I’m not Osama Bin Laden, Ireland’s greatest living intellectual, John Waters, today informed the Independent. A great relief to all those who feared the Americans had got the wrong man.
After being mocked and jeered at by senior journalists in the Irish Times, especially by the owner of a rogue Twitter account, he feels that the reputation of that mighty organ has been compromised, and he hopes for some gesture towards him. He rails against what he describes as the toxic culture of the paper, especially with the fact that they treat him just like any other non-staffer, by making him wear a badge when he presents himself at the offices of the Old Lady.
Don’t they realise who I am?
Acting out his own personal Easter Passion Play, Waters trudged a cruel Via Dolorosa, paused at the Stations of the Hopping Mad and finally mounted the cross of media crucifixion without once mentioning a single obscure post-modernist academic. No greater love hath an intellectual manqué than to refrain from quoting random arcane dust-jackets, and yet, this is the love John Waters has shown for mankind.
By his sacrifice, he has saved us, and still, ungrateful wretches that we are, his General Public has rejected him, as have the Irish Times, those journalists who work for it, RTÉ and many more who ought to know better, including the many suicidal men whose lives he believes he saved. That would not, of course, include the many suicidal gay men, since Waters denies that LGBT people are at risk of a higher suicide rate due to oppression and (whisper it) homophobia. It also wouldn’t include those suffering from depression, which Our Saviour described as bullshit and a cop-out.
The Epistle of John the Disgruntled is set out in the current edition of Village Magazine which, for this occasion, has been specially printed on papyrus.
Sadly, all the scourging, spitting and mocking have blunted what was once the sharpest brain in these islands or any other, or so it might appear on the face of it, but we’re not dealing with just any man here, are we?
John the Disgruntled is as far from an ordinary man as you or I will meet in a day’s trudge by the Sea of Galilee, and when he seems to contradict himself, when he appears to be talking absolute coleones, the Prophet is in reality challenging us with a mystery.
Thus, when he explains that he is not a homophobe, he offers the fact that he declined an opportunity to appear on the TV show of Vincent Browne to talk about gays and the Catholic church. He did not take up this offer to criticise gays publicly and this shows, as he says himself, that the homophobe slur is objectively untrue. It matters not a jot that he then explains his real reason for refusing to go on the show was Browne’s consistently aggressive dismissiveness of any or all of my arguments concerning fathers and children. So there you have it. As John the Disgruntled himself says, irrefutable fact.
Of course, Browne might well be the torturer in chief of any well-meaning jive-talker at the crossroads of a long and rambling career into the wilderness. What man with such eyebrows could be entirely trustworthy? But let us proceed and let us trouble ourselves no further with any thought of this devil.
St J the D is deeply hurt by homophobia accusations and, in his Epistle, he goes into great detail to explore their origins. Apparently the smears, as he describes them, began in 2011 during the Norris presidential campaign. Needless to mention, he would never use the word smear in a cheap tabloid sense when he could have used words like criticism or even accusation instead. Such gutter tactics would be beneath Ireland’s leading martyr.
He says that Helen Lucy Burke was targeted by gay-rights activists and journalists seeking to prevent her airing these concerns which related to Norris’s alleged views on paedophilia. Naturally, as a highly-skilled journalist, he says targeted because it’s more accurate than contradicted, challenged or questioned, and not because it carries manipulative overtones of a lynch-mob. St J the D has boundless faith in us, his people, and he trusts our memories, though it is hard to recall who tried to stop the lady from saying anything and how they hoped to achieve that.
As Waters himself remarked in his seminal work on subpatriarchialist discourse,
If textual postcapitalist theory holds, we have to choose between subsemanticist structuralism and Debordist situation. However, the subject is contextualised into a cultural paradigm of narrative that includes reality as a whole.
Always true to his integrity, Waters wrote an article in the Irish Times supporting Helen Lucy Burke’s recollection of events at the time. In response, he says, he was subjected to a scurrilous article in the same paper, accusing him of being part of the smear campaign against Norris.
So far, so good. However, he then challenges our faith by saying that this article led to his being called a homophobe on Vincent Browne Tonight. Naturally, he immediately got his lawyer on the case. TV3 caved in but the Irish Times, sadly, told him to go and take a flying jump at himself, which is no way to talk to the National Conscience of any country. Anyway, in the end he didn’t sue them, because he worked for them as a freelance contributor from time to time and therefore had no protection under any employment law. Sadly, in the final hours of his Passion, this detail also escaped him and he seemed to believe that he was somehow on the staff of the newspaper and therefore entitled to all the access and privileges such a role would convey.
It just goes to show how, in times of extreme personal torment, even the greatest of men can fall into error, but the persecution of St John the Disgruntled didn’t stop there.
Who could forget Pantigate, when Rory O’Neill offered examples of people who had been really mean and nasty towards gay people?
St John the Disgruntled is nothing if not merciful, and in the Village article, he explains how Rory O’Neill could have saved RTÉ from paying out €40,000 to him. All Panti had to do was quote some reason why he thought Waters was homophobic.
It’s probably best to present this directly from his own scripture. The Living Word, so to speak.
If Rory O’Neill had offered any remotely germane evidence of his opinion – that, for example, I had spoken or written anything that he, however implausibly, was deem- ing “homophobic” (for example, if he had dragged up the now notorious ‘satire’ quote in which I suggested that the preoccupation with gay marriage indicates a wonky prioritising of concerns relating to family while father-child rights continue to be ignored), RTÉ might have had at least a presentable defence of honest opinion. He didn’t – he cited nothing I had said or written at all – and so RTÉ was left utterly defenceless.
