The U.S. gets a lot of credit for its explosive and tawdry goings-on. They've had adulterous presidential fellatio, and all kinds of secret wars, and congressional boxer shorts running amok on the internet. But now the Brits, always a dark horse in the race as they sporadically come through with rich gentlemen getting caught in Nazi fetish scenarios, are really pulling ahead and putting the Yanks to shame with their near-unprecedented levels of shamefulness.
The News of the World violated the privacy rights of royals and celebrities, and hacked into the voice mail of a murder victim. Staffers seem to have made a habit of paying off the police and alternately terrorizing and attending the weddings of politicians. The relationship between the media and the political elite appears to have been exceptionally incestuous, corrupt, and mutually rewarding.
Indeed, David Cameron's former communications chief, Andy Coulson, was once editor of the News of the World, and he is now the subject of a police investigation.
So what could add a touch of the surreal to this stunningly repulsive situation? Why, an axe murder, of course. One of the private investigators who rustled up material for the paper was recently acquitted of the murder of another P.I. who was found in a pub parking lot back in 1987 with an axe through his head. He was acquitted, it seems, only through of a murky mixture of police corruption and incompetence. He did spend time in prison for trying to plant cocaine on someone, although Andy Coulson happily rehired him after he was released.
Greed, graft, moral bankruptcy, and now a good, old-fashioned axe murder. Britain's currently leaving the rest of us in the dust.
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