Fri, September 20, 2013

Tilleyvision: Samuel L. Jackson wins gold for tweeting

By STEVE TILLEY, QMI Agency


Samuel L. Jackson, seen here in Pulp Fiction enjoying a royale with tweets ... er, cheese.


If you can’t say something nice about an Olympic athlete, don’t say anything at all. Or you might get arrested.

That’s what instant Twitter celebrity @Rileyy_69 found out, when his callous tweets to British diver Tom Daley set off a media firestorm across the U.K. and around the world. Turns out the foul-mouthed 17-year-old, whose real name hasn’t been released, was arrested by police in Dorset, England, on suspicion of harassment. He was questioned and released with a warning, and while his Twitter account has since been locked, records of his vitriol have been archived around the Web.

It’s great that the police arrested this kid and told him to behave, but would their reaction have been the same if @Rileyy_69 was harassing an average citizen instead of a famous athlete? ’Course not. If that were the case, all the d-bags who trash-talk me in Halo would be cooling their heels in prison.

Same goes for Twitter suspending the account of Guy Adams, the Los Angeles bureau chief for The Independent, after Adams encouraged his followers to complain to NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel at Zenkel’s corporate email address. Twitter released a statement Tuesday clarifying the suspension, saying that whenever they receive complaints, “we investigate the issue and temporarily suspend the account if it is found to be violating our Guidelines & Best Practices.” (Twitter did sheepishly admit they encouraged NBC to make the complaint in this case, which is a clear case of playing favourites.)

I’m not sure I believe this is how Twitter responds to every complaint, but hey … next time you see someone sharing private info, uttering threats or violating copyright on Twitter, report them and see if their accounts are suspended as quickly as Adams’ was on Monday.

REPECHAGE CAN BE HARD TO SAY

In certain Olympic sports that pit contestants against each other in a ladder match structure – rowing, sailing and judo, for instance – the loser of a particular match might get a chance to compete again. The reasoning is that a strong contender shouldn’t be punished just because the luck of the draw pitted him, her or them against another strong contender.

We call this repe… uh, reper… repche… oh man. How about “consolation round” or something?

That might be easier to pronounce for some Olympic TV commentators. I’ve heard no fewer than four different on-air pronunciations of “repechage” (including CTV Olympic Daytime hosts James Duthie and Jennifer Hedger going back and forth with different versions of the word), ranging from “REPPER-shah” (where is that R coming from?) to re-PAY-shazh. The correct way of saying it, as best as I can type it here without using those funky pronunciation symbols, is “reh-peh-SHAZH.” You’re welcome.

TWEET 'WHAT' AGAIN. I DARE YOU. I DOUBLE DARE YOU!

In these “Socialympics” (I want to barf every time I write that), you can follow any number of excited athletes and celebrities who are tweeting about the games. But you don’t need to. You only need to follow Samuel L. Jackson.

The Pulp Fiction and The Avengers star is tweeting almost exclusively about the Olympics to his 1.1 million Twitter followers, and man, he is PUMPED. So pumped that I had to double check and make sure @SamuelLJackson is a verified Twitter account and not a parody.

Sample tweets include, “Got a 3 goal lead & times running out in WATER POLO!! Dope swimming today!!” and “That was NOT a handstand, more like a handSplit! UK gets JACKED by judges!” Note: for full effectiveness, read his tweets out loud in your best Samuel L. Jackson voice.

#NBCFAILOFTHEDAY

As swimming superstar Michael Phelps tied the all-time Olympic medal record (but did it with a silver in the 200-metre butterfly, an event in which he was expected to win gold), NBC showed a water polo game between the USA and Romania. D’oh.

steve.tilley@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @steve tilley