I think one way of telling whether something is a moral panic which has gotten maybe a bit out of hand is the number of pet hobby horses which get hauled out of the stables and saddled up with the scandal du jour.
So, the Roastbusters. Ghastly sleazy amoral little rapists, it seems. Redeeming features nil.
But so far, in answer to the inevitable “why does this happen?” question the causes/blame have been attributed to, by my count:
- the victims
- the parents
- rape culture [ill defined, but people seem to know it when they see it]
- binge drinking culture [ditto]
- pop music
- the Police
- the way girls dress these days
- liquor licensing laws
- teenagers wanting to have sex [I mean, how DARE they? ]
Any day now, the Greens will attribute it to global warming and/or John Key; the Taxpayers Union will blame it on wasteful government spending; and I will get a crazed email from someone saying its all because the world abandoned the Gold Standard*.
Now, I agree with some of these, but there is a kind of shameless opportunism operating when people grab an event like this and try to attach it to a barrow and cart they have been pushing since forever.
Deep breath time, I think. There’s a lot we don’t know here, and the waves of outrage which can sweep over a small society like ours can be a bit disturbing.
There’s a kind of inverted Telethon mood: everyone wants in on the outrage. Twitter and so forth, for all its attributes, exacerbates this, and certain Radio Live hosts are not going to forget it.
*mind you, this happens most days