In a time when opinion is diverse and collective standards hard to come by, surely one thing that unites all right-thinking people is a deep contempt for the comments that follow every piece on Comment is Free.
My special favourite for unthinking rage and facile anti-Americanism comes after this rather unassuming article on Northern Rock by Gavyn Davies. BungleBonce’s comments are particularly worth the scroll. Apparently the very concept of money is “all a scam and a fraud that has kept the human race virtually enslaved and fighting each other in world wars, and any one who knows the system and is not trying to expose it is a traitor to the human race”. Which is nice.
Today though, for the first time, I found myself applauding the commenters. Andy Brunt, chairman of Eccles RFC, polluted the pages of the Guardian with this crude and self-serving commentary on the class composition of England’s 2007 World Cup rugby team. The England team is made up of toffs, he says, but nobody is speaking up about it. “Is it because the majority of these people went to independent schools, or have children at them and therefore don’t want to stir things up?…it does make you wonder”. Rugby conspiracy theorists. Are things really that bad?
Finally, the commenters had a suitable target for their bile. They responded magnificently. My personal favourite? “Oh, so what? It is their job to win not to accurately represent England’s national belly button to the world”. Thank you unmemorablename; I even forgive you your split infinitive.