Freedom of speech is a funny thing. On the one hand, you get visionaries who actually care about the world and are simply gagging to change it for the better. Then you get Nigel from St Albans emitting a brain fart on the Evening Standard comments section. Comments boards on news sites are a fabulously entertaining outlet for what appears to be a nation of armchair generals, racists, the heroically stupid and the certifiably insane. Take this little piece of hysterically illiterate nonsense from stephen murray, Middlesbrough
‘She employed this woman nowing she was a imigrant thats why she employed her in the first place ,if you had the slightest dought and you had a job of such importance you would play it safe and look around for uk citizen no problem no fine ,she never thought she would get found out and now she and the labour party are trying desperatly to find some sinario which thay can save her job ,weak priminister and weak goverment.’
No really, please take it. It actually hurts to read it and know that the person standing next to you in the office canteen could in fact be Stephen Murray from Middlesborough. If you think that the fact that he says he’s from Middlesborough protects your smug literate self in London or Wales or Edinburgh or somewhere far far away from Middlesborough, think again. He’s probably just saying that because that’s where he comes from but the very existence of the wheel means he could be standing right next to you with that stuff in his head!
The BBC’s Have Your Say is probably one of the best known places for random idiots and the paranoid deluded to, well, have their say on news and current affairs. Like KingLeeRoySandersJr:
‘I know 100% that human beings and other species are being implanted with communication devices at birth. Else wise the infant rejects the device knowing something prior and gives up the will to exist. The USA had people to burn my trailer down and my babies all died of in the fire some were 17 years old. This was done out of hate for me telling you about the worlds crimes of nations not just my own country the USA. I am 58 years old and wired from birth. The only difference between me and you is that I am wired and I had to fight the broadcast to survive and at the first day of my life was the first broadcast and even as a infant I was ready to meet head on my enemy who are dumber than dirt and allow you to know me.’
See? Even an innocuous topic such as ‘What does your radio mean to you?’ attracts the tinfoil hat brigade. That quote can only be read in the kind of backwards hillbilly southern accent most commonly heard amongst people who aspire to a double wide and think that the abolition of slavery along with the destruction of the General Lee was the most catastrophic thing to happen to mankind.
Sites like sPeak You’re bRanes exist to expose the hilarity, craziness and sometimes poignancy contained in various comments boards. And what a wealth of it there is. Every news site worth its salt has a comments board and boy, do people use them. Check out this piece of local toy-throwing for local people on a story which is already frankly bizarre and badly in need of not having been written.
Obviously, the publication very much dictates the kind of comments received. The Guardian, for instance, is dominated by the hand-wringing pseudo-liberal self-righteous whereas The Sun is frequented by the kind of people who think peedo is a word and have tattooed knuckles. The Daily Mail, it goes without saying, is awash with froth-mouthed nationalistic nonsense albeit enlivened with the pragmatic suggestion that the Co-Op deliver some beer to the soldier in uniform mistakenly refused service in one of its dismal shops.
Do these people think posting the words ‘all pedos shud b hanged lol’ on a website will magically get the law changed if enough of them do it? Is it really just a cathartic method of expressing an opinion which they feel unable to give in a world they perceive as excessively PC behind the anonymity of the internet? Or do they just have nothing better to do with their time? Personally, I think if you’re going to expose yourself as having the IQ of a dog biscuit via the medium of the internet, you should at the very least be forced to use vowels as well as consonants but that’s just me. Still, without the comments boards we’d have to listen to some of the crazy shit in real life though at least the bad spelling wouldn’t matter.