Tommy Tiernan’s Holocaust Rant

All of Ireland seems to be enraged at something Tommy Tiernan said at the Electric Picnic.

Everyone in the country seems to be entirely infuriated by things Tiernan said about the Holocaust, and yet, try as I might, I haven’t been able to find the original transcript of the interview he gave to Hot Press.

According to the reports, Tiernan said, inter alia,  Six million? I would have got 10 or 12 million out of that. No fucking problem! Fuck them. Two at a time, they would have gone. Hold hands, get in there! Leave us your teeth and your glasses.

On the face of it, appalling, and every  hack in the country is writing about his insensitivity, to the extent that Tommy Tiernan has felt compelled to issue an apology.

But hold on a minute.

About two years ago, I wrote a post called Happy Holocaust Holidays.

Supposing some bored Irish Independent hack decided to latch onto that title, ignoring the substance behind it, and of course, presuming I was well-known and newsworthy, I could perhaps expect to see the same outraged articles written about me.

It wouldn’t matter that the post is about the photographs taken by an SS officer in Auschwitz, or that it contrasts the horrors of the murders in the camp with the mundanity of the staffs’  lives.

If a cynical journalist wished to misrepresent it, they would have no difficulty portraying me as an anti-semitic Nazi sympathiser.

That’s the nature of quotations taken out of context.

And that’s why I’ll reserve judgement until I see the full transcript of Tommy Tiernan’s comments, or until I find a working recording of them.

Until then, all we have is reported speech.  Oratio obliqua.

And as we all know, hearsay ain’t worth shit.



Now that I’ve heard the clip and read the transcript, it looks more and more like lazy journalism and hypocritical posturing to condemnTommy Tiernan the way some commentators have done.

All he did was get into character, like all performers do, and the character he got into was a bigoted Jew-hater.

Where are we going with this?  Will we condemn Alec Guinness for portraying  Hitler?  For speaking his words?

Do we think Anthony Hopkins is a psychopathic murderer?

People need to get a grip here.  Tiernan did a stream-of-consciousness performance, and when you do that, sometimes it doesn’t work.

But I didn’t pick up any anti-Jewishness by Tiernan, though he did make a omment about those who attack anyone who criticises Israel.  There are many Jews who criticise Israel.  Are they anti-Jewish too?

I heard Louis Lentin on the news calling for Tiernan’s US visa to be revoked.  For fucksake!  A theatre and film director calling for a performer to be banned.

What next?