At last! I thought it was never going to happen, but finally, someone has deliberately quoted me out of context for political purposes.
That completes the set for me.
I’ve been called a fascist, a racist, an apologist for illegal immigrants, a thug, a pacifist, a misogynist, a feminist, a homophobe, a homosexual, a bigot and a PC liberal. But until now, I’ve never been called Left WIng, and until now I don’t believe my words have ever been deliberately distorted to serve somebody’s political agenda.
I just happened to stumble across a website today, written by a character called Mark Humphrys, who deserves a Junior Cert Applied in tabloid-style distortion.
Let me explain the background.
A while back there were rumours that Margaret Thatcher was at death’s door, and last January I wrote a piece in which I said that I thought she was guilty of war crimes. I pointed out that many old war criminals had been indicted despite their age and infirmity. During that post, I referred to Elvis Costello’s song, Tramp The Dirt Down in which he said many hate-filled things about Thatcher.
Now, although I’ve been a lifelong fan of Elvis, I don’t like that song, and I said so in the post.
As a human being with family young and old, I find it distasteful that people might direct such invective against a defenseless old lady.
As a human being, I very much hope that Elvis Costello doesn’t follow through on his threat and tramp the dirt down on Thatcher’s grave. That would diminish him, much though I understand his anger and contempt. When Thatcher finally dies, and it can’t be long now, the dignified and appropriate response would be to ignore her passing.
How did Mark Humphrys choose to portray this?
Bock the Robber, 3 Jan 2012, praises a song wishing to see Margaret Thatcher dead in the grave: “I understand his anger and contempt.” OK, target metaphors in elections are evil. Singing about jumping on someone’s grave is good. Got it.
Now, if that doesn’t make Mark Humphrys a lying, deceitful, dishonest, cynical hypocrite, I don’t know what would. However, what it really means is that nothing Mark Humphrys writes can be taken seriously since he shows no respect for facts. This is particularly disappointing for a man who claims to be a scientist. The absence of rigour is dispiriting and would certainly not inspire confidence.
Oddly enough, even though I never heard of him before today, Mark Humphrys and I share common ground on quite a few issues. We’re both atheists. We’re both pro-science, pro-reason, pro-free speech, and pro-liberal democracy. What a pity Mark’s definition of pro-reason includes wilfully misinterpreting what other people say.
Apart from the Thatcher distortion, Humphrys describes me as anti-Israeli, which of course I am not. I’m certainly opposed to many actions of the Israeli government and their armed forces, as are many Israeli citizens, but the extreme Right never let the facts get in the way of a good slur. I take it as a compliment that the likes of Mark Humphrys would misquote me, because that means I pissed him off enough to make him take the trouble, and that can only be a good thing.
The disgraceful tactic of putting words in people’s mouths is the lowest form of argument and it’s a shame on Mark Humphrys that he might sink to such thuggery. It’s about time dishonesty met a little resistance.
Here’s a screen-shot.