Dirty Weekend
February 20, 2011 9:01 AM   Subscribe

Michael Winner spent most of last week thinking about my breasts. If I were posting this on Twitter, I would add the hashtag #SentencesINeverExpectedToWrite. - Victoria Coren on her Twitter battle with Michael Winner.
posted by Artw (49 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Good lord, what a disgrace.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 9:06 AM on February 20, 2011


(He also complained that I was "insiderate". It was like having a row with James Joyce. Except, really not.)

I would like to buy her a Metafilter account.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:07 AM on February 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Calm down dear
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:09 AM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not British so I've never heard of this Michael Winner guy, but can anyone come up with an American equivalent in terms of "celebrity status?" Is he a stand up comic or just a lame actor on daytime shows or what?
posted by mathowie at 9:09 AM on February 20, 2011


huh, wikipedia pegs him as a fairly old film director that hasn't worked in quite a while. Odd to enter Twitter and start insulting random people.

Also, the author didn't mention if she followed him, but did she really get a direct private message from him insulting her or did she mean he at-replied her? A private message would require that she be one of his followers and that seemed unlikely.
posted by mathowie at 9:12 AM on February 20, 2011


Maybe analogous to Regis Philbin? Pretty well-known, sort of doddering?
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:13 AM on February 20, 2011


mathowie, among other things, he's a hack film director. He made The Mechanic, Death Wish and Death Wish 3 with Bronson, and probably 20 other movies, none much better known than those.
posted by dobbs at 9:13 AM on February 20, 2011


Cliff's Notes Winner = ex-director of generally terrible films (though I've whiled away the odd Sunday afternoon enjoying Hannibal Brooks) who became a 'controversial' restaurant critic, turning up in the odd ad (see above). Now trying for loveable national treasure (he did a tv show where he 'judged' peoples home cooking and blubbed if they had a bit of a sad story) but seems to have stumbled into nasty old prick who doesn't understand them internets.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:15 AM on February 20, 2011


He is indeed a fairly old film director who's mostly famous for being a rather dissipated old curmudgeon these days. Nobody takes him seriously, except himself - and even he pretends not to.

Default received opinion on him is that he's an annoying old fart.
posted by Devonian at 9:16 AM on February 20, 2011


Heh, social media, helping to burst bubbles.
posted by Xoebe at 9:18 AM on February 20, 2011




What a strange and fascinating story. She seems pretty cool, while he comes off as a bit of a clueless curmudgeon - but I guess that's the stereotype. She's taking the high road now though - most recent tweet: As for @mrmichaelwinner, I didn't like the grimy exchange but don't think he meant real harm. If we ever meet, I hope we'll have a drink.

Guess we'll see if he digs himself a deeper hole or not.
posted by gemmy at 9:21 AM on February 20, 2011


Once demanded (and got) an on-air apology from Have I Got News For You when they said that he wore stained underpants when making love to his then-girlfriend.

In other words, he obliged them to say it on the air again in such a way that ten times as many people would hear it. Smooth PR management, manky-pants.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:26 AM on February 20, 2011


This is what quite a lot of people think about Michael Winner.
posted by adamvasco at 9:26 AM on February 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


He's pretty well known as a food critic in those parts (The anglo-saxon bit of the atlantic archipelago). For example, Winner's Dinners which I can't link to due to a paywall. There is a book of his fetid ramblings, for those interested.

He comes across as an absolutely arrogant and pretentious swine, based on the few reviews of his that I read. He is the type of person that would make you not want to deal with the public (if you worked in a restaurant).
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 9:38 AM on February 20, 2011


In the HIGNFY episode I saw recently (s29e02), he was a guest. He as clueless even in that. He's the sort who tries to make a joke, falls flat, gets mocked at, and then pretends to be oblivious or good-humored about it, at best he can manage. Paul Merton had a few nice moments with him in this one.
posted by daksya at 9:43 AM on February 20, 2011


On preview I see the second comment in the guardian nailed it.
posted by adamvasco at 9:45 AM on February 20, 2011


Wow. Michael Winner is still famous in England? I had no idea he was even alive.

I hereby refuse to take any more shit whatsoever from across the pond about lame American celebrity culture.
posted by steambadger at 9:46 AM on February 20, 2011




It seems every generation reinvents the "long, boring, exhaustively documented fight thread" that nobody but its participants has any interest in. In my day it was Usenet. Now it's on Twitter. Still just as boring.
posted by scalefree at 9:52 AM on February 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


A private message would require that she be one of his followers and that seemed unlikely

I had this happen a few days ago; received a DM from someone I'm not following.
posted by desjardins at 9:53 AM on February 20, 2011


I would like to buy her a Metafilter account.

