The Observer’s takedown of and apology for Julie Burchill’s controversial piece on transgender women is a completely pointless action.
Simply putting a sentence from the piece in quotes into Google brings up hundreds of results, which in turn contain fuller excerpts and whole paragraphs. These would of course show up in a blind search – that is to say, if one did not have access to verbatim excerpts of the piece as I did – and these results in turn can be used to retrieve the whole article. This is not particularly difficult: I saw it hosted indefinitely on at least one pastebin site, a type of site devoted to hosting text for almost any purpose. Then again, that doesn’t even matter, not until Google’s cache updates itself at least, because a copy of the whole page on the
Guardian (sorry Alan Rusbridger) Observer website remains there.