This Is Not About Niall McElwee

 Posted by on April 20, 2008  Add comments
Apr 202008
 

This bit isn’t about Niall McElwee.  It’s about you and me.

It’s about finding the line between bad behaviour and becoming a despised sexual offender with a criminal record.

Tell me this honestly: did you ever make a lewd comment or suggestion to a member of the opposite sex?

That could be sexual harassment.

Did you ever make an unwelcome advance to a member of the opposite sex?  Maybe you tried to kiss someone.

That could be sexual assault.

Did you ever streak?

That could be indecent exposure.

The problem is that the gravity of your offence depends on some other person’s prejudices.  If someone decides to be offended by your behaviour, no matter how innocent everyone else thought it was, you could be screwed, and I don’t mean in a good way.

We’ve moved away from objective standards of what constitutes a crime, and placed the whole thing in the hands of a touchy-feely Taliban at the wrong side of the PC looking-glass where a crime is whatever they say it is.

We’re living in a world where somebody else’s sensitivities determine whether you’re a sexual offender or a drunken gobshite, and there’s only one way you can be absolutely certain that you never end up on the receiving end of a barrage of self-righteous condemnation.

Don’t drink.  Don’t socialise.  Don’t say anything.  Have no contact with members of the opposite sex.  Or the same sex, if you’re gay.  No.  In fact, if you’re gay you should associate with nobody, just to be on the safe side.

That should keep you reasonably safe, until somebody hears about it and gets offended.

Jesus, the world is full of po-faced gobshites waiting to be offended.  It reminds me of something the Bullet remarked not so long ago: Damn those crippled foreign queers, coming over here, taking our men and our wheelchairs.

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This post is entitled This Is Not About Niall McElwee.  I bet you some mind-reading finger-wagger will still write in complaining that I’m defending him:  You didn’t say it, Bock, but I know what you’re thinking!

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Previously on Bock:

Niall McElwee and the PC Gestapo

What did Niall McElwee do?

  31 Responses to “This Is Not About Niall McElwee”

Comments (31)
  1.  

    Bock – I think you are on to something important here. (With the obvious qualifier that this is not to excuse genuine sexual harassment). I am also going to go further and say that men are even more vulnerable here in that it is somehow acceptable for women to behave towards men in a way that is not acceptable for men to behave towards women! I am reminded of a sketch by Al Murray the Pub Landlord who jokes around the subject of treating women like ladies and ends up by commenting that it is a futile exercise because there are no ladies anymore! To quote Murray directly they are with the men face down in the gutter! The age of equality has dawned…..until and God help the poor bugger who tells a smutty story or makes a lewd comment.
    Now I will take cover and wait for the backlash!
    Incidentally on the whole issue of sexual harassment, like all offences there are degrees and levels and it is not either fair or just to lump them all together which I think is all Bock is trying to say?

  2.  

    Bock I think your comment may be deliberately broad so as to initiate debate….
    I read it a few times and my suggestion would be that everything needs to be taken in context. For instance there’s a massive difference in being out in a social situation possibly in the presence of alcohol and some eejit comes up to me and makes lewd comments and tries to grab my boob and being in my workplace and my boss making a similar comment and grabbing my boob…. I’m not saying you EXPECT lewd comments or sexual advances when one goes out of an evening… but every now and again would be nice :-) Would I accept it from my boss?….. Um – well no – because it’s an abuse of the position he carries in the company…. besides – you ain’t seen the ugly fecker….

  3.  

    Stephen: I think you can be fairly sure that some of the PC Gestapo will be arriving before long, once they’ve had a chance to read my mind and half read what I wrote.

    Eva: You have no right to be unoffended by that sort of behaviour. In fact, I suspect you might already have committed an offence by thinking such things.

  4.  

    I am in fact a serial offender….. Thing is, every time I get arrested the Garda recruit straight out of Templemore keeps staring at my boobs while he’s taking my statements so the cases keep getting thrown out of court…. ;-)

  5.  

