Politics


There aren’t that many simple rules when it comes to interacting with other people in a civilised society but in the aftermath of Nazis openly marching on the streets of Charlottesville, here’s another one to toss on to the list:

If you want to live in a tolerant society, it is your personal duty to be intolerant of intolerance.

That doesn’t affect your duty to treat people justly or fairly or with honour. But it is not your job to tolerate the actions of a group of sodding Nazis marching around with burning torches while chanting “blood and soil”. We know where that goes, we know how it ends and we know what it costs. We have zero duty as a society to appease racial supremacists who preach fascist philosophies. The most recent time we had to battle these pricks it cost millions of lives. It is not a world we want to revisit.

Sure, it isn’t always easy to stand up to racist morons and we don’t always have the energy to do it. That’s unfortunate but it’s fine. And I can presumably guarantee that all of you know at least one person who is a different colour to you whom you don’t like, not because their skin is a different colour but because they’re an asshole. That’s fine too.

But if you’re the sort of person who treats or regards people in a different way automatically because they’re a different colour to you or they have a different religion or because they fuck in a different way to you, odds are very high that they’re not the problem – you are. And when people complain that you’re not acting like a reasonable human being for doing that – when they’re being intolerant of your intolerance – they’re right and you’re wrong.

Don’t worry. You still get to tell jokes about people who live one town over from you. They’re telling jokes about you too and none of you take it seriously. Just don’t be a sodding douchebag.

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Kevin Myers was on RTE Radio 1’s Today With Sean O’Rourke this morning to talk about his article in the Sunday Times last Sunday. The one that caused people outside Ireland to finally notice that Kevin Myers is a racist anti-Semitic misogynist. Myers insisted that he’s not anti-Semitic or misogynistic (despite having a long and documented history of both), adding that he is “very, very sorry”.

Apologies are funny things and I’ve been taken to task by people in the past for objecting to some of these apologies on the basis that saying “I apologise for any offence caused” is a mealy-mouthed statement which puts some of the blame on the people to whom offence was caused. Perhaps I’m being too particular. I don’t think I am but you can make that case. So don’t be too surprised when I get even more particular here.

Anyhoo, here’s Kevin Myers – who’s long been the most dislikeable Myers since that bloke out of Halloween – apologising (“very, very sorry”, etc). Then he includes: “I am the author of that article, I am the author of my own misfortunes, I am the master of my soul”.

Woah. “I am the master of my soul”? Myers quoted Invictus in his apology? The poem written by William Ernest Henley when recovering from having one of his legs chopped off? The poem recited regularly by Nelson Mandela to fellow prisoners during his incarceration on Robben Island? A poem whose title literally translates as “Unconquered”?

Kevin Myers likes to read. He likes to let you know that he likes to read. He knows full-well where that quote comes from and what it means. It’s one of the world’s best-known poems and, through its association with Nelson Mandela, has become one of the world’s best-known poems about defiance. It has been quoted again and again by people who believe that they are victims of undue persecution, to demonstrate that they are unbowed, unafraid and possess an unconquerable soul.

The actual closing lines of the poem are “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul”, but “I am the master of my soul” is one of the world’s better-known misquotes of poetry. He knows what he’s quoting.

You may, if you must, regard Kevin Myers’ appearance on the radio as an actual apology. But nobody on the face of the planet has ever quoted Invictus while making a genuine apology. He’s serving up a big apology cake with a piece of shit in the middle and asking you to eat it. Enjoy your shit cake, Ireland.

Antonin Scalia has died. For the most part, I wasn’t a fan of his. I’ve never particularly liked his contributions to the Supreme Court but, as you might guess, with someone as forceful as Scalia frequently was, it’s a little more complicated than that.

Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg having fun on an elephant. From the archive of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg having fun on an elephant. From the archive of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Here’s the bad. He was strongly against the ruling in Miranda and voted to overrule it in Dickerson v US. He was strongly in favour of the death penalty, including for 15 year olds (Thompson v Oklahoma). For thirty years he led the charge to overturn Roe v Wade. His dissent in Morrison v Olson is a painful read, accurately described by his fellow Justice Harry Blackburn as “screaming”. He should have recused himself from Hamdan v Rumsfeld. He acted like a dick in Romer v Evans and followed it by acting like a bigger dick in Lawrence v Texas, so much so that Chief Justice Rehnquist basically asked him to zip it during oral presentations. I could go on, but that’ll do as a quick demonstration of my dislike for his votes.