I'll go halves with you.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:57 AM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Winner makes himself look almost noble here... but as a commenter says "Josef Goebbels would seem a decent bloke if he was sat next to that bell end Littlejohn."
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:01 AM on February 20, 2011


Maybe analogous to Regis Philbin? Pretty well-known, sort of doddering?

But without the avuncular charm. Less Regis, more Larry King.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:17 AM on February 20, 2011


What an odd man.
posted by Bonzai at 10:25 AM on February 20, 2011


Ms. Cohen is truly a class act in the poker world. I've had the privilege of playing at the table with her a couple of times and she is unfailingly polite and charming to one and all. I've even watched her interact with oversexed internet buffoons on 2+2 with grace and wit, despite their frequent obsession with her physical appearance.
posted by Lame_username at 10:33 AM on February 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I know I'm in the minority, but episodes like this only bolster my belief that Twitter as a tool is only useful for people who are self-obsessed. Nobody's even questioning what this woman even had to contribute that made living on Twitter so necessary... Log off and live our LIFE, Victoria, and you won't have to be confronted with the idiocies of dodgy old wankers like Winner.

I didn't need to know about this, I don't need to know what happened last night on whatever BET soap opera was on, and I don't care what pills Rachel Zoe had for lunch... I'm dead center in the target demo for "Tweeters" - and in lo these however many years, i have never found it interesting, useful, or anything other than a mildly amusing diversion...
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 11:16 AM on February 20, 2011


I know I'm in the minority, but episodes like this only bolster my belief that Twitter as a tool is only useful for people who are self-obsessed.

You may be in the minority, but then again, so must I. I'm just not that self-important. I have a Twitter account, obtained in the early heydey to reserve the name I wanted, but I've used it perhaps six times.

If we're going to discuss "pre-adulthood", perhaps looking at this virtual schoolyard, complete with staccato catcalls, taut taunts, pointless utterances, and attention-whoring exclamations, might be a good idea.
posted by FormlessOne at 11:59 AM on February 20, 2011


So a mildly-famous old creep uses a very public platform to repeatedly demean a mildly-famous woman using overtly sexual language. She attempts to handle it with grace, only to be abused more.

And OneMonkeysUncle's response is to complain that she shouldn't be on Twitter; she wouldn't have to see bullshit like this if she wasn't. Am I the only one who sees a problem with that?

I think Poker is awfully boring. It can be fun to play, but I don't see why anyone would want to watch. That's kind of similar to what I think about Twitter. Maybe if she doesn't like it when men shout across the room "show us your tits," she should stop playing Poker too.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:08 PM on February 20, 2011 [14 favorites]


Twitter has tauntauns? That's f'in awesome!
posted by hippybear at 12:10 PM on February 20, 2011


I have no idea who either of these people are, but that was a good little article that made some more universal points. I'll be following this Coren character now!
posted by serazin at 12:55 PM on February 20, 2011


Victoria Coren's father, incidentally (mentioned in the column in reference to the only bit that made her angry) was Alan Coren, as literate and funny and likeable and liked as Winner isn't. The anti-Michael Winner, if you will.

Anyway, the important thing is not to think about Michael Winner's breasts.

Don't say I didn't warn you.
posted by Grangousier at 1:16 PM on February 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


The only good thing to come out of Michael Winner's entire existence is the Forbes McAllister parody of him on Alan Partridge.
posted by dng at 1:35 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


"bosoms". He said "bosoms". No wonder Coren thought he was fourteen years old.
posted by CCBC at 3:49 PM on February 20, 2011


Kutsuwamushi, I already acknowledged being in the minority - I don't think ANYONE should bother with Twitter. It's pointless. But the people who DO put themselves out there have to accept that Teh Stoopid that's out there too is going to get flung on them...
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 5:39 PM on February 20, 2011


Breast of the web.

I am ashamed.
posted by crossoverman at 5:59 PM on February 20, 2011


But the people who DO put themselves out there have to accept that Teh Stoopid that's out there too is going to get flung on them...

Jesus Christ, really? It's her fault so she should just shut up and take it?

If this story so bothered you with its intrusion upon your life, you could have simply skipped it when Twitter was mentioned.

Hating on Twitter is so very very played out.
posted by kmz at 6:16 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


But the people who DO put themselves out there have to accept that Teh Stoopid that's out there too is going to get flung on them...

This is disgusting.

No, women do not have to accept it when men sexually harass them, no matter where it occurs. It is not their responsibility to avoid places where what you charmingly call "Teh Stoopid" is common. Its men's responsibility to shut up about their tits.

You don't approve of Twitter; we get it. That doesn't mean she has any less right to participate in Twitter than someone without a physical attribute that draws unwelcome attention from creeps like Michael Winner.