    You are, in fact, a walking invitation to commit a thought-crime, by the sound of things.

  6.  

    We’ve moved away from objective standards of what constitutes a crime, and placed the whole thing in the hands of a touchy-feely Taliban at the wrong side of the PC looking-glass where a crime is whatever they say it is.

    I wish I knew where the country I grew up in went, thanks for opening the debate Bock.
    I think Pat Buchanan has it right when he says “Political Correctness is Cultural Marxism, a regime to punish dissent and to stigmatise social heresy as the Inquisition punished religious heresy. Its trademark is intolerance.” (p89, Buchanan, Patrick J., 2002, The Death of the West, St Martin’s Press.). It is rarely that I agree with anything from Buchanan but in this case it is merely Cultural Marxism .

    I wonder if iPods and OhMiBods (Adult content) were freely available to the uber PC set would there still be such trouble.

    The McElwee saga seems like every bit of hearsay, disproved allegation, and jealous spleen were combined with what was a very regrettable instance from Mr. McElwee and a number of ladies of consenting age to make an ideal bandwagon for the PC set and media to mindlessly shout about. I don’t condone the actions of Mr. McElwee but where do the media and PC set get off with their crusade. I’m sure that everyone has some stupid thing or two in their past that was regrettable. Closed minds are a dangerous thing and sometimes I wonder if we’ve forgotten how to ask questions.

  7.  

    Come to Oz and see see the PC police gone mad.

    Streak at a match – (even run across the pitch) – and its a life ban and a further charge of hindering a SPORTSMAN…
    Start a mexican wave and the cameras pick out who started it, the police move in and you’re ejected, with a summons.
    $300 (give or take) fine – at cops discretion – if he hears your music outside your car. No more duff, duff…
    The list is endless and being added to every day by idiots and killjoys.
    Fall off your bike and crack your head? Make it illegal to ride a bike without a helmet.
    PC.? Bloody hell.

  8.  

    The car-music gets to me, but as PC is about protecting insane sensitivities, there’s no contradiction here. Shoot the loud-car-music fuckers!

    Listen folks, can we try to stay on topic, just for a little while? I’ll do something about PC fairly soon.

  9.  

    Bock, I am 100% with you on this one. The PC Stazi are scary as far as I’m concerned. When I worked in the ‘Soul-Sucking-Monster’ aka Deloitte Consulting we were given ‘Sensitivity Training’ and it included some fairly bizarre ideas. I left this so called training many times thinking that if I told a co-worker she looked nice in that new dress I would be arrested and brought up on charges.
    The whole idea of PC speak is wrong, as far as I’m concerned. I am NOT Irish-American. I am an American or a Yank or just a middle-aged white guy. Call me whatever you wish just don’t call me late to breakfast.

  10.  

    Is it like being an alcoholic?- Once an alcoholic always an alcoholic.
    If so then I’m a a perv. I didn’t think I was but I admit I looked at a porn mag in my early 20’s and had naughty thoughts about a work colleague. Does that mean I’m a perv for life?

    Maybe it’s just good old Catholic guilt that we second guess our thoughts.

  11.  

    Have been reading the recent posts and boy there is a minefield of stuff there – so thought the better of commenting until now.

    My take on this, having been introduced to the lovely way US multinationals train people in “sexual harassment” and something else misleadingly called “manual handling”, is to know your audience.

    I don’t believe objectivity will ever come into this because there are too many cultural levels involved (male/female, male/male, female/female, country A/country B etc..) and therefore too many cultural differences to predict the reaction to anything that may be remotely construed as lewd or indecent.

    I am by no manner or means a PC fan and do my best not to tailor my etiquette along those lines but on reading the recent posts, I, along with a lot of people (male and female) should feel lucky we were not called on any of the lessons of life we attained by “experimenting”!

    It strikes me as if we are becoming more victorian than the victorians!

  12.  

    Bock, I think we all know what is acceptable and unacceptable. There is a whole lot more to human communication than the lunge to kiss a broad, even if it is late at night and one or both parties are full to the gills with Heino. I gave up getting sworn affidavits outlining what was or was not allowed years ago as I thought it kind of ruined the moment! Ha.

