The Simon Calder rumpus

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Last Monday, Calder who is travel editor of the Independent and the first travel writer that mainstream media goes to when they have a travel story was asked on television where people might go to for a staycation .

pier in Aber
Aberystwyth, one of the places suggested by Calder – and Visit Wales – for a staycation

He answered mid-Wales mentioning Machynlleth and Aberystwyth.

The resulting rumpus from people criticising him for encouraging visits to the area was mixed with vile comments about not wanting the English to bring coronavirus cases to Wales.

Much of the language used by critics is not printable. More relevantly, the cock-eyed logic of some of them borders on being xenophobic.

And the comments probably come from a small group who just happen to know how to maximise their impact.

As Calder pointed out, Visit Wales has been pushing mid-Wales as a holiday destination as well so you could argue he was just reinforcing what the government run body was saying.

But that doesn’t shut people up and Calder’s interview has resulted in complaints to Ofcom all of which I confidently predict will be rejected.

Calder isn’t alone in having to put-up with ill-informed gossip and tirades more relevant to a pub on a Friday night after too much drink has oxygenated people’s baser feelings.

But why should he and others that are haunted by crackpot comments have to deal with this? And yes, before you ask, Just about Travel has been treated unjustly and unfairly by people who seem to have nothing better than to haunt the internet looking for something on which they can vent their spleens.

It is why Just about Travel removed its comments links after we had received over 800,000 comments in just a few years. It is why we never look at our spam mail (and thus occasionally miss story ideas)) because it is usually misinformed, racist, xenophobic and downright distressing at times.

I guess that all of us who write have to get used to uninformed comment but what can we do in this age when almost everyone can find an outlet to pursue their macabre ideas?

Calder’s story in yesterday’s Independent was calm, reasoned and at a level far superior to the abuse he has received.

His reaction has been much more thoughtful and responsible that mine might have been.

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