I still use travelcards on the underground – sometimes it works out cheaper than Oystering – and sometimes they don’t go through the ticket machine first time and the red ‘Please seek assistance’ light lights up. And then inevitably – oh so tiresomely inevitably – the person behind me will tut. As though it’s my fault. As though somehow they are in the disagreeable presence of some oik who can’t even slot a travelcard into a ticket machine properly.
This is why it’s good that it’s illegal to carry shoulder-mounted bazookas on public transport, because as surely as I am typing this, if I was carrying one, I would swing my barrel around and turn that person into a charred crisp.
What is it with tutting? The implication is that someone feels that someone else is doing something wrong, something vulgar, but rather than come out and say what their actual bloody problem is, they merely make a noise of superior admonishment. As though the person really should know better.
The worst ones for it, though, are newsreaders. Fiona Bruce in particular. There’ll be a story about, oh, Israel bombing Palestine, the economy turning into a game of Ker-plunk, or a celebrity being killed, and then it’ll cut back to the studio and she’ll ‘tut’ disapprovingly before moving on to the next story. As though her opinion of the news is ‘well, they could have done that better, clearly they’re not trying hard enough’.
It may only be a small thing – but if we don’t take a stand against it now, where will it end? Pretty soon we’ll have newsreaders rolling their eyes after the news stories. They’ll be giving sarcastic boggled-eyed gawps of surprise. They’ll be doing ‘ooh, that was a interesting piece of news, I’m so excited’ mimes with jazz hands.