In the UK, You Can Be Jailed for Giving Your Girlfriend Herpes 
I can’t see many people bettering David Golding’s break-up story. After his then-girlfriend found out that he’d given her herpes, she dumped him, reported him to the police, and watched as he was jailed for 14 months for passing on the STI. The reason the sentencing was so severe is because Golding was charged with (and pled guilty to) grievous bodily harm (GBH), which usually means stabbing or beating the shit out of someone—not giving them a virus that roughly 25 percent of the UK’s sexually active population already have.
Unsurprisingly, sexual health organizations weren’t very happy about the verdict, claiming it contributed to the wrongful stigmatization of what is really a pretty “trivial” condition. Those same organizations were just as outraged last week when the Court of Appeal rejected Golding’s appeal against his conviction. Lord Justice Treacy, sitting next to two other judges, said that even though Golding had acted “recklessly rather than deliberately” in giving his ex the virus, his original conviction was appropriate (though did reduce his sentence to three months).
I called up Marian Nicholson, director of the Herpes Virus Association, to see how this latest verdict has gone down in the herpes world.

Marian Nicholson, director of the Herpes Virus Association
VICE: What do you think about the judge’s decision to reject David Golding’s appeal?Marian Nicholson: I find it to be absolutely shocking.
Do you think the sentence itself was disproportionate to the offence of giving someone herpes?I don’t want to comment on the length of the sentence itself, because I don’t know enough about proper sentences for GBH. But I don’t believe this case was in the public interest; the judge even said that Golding didn’t give his girlfriend the virus deliberately.
Does the judge’s decision to reject Golding’s appeal pose a threat to anyone else in the future who might find themselves in a similar case? Of course. It’s a disaster for common sense. The sexual health doctors are all with us on that. We’re conferring with all the top sexual health doctors from an organization called BASHH [British Association for Sexual Health and HIV]; they’re all horrified at the ridiculousness of basically taking someone to court for passing on a cold sore.
[Genital herpes] is incredibly common. It’s almost impossible to prove who you got it from; anyone with a cold sore on their face doing oral sex could give it to a partner on the genitals. So, basically, they’re saying that anyone with a cold sore on their face could end up in the dock.
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In the UK, You Can Be Jailed for Giving Your Girlfriend Herpes 

I can’t see many people bettering David Golding’s break-up story. After his then-girlfriend found out that he’d given her herpes, she dumped him, reported him to the police, and watched as he was jailed for 14 months for passing on the STI. The reason the sentencing was so severe is because Golding was charged with (and pled guilty to) grievous bodily harm (GBH), which usually means stabbing or beating the shit out of someone—not giving them a virus that roughly 25 percent of the UK’s sexually active population already have.

Unsurprisingly, sexual health organizations weren’t very happy about the verdict, claiming it contributed to the wrongful stigmatization of what is really a pretty “trivial” condition. Those same organizations were just as outraged last week when the Court of Appeal rejected Golding’s appeal against his conviction. Lord Justice Treacy, sitting next to two other judges, said that even though Golding had acted “recklessly rather than deliberately” in giving his ex the virus, his original conviction was appropriate (though did reduce his sentence to three months).

I called up Marian Nicholson, director of the Herpes Virus Association, to see how this latest verdict has gone down in the herpes world.

Marian Nicholson, director of the Herpes Virus Association

VICE: What do you think about the judge’s decision to reject David Golding’s appeal?
Marian Nicholson: I find it to be absolutely shocking.

Do you think the sentence itself was disproportionate to the offence of giving someone herpes?
I don’t want to comment on the length of the sentence itself, because I don’t know enough about proper sentences for GBH. But I don’t believe this case was in the public interest; the judge even said that Golding didn’t give his girlfriend the virus deliberately.

Does the judge’s decision to reject Golding’s appeal pose a threat to anyone else in the future who might find themselves in a similar case? 
Of course. It’s a disaster for common sense. The sexual health doctors are all with us on that. We’re conferring with all the top sexual health doctors from an organization called BASHH [British Association for Sexual Health and HIV]; they’re all horrified at the ridiculousness of basically taking someone to court for passing on a cold sore.

[Genital herpes] is incredibly common. It’s almost impossible to prove who you got it from; anyone with a cold sore on their face doing oral sex could give it to a partner on the genitals. So, basically, they’re saying that anyone with a cold sore on their face could end up in the dock.

