Welcome to Angus Take House – a weekly column in which I will be pitting two of the wildest takes the world's great thinkers have rustled up against each other. This is your one-stop shop for the meatiest verdicts and saltiest angles on the world's happenings. Go and grab a napkin – these juicy hot takes are fresh from the griddle.
What's the story? Raheem Sterling has a new tattoo.
Reasonable Take: *AlanPartridgeShrugging.gif*
Hot Cross Sun: Raheem Sterling… one of England's best players... should be... yes... removed from the team.
This week, Raheem Sterling came under fire from the legendary Sun newspaper thanks to a new tattoo he revealed in an Instagram post. The reason for the paper's meltdown was the suggestion that the design – an M16 assault rifle – was insensitive to the victims of gun violence. Sterling has since released a statement about the tattoo over an Instagram story, clarifying that it is a tribute to his father, who was shot and killed when he was a child. The gun on his leg is a reminder of his vow to never touch a weapon, and instead "shoot with my right foot".
Nevertheless, The Sun detailed the outrage of anti-gun campaigners who were apparently lining up to denounce the tattoo as "sick", and calling for Sterling to be axed from the England squad. (Whether the newspaper gave the full context of the meaning behind the tattoo before getting quotes from the parents of murdered children is, at this stage, unclear.) Obviously it wasn’t long before Piers Morgan detected the simmering controversy, like a bear catching a whiff of barbecued meat on the alpine breeze, tweeting emphatically: "Get that gun off his leg." Following that, the usual flotsam and jetsam of the UK's petty commentariat got involved, taking it in turns to take swipes at a player who, by the sounds of things, is nothing short of a Good Bloke. Oh, and then Frank Bruno got involved. Wahey!
The Sun and Morgan's reactions were met by the rapturous approval of Twitter’s "common sense" footie blokes, all of whom have got a problem with Raheem Sterling (for some reason that definitely has nothing to do with his heritage, alright?). Apparently, for them, Sterling’s reasoning isn’t good enough of an excuse. If he must memorialise the death of his father, there are plenty of ways of doing it without promoting gun violence – which is what a tattoo on the leg of a man who runs too fast for anyone to see it will definitely do. Don’t forget: that’s not your leg, Raheem. It’s England’s leg. Slap a poppy on it, son. Do the right thing.
As many have pointed out, this is just the latest chapter in an unending campaign against Sterling that has seen him pilloried for crimes as tenuous as "being tired" and "buying his mum a sink". It doesn’t take a genius to spot the dog whistle politics at play. Raheem Sterling, a hugely successful young black man from a working class background, sadly has a back covered in targets when it comes to the arse-end of our tabloid press. Luckily, they will all have to eat their words when we win the World Cup and it becomes law for us all to have Raheem Sterling's face tattooed, in painstaking detail, on our chests.
What's the story? The concept of rape.
Reasonable Take: The greater our understanding of rape's many forms and contexts, the greater our understanding of consent and violence.
Extremely Radical Feminist Take: Rape is "a bit annoying", at most.
Proper "u wot m8" stuff, this. Germaine Greer, clearly sensing that now was the time to really own the conversation around sexual violence, has come out batting for... rape? Speaking at a literary festival in Wales, she declared she wanted to turn the discourse about rape "upside down".
"Most rapes don't involve any injury whatsoever," she continued. "We are told that it is a sexually violent crime... [that] it is one of the most violent crimes in the world. Most rape is just lazy, just careless, insensitive. Every time a man rolls over on his exhausted wife and insists on enjoying his conjugal rights, he is raping her… Instead of thinking of rape as a spectacularly violent crime, and some rapes are, think about it as non-consensual – that is, bad sex. Sex where there is no communication, no tenderness, no mention of love."
Greer's comments have seen her come under even more intense fire than usual, with many writing her off as a straight up rape apologist.
Going from bad to weird, she went on to suggest that the punishment for some rapes should be lessened to community service, or possibly an "r" tattoo branding the perpetrator.
It's not the first time Greer has shared views that are out of step with modern feminism, but this seems off-piste even for her. Describing rape as "just lazy" isn’t just outrageously offensive to rape victims – or, actually, everyone – but also smacks of being untethered from any ideology or conviction. If Greer actually thinks it's good discourse to humiliate and devalue the experiences of rape victims, then that begs the question who she purports to stand in solidarity with. Tellingly, Greer also said, "It is moments like these, I can hear the feminists screaming at me: 'You're trivialising rape,'" a giddiness at the thought of controversy that perhaps indicates the real purpose behind her controversial statements.
PRIME CUT: Greer’s is the worst take of the week hands down. The "Female Eu-suck" more like!