Into each life a little rain must fall, and this week it has come pouring into the strange existence of Battersea bedroom dweller and nose-picking artiste supreme Paul Watson, the UK representative of Alex Jones’ hilariously unhinged conspiracy theorising site InfoWars. Watson’s inability to think before assuming he knows something - dangerous for those who know very little about the real world - has tripped him up once again.
Paul Watson - fantasy versus reality
And Watson’s problem this time is that he has jumped from frying pan to fire in no style at all - because his ignorance is more than just accidental. He’s genuinely, and consistently, stupid. His first mistake was to sneer at the BBC because it depicted life in Roman Britain by showing people who were not all white. How, asked Watson, could this be?
“Thank God the BBC is portraying Roman Britain as ethnically diverse. I mean, who cares about historical accuracy, right?” he sneered. Historian Mike Stuchbery was on hand to put him straight: “We have accounts of 'moors', along with (modern-day) Iraqi & Syrian soldiers on Hadrian's Wall … Every camp in the province (apart from tiny outposts) would have a 'vicus', a settlement where wives, kids, slaves & tradespeople lived … many of the inhabitants of the 'vicus' would travel with the legion, especially if they were considered ‘elite' … Provincial governors posted to Britannia would take slaves with them (from anywhere in the Empire) & some would have been gifted freedom”.
Mary Beard concurred: “Sorry but it was ethnically diverse. Loads of clear evidence on that”. She judged the BBC’s portrayal accurate. Would Watson gracefully acknowledge those contributions? “Yes, I got ‘owned’. Roman Britain was totally ethnically diverse. The moon is also made of cheese & Santa is real”. So that’s a no, then.
He then declared “I'm doing a video on how I got ‘owned’”, and instantly resorted to abuse, referring to Stuchbery as “Mr Potato Head” and smearing his opponents as retards. After that came his next mistake: “BBC's next educational cartoon. An insight into how British women lived during the Victorian era ‘Historians’ say it's stunningly accurate”.
Muslims in Victorian Britain? Women covering their hair? Benjamin Royer pointed out an analysis of Victorian mores, which told “Women were expected to keep their hair bound after marriage and keep it covered at church, for visits, and in formal situations”. It was also pointed out to Watson that the first custom built British Mosque dates from 1889.
So out came the foot and in the mouth it went: “Muslims in burkas are a fair representation of Victorian England because a mosque was built in London 2 years before Queen Victoria died”. Victoria died in 1901. Otto English did the basic maths: “12 years not 2. You can't even do a basic google search to check a basic fact before spinning your nonsense”.
And even then, the lesson was not learnt. White people invading other countries 400 years ago? “Nah, that was Muslims. Crusades was a defensive war”. The last crusade, and we’re stretching it here, was the Reconquista - before 1500. And it wasn’t a defensive war. Try again: “Britain experienced no ‘mass migration’ until the latter half of the 20th century”. Angles. Saxons. Danes. Romans. Normans. People from the Netherlands. Huguenots. And we’ve had brown and black Britons for centuries.
The stupidity of Paul Watson is a joy to behold. But not for his own credibility, mind.