The Stupidest Thing I’ve Read This Week (18/8/12)

Third place this week goes to the Irish Olympic homecoming “controversy” that was reported on extensively as the Games came to a close. Seems plenty of people wanted the chance to have an Italia 90 style welcome home party for the Irish athletes. That’s fine.

But from there we get into this confusing mess of information, as it becomes unclear just what the various athletes themselves wanted, what people like Pete Taylor thought about the whole situation, and why it was such a big deal. The stupidity (and annoyance from me ) comes from the feeling this was as manufactured a controversy as you are ever likely to see, whipped up by media organisations desperate to sell more papers before the exploits of Katie Taylor and company vanish from the popular consciousness.

The athletes don’t owe us anything more than what they have given us, and if some or all of them wanted to just head home to their families upon returning, well they can damn well do as they please. If some of them wanted some kind of celebration, well that’s fine too. But let’s not act as if the absence of one would have been some significant crime against the nation. As it was, few turned out for the actual celebration due to poor weather, so it can’t have been that important.

Second place goes to Julian Assange, back in the news in a big way. Been a long time since I enforced my own moratorium on writing about him, but I can’t help myself this time. The stupidity isn’t expressly the bizarre diplomatic standoff that has developed over him between the UK and Ecuador but just the general pro-Assange movement. As this blog post from The Blog That Peter Wrote illustrates in the bluntest of terms, the sympathy and support that Assange gets, regardless of whether it is from governments or Tweeters, is bizarrely misplaced. The idea that someone is given a pass from rape allegations because he is the figurehead of a leak movement is abhorrent to me.

But the winner must be Irish Catholic newsletter/paper/whatever Alive. You’ve all probably spotted copies of Alive somewhere, if you haven’t had them forced through your letterbox. It’s very religious, it’s very conservative, it’s very awful to read. A guilty pleasure of mine.

Which brings me, courtesy in this case from Cedar Lounge Revolution, to this monstrosity of a piece. Aimed at children, it’s a brief retelling of the story of St Maria Goretti, an 11 year old who was killed while defending herself from a rapist.

Now, from a religious perspective, Maria’s story is all fine and dandy as one meant to instil the ideas of virtue and martyrdom. But the way Alive tells it is astonishingly brief and creepy.

Her mother gave her kids deep love for God and Jesus despite having “never went to school and couldn’t read or write”. Not sure what the relevance is, a shot at intellectualism maybe (which Alive does constantly)?

An older boy wanted Maria “to do bold things”. Nothing like talking down to kids. They don’t need to know the details, just the point I guess. Anyway, the “boy” didn’t take kindly to Maria’s obstinacy and “picked up a knife and gave her 14 deep cuts”. Now, the conclusion, that Maria is murdered, doesn’t actually change in the Alive version, so not sure why “stabbed” couldn’t be included.

It’s the conclusion that’s the kicker though: “Maria shows that even young kids can be saints. Hope you enjoy the holidays.”

That’s it. So, take the moral of the horrific story of murder and attempted child rape to heart, and enjoy your time off kids! Keep your faith in God strong, but bear in mind it won’t physically help you from paedophiles. Death or rape are your choices. Have a good summer!

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