Nobody likes to be caught in a storm – but yesterday, it was as much to do with the storm of comments that followed online articles about Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy that provided the unwelcome blizzard. As the torrential rains hit New York, the deskbound classes went into overdrive. The result provides proof of why our world is not fit for purpose, if further proof were needed; we’re just not up to the job.
After a couple of vaguely silly but not particularly callous remarks posted by what I assume to be teenagers on one of their very many school holidays, the comments page of the Guardian’s main news article splintered into disarray like a town meeting held to discuss a new motorway.
The comment thread loosely ran like this;
Our thoughts go out to all those caught in the storm.
It’s only a storm, we’ve had worse.
Bad taste joke (removed by administrator).
Indignant remarks along the lines of ‘Try telling that to the people who died’.
Anger at coverage of fifteen American deaths when hundreds die in the Philippines from storms.
Wooly remark that we should have compass for everyone who dies in a storm.
Even woolier remark about having compassion for everyone, everywhere.
Blame-thread full of ill-concealed schadenfreude; ‘Global warming deniers are getting exactly what they deserve.’
Climate-deniers’ denials; ‘This is just a storm.’
Weird emails blaming Obama.
Back to top, start all over again.
I do find it shocking just how many remarks were removed, though – isn’t this meant to be about free speech, no matter how illogical and rude they get?
Meanwhile, over at the Daily Mail website, comments were unsurprisingly far more heated and deranged, including ‘Save the pets first!’, ‘America, you are killing the planet one baby at a time’, ‘GOD has given you a wakeup call’, and my personal favourite, ‘I’m not interested in what’s happening in other countries’. There’s a disclaimer at the foot of the page saying that these views are not necessarily those held by the Daily Mail, except that you kind of know they are. Click to enlarge the madness…