… no one had thought to check on the hapless girl’s Twitter account, but the Mail on Sunday did, had a look through it, and alighted upon a “torrent of foul-mouthed rants” from which it constructed a front page. And now Paris Brown has had to resign.
Some of the tweets are awful. Then again, this is the stream of a teenager’s consciousness, not a policy platform; I said all kinds of stupid things when I was that age, and I am enormously grateful that none of them are on the permanent record. No such luck for Ms Brown.
…at some point, if we want to have anyone unrobotic in public life at all, we will have to get used to the idea that a teenager’s tweets are roughly as substantial and indicative of character as her shouts in the playground; we will have to realise that the real blame in circumstances such as these should be placed not on the hapless teenager, but on the incompetent grown-ups who let her be humiliated.
Any of her peers with hopes of being taken seriously would be well advised to keep their beaks shut.
Joanna Moorhead, CiF columnist on family life:
… she did what every teenager in Britain does: she posted stupid messages on Twitter (actually that’s not a misdemeanour limited to adolescents; I know plenty of fiftysomethings who do it too).
Anyway, Brown’s Twitter messages came back to haunt her. Worse, the police decided to investigate whether she had committed a criminal offence. And so, before she’s even started her job, she’s stepped down.
The world of adults, if it’s going to interface properly with the world of 21st-century teens, is going to have to grow up a bit. When we were kids our stupid, thoughtless transgressions were committed in a space that was here today and gone tomorrow. That’s not how it is for people like Brown and my daughters: what they do can stain their record forever.
But the adults of the world have got to be bigger than that. We’ve got to find a way to give teenagers what we ourselves were given – a second chance.
Look, progressives, could you please make your minds up? Either you want rigorously enforced speech codes for ‘racist and homophobic language’ or you don’t. You don’t get to demand it for those you despise (whether they verbally express those views or are merely assumed to hold them) and then turn around and start shrieking about how they don’t matter so much because your ox is being gored.
That ain’t how the game is played.