Continue

Photos of Sad Men Being Forced to Shop


MANTI TE’O: ANOTHER NARRATIVE BITES THE DUST
I’m not as much of a fan of the nerdier-than-thou webcomic XKCD as I used to be, but this one-panel strip has stuck with me:
It gets at something that not many fans or commenters like to admit—sports are only personal because we make them personal. There’s nothing inherently heartwarming or heroic about a bunch of men competing for arbitrary achievements on ritualistically demarcated fields and courts. If you like, you can take a step back and view athletes and statistics and win-production machines: “Tom Brady is my favorite football player because he accumulated 4,827 yards and 34 touchdowns while only accumulating 8 interceptions. This positively affected the Patriots’ win-loss record, and the Patriots are the favored team of the geographic region in which I came of age.”
But of course athletes, like Dungeons & Dragons characters, are not just collections of numbers—they require backstories to get our attention. The most common athlete backstory is the Upstanding Young Man. Upstanding Young Men have high Charisma scores and generally Lawful Good alignments. They’re married or in long-term relationships, usually to a high school or college sweetheart; they either don’t drink or don’t drink too much; they Inspire Their Teammates and have Leadership Qualities; occasionally their lives may be Touched by Tragedy, in which case they are even more Upstanding for having Overcome Obstacles (almost all successful athletes have Overcome Obstacles, otherwise there’s not much that can be written about them).
Until yesterday, Manti Te’o, the star linebacker at Notre Dame, was an Upstanding Young Man among Upstanding Young Men. He was a Mormon (no danger of him Succumbing to Temptation!), he had Leadership Qualities out the wazoo, and his life had been Touched by Tragedy thanks to the death of both his grandmother and his saintly girlfriend. He still played in a game when he could have gone to his girlfriend’s funeral and intercepted two passes in a Notre Dame win—talk about Overcoming Obstacles!
Then, of course, it all went to shit, thanks to this excellent Deadspin expose, which you should read if you haven’t already.    
The short version of the story is that Lennay Kekua, the saintly girlfriend who loved Manti with all her heart and died with his name on her lips and inspired him to etc. etc., never existed. She was a hoax, an invention of some malicious people who (Notre Dame and Manti say) fooled a naïve—and potentially no longer all that Upstanding—kid for reasons that are yet to be revealed.
Continue

MANTI TE’O: ANOTHER NARRATIVE BITES THE DUST

I’m not as much of a fan of the nerdier-than-thou webcomic XKCD as I used to be, but this one-panel strip has stuck with me:

It gets at something that not many fans or commenters like to admit—sports are only personal because we make them personal. There’s nothing inherently heartwarming or heroic about a bunch of men competing for arbitrary achievements on ritualistically demarcated fields and courts. If you like, you can take a step back and view athletes and statistics and win-production machines: “Tom Brady is my favorite football player because he accumulated 4,827 yards and 34 touchdowns while only accumulating 8 interceptions. This positively affected the Patriots’ win-loss record, and the Patriots are the favored team of the geographic region in which I came of age.”

But of course athletes, like Dungeons & Dragons characters, are not just collections of numbers—they require backstories to get our attention. The most common athlete backstory is the Upstanding Young Man. Upstanding Young Men have high Charisma scores and generally Lawful Good alignments. They’re married or in long-term relationships, usually to a high school or college sweetheart; they either don’t drink or don’t drink too much; they Inspire Their Teammates and have Leadership Qualities; occasionally their lives may be Touched by Tragedy, in which case they are even more Upstanding for having Overcome Obstacles (almost all successful athletes have Overcome Obstacles, otherwise there’s not much that can be written about them).

Until yesterday, Manti Te’o, the star linebacker at Notre Dame, was an Upstanding Young Man among Upstanding Young Men. He was a Mormon (no danger of him Succumbing to Temptation!), he had Leadership Qualities out the wazoo, and his life had been Touched by Tragedy thanks to the death of both his grandmother and his saintly girlfriend. He still played in a game when he could have gone to his girlfriend’s funeral and intercepted two passes in a Notre Dame win—talk about Overcoming Obstacles!

Then, of course, it all went to shit, thanks to this excellent Deadspin expose, which you should read if you haven’t already.    

The short version of the story is that Lennay Kekua, the saintly girlfriend who loved Manti with all her heart and died with his name on her lips and inspired him to etc. etc., never existed. She was a hoax, an invention of some malicious people who (Notre Dame and Manti say) fooled a naïve—and potentially no longer all that Upstanding—kid for reasons that are yet to be revealed.

Continue