Ahh, Craigslist, that happy little website of frugal friends buying, selling or trading worn-out cars and cozy apartment furniture.Think about that. One click away from sexual kinks.
Plus, there are all those hilarious jokes about blacks, gays, Hispanics, women and Jews.
The dirty little secret about the wildly popular Craigslist is that one click away from its home page are some raunchy and often deeply offensive forums inviting blatant racism, rants and sexual kinks.
Just below the better-known free classifieds for housing, goods and services, the "discussion forums" frequently descend to exchanges of racial and homophobic epithets, sexual fantasies or bad-driver diatribes. Did you hear the one about the Indian and the prostitute? Or why Bill Clinton was the first black president? Thanks to Craigslist, your kids probably have.Wish I had kids then, 'cause I couldn't find either joke.
Craigslist, of course, is not the only Internet portal to crude conversation — equally offensive material can be found at individual pages or discussion groups on MySpace, Yahoo and other popular sites.And, as many commenters poynt out, at Denver Post forums as well. Who cares, the story has what's got to be the favorite for best subhead of the year:
Applauding troubled minds
Critics of the Craigslist-style forums say the sites act not as healthy outlets for inevitable sentiment but as encouragement to troubled minds.The hateful community. Another good one.
"I don't see how that belongs on Craigslist," said Shari Julian, a Texas psychologist and frequent expert witness and corporate consultant on workplace behavior and harassment.
The Internet has been a great forum for what Julian calls "real communities" of cancer survivors or military families. But it has also nurtured an "artificial" sense of community among the hateful, she said.
"When you have a venue for ventilating rage, your belief in that rage is ratified," Julian said. "It increases their belief that their behavior is acceptable. Their behavior is applauded, seconded. In that case, it's scary. It does seem to roll and escalate."
Roll and escalate. And two new D-blog mottoes: "Ratifying Your Rage Since 2005"; and "Your Internet Portal to Crude Conversation."