On the other hand, his written opinions (whether or not you agree with them) are generally very much worth reading. I have some sympathy for his views that constitutional cases do not hinge on subsequent legislation, though I found his insistence on constitutional originalism to be rather severe and, alas, inconsistent depending on cases he heard. But his opinions were typically punchy, confident and often quite funny. I have a lot of sympathy for anyone who uses analogies as much as Scalia did. That I think he was a conservative millstone around the neck of the court for much of his thirty years on the SCOTUS bench doesn’t negate that his opinions usually tend to be worth the time to read.

And he got on with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, even though they often clashed when making rulings.His apparent ability to put work aside and get on with someone with whom he disagreed so much but personally liked says something good about his character. I don’t think he was a force for good – he seemed so angry so often about any hint of liberalism that he made life more difficult for many ordinary Americans. But attached you will find a picture of him riding an elephant with the Notorious RBG, who despite differing views seemed to be his favourite Supreme Court Justice. She’s also my favourite.

Yes, I typed this mainly so I could post a picture of Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg riding an elephant together. RIP.

Eventually during all tasks that last longer than a few days, I tend to flop into taking the piss mode. It’s safe and ultimately my default. I feel like going full-on Poe’s Law testing mode for the next moth. I should definitely be allowed to knock on doors now.

You can look up Poe’s Law on your own time.

Anyway, to business…

As we all know, Ireland’s marriage equality referendum on May 22, if passed, will lead to more people turning gay. People will definitely see it as a lifestyle choice. And not just a lifestyle choice: a trendy one. And people like to be trendy. People will walk out of their marriages and enter new ones. Trendy gay ones.In the past, gay people who really wanted to be married and have a Big Day had to rely on straight marriage and having kids so that they could wear a white dress or whatever it is that men wear at these things. But now that gay people can get married to other gay people, straight marriage (if we can even call it that) will fall apart. It won’t be enough to be married. You’ll have to be gay married.

These completely new gay people, having chosen to be gay, will leave their children and romp happily to the gay plantations established mainly to convince other people that the gay lifestyle is for them. You know what this’ll do to immigration. It’ll mean more of it. People from other cultures where gayness isn’t accepted will keep having children and emigrate here. Before long there’ll be more immigrants than people whose ancestors migrated here thousands of years ago or hundreds of years ago or last week. Some of these new immigrants might be black or less pasty than the natives who’ve lived here since they were born. So all straight people will be black. And they’ll be breeding, because that’s what straight people do.

This child could already be gay.

That child in that photo? She’ll be gay. Gay marriage will make her gay. Is that what you want? Because that’s what’ll happen. Pink unicorns on the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin and dancing bears wherever they can fit. There’ll be dancing at every wedding and fornication after in the upstairs bedroom.

You should listen to Breda O’Brien and her Iona peeps. She’s not crazy. Or homophobic. She’d rather gay people married her children than married each other.

Those people aren’t even married. And that’s not their child.

Look at the man and woman kissing that child in the other poster. That child isn’t even their child. They’ve been assembled together just because they look nice. And they’re touching the child. That seems wrong. Remember: a distant, abusive parent is better than a gay one. Because gay.

Vote. You might as well. Because when we all become gay atheist communists, there won’t be any more voting.

Once, two women came to King Solomon, each claiming to be the mother of a baby. The baby was crying and seemed to be quite ill. “Can’t they sort it out between them?” asked the king. “Alas, majesty, no. They’ve been fighting about this for quite some time,” answered his chief advisor. Solomon sighed, adjusted his crown of wisdom and put down his frothy latte. “Hmmm, DNA testing won’t be invented for another three thousand years. Fine, send them in, I’ll hear their case”

The two women entered the throne room, dragging the whimpering child between them.

The first woman spat at the second, shouting “It’s my child, your majesty. It’s mine and I’ll have it, no matter what the cost! It will learn to fend for itself and be self-sufficient because that’s what children should learn.”

Solomon looked at the second woman. “And you?” he asked.

She looked sheepish. “Your majesty, I’m not a perfect mother. In the past, I sometimes haven’t been a very good person and there are times when I don’t learn from my mistakes. But this child is my child and I want to care for it, to raise it and make sure it gets well.”

The king thought for a moment and stared at the scene in front of him. Both women were snarling at each other. The child was licking the floor but, in their mutual anger, the women hadn’t noticed.

“Fine,” said Solomon. “You’re never going to agree and you’re never going to co-operate so there’s only one solution. Bring me my sword and I shall cut this child in half. You will each have one half of the child. This is my ruling”

One woman looked horrified at this prospect, while the other smiled and said: “Fine. As long as she doesn’t get what she wants, I don’t care. Cut the child in half.”

Now, here’s your belated question: as the US government shutdown kicks into effect, which of these two women unidentified in the final paragraph represents the US Republican party?