Just because you’re liberal or gay doesn’t mean you can spout rubbish unchallenged – or does it?
Good piece today by Sarah Carey (again) about Colm Toibin’s comments on the Iris Robinson case during the Marian Finucane programme last weekend. Strikes me that the whole story offers a fascinating insight into the mixed-up state of public discourse on gender and sexuality. As it happens, I was on a rival show on Today FM last weekend, where Brenda Power suggested that nobody would have batted an eyelid if the matter had involved a 59-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman. Which as far as I’m concerned, is blatantly not the case.‘As far as the Iris-Kirk relationship goes, we’ll never know who was exploiting whom.’ writes Carey. ’But imagine if a 59-year-old male politician was sleeping with the 19-year-old daughter of his dead lover. Imagine if he took money from property developers in need of planning permission to set her up in business and then demanded the cash back when he got caught.
‘Imagine if someone like, say, Conor Lenihan, cracked a joke about how he’d go round to the young one’s place for coffee anytime, [fnar, fnar]. There’d be war. A Liveline show would be cued up and the advisers would be busy scripting the apology.’
She goes on to criticise Toibin’s statement that, when Robinson made her repellent statements about homosexuality, ‘there is silence all around and it’s accepted all around’. Which could hardly be further from the truth, but was tacitly accepted by everyone in the studio.
There’s an interesting point here about how, just because certain people are perceived as being on the ’correct’ side of an argument, they are beyond criticism and can get away with spouting rubbish without being taken to task. Which is eerily reminiscent of the monoculture which we’re supposed to be escaping from.