The editor seems surprised that a sensational freaky sex story would be in such high demand- but I'm not and would bet many of you aren't either.
The Seattle Times: Horse sex story was online hit
As I look back at the year in news, it's clear I should have focused more on people having sex with horses.
That's the conclusion I reach after reviewing a new list of the year's top local news stories. Only this list is not the usual tedious recounting by news editors or pundits who profess to speak for you readers. This is the people's-choice list.
It's not a survey of what news you say you read.
It's what you actually read.
By tallying clicks on our Web site, we now chart the most read stories in the online edition of The Seattle Times. Software then sorts the tens of thousands of stories for 2005 and ranks them....
Which brings me back to sex with horses. The story last summer about the man who died from a perforated colon while having sex with a horse in Enumclaw was by far the year's most read article.
What's more, four more of the year's 20 most clicked-upon local news stories were about the same horse-sex incident. We don't publish our Web-traffic numbers, but take it from me — the total readership on these stories was huge.
So much so, a case can be made that the articles on horse sex are the most widely read material this paper has published in its 109-year history.
I don't know whether to ignore this alarming factoid or to embrace it....
As I see it this story combined a whole host of elements to appeal to moralists as well as ghouls; to the kind of people who search for signs that the apocalypse is coming and the kind who get a kick out of reading about horrible strange deaths; it appeals to the arm-chair sexual thrill-seeker, the hormonally-overloaded adolescent mentality, and the jaded voyeur perpetually seeking something new; from both people who take pleasure in others' misery and people who are exhilarated by outlandish, high-risk behaviors; people who read it and worriedly reassure themselves, "I would never do that!" to people who are fascinated and think, "I'd like to try that, but in a safe way" to those who need to prove how hip, how outrageous they are, and jeer, "Wow, did you hear about the horse-fucker?" and people who weep at the waste of human life and pray for this man's soul.
In other words, it's a story with universal appeal.
If you've read this story more than once (by choice), do you know why?