The year round silly season.
This isn't a post about Tom Daley or sexuality though. Rather, what has really began to irk me is the way insubstantial or less important pieces of news are often responded to in an attempt to create a debate that simply isn't there. Take the Graun, which just hours after Daley posted his video had a piece up by Nichi Hodgson, arguing "we shouldn't rush to define Daley's sexuality" (who was?) and that it suggests "being bisexual is still taboo". While you can certainly make that case, it was just last week a survey suggested the number of women who'd had a same-sex partner had increased over the past 10 years, while predictably the Graun also had a piece up baldly stating "sexual fluidity is a fact of life for women". It might not be the same for men, but what exactly is the point of addressing an issue that wasn't there in the first place?
The answer is, obviously enough, it draws in traffic. Some days it seems news sites engage in little else but click bait, where what someone said on Twitter is dissected and squeezed for all it's worth, or where the latest meme or passing frenzy is debated for no discernible reason other than without it there wouldn't be much to fill out the page. Then there are writers whose entire output seems to be designed to either wind the reader up or published purely as a kind of an elaborate joke on us poor bastards who used to quite like browsing Comment is Free. Once there was Julie Burchill, who oddly enough now can't find anyone to take her nonsense, so instead we have Bidisha and Brendan O'Neill. Not quite as irritating but still bizarrely foisted upon us are Holly Baxter, Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett and Daisy Buchanan. And occasionally, there are just fantastically stupid one-offs, like Nicolaus Mills' article yesterday on "self-gifting", which silly old web 1.0 me thought was err, buying stuff, or Lola Okolosie telling Marco Pierre White his hash of chicken, rice and peas was "a classic case of disrespectful cultural appropriation".
Point is, if I in fact do have one, is I can't be the only person who just really doesn't care about 99.99% of what's being discussed on Twitter or Facebook or on pretty much any social media. If I did, I'd seek it out there. It therefore doesn't interest me in the slightest that Katie Hopkins has said something else extremely vaguely distasteful, or the whole Elan Gale thing (who he? Ed) was a hoax which proves once and for all the internet is an unkind and mean place where adults act like children.
To almost completely contradict myself, very occasionally not enough is made of appalling similar behaviour, such as Peaches Geldof tweeting the alleged names of the two women who abused their babies for the approval of Lostprophets' Ian Watkins. Apparently not realising that by doing so she was all but identifying their children, she later gave the most mealy-mouthed non-apology possible, focusing on how Watkins and the two women "will be gettings [sic] three meals a day, a double bed, cable TV etc – all funded by the tax payer alongside not being named apparently". Whether she will be charged with any offence remains to be seen, but considering others have been convicted for naming rape victims on the site it would be inconsistent to say the least if the CPS declines to do so. Coming in the same week as Lee James was convicted of the vigilante murder of Bijan Ebrahimi, it ought to have served as the perfect example of how quickly a mob mentality can be fomented.
You don't of course have to read any of those named above or those like them, let alone Buzzfeed or certain sections of the Huffington Post. The portraits do however stare out at you, the headlines meant to draw you in, while you can't avoid their entries on the front page of CiF. Moreover, while there has always been an amount of fluff and barrel bottom scrapings on group blogs, it does seem to be getting worse. Once there was considered and worthy content not apparently thrashed out to meet an artificial deadline; now we get pieces on "Lycra rage". The silly season continues all year round. Or maybe I'm just a bitter, miserable turd.