Campaign against Norris stinks of homophobia


The treatment of the Joycean scholar is analogous with the calculated destruction of Oscar Wilde, writes DAVID ADAMS

CASTING MY mind back to when I was, say, 14 or 15: if an attractive, older woman had offered to initiate me in a loving, gentle way into the joys of sex, would I have refused?

Like hell, I would.

I’d have been into her arms like a flash, in case she changed her mind. In fact, forget about her being attractive, loving and gentle. Such were my sexual yearnings at that age I’d have succumbed to virtually any older female who didn’t look and act like an extra from a horror film (and even then I wouldn’t bet on it).

Any heterosexual man who claims otherwise is either deluding himself or suffering from severe memory loss. Would the woman have been wrong in taking advantage of me? Emphatically, yes. What would my reaction have been if someone had “initiated” one of my sons at that age? I’d have been outraged, and dragged her or him through every court in the land to get justice.

But that is not the point. Although I am no longer a barely post-pubescent youngster, I can still remember what it was like to be one – and so can David Norris. Heterosexual males should substitute “mature woman” for “mature man” in what Norris said in that Magillinterview, and they’ll realise the degree to which he understated the case.

Apparently he would have “greatly relished” such an encounter.

Greatly relished?

I’d have felt as if all my birthdays and Christmases had come at once. As for Norris pointing out that there is widespread confusion between paedophilia and pederasty: of course there is, reflecting a (wholly understandable) public near-hysteria about child safety.

Pederasty is as described above, only involving two males. Norris mentioned this in the context of what he and presumably most other gay lads fantasised about at 14 or 15, in the same way that I and my heterosexual classmates worked ourselves into a lather of excitement over Mrs Ever-so-sexy, the English teacher.

Norris made perfectly clear in his Magillinterview, and has done many times since, that what he would have liked when he was a frustrated, highly hormonal youngster bears no resemblance to the thoughts and desires of the mature person he is today.

Again, he spoke for every other right-thinking adult male on the planet.

Norris also claimed in Magillthat there are degrees of sexual abuse, and even of rape. Is any rational person seriously trying to argue that there aren’t?

Let’s not even bother with the obvious instance of a young lad who by virtue of being only a couple of months older than his girlfriend can be guilty of statutory rape.

To allow for no distinction between the horrendous crime of rape and the even more horrendous crime of beating someone to a pulp while raping them is absolute lunacy. Ken Clarke, the British lord chancellor and secretary of state for justice, got into some bother a few weeks ago for saying essentially the same thing as Norris.

However, like me, Clarke was always on far safer ground in stating what should be self-evident to anyone with sufficient wit to tie their own shoelaces.

As a heterosexual, he was never going to be accused of anything more serious than muddled thinking, whereas the unstated but carefully constructed inferences against Norris are of a different, more sickening order altogether.

Nor should we be surprised, given that the dirty little campaign against him stinks to the rooftops of homophobia (don’t kid yourself there isn’t a campaign, the dots aren’t that hard to join up). The homophobe believes that at best homosexuality is a (reprehensible) lifestyle choice, at worst a terrible fundamental flaw in the essential make-up of a person.

According to this bizarre thinking, someone who either chooses or is driven by nature to sleep with a member of his or her own sex is capable of just about any sexual perversion.

Hence the persistence of homophobes in trying to link gay men to paedophilia, despite every statistic showing that while the overwhelmingly majority of paedophiles are indeed male, they are also heterosexual (the remainder are either not attracted to post-pubescent people at all, or are attracted to virtually anything with a pulse).

Statistically, therefore, contrary to what the bigots try to intimate, it is far safer to leave your child in the care of a gay man than with his heterosexual counterpart. It’s worth remembering that Norris’s only “crime” has been to put himself forward as a prospective candidate for the presidency. While in many respects democracy is dependent upon the freedom to throw mud, there have to be limits to the depths to which politics are allowed to sink.

Imagine for a second how it must feel to be publicly smeared in the way that Norris has. The treatment of this Joycean scholar is somewhat blackly analogous with the calculated destruction of Oscar Wilde. I have never met Norris, but he strikes me as a fundamentally decent person – his major weakness, it appears, is to presume that everyone is as fair-minded and decent as himself.