As an American with a Twitter account, I’ve watched with curious alarm as anger over the decision to put Jane Austen on the £10 note has risen to levels where opponents of the 19th century author were threatening rape and murder on the Twitterverse. From a story in the weekend edition of The Washington Post, “Twitter Apologizes to women abused online“:
Hours after successfully campaigning to have a woman — Jane Austen — featured on a new British banknote, Caroline Criado-Perez was bombarded with rape and death threats. The vast majority came via Twitter.
Who knew Austen could raise such passions in the British public that they would feel the urge to Tweet criminal threats? And do Americans even know who is on our ten dollar bill? The answer is no, we don’t, but I think it’s
Alexander Hamilton Andrew Jackson nope, looks like it really is Alexander Hamilton.
While I don’t think selecting Jane Austen is enough of an outrageous act to drive me to rape and murder, I am kind of baffled by the decision, as Jane Austen is the author of some of the most annoying novels in the English language. I can say that having read absolute no novels by Jane Austen, as I am an American, and we don’t really need to experience anything in order to have an opinion about it. Anyway, I’m not reading any Jane Austen, so forget about it, even if you threaten to rape and murder me. I didn’t read her work in college even though I’m sure I was assigned at least one of her novels (Sense and Sensibility, maybe? Pride and Prejudice? Boredom and Agony? Ok, I made that last one up), and yet I still managed to graduate with a degree in English Literature. Yeah, the American educational system really is fucked up.
So I’m no fan of Jane Austen but still I think threatening rape and murder over putting her face on a £10 note is a little extreme. I mean, can’t you just pay with a £20? And always demand your change in £1? Do you really have to threaten rape and murder? I’m offering a reasonable solution, and you’ll avoid incarceration and the loss of your Twitter account.
Now I’m wondering what would happen if some American tried to replace
Andrew Jackson Alexander Hamilton on the $10 with a woman. Instead of threats of rape and murder, there would probably be actual rape and murder. I can’t even think of a woman who could possibly be so uncontroversial in American history that the idea would not be met with a vicious onslaught that would make the entire island nation of Great Britain tremble in the face of our American ferocity. Oh, yeah, we’ve tried sticking women on coins before with the Susan B. Anthony dollar and then the Sacajawea dollar, but you can see that went over so well I have nothing but George Washingtons in my pocket today.
You can follow me on Twitter @WPKarenBrowne and I promise I won’t threaten to rape or murder you.
The image of the Twitter bird appears with permission.