This is a reminder, I suppose, that I should not laugh too much about the activities of American politicians, lest I look at the BBC website and find an equally ridiculous story about my own.
Basically: there’s a filter on the House of Commons internet, so that MPs can’t waste their time (and our money) looking at sites that feature “offensive or illegal content or are sources of malicious software”. Which is a good thing.
Unless, of course, you’re Adrian Sanders, Lib Dem MP for Torbay, who, because of the filters, was prevented from reading Lembit Opik’s column in The Daily Sport. Mr. Opik (MP for Montgomeryshire, apparently) is quoted as not believing that The Daily Sport was inappropriate.
Where to begin?
Firstly, when I did a quick Google search for the paper, it told me that related searches were for “FHM” and “playboy”. Not a good start.
Eventually, I found the website (either the site’s designers are shite at getting their hits up, or my internet usage is also monitored!) and what I found was… well, pretty much what you’d expect.
The front page of the website has a grand total of:
- 6 pictures of women, bare-breasted, with nipples showing
- 6 pictures of women, bare-breasted, but with either bikinis or strategic signs saying things like “wanna be a stunna?”
- 2 areas of constantly changing pictures, which during the time I was watching included such wonders as a photograph of a woman suggestively eating a banana, women in open-necked shirts suggestively pulling at the collars, and women posing in bikinis in what are presumably meant to be their own homes.
It should be said at this point (not that it will be a surprise to anybody) that where I say “women”, you may as well read “large-breasted, white, able-bodied, thin, young women”.
An advert at the top of the page shows yet another woman, reclining in what is presumably meant to be post-coital bliss, but looks to me suspiciously like boredom, next to the tagline: “life’s short – have an affair”.
The pages are broken down into six categories, of which the first four are:
- Free Stuff (featuring “babe galleries”, “naked celebrities”, “search for a stunna” as the first three items; “news” is down in sixth place)
- Rude Stuff (seriously, you don’t even want to know. Suffice it to say that “XXX” appears more than once.)
- Play Stuff (amazingly, nary a mention of S-E-X; this category is for gambling. Yay.)
- Read Stuff (“agony”, “Michelle’s sex clinic”, “students talk sex”, “girls who kiss”, “my first time”, “milf talk”… and oh, look! Lembit Opik appears three links down from that, after what I’m assuming are two other columnists.)
The only story visible without scrolling down is, funnily enough, this very one. Of course, their take on it is “the site is considered too raunchy for those surfing the web at the House of Commons.” There are many words I could use to describe this festering shitpile of ill-considered, tasteless porn masquerading as an actual publication, and “raunchy” is not the first thing that comes to mind, I can assure you.
In all honesty, looking at this site didn’t upset me in the same way that FHM upset me. I suspect this is because FHM is wholeheartedly and – if you like – professionally hateful. The Daily Star still retains a passing notion that it is claiming to be a newspaper, and is therefore torn in two directions; porn and not-porn. On the other hand, how on earth can The Daily Star actually claim to be a newspaper? Out of painful curiosity, I clicked on the “news” link. There were a whole 10 links. Yep, ten. Out of which 6 (six) related in some way to sex, or sexual areas of the body. Including “Eastenders star caught wanking” and “My boobs fell out!”.
This, to reiterate, is the website that Lembit Opik claimed was “not inappropriate”. Of course, he also referred to his articles as “my words of wisdom”, and let’s not forget, this is writing done for a publication that seems to have a deep and abiding love of ending words inappropriately with the letter “a”. Wanna; stunna; outa… the list is endless, and, for a pedant like me, deeply, deeply annoying. Frankly, I’d ban the bloody thing on the grounds of shite spelling alone, never mind the badly photoshopped porn that they’ve thrown all over it.