February 14 11.52
Here’s an idea, Max: instead of setting off on yet another inane, identikit trip around Asia before you take up your place at Oxbridge (or wherever), why don’t you leave your family’s Highgate mansion FOR GOOD, cut yourself off from your father’s allowance, move into a council estate in Salford, STAY THERE, and then consider writing a blog about your experiences. Why does our society only grant a voice to those with nothing to say?
If ever a comment exposed the problems of the person commenting rather than the person commented about, it’s this one. (Surely there are bigger and more important battles to be fought in the name of equality and social cohesion than this one?) I’ve only read the first – and, so it turns out, last – entry by Max, and yes, he’s a certain type, and he’s doing what a lot of students do, and he fancies himself a bit because he writes for Skins (although, as one tenacious commentator discovered, with glee, this was actually only a 10-minute MySpace edition of Skins – so we mustn’t allow Max to get any ideas above his station about that!), but his crime appears to be his background, his dad, his address in Highgate, not his ability or otherwise to write or comment. There are so many blogs out there – the Guardian is so awash with them, nobody in their right mind would want to read even a third of them, and that’s just one media outlet – why would you bother seeking out ones you don’t like, or don’t agree with? Unless you’re literally spoiling for a fight? And who better to fight than a student from North London?
The fact is, abuse posted on open-door message boards is a sport for many. The Guardian, like all the others, doesn’t just invite comment, it thrives on it. And you have to take the rough with the smooth. (An individual blogger doesn’t have to, obviously, as there are plenty of ways of cutting out the possibility of abuse appearing on your site, and once the oxygen of publicity is removed, abuse of this kind stops being fun for those that dish it out.) Of the recommended blogs in my orbit, The Urban Woo and Five-Centres have written about different aspects of the issues raised and I direct you to their doorsteps if you want to get involved in the discussion.