Professor Robert Winston has had his ears assaulted by a woman on a train who held a loud and banal conversation on her mobile phone and yet he has been criticised for posting a picture of her doing so on Twitter.
He has been criticised for posting a photograph of the woman who choose to take an hour long phone call in public and has been accused of invading her privacy, I find that hard to believe when her actions took place in a public railway carriage in front of many other people.
I could understand the criticism had the woman chosen to take the phone call in the privacy of the toilet and he had barged in to take the photo, but then commandeering the toilet for an hour would leave one open to the charge of anti social behaviour, from the queue of people waiting to use the facilities, especially from those getting a little desperate!
It seems he tweeted three separate tweets, the first of which was; "This woman has been on this phone call for 30 minutes in a crowded carriage. We are not interested in her conversation."
Then again; "She's now been on phone 40 minutes and having worn out one ear is now using the other one."
And lastly; "It's now 60 minutes- she has a child with her. Why not talk to her child?"
I'm rather wondering if he took the photograph in such a manner that might have suggested to the woman that her actions were not appreciated by the majority of passengers in the carriage?
Lord Winston has been criticised, mostly, it seems for posting the picture rather than the tweet itself and people have accused him of cyber bullying and that he should have merely told the woman to her face that her actions were annoying.
I could be wrong but it seems to me that anyone who is thick skinned enough to continue a loud and boring telephone conversation in a crowded train carriage for an hour, is not the sort to take too kindly to being asked to cease. Having had a similar experience with a chap in a theatre using his phone during a performance who when asked to stop, told me to "F" off, I can quite understand the dilemma as to how to deal with the situation.
Modern technology has been with us for some time now but it has not come with a set of rules or etiquette on how to use it, one frequently sees people out for dinner at the table and all of them are completely ignoring each other, preferring to communicate with someone elsewhere on their telephones.
It seems so blatantly obvious to me and others, including Lord Winston, that this is not the right way to carry on. When I was younger I rather wasted the benefit of a fairly privileged education by spending too long looking out of the window and day dreaming, however I was lucky in that, I was paying a modicum of attention when the subject of good manners was being discussed.
Judging by the way people carry on nowadays I think it would be fairly safe to assume that the subject of manners is not on the curriculum for modern school pupils, which I think is rather a shame.