Amazed by the front page's pretty clear indication that someone in Big Brother had been raped, apparently by Coolio, and that it had been kept secret, I clicked onto the article to read more about the charmingly-termed CBB RAPE SHOCK, whereupon the rapid two-stage withdrawal of the shocking headline began:
The American gangsta rapper has stunned other contestants with his racist language and sick comments about rape.
Oh, so it was rape comments, then? Well I suppose that's kinda shocking. Did Coolio claim to have raped someone? Did he threaten to? Did he joke about doing so? Did he make a sick joke at the expense of a rape victim? Well, it turns out that Coolio;
...[b]ragged that he has never raped a girl – “Because I never had to”
Right. Now, to me, that's a somewhat grubby boast, but is it really front page news? Is it really fair to refer to it with a picture of Coolio's face (albeit that you'd struggle to notice it next to the giant airbrushed tits'n'ass alongside) and the eye-opening, if semi-literate, headline 'CELEB B BRO RAPE SHOCK'? The joke, such as it was, was specifically that he HASN'T raped anyone, and even then we're not told the context of the conversation in which he said it. Perhaps I was to blame for initially assuming they were calling Coolio a rapist and accusing Big Brother of organising a cover-up, but then again, perhaps I was given a negative impression of Coolio due to their headline from two days previous, which established him as a 'SEX BULLY':
Or perhaps my view had been jaundiced by the front page revelation from yesterday that Coolio had FIXED THE SHOW:
As tactics to get people to buy your paper when they see it on the newsstand go, implying (with just enough plausible deniability to ensure that you could avoid legal action) that a celebrity is a rapist seems to be particularly offensive. Since I have a PS3 and no desire to spend my evenings watching Terry Christian get into tedious arguments, I haven't watched the show, and if Coolio's quotes across the various Star stories are genuine then he seems a bit obnoxious, but no more than that. That he boasted he didn't need to rape anyone because as a rich rapper he gets his fair share of pussy is certainly a little tasteless, but I suspect the Star knew that 'RAPPER INDULGES IN BRAGGADOCIO' would have been barely worth a two-line box-out in the celebrity gossip column, let alone a frenzied front page. The rap sheet (teehee) they've come up with against Coolio also alleges that he, a black American rapper, occasionally uses the world 'nigger', which is another claim that seems unlikely to cause the world to spin off its axis for any appreciable length of time.
Perhaps it would be easier to take the Daily Star's outrage at Coolio's apparent bawdy sexism more seriously if they didn't stick a massive picture of a woman in her bra and pants on seemingly every front page they've ever made, making boobs and bums as regular an appearance on there as the massive '20P'. Can you really object to Coolio's perhaps outdated remarks about women on the one hand, while running front pages like the third one above, which promises that Kelly Brook's 'talents' (THEY MEAN HER TITS!!!) can be seen on page 3? Can you run a serious story about this outrage, as the link at the top of the page pretends to do, and adorn it with a huge picture of Lucy Pinder in her knickers and a big red mid-article link inviting you to 'SEE MORE SEXY LUCY PINDER PICS HERE'? Apparently you can!
The Star is a particularly idiosyncratic rag which churns out these front pages to a formula; go through the front pages of the past few weeks and they all follow the same pattern; 'outrageous' reality show nonsense as the main headline, huge picture of curvy babe to the left. It brags that it's the reality TV paper, and as such runs front page headlines on the latest tittle-tattle throughout the entire runs of the shows, with all kinds of enormous, earth-shaking stories relegated to sidebars or page 5 to make way for the TV and girls formula that must serve it so well.
Still, maybe it's best if we try and remain thankful for small mercies; while Big Brother is on they don't need to try and dabble artlessly in politics as they did with the recent front-page zinger THEY'VE STOLEN ALL OUR JOBS...