But Rabbi, you might protest, why did you not simply explain this to the heathen Panti, that he might lift this burden from the shoulders of the State Broadcaster, given that the Babylonian Troika are at the gates of the city and the treasury is depleted?
But even an all-merciful prophet can sometimes become wrathful, and therefore in his wisdom, St John the Disgruntled let the foolish fall into the trap of their own making. So let it be written, so let it be done. RTÉ failed to come up with an acceptable form of apology and in the end, John was left with no option but to threaten them with the Judgement Day, upon which they handed over a hefty chunk of dosh, but sadly that was when the Hounds of Hell broke loose. Or to be more specific, the Hounds of the Hated Internet, that region where lurk all manner of demons.
It was appalling. He received messages so shocking I can hardly bring myself to repeat them, but for the sake of this testament, I must.
“You’re a fucking homophobe.* Have the decency to apologize to Panti, and then drop off the face of the earth. *Fuck you, you worthless piece of shit. And, fuck, you are damn ugly too. Cut that dirty long hair, you homophobic asshole.* Hi John Just wanted to tell you everyone in Ireland thinks youre a bastard. Sinead O Connor is better off hav- ing nothing to do with you. You are a piss stain.* I hear you’re a homophobe now John. Any chance of a few bob please? * You sir are not just a bully but a coward.”
I have never heard such language. I was especially shocked by the abusive You sir are a not just a bully but a coward. If only John had a pair of gloves and a brace of matched flintlocks, he could have settled the matter there and then.
Worryingly, John’s own feelings took over at this point. Like Iona’s Breda O’Brien, he began to imagine threats to his personal safety. He began to avoid walking down the street.
In an interestingly enigmatic and challenging observation, he remarks as follows.
I also don’t Tweet or read blogs online. This has suited me in the past, as it meant I received feedback only from people brave enough to attach their names to their correspondence.
A man who avoided the internet was forced to avoid the internet. We should reflect on this mystery.
It gets worse. It gets sinister, in Johns own words, with phantom Tweeters and a newspaper, for which he worked for 24 years, taking a grim satisfaction in the witch-hunt, as he describes it. The homophobe slur became a deluge, his fellow columnists, such as Fintan O’Toole, criticised him and there were attacks on him on Twitter.
In the end, given the unrelenting nature of the Twitter crucifixion, John the Disgruntled felt he had no option but to withdraw his services as a sub-contractor, but he put that on ice temporarily, and he believes all would have been well but for the emergence of the Phantom Tweeter, Patsy59, who had 12 — yes, 12 — Twitter followers at the time St John wrote this epistle.
Apparently, according to John, Patsy59 had a lot of pretty coruscating things to say about him and the Iona Institute. Now, you might have thought that saying bright sparkly things about anyone was rather nice, but sadly, as John pointed out himself in a dig at Fintan O’Toole, he didn’t have the benefit of a formal third-level education, and you couldn’t expect anyone with those disadvantages — not even Ireland’s leading intellectual — to know what coruscating means.
The horror of these coruscating tweets. Read a few if you can bear it.
don’t worry Panti… the same crew do it all the time. It’s about intimidation… can’t win the argument? Send a solicitor’s letter”.
Let’s face it folks. Neither blacks, Catholics or gays should be allowed marry. And I’m not a racist, a bigot or a homophobe. Just reasonable.
Panti in Wednes Indo. Won’t happen in Times. Complaints from Breda O’B and legal action by J Waters over Una Mullally Panti article January 27
Beginning to wonder whether a part of me, just a part… might be Ionaphobic. Can this be cured too?
By the Waters of Babble- on-and-on… I lay down and wept…and wept…and wept… floodwaters
Utterly shocking. St John the Disgruntled did what any sane martyr would do. In his own Words
On February 14th I sent a comprehensive portfolio on Thomas59 in an email to the editor of the Irish Times, Kevin O’Sullivan and denis Staunton. I drew attention to the implications for the reputation of the Irish Times as a voice of diversity and balance in Irish society, revealing the identity of the individual in question. I supplied texts of numerous tweets by Thomas59 and indicated the identities of several of his ‘followers’, including Fintan O’Toole.
It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the entire Irish Times staff, including the management, believed that John Waters was a ridiculous self-important twat. After all, when he sent a second email of complaint, Patsy59 was unintimidated.
One has been rumbled by H2O. …but does one care? Non. Who wants such cruel friends?
Poor John. Not a friend in the world, apart from the Iona Institute which he wants to state, for the avoidance of all doubt, that he is not now a member of and never has been. However, in fairness to their own spiritual leader David Quinn, another prestigious journalist, not even Ireland’s greatest intellectual is above learning a stylistic lesson.
St John the Disgruntled fashions a final paragraph in his Village article that even Dave might hesitate before letting loose. Deluge of hatred. Lawless world of social media. Tsunami of bullying. Corrupted clamour. Unrecognised, unaccountable fifth column.
Echoes of Dave’s famous River of Bile accusation to describe criticism of his prayer group.
Needless to mention, none of this represents any sort of paranoid, delusional defensiveness, but at the same time, one would have to worry for a man who believes himself to be under such attack.
Maybe, with the passage of time, John will grow more gruntled. We live in hope.
As Heidegger once remarked to John Waters, As the ego cogito, subjectivity is the consciousness that represents something, relates this representation back to itself, and so gathers with itself.
Or as John Waters so aptly put it himself, If one examines Lacanist obscurity, one is faced with a choice: either reject neocultural discourse or conclude that academe is intrinsically responsible for hierarchy.
Also on BTR