; I think for me and my generation the cause is far more likely to be deep insecurity, especially about forming and maintaining intimate relationships, a legacy of bullying and isolation at school, and a club scene where to compete for a mate you have to be practically an Olympic swimmer. Being physically perfect not only makes us sexually desirable to everyone, but also puts us on the moral high-ground.

Some of my best friends are a bit overweight. And, if I'm lucky enough to reach sixty or seventy years old without getting hit by a bus, maybe I'll rest my pint glass on my belly. But London Preppy will have to come to terms with the fact that he won't still be on the front cover of gay magazines before then. As things stand today, London Preppy has a fan club on Facebook with 212 members, and googling "London Preppy" yields nearly 10,000 hits. The world would be a much healthier place if he found value in himself and others somewhere else before that.”

The person who wrote this – it’s not so difficult to find who’s who, is it? - now goes to the same swimming pool as I do. I see him a few times a week.

The intensity of London Preppy is now definitely behind me. I don't depress myself on a daily basis trying to get into character to write the blog and I don’t make myself sick by thinking I’ll let everyone down if I don’t deliver the same self-loathing, gloomy blurb day after day.

In fact, I’m no longer London Preppy. But even so, reading his piece above again, I can’t help but think: what a fucking cunt.

Worse than Hitler? For sure. Worse than Satan? No doubt. Worse than Danyl? Hmm…yes.


There, I’ve said it and there’s no taking it back.


LJ said...

Danyl Johnson. I could punch his face. Not him. Just his face. It annoys me that I just want to punch it.

And that guy is a cunt. Doesn't it make him look bad for attacking someone like this and not even have the gall to say it to you directly.

Oldyeller said...

I think part of the reason you appear to remain quite affected by his diatribe is that it was fairly well-written, passionate (as you say), and appeared on the surface to be rational when it really wasn't. Jealously clearly showed through, but worse he didn't get what LP was about--someone entertaining readers with harmless wit & humor accompanied by a #7 body (and a nice face, don't forget the face). Nothing more insidious than that. Achieving a measure of notoriety (like Danyl) always brings some cunts out of the wordwork whose mission is to knock you down to their level.

L.A. Fireman said...

Call me retarded, but who is "Danyl"?

kim said...

Is that Bat for Lashes or Elton Johns Danyl???

peter said...

1/ love the double "here" link

2/ absolutely hate the Danyl reference

3/ i'm not sure i would agree the guy "hates" you

4/ his post is clearly idiotic in that he misses the whole point of your blog

5/ because of 4/ i wouldn't worry

6/ this is a blog. you choose to expose yourself publicly, of course you will get some who doesn't like you

7/ part of the reason of writing a blog, i assume, is to slightly lose control of the situation

8/ i understand you love adoring, adulating fans, but chill. Being upset about the one person who dislikes you says more about you than about them

9/ the whole "control" thing comes back to mind

Now there is the nagging issue of what to do when you see him next at the pool. Maybe you could start a reader competition on how to deal with this, best entry wins your swimming goggles

London Preppy said...

danyl: Perhaps we should write a strong worded letter about our dislike of Danyl and post it to him. Then meet him up in the pool next year and pretend it didn't happen

oldy: I don't really remain affected. It's not like I go to bed at night thinking of him. It's just that I saw him recently when he started coming there and remembered the whole "hilarity".

Good point about me doing the same thing for Danyl (touche mr oldyeller). The difference - in my mind - is that I clearly have a jokey dislike for Danyl, with a Hitler comparison to boot - while the guy's text about London Preppy takes itself WAY too seriously

la and kim: He's an X Factor contestant that people like to dislike at the moment. A UK-specific reference, sorry

athlonnyc said...
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London Preppy said...

athlon: Shall I send a draft to you before I post anything and you'll remove anything that you don't like?

athlonnyc said...
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London Preppy said...

athlon: I've always liked you my friend

athlonnyc said...
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London Preppy said...

athlon: You know very well I don't like talking on the phone

athlonnyc said...
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athlonnyc said...
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London Preppy said...

athlon: They fired me yesterday

athlonnyc said...
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athlonnyc said...
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Oldyeller said...

