Sometimes the chimps' tea party of Mail story comments needs to be broken up, and the shutters get pulled down pretty rapidly when things get out of hand. I say 'out of hand' but when comments have been approved by a moderator, and then suddenly the plug gets pulled on all of them, you have to wonder why.
Anyway, this story's headline is the first 'wtf?' moment among many:
Maybe I am a silly woolly-headed disgusting liberal idiot, but my response to that is: well, yes. Forcing someone else into sex is rape, and it doesn't matter whether you're pissed or not when you do it. And it's not as if rape is something like buying kebabs, pissing down an alleyway or vomiting in someone's front garden: it's one of the most serious crimes there is. But note the use of quote marks to imply there is some doubt over whether forcing people to have sex with you is rape or not.
The URL gives another clue to the original story:
as the first headline was "Drunk men who force women to have sex 'are rapists and cannot use alcohol as an excuse'". Which is about the same thing, except the focus has switched from forcing someone into sex in general to forcing someone into sex in the context of a pre-existing relationship - again, something which in my bleeding-heart mores is rape, and about which there isn't a tremendous amount of debate. But perhaps I'm wrong. Well, I'm not as wrong as some of the people who originally commented on the story, I can say that with pretty much nailed-on certainty, but we'll get to them in a minute, what few of them I was able to capture before the Mail panicked and dropped all the comments.
The story seems fairly uncontroversial, to be honest,
though as we saw yesterday with the (fairly) positive immigration story, you don't need bells and whistles to attract people with rather poisonous views on things - especially if you've got a history of courting them.
Now, the poll in the article looks like this:
at the moment. That's pretty much as I would expect it to be, though of course I would probably hope for more people to see forcing someone into sex as being rape, but given the context of the website where it was held, not too bad. Still, the comments were something else. I'm glad they're gone, because some of them were jaw-droppingly appalling, but here are some highlights, if you can call them that:
and those weren't even the worst. Others called for the entire repeal of rape laws. It makes me wonder whether these stories are floated around in order to whack the hornets' nest with a big stick, then they get the dozens of clicks thanks to people being allowed to write in electronic green crayon their numbskull views, and then the plug gets pulled because those comments (which have been sent through a moderator, let's remind ourselves, and were deemed acceptable for publication) have got out of hand. It's a win-win situation, isn't it? Unless you regard it important for there to be decent and rational debate under your brand banner, of course, which it would appear that the Mail don't - until such time as they deem it necessary to wash their hands of the slew of awfulness, and pretend it never happened.
Thanks to Sadie for the tipoff.
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Hello. I'm a Bristol-based writer and soon-to-be-redundant journalist. You can read more about me and the Enemies site here, or follow me on Twitter. Email me if you like - antonvowl at live dot co dot uk
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