Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Monday 30/9/2002Thinkofthechildren.co.uk is back up.

Monday 30/9/2002
Thinkofthechildren.co.uk is back up. If you missed the fuss the first time around: the site went up ostensibly as an online focus for people who wanted to organise mob justice against suspected paedophiles. Replete with such calls to arms as "We want the law changed to make it illegal to murder children and bury them in woodland. We want it to be made illegal for adults to work with children. We want an end to the ridiculous process of 'criminal trials' for suspected child killers." it would have been the sort of site that might raise a small smile but probably wouldn't be worth passing on to a friend. Then the blessings of censorship descended, the hosting company allegedly pulled the site on request from the plod, and a call to arms echoed through the online community. But it all seemed a bit too good to be true: connections were mooted between the site and a known team of online comedy writers, and some of the statements didn't quite add up. Now it's back, together with a ringing proclamation of its victory. "One small step for me, one giant leap for the fight against informal censorship by spineless ISPs and informal police officers. And a useful lesson for us all: If the police and your hosting company conspire to 'informally' revoke your right to freedom of speech, just tell them, informally, to go..." and here it gets a bit rude. Is it satire? Is it a media stunt? Is it funny? Ah, who knows. It's not as if it's hard to satirise the lynch mob mentality, which has enough contradictions and self-defeating consequences to be obvious to anyone (except, perhaps, the highly educated editor of a Sunday tabloid), but it's good to do it nonetheless. And there's something just a bit self-righteous about the site which gets on my chilblains, to be honest. Note to whoever's behind it: it's fine to fight for media freedom and the right to commit bad taste in public... but taking yourself so seriously on a comedy site doesn't quite mesh. Think of the chilblains.

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