The fire is lit, thanks to the Hound of Satan. (Breathe on that coal there, like a good dog, would ya?)
The storm has died down from a Force 32 Apocalypse-Blast to a comfortable gale-force 8, or maybe a 9.
Munster have trounced Zebre, perhaps for the last time, since the Italians are pulling out of the Rabo, due to being hammered all the time, and who could blame them?
I have a nice dinner in my belly, all’s well with the world and I was thinking. Maybe for a little break I won’t have a go at those poor traumatised Iona Institute people still getting over the shock of being called really horrible and mean by a big flaming queer. Although I must mention in passing poor Breda O’Brien, writing in the Irish Times about the really horrible and mean comments on the internet.
The police tend not to know what to do about this relatively new phenomenon, according to Breda, deliciously failing to grasp that the victims of Iona manipulation feel like that all the time. And also failing to grasp that robust debate is not a policing matter, thereby displaying a worrying authoritarian streak, but that’s for another day.
What’s happening here? Wasn’t I planning to have a chilled evening off?
Yes I was indeed, but you know what? The world is so full of entertaining people like Breda O’Brien and David Quinn, it’s actually much more fun to talk about them instead of putting the feet up in front of the fire. Why? Because they make it so easy.
I was thinking about the Ionanists’ threat against RTÉ recently where they and their newly-joined member John Waters managed to extract €85 thousand from the state broadcaster on highly-dubious untested grounds, solely because said state broadcaster had quite properly received a legal kicking from Kevin Reynolds.
Sadly, however, the result was that RTÉ now behaves like a whipped cur whenever anyone threatens them. I didn’t notice any of the Ionanists suing Rory O’Neill, the man who uttered the allegedly defamatory statements, nor did I notice them threatening the American networks who repeated the alleged vicious slur. Nor, for that matter, did they huff or puff at the BBC, no doubt because they knew they’d be laughed at.
You see, I’ve been thinking about this entire laughable debacle for the last few weeks now, and I’ve been asking myself what it all means. As you know, if you’re a regular reader of this site, I think the incident shows up the Iona prayer group as the most inept PR people in history. In particular, it reflects poorly on the PR stewardship of their frontman, David Quinn.
Why do I say this?
Here is an old-fashioned, right-wing, intransigent, ultramontane pressure group with links to ancient European royalty and backing from a right-wing American billionaire.
Nothing wrong with that, you might point out, and I’d concur. There is no law against being a hidebound, inflexible, intransigent, right-wing billionaire-backed political lobby-group. It’s just a pity that you call yourselves an Institute when you’re nothing of the sort.
But then again, since you sell nothing to anyone, you’re not controlled by any sort of trade descriptions acts. You are, after all, a private company and that’s fine. You’ve even managed to obtain charitable status with the tax-man, somehow.
And yet, despite all this money, they managed to make a complete pig’s mickey of the Rory O’Neill incident. Yes, they got their €85k, and I hope they enjoy it, but in the process, they propelled Rory aka Miss Panti from a relatively high national profile in this remote little island, to international prominence. Even the absurdly right-wing Fox News is praising this “courageous Irish gay man’s fight against homophobia”.
If I happened to be David Quinn which I’m glad to tell you I’m not, this entire sequence of events would be staying off the CV. This initiative by David, Breda et al has crashed and burned. And their only response, their pathetic, embarrassing, laughable reaction has been to play the victim card.
Nobody is fooled by this. It’s not something adults do.
If you put yourself out there in an aggressive manner, as the Iona prayer group does, seeking to curtail rights, you can expect a kick-back, and sometimes, when people are feeling oppressed by aggressive lobbyists, they fight back.
It’s obvious to any fool that lobbyists seeking to curtail other people’s rights are not victims. They are the aggressor and they can expect aggression in return if the people who stand to suffer from their efforts have any balls at all.
The days of Croppy Lie Down are long gone, and the days when agents of extreme right-wing Catholicism can dictate to their fellow citizens are now over. Ironically, the Iona prayer group might well have driven the final nail into the coffin of that vampire with their misconceived threat against RTÉ.
Logic, clarity and critical thinking are the only protection a democratic society has against the demagogue. The demagogue is no friend of facts, as we have seen already in the Iona modus operandi, where they tried to twist the conclusions of genuine researchers and were called to account by those same researchers for their distortions.
This is demagoguery at its worst.
It’s a shame that David Quinn had no opportunity to study the work of the great George Boole, an Irish mathematician whose research formed the basis for all modern computing. Likewise, it’s a pity that he studied only some work of Charles Dodgson, another logician who, under the name Lewis Carroll, wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.
If Quinn had read Dodgson’s other work on symbolic logic, or if he had studied Boole, he would know that you can’t simply invert a proposition.
What do I mean by this? All right then. Let’s have a few examples.
David is very fond of finding individual examples and arguing from the particular to the general.
For instance, he found Paddy Manning, a gay man who is opposed to same-sex marriage. Now, on the face of it, you might be seduced into thinking this is relevant, but of course, it’s just a new variant on the age-old logical fallacy of appeal to authority.
So what if Paddy Manning is against same-sex marriage? Nobody is forcing him to get married. What authority does he have to oppose other people’s happiness?
In many ways, wheeling out Paddy Manning, the Iona gay in the village, is yet another back-handed slur against homosexuals.
In one of the Iona articles, David Quinn found a lesbian couple in Holland who refuse to raise their child as male or female. In other words, he found a pair of lunatics and projected them onto all gay couples wishing to raise a child.
He found a terminally-ill person who opposes assisted suicide but he didn’t explain why this terminally-ill person had the right to tell other terminally-ill people what to do.
He found a woman with an anencephalic child who wishes to carry that pregnancy to full term, but didn’t explain why that woman has the authority to tell other women how they should make decisions in such tragic circumstances.
It’s all about spin, the very opposite of logic, and that’s why I thought it was a shame that RTÉ caved in to groundless threats.
I would pay any money to see David Quinn defending this kind of thing in front of a trained barrister with a nose for evasion and equivocation. I’d gladly pay €85 thousand to see that.
Which is why it will never happen.