There are stupid people. And there are angry people. And then there are stupid, angry people.

This subsection of society are the low-hanging fruit for media outlets. The free kick, the no-brainer, the traffic tarts, the easily riled who really help to get those numbers over the line. They’re the readers who eventually break the spirit of innocent, in-house moderators whose job it is to filter out the racist, sexist, defamatory, threatening, abusive remarks that stupid, angry people attempt to poison news websites with every day, just under the stories that never fail to push their buttons.

For some reason this mob have so far failed to really get ignited, or to really find a care factor at all, about the revelations of widespread abuse that have come out of the Australian Defence Force in the past 24 hours.

Maybe it’s easier to get angry about a woman (and a man, don’t forget the man … oh wait, how about that, they’ve forgotten him) making uninformed throwaway remarks about “our” Victoria Cross recipient. Edifying, in fact. Maybe it’s simpler to get angry about destructive Libyan mobs desecrating the graves of Australian Diggers.

All of the people directly hurt by these events have a right to feel wronged. To a point. And they feel that way, to a point. But it’s safe to presume that they’re not about to endorse the abuse that’s been hurled in their name by these stupid, angry people.

One concept that is clearly beyond the comprehension of this subset of society is the suggestion of Diggers hurting other Diggers. All 775 cases of Diggers hurting other Diggers.

And let’s not forget to mention women being hurt by Diggers. “Kate” has not returned to the Australian Defence Force Academy. Criminal proceedings relating to the Skype incident are still continuing in the ACT courts. She was unable to give evidence to the Kirkham inquiry (details of which have been yet to be fully disclosed) due to, according to the Defence Minister, “circumstances relating to her well-being”.

Maybe that’s a level of detail beyond the brains of stupid, angry people. And one that outlets happy to poke them with a stick brush over. Happy International Women’s Day to them all.


Every Thursday, Crikey editor Sophie Black and Crikey‘s Canberra correspondent Bernard Keane will talk through the week’s events in the national capital. Visit the podcast page on our website (or via iTunes) at 4pm AEST to download or stream.

Peter Fray

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