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David Cameron Didn’t Pork That Pig, But The Internet Doesn’t Really Care

David Cameron’s PigGate is just like the television show Black Mirror, but not in the way people think. And not in a way that reflects well on us.


On Sunday, the Daily Mail published some shocking claims about Prime Minister David Cameron doing a sexual prank with a pig. They have already been debunked, but that hasn’t kept the headlines from running wild:

Mirror: Dear Prime Minister: The pig is the least of it

The Independent: David Cameron pig allegations: Black Mirror episode in which a …

Daily Mail: British Prime Minister and an obscene act with a dead pig’s head: How David Cameron took part in sordid initiation ceremony after joining Oxford University dining society as a student

International-Aberdeen Press and Journal: Shock claims that Prime Minister put “private part” in pig’s mouth emerge in new book.

Daily Caller: UK’s David Cameron Won’t Comment On Bizarre Pig Allegations

Daily Beast: David Cameron Accused of Sex Act With a Dead Pig

Immediate reaction to this story referenced one particular episode of Black Mirror, a British television series created by Charlie Brooker that is focused on technology and morality. If you have seen the episode in question, you know immediately why people thought of it. If you haven’t, here’s a synopsis:

Princess Susannah (Lydia Wilson), a much loved member of the Royal Family, is kidnapped and the ransom demand is an unusual one; Prime Minister Michael Callow (Rory Kinnear) must have sexual intercourse with a pig on live national television. As the time starts to run out and public support rapidly disappears, Callow finds he may have no choice but to go through with the obscene act.

So, uh, yeah. Twitter exploded with jokes and insults and frenzied discussion of the unsubstantiated and disputed story about the pig and the Prime Minister. A few tweets of interest, here, from the maker of the show:

But note the notes about the social media excesses in response to the kidnapper and extortionist.

The BBC notes that there’s something of an extortion angle in this story, too. The book is written by Lord Michael Ashcroft, a major donor who believed he had contributed enough money to Cameron’s political rise that he should have been offered a better job than the one Cameron offered him.

So what’s worth participating in a social media frenzy over, if you had to pick one: the scandal of what this Tory peer admits to about trying to buy a government position, or the debunked and completely unsourced claim about the pig?

As John Podhoretz notes, “Life doesn’t imitate Black Mirror. Somebody is copying Black Mirror.”

And worst of all, the public is unwittingly copying our part in that dystopic tale. The whole point was about how technology enables exploitation and turns us into animalistic voyeurs. Well, Black Mirror was prescient, but the joke’s entirely on us and how we’re destroying ourselves.