I didn't mean to imply that you were doing the same thing regards Danyl. I didn't even know you disliked him. I was making a general point about "celebrities" (including you) being targets. I would never call you a cunt.

W said...

I thought what he said was quite interesting. I think he did understand the point of your blog, but just found it raised difficult feelings inside him and i think its fine for him to express those to you, as it is fine for you to share with everyone else your thoughts sbout how he makes you feel ie. that he is a cowardly idiot.

At the end of the day its just different perspectives, their isnt any objective truth about the meaning of 'London Preppy', people take from it what they will and clearly some people will find it the way that reader does, if not in whole, certainly in parts.

There are certainly aspects of what he says i think i recognise. Does that make me a c*** too?

KP said...

I've read what he said about you twice and I wouldn't pay him a blind bit of notice. He clearly hates himself, sounds very depressed about who he is as a person and attacks you to make him feel better.

I think your blog is very witty and an absolute joy to read. You will always have detractors in life - just best to ignore them though I know that can be easier said than done! Keep it up!!

London Preppy said...

w: No, certainly not.

I'm actually finding it difficult to respond to this with clarity. I don't know if I want to write as myself, or if I want to continue writing from the LP perspective. Actually, I don't know who he has an issue with either, as he wrote his piece, closed any comments and didn't provide an email address anywhere on his blog for me to get back to him either. Which is a bit shitty.

At the end of the day, you're right, everyone takes away whatever they want from the blog and they can express themselves accordingly.

Having read his piece and a lot of the rest of his blog though, plus from I what I've found out about the person himself (hello friend who told me his name and hello open facebook profile), his whole persona irks me.

I can't stand this moralist act. (I'm saying act, even though it's not an act - he lives this). In fact, he's not being a moralist. Being a moralist, being conservative would be the 1950s equivalent of what he is now. Because now, in 2009, it's safer and easier to be liberal and hide your fear, hatred and disapproval behind that front. If you're an activist for everything that's right, a martyr for the minorities, who's gonna stand in your way, right? Who's gonna tell you that you're wrong?

He's thought process is so basic: I'm liberal and left-wing. I'll jump on every bandwagon going: Obama, Ghurkas in the UK, anti-Conservative, pro-civil partnership, Stonewall, anti-Boris, kill Jan Moir, etc.

As I said, he's right in being pro- and anti- these things accordingly. I can see that. I'm not blind and I'm not racist/bigoted/closed-minded (delete as appropriate to cover all the above)

So of course his heart is in the right place, but in this snowball of activism, he though London Preppy was worth attacking too. And that's where the misunderstanding comes.

Anyway, I'm bored of writing now and I want to go eat some ice cream and choose my clothes for tomorrow.

My final thought is, fucking hell can you imagine being friends with this guy and making a negative remark on civil partnerships as a joke? He'd stop talking to you.

Or being his boyfriend and mid-fuck you mentioned that the Daily Mail is misunderstood? He'd go ballistic.

No sense of humour. Doesn't know where to stop and what belongs where. The end

W said...

OK your right the guy sounds like a creep - enjoy the ice cream

W said...

oh and i quite like this angst in your writing at th mo. It reminds of me of the whole Jordan/ Katie Price cross over.. Who am i?

athlonnyc said...
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Cal said...

I think your last comment here hits the point way more than any criticism about his blog entry that you posted. I think that guy makes some very good points that I certainly agree with (e.g. where this whole body obsession might come from) and others that I just see differently. But then again I've always thought people that speak out what they think are And I mean that - as you said - nowadays we're sort of trapped into this whole political correctness bs where any other opinion than the liberal mainstream one is insensitive and just declared wrong. no mixed attitude is possible - there is one public opinion. period.