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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: January 13, 2010 @ 7:07 pm

    Just because you’re liberal or gay doesn’t mean you can spout rubbish unchallenged – or does it?

    Hugh Linehan

    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.

    • Frank Jameson says:

      And you can’t just spout rubbish because you are right-wing either.

    • Pomme de Tastique says:

      @47 ‘exploitation’, by definition means ‘taking unfair advantage of a person or situation, usually for personal gain’…On the face of it there would appear to have been mutual ‘s/exploitation’ in this case… each using the other for their own gain, save that SHE was the adult and had so much more to lose…family, reputation, career…
      Had it been a glamorous older celebrity/woman then the ‘smart young stud’ tag might have some currency…instead we are told that this was a recently bereaved teenager for whom Iris therefore it smacks more of abuse than s/exploitation… When SHE realised the relationship was becoming sexual rather than parental it was incumbent on HER as the ADULT to behave like an ADULT, turning if necessary to her favourite biblical texts and DUP warcry… Neverrr!… Neverrr!.. Neverrr…!

    • Hugh Linehan says:

      Yikes! Just off a plane from No Wi-Fi Land. Apologies for the delay in updating comments. Will try to respond in next few hours. I feel a new post on anonymity versus openness coming on…

    • Pomme... says:

      Hugh @52 ..after ‘Iris and therefore’ line 7 should have read ‘in loco parentis’…don’t know if you’ve edited or I inadvertently deleted..but this was HER take so IF you can you reinstate the sentence makes more sense …? And good to see BC back..I don’t agree with what he says but defend absolutely his right to say it…as someone… Voltaire, I think…once said….

    • Pomme... says:

      Elizabeth @ 50..I think that’s taken as read at least as far as I’m concerned…

    • Hugh Linehan says:

      Pomme@54 For the record, I don’t ever edit – it’s just a simple yes or no. So your clarification stands.

    • Orla B says:

      I must comment to give Ray D some hope. I am gay but do not hate heterosexuals. I would really be curious to see if there have been any convictions in recent years of straight bashings, perpetuated by gay people. Ray D – I sincerely hope you never find one of your loved ones tied to to fence, battered and left for dead like Matthew Shepard was.

    • Patrick Hennessy says:

      Hugh implies that the pinkie liberals are leading us to another “monoculture” eerily reminiscient of the one we’re supposed to be escaping from”

      Is Ireland escaping from one monoculture to another?

      Would the lads downing pints in the rugby club in Tullamore be part of this pro gay liberal monoculture. If so when will one of the players there come out wearing pink for a practice match. Don’t tell me that there are not 1 or 2 players in every rugby club around the country who live in a closet. If the monoculture we are supposed to be moving too is so liberal why are’nt they showing their true colours.

      And when will get a few more gay liberals going up for election to FF. Even when the FF boys ride the country into the ground they get reelected so they must be fully in tune with this new emerging monoculture. Let them put up a wrist swinging liberal to replace that epitome of gay liberals Rev. Brian Cowen.

      My point is Hugh while there may be a subset in ireland ( mostly in the media and in pockets of dublin) who are part of the “monoculture” you refer to, the two examples I give above are glaring evidence that Ireland has in no way been taken over by the monoculture you seem to fear.

      When i see the kids of gay married couples attending schools in Dingle and Drumshanbo with no hint of prejudice or sniggering I will contact you to let you know that the monoculture is creeping in. But I don’t fear I will need to contact you anyway soon on that score, so hang loose!



    • says:

      I agree no demographic group has a right to unopposed viewpoints, nor should they. All views should be examined.

      I would have thought someone would have rebuked Toibin, as he was so far off the mark.
      He is misguided, poor fellow, and no doubt aware that nobody would dare question his delusions.
      I fully intend to grow old most disgracefully. My lovers are almost exclusively younger, but they are men, not boys.

      Iris’s stupidity and vanity seem endless. Her arrogance, preaching about moral integrity, about her “Gods” willingness to save the souls of sinners. Then moments later nipping down the lock keepers cottage for a quick **** with a grieving and presumably mixed up kid is shocking.

      I find it unlikely that this poor child found her physically attractive, perhaps to a 50/70 year old male, a plastic face and 59 year old body are, but to a 19 year old boy, I doubt it. Lets be realistic.

      I discussed this story with my youngest (17 year old boy) and his reaction was urghhhh, that’s disgusting!. He is right too, it is.
      I feel sorry for her children.

      They say “No well behaved woman ever made history” but Mrs Robinson, surely there are limits?

    • william says:

      I got rather queezy listening to Toibin wisecracking about that lad after he himself had stood up in court and gave a character reference for a man who had been found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15 year old boy. First of all he should be ashamed of himself for doing that and secondly he shouldnt be invited onto any radio discussion show. I for one dont want to hear this creep airing his views on national radio as if he is some kind of worthy commentator of topical affairs.
      Also on the show that Hugh was taking part in on that same day, we got to hear the witterings of Brenda Power and the kernel of the whole Robinson affair according to her was that Iris sought the return of the money from her ex-lover because she had been rejected. And it was only the actions of a love-sick spurned lover and what else could the poor craythur do? What a load of rubbish. That same woman (Robinson) abused her position for personal gain (What was she trousering the 5 grand for Brenda?) Its been raked over enough times already but the point Id like to make is that when these scandals come out in the open, it would be nice to get some decent analyis and commentary on it and Hugh in fairness is always someone who delivers but theres usually some hypocrite or nincompoop brought along as well and sadly we have to endure their input as if it too is worthy and intelligent when it clearly is not.

    • I agree with you entirely. Your points are fair and uncompromised and uncompromising.

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