What springs to mind when you hear someone talk wistfully of this or that individual being "old-fashioned with old-fashioned values"?
Setting myself the question, I thought of the craftsman who trained hard to acquire and nurture his skills and now works diligently, taking pride in his work. The man and woman who pledge themselves to each other and actually mean it. Or the sportsman or woman who applies the highest Corinthian principles of fair play to his or her chosen game.
You will think of other examples. That thought process will not necessarily lead you to nominate Joe Kinnear, the newly installed manager (for a few weeks at any rate, given the slightly bizarre nature of the appointment) of Newcastle United football club, in honour of the 35 - or was it 52? - expletives he used in a short but bruising encounter with football writers.
But that was the view of one Brian. The headline in the online Times report says "Joe loses it with journalists at Newcastle press conference" and the piece goes on to give a verbatim transcript of his outburst.
Brian begged to differ, adding this comment:
Joe did not lose it, he told the bunch of hacks what he thought of what they had written so far and that they would not knock him down. He is an old fashioned man with old fashioned values one of which is not to take abuse lying down but to stand up and stand his ground. Good for him and good luck with the job.
A lot of the other readers who commented also lent their support to the beleaguered manager.
Now it may be that our Joe has been treated harshly since taking the interim post. It may also be that the tabloids have indulged their penchant for putting a spin on the story, which actually translates as flawed journalism at best, dishonesty at worst.
I have chosen not to reproduce the foul-mouthed tirade here. Anyone who wishes to read it may follow the link above from the highlighted words "online Times report". It is not a very pretty sight.
That said, Kinnear's stream of profanities does not surprise me. I am also fully aware of the rotten reputation of the press; I've always said the newspaper that is sued may as well pay up quietly, even if what was published was 100 per cent accurate, rather than expect a libel jury to take its side. There are exceptions (if the plaintiff is a paedophile, for example, or - if we may be really mischievous - demonstrably a Tory), but these serve to prove the rule.
But is it not one of the more depressing features of modern British life that readers of a broadsheet newspaper, or its online ediiton, should applaud so loudly a man in a high profile public role who cannot conduct himself at a press conference with more dignity?
The football reporters covering Newcastle, or their headline writing colleagues (and yes, I know I have an interest to declare as a Sunderland supporter), may for all I know have overdone the criticism of the club's affairs. But they did not make that club appear like a badly run circus in the first place. For that, Newcastle United and its management must take full responsibility.
And the truth is that this vast army of blime the f****** meejah Joe Soaps would take offence however honestly and fairly the reporter went about the job of asking challenging questions and offering rigorous analysis of the debacle that is currently the Talk of the Toon.
Perhaps the only real surprise is that Giles Coren has yet to stand up and be counted, committing his wholehearted support to Joe and volunteering to write a hearty tribute, to be published without alteration, to the manager's preferred means of self-expression.
In reality, only one actor in this tale of our times gains my sympathy. Who could not feel for the poor Newcastle United press officer, who piped up in the middle of Joe's rant with this claim to the star prize for optimism: "I trust, lads, that this has all been completely and totally off the record and what happens in here is not being relayed outside."