20 October, 2011


Below the line

The readers' comments sections of blogs and on-line newspapers are often a more useful source of information than the posts and articles themselves. This is particularly true of local newspapers, where below an article ritually vilifying the EDL or being studiously coy about the latest outbreak of MONA vibrancy you will find a right old ding-dong between readers of different factions. Before the comment thread eventually fizzles out in mutual accusations of illiteracy you will often get a clearer insight into what actually went on than the reporter was willing, or allowed, to provide.

And go on, admit it, when you visit CiF, you read the title, the strapline, note which of the resident team of idiots wrote the piece, and then proceed straight to the comments, only reluctantly returning to read the actual article later, if at all.

At our own dear Harry's Place, resident Nazi-hunter Edmund Standing takes a break from publishing photographs of groups of overweight middle-aged men with stiff right arms or of rough working-class types posing with air rifles while trying to persuade us that these revelations are both significant and important. This week Edmund fixes his sights on the music press, with a sideswipe at the merchandizing operation of the Times, finding Nazi collaborators hiding under every desk.

But it's this comment below the line which catches my eye,

Mark Ramsden
19 October 2011, 6:57 am

I did loads of Rock against Racism gigs. Then Red Wedge. Up north, the Tom Robinson Band played to a white audience at a festival. Then we buggered off, a Banghra band came on, the white audience left and there was suddenly a sea of Asian faces. This was not untypical.

Now if it isn't a wind-up, that insight is a damned sight more interesting than the OP itself.

Next week, Edmund tells us how he has ruthlessly purged his CD collection of Bowie, Ferry and Clapton, and of how he has agonized over the underlying if well-concealed righteousness of Morrissey. Stick with the Bard of Burton Bradstock, laddie: boring, cacophonous but ideologically safe.

And why oh why does Harry's Place persist in deleting (or at least hiding) its comment threads after a week or two? Come on David, or Alec, or whoever is leading the admin at HP these days, you know perfectly well we don't visit for the outbursts of abstruse Zionist indignation in the OPs, we come for the punch-ups and the quality vituperation below the line. There's nothing sadder on the wild wild interweb than a link to an old Harry's Place post which has been shorn of its comment thread.

I'd have stayed for the Bhangra. Did any of us listen to TRB for any reason other than to demonstrate our right-onness?

Obviously Bowie is a bender but what is wrong with Ferry and Clapton?
Perhaps Dave&Nick might care to legislate that Morrissey is something other than a sad old miserabilist.

Back o/t, in my local dead tree paper the most interesting and well written pieces are often found in the readers letters.

As for online news nothing betters 'plus ticking' the comments in the Mail when their readers go mental. I recently met a chap who told me that he amuses himself by posting provacative leftie comments there just to see how many red ticks he can acumulate; calls himself RichardLondon.

With Clapton for example, it's stuff like this.

Opposing immigration? Supporting Enoch? And, "I think Enoch's right ... we should send them all back. Throw the wogs out! Keep Britain white!" It may have been 35 years ago but the Comrades have long memories, when it suits them.

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