The most generous interpretation I can make of your words is that you're so eager to let us know how cool you are for hating Twitter that you haven't stopped to think about the implications behind what you're saying.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 6:43 PM on February 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


I know exactly what I'm saying. Twitter is a wild west free for all, where the uncensored thoughts of anyone with an internet connection are the content. If you don't want to be exposed to the uncensored thoughts of others, don't play. It is that simple. Your quaint notions of forcing civility onto a mechanism like Twitter are naive, to put it mildly.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 8:22 PM on February 20, 2011


So, assholes can tweet stuff about her, but she can't respond?

And you sure seem to think you know a lot about something you disdain.
posted by kmz at 8:46 PM on February 20, 2011


Twitter is a wild west free for all, where the uncensored thoughts of anyone with an internet connection are the content.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 10:22 PM on February 20


Not really. If you just look at the front twitter page, I can see where you'd get the idea that it's a free for all, but if you're actually logged in you typically just read your own feed (ie just the people you follow, and the people who mention you). Your unfamiliarity with twitter is leading you to misinterpret what happened here.
posted by joannemerriam at 9:32 PM on February 20, 2011


Twitter is a wild west free for all, where the uncensored thoughts of anyone with an internet connection are the content. If you don't want to be exposed to the uncensored thoughts of others, don't play.

Everyone knows that the sidewalk is a wild west free for all, where the uncensored thoughts of everyone with the ability to leave the house are the content. If women don't want to be exposed to the uncensored thoughts of men who want to rant and rave about the breasts of the women around them, they shouldn't walk down the street in the first place.

You see, the medium doesn't matter. No person should have to be exposed to this kind of bile about their personal characteristics - breast size, penis size, stomach size, facial structure, anything at all. Victoria Coren's signing up to twitter is no more an invitation to have disgusting comments hurled at her than my buying a newspaper subscription is an invitation to have Thomas Freidman speculate on the geography of my testicles.

This isn't about free speech. It's about decent behaviour. Michael Winner is either senile or a wretched, sexist pig. And Victoria Coren was not asking for it.
posted by Dasein at 9:46 PM on February 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


I've got "quaint" notions. I see.

From my point of view, it's your notions that are quaint. Holding women responsible for the abusive treatment they receive is old-fashioned and ugly.

It's just "expected" that people like Michael Winner will behave like sexist pigs when you give them a platform and a target, but the target shouldn't use their own platform to speak out against it. They should just "accept it" and be quiet.

Yep, certainly quaint.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:37 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


The comments on that Guardian article are really depressing. Thank you, Metafilter, for being just a bit less boyzone than the Guardian.

Also, Victoria Coren is brilliant. If you can, check out the gameshow she presents, 'Only Connect'. It's a gameshow for really smart people; I'm sure a lot of MeFites would enjoy it.
posted by Infinite Jest at 9:28 AM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Huh. I never heard of Michael Winner. Who the hell is he? His tweets read dull; lots of name-dropping and what he had for lunch. But maybe he could post a picture of his penis? His real one, I mean, not an airbrushed vanity version like his profile pic. I'm sure lots of people on twitter would be interested in giving their opinion on his penis, and it's all in good fun — just a little piccy-poo of his weewee! He shouldn't be uptight about something so insignificant and trivial, right?
posted by taz at 12:18 PM on February 21, 2011


If you can, check out the gameshow she presents, 'Only Connect'. It's a gameshow for really smart people; I'm sure a lot of MeFites would enjoy it.

I've seen bits and pieces of it. It requires a lot of lateral thinking and it would shred Watson.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:11 PM on February 21, 2011


Another bizarre Twitter spat is still rumbling on... Keith Chegwin vs Seemingly Every Other British Comedian
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:17 PM on February 21, 2011


All the knee-jerk backlash against Twitter—it's shallow, it's ephemeral, it's solely the province of self-obsessed losers feverishly contemplating their own navels—reminds me of the knee-jerk backlash against blogs a decade or so ago. Only now it's the bloggers leading the backlash.

I look forward to the cooler-than-thou hordes shitting all over the hip new platform of 2020 because ugh, what a load of useless crap: it's just a bunch of morons flerbnexing about their cats and what they had for lunch today, not like Twitter, a medium with some real substance.
posted by Zozo at 10:21 AM on February 22, 2011


Oh, and as for Ms. Coren:
Michael Winner was shouting: "Show us your tits!" in front of nearly 7,000 people. I didn't think he should be strung up, just helped quietly to a chair and given a nice cup of tea.
I believe that's what the kids today (with their YouTwitSpaces and Facebook-sexting and Flerbnex accounts) call a sick burn.
posted by Zozo at 10:23 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


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