Controversy over Kevin Myers’s article

 

A chara, – Fintan O’Toole suggests Kevin Myers’s downfall was due to his picking on people who can answer back and says, “Jewish people have learned from the most abysmal experiences to be alert to the tropes of anti-Semitism and to call them out when they see them” (Opinion, August 1st).

All the other targets of Myers’s vitriol – Muslims, women, Travellers, immigrants, poor people and others – are very capable of being alert and answering Myers back and have done so on many occasions. The difference is that anti-Semitism as a racist ideology is taken more seriously than other forms of racism and discrimination and society in general is very alert to the tropes, not just Jewish people.

I’m surprised at how Fintan O’Toole’s otherwise excellent piece makes such a disempowering remark. He seems not to recognise the role of society and media in tolerating other forms of racism and misogyny – a tolerance which has allowed Myers to survive as a columnist up to now. – Is mise,

ORLA O’NEILL,

Kilcullen, Co Kildare.

Sir, – No journalist has done more in recent years to expose the deficiencies and inefficiencies in Irish public and political life. In so doing Kevin Myers has made enemies.

Now vilified and denigrated for a minor error of judgment, his democratic right to freedom of expression and speech is silenced by the PC brigade.

Sadly that is just at the time of Brexit when we need a voice to warn of the dangers and catastrophe we face and not the silence of complacency. – Yours, etc,

WILLIAM SHORTLAND

Blessington,

Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Kevin Myers should not have to shoulder the blame for a second time. Subeditors and editors are supposedly there to police all copy before publication. On the latest issue, racism and the previous issue, “mother of bastards” it seems they have rescinded their duties. – Yours, etc,

ROGER GREENE,

Media Lecturer, Emeritus

IADT/The National Film

School,

Glenageary, Co Dublin.

Sir, – In his response to the controversy surrounding Kevin Myers’s article on the salaries of BBC presenters, Fintan O’Toole (Opinion, August 1st) makes an assumption that sits fairly comfortably with the anti-Semitic tropes employed by Mr Myers.

While pointing out the hypocrisy in the media’s response to stereotypes directed at different groups, Mr O’Toole confidently concludes that Jewish people, in contrast to women, poor people, immigrants etc, have more power to answer back.

The suggestion that this is a result of the strength that they have added to their own voices flows seamlessly into the narrative that Jews, as a unified group, have innate privileges or access to preferential treatment.

That anti-Semitic rhetoric is appropriately called out is a result of what we, the non-Jewish majority, have learned from the consequences of such beliefs. At a time when anti-Semitism is again on the rise in Europe, we must remain alert to the fragility of this arrangement. – Yours, etc,

JAMES MULCAHY,

Frankfurt-am-Main,

Germany.

Sir, – In his own words, “I am the author of my own misery, I am the master of my soul, the author of my own misfortune”, Kevin Myers condemns himself. I for once am happy to agree with him. – Yours, etc,

GEARÓID KILGALLEN,

Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – The problem regarding Kathy Sheridan condemning Kevin Myers for misogyny, etc, is that she does not go far enough (Opinion, August 2nd). In particular she mentions his “alleging the non-existence of brilliant female mathematicians” and she mentions Nasa and Bletchley Park in this regard. However, she fails to mention an even more brilliant (and recent) example: Maryam Mirzakhani, who died recently, aged 40, the only woman to win the Fields medal, the equivalent of a Nobel Prize for mathematicians.

What is even more relevant is that Mirzakhani is Iranian and Iran is proud of her to the extent of actually showing pictures of her with her head uncovered, which is a very big deal for a woman in Iran.

So you could say that Kevin Myers is even more misogynistic than the state of Iran. – Yours, etc,

FRANK DESMOND,

Cork.

Sir, – I was reading Kevin Myers’s Sunday Times column at around 10am last Sunday, when my BBC4 Radio News quoted that, as a result of Myers’s reference to Jews, he “would not be writing for the Sunday Times again”. As his column is only in the Irish edition (and online), it seemed very odd that it could become a BBC news item so startlingly quickly.

Coincidentally perhaps, the whole thrust of Myers’s article was deeply scathing of the BBC, which he described as being, inter alia, “both utterly unreal and irredeemably corrupt”! – Yours, etc,

PÁDRAIG J O’CONNOR,

Rathfarnham,

Dublin 14.

Sir, – Kevin Myers made an unpardonable error. Everyone should have realised by now that if you are going to launch a diatribe against any group, it had better be the Catholic Church, or you will be savaged. If you do malign the Catholic Church you will probably find you have become a darling of the elite. – Yours, etc,

COLM FITZPATRICK,

Castleknock,

Dublin 15.

Sir, – Now that the hoo-ha about Kevin Myers’s lapse of judgment is beginning to subside, perhaps it is time to reflect on the absurdly hyperbolic nature of the reaction. A sense of proportion and, dare I say it, a sense of humour might help lighten the burden of some of the critics. – Yours, etc,

LIAM KENNEDY,

Belfast.

Sir, – I am no fan nor ever have been of Kevin Myers or his writing style.

I stopped buying any newspapers that had him as a columnist, including your own, until he left you.

The hounding and glee in some quarters over his Sunday Times Irish edition is hypocritical to say the least, especially when a considerable amount of it is coming from British media sources who know nothing of Mr Myers’s columns or diverse political and historical opinions. The Murdoch media has its own agenda and is terrified that they will be associated with this and fear for their future prospects of near total British media terrestrial and satellite control.

One positive thing I can say about Kevin Myers is that he is definitely not anti-Semitic and actually is one of the few people in the Irish media who writes positively about Israel and its policies. A previous article of his concerning the Holocaust was also taken out of context and too literally.

Much as I detest his revisionist view of Irish history and his hatred of republicanism, the Irish language and many other aspects of Irish society, he does not deserve the appalling treatment he is getting at the moment and I sincerely hope somebody in the media puts their head above the parapet and employs him. I still won’t buy the newspaper that does though! – Yours, etc,

KEITH NOLAN,

Carrick-on-Shannon,

Co Leitrim.