  13.  

    That’s the problem. We no longer know what’s acceptable.

  14.  

    I’m afraid I can answer ‘no’ to all your questions.

    “the line between bad behaviour and becoming a despised sexual offender with a criminal record” may be very thin, depending on context. Age, role (position of authority etc), and existing relationships are all crucial factors in determining “the line”.

    People, the vast majority of them men, crossed “the line” with impunity for generations. Somehow the victims were always ‘asking for it’. “The line” exists for a reason.

    If you’re tilting at political correctness, Bock, you’re tilting against the wrong windmill. I think you’re tilting at “the line”, particularly because of not knowing precisely where it is. Objectively, rather then subjectively.

    My own rule of thumb is: until you know a person very well always be polite and respectful. It’s boring I know but then, when you know them very well – and they you, you can be as crude/rude/lewd as the mood suits you both.

    It’s amazingly simple, I don’t feel oppressed, and I believe I’ve yet to cross “the line”.

  15.  

    Ah, but Conan, I’ve met you and I can confirm that you’re the absolute model of good manners. I’m afraid some of us have more reason to worry.

  16.  

    It’s when you find out that you’ve made a mistake, said or done something which upset someone, its right there and then staring you in the face. That’s when you have the opportunity to apologise and let the person know that you didn’t know or understand. I think that might be the kernel of the issue. Yeah, the world’s gone a bit PC mad, and I’m becoming an older, grumpier, misogynist, but I think it’s at that moment when we realize we’ve done something inappropriate. The issue is not really what we’ve said , but that we fail to recognise it afterwards. You might think that the person is being overly sensitive but that’s not the issue, it’s not about what you think.

    The touching thing, the groping thing, that was always out of bounds, well for me anyway. I knew I wanted to, but also knew not to.

  17.  

    Certainly. Out of bounds and unacceptable.

    That’s where I’m trying to find the line. The difference between objectionable behaviour and criminal.

  18.  

    My dearest bock, this is my confession….I have had many lewd and disgusting sex thoughts about the current President of Ireland and the current minister of Education but never the current Minister of Health….so I guess i may be in danger of losing my job but at least im not losing my sanity.

  19.  

    I was *seriously* sexually harassed at work, years ago, by a man much older and much more senior than myself. Had it been 2008, he’d have lost his job. Something had to be done for women’s sake.

    But it’s gone too far!

    Brianf said, “… thinking that if I told a co-worker she looked nice in that new dress I would be arrested and brought up on charges.”

    I’ve heard precisely those sentiments from ‘middle-aged’ Irish men in recent years. They’ve been so watching their p’s and q’s that they wouldn’t dare say to a female colleague, “Oh, you got your hair cut. It suits you!”.

    That’s a world gone mad. And putting crazy stress on men in the workplace.

    It also leaves them open to false charges, just as they are to false rape charges. (But maybe I shouldn’t mention that just now, since Ireland’s conviction rate for rape is sadly the lowest in Europe …)

  20.  

    GOM seems to have hit (is it alright to say hit?) the nail in the middle : ‘we are becoming more victorian than the victorians’ and, unless my memory of victorian history is awry, wasn’t victorian London awash with brothels!

    And it wasn’t that long ago that Ireland and the Irish were regarded as ‘Piety Personified’ where dissent was stomped on very heavily by the catholic church’s ‘vigilance committees’. It was a ‘crime’ NOT to go to mass, a ‘crime’ to be a single mother, a ‘crime’ to be gay …. censorship of books and film and TV was rife ….

    Have we handed over those clerical boots to the PC brigade? It seems to me we have turned intolerance on its head and become MORE intolerant?

    I could say that Bock is calling a ‘spade a spade’ but the Bias-Free Word-Finder (HONESTLY it exists!) tells me:

    “The expression is associated with a racial slur and is to be avoided”, and recommends using “to speak plainly” or other alternatives instead.” !!

    And I’m unable to spot a chink in Bock’s armor … OOOOPS … an administrator at the University of California at Santa Cruz campaigned for the banning of such phrases as “a chink in his armor”
    because “chink” is also derogatory terms for “Chinese person”

    Dear Oh dear, seems as if I better stay home in case I become a social pariah ….!

  21.  

    Sniffly, you’re not a misogynist! I’ve met you! You’re a pussycat!

  22.  

    Andrew, you can’t call someone a gom!

    Oh, it’s ok. It’s GOM and he did it himself.

  23.  

    “Ireland’s conviction rate for rape is sadly the lowest in Europe”

    Maybe that’s a good thing? If the courts find an accused person innocent?

  24.  

    Paddy, it’s far more complicated than that, and this is not the thread for it.

  25.  

    I’m a middle-aged man and I would compliment a woman colleague on clothes or new hair style. Any sort of physical contact would be not be initiated by me and only reciprocal but I would never, ever touch a child except to save him/her from immediate physical danger. Maybe I’m overreacting on the last point but better safe than sorry.

  26.  

    Nora, in trying to decipher if there was a hidden meaning in your message about me calling myself a GOM – I might take that the wrong way and feel harassed…..things are getting sensitive around here!! :)

  27.  

    Some wimmin are too sensitive these days, recently I asked a bird would she dress up as a nun and let me spank her whilst I was wearing a ban garda uniform – in upper William Street outside the bookies – well … you should have heard her reaction, and she still won’t talk to me, just huddles with her mates in the corner of the pub, sipping girly drinks, whispering, and hissing like the three witches at the start of Macbeth while pointing their bony fingers at me…
    Needless to say, a bloke can’t even make a reasonable request these days..

    Meanwhile, Bock raised some very valid points,
    be carefull out there or you could find yoursel sharing a cell with Big Al in the sex offenders wing of Mountjoy, spot on about the Indo article also.

  28.  

    Paddy and Nora: Maybe we’ll have to do a post about that as well, another time.

  29.  

    Again, to take another slant, we’ve all become a little scared of being thought Un-PC or unsafe, and particularly as men in a world where at last our female counterparts appear to finally be getting a more equal bite of the cherry, but the pendulum has swung too far.

    I take Photographs, Sports Photos mainly and mainly of Rugby, various teams, the people involved etc.Some of them make the papers from time to time, people tell me that they like my photos, well and good, that’s nice, but I take them for myself, for the pleasure I get in getting that one shot in a hundred that come out perfect, it makes it worthwhile, it’s like a treasure hunt.

    I have three daughters, my eldest has started to play soccer with a local club nearby (Under 10’s) , I go to games, drive her there and stand on the sideline watching the ,matches BUT I WILL NOT take photos of her or her teammates on the pitch. Why? Fear, Dread, I’m afraid that as soon as I take out my camera, that some PC and “totally safe” clown will come up to me and start a rant and a rave about taking photos of female children. I just don’t want the hassle of it, Maybe I’m wrong, but I know people that have been on the receiving end of such crap, it destroyed the life of one particular individual who was falsely accused and had to endure two years of legal proceedings to prove his innocence, resulting in a mental breakdown.

    Scratch the statement above, I’m wrong, I know it, But I’m not brave enough to take the chance, so the likelihood is that I may never get a photo of my daughter playing sport.Am I daft? or just sad……..But for the moment and in the current environment I’m just going to err on the side of safety..

  30.  

    GOM: I wouldn’t harass a fly! Harmless I am. :)

    (I was thinking the word ‘gom’ would age me but I see in the Indo letters’ page online that it’s still in use …)

    Bock: Yes, another time perhaps.

    dan: I don’t think you’re overreacting — the men I mentioned are the same as you, about children. And I think it’s a crying shame.

    Can anyone imagine a tribe in Borneo carrying on like we do, or bothered by the things we’re discussing here? They have far more sensible stuff on their minds!

  31.  

    snookertony:
    What’s up with a mexican wave in Oz??

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