Wednesday, June 07, 2006


I’ve tried to introduce a policy of composing a post, leaving it to cook for a couple of days and then re-editing it before it is published. This policy goes against my natural tendency to blurt everything out but it has stopped me from looking even dafter than I usually do. The down side is, of course, that events move on and you get scooped by another brilliant post by a fellow blogger. But I suppose a good idea is still a good idea even if I wasn’t the first to articulate it! I wrote a masterful piece a few days ago. Then I read two of Thatgirl's posts (one here on our Anti-intellectual Society and one here that includes an article by John Waters). It seems they said everything I wanted to say, and more. And they did it with some style. So I've been forced to can my carefully crafted post and blurt out the following....

The events of last week – Statutory Rape, Rattlebag/Mystery Train, Partnership Talks and Wayne Rooney’s Metatarsal – all seem strangely connected.

Now that the furore has died down and Mr A is back in jail, perhaps it is time to reflect. Did we seriously expect any of our politicians to put their head above the parapet and introduce six months ago new improved statutory rape legislation? Had someone been brave enough, would we have ever re-elected him/her? Would the opposition parties have done anything other than accuse the Govt of being on the side of child rapists? So, paralysed by fear of public reaction, our politicians quite reasonably did nothing – until they had to.
We’ve lost an unconstitutional law and replaced it with ‘emergency’ legislation that is (a) unconstitutional (b) contrary to most human rights conventions and (c) discriminates on the basis of gender. The Public gets what the public wants.

Ana Leddy sent an unmistakable message to any brave broadcaster or producer within RTE. Edgy and different is wrong, give the smucks what the smucks want. More rabble rousing rubbish (Liveline), less informed, intelligent arts & culture (Rattlebag). More safe playlist tosh (almost all RTE music save Lyric FM), less innovative and different music (Mystery Train). The Public gets what the public wants.

Another day, another partnership epic. Having spent the past 10 years in cahoots, the social partners were never going to do anything but agree a new programme. The only thing that remained to be decided was the colour of the glossy briefing brochure and the tagline name by which this agreement would be known. But the public demand rigorous debate and delicate negotiations. It just wouldn’t look right if the negotiations were concluded in 10 minutes over a coffee in Café Java. No we want brinkmanship and through the night negotiations. The Public gets what the public wants.

A footballer from a foreign country might miss the World Cup due to an injury sustained during a football match. Is this really newsworthy? I know nothing about football but know that injuries happen. At least 20 other players have suffered similar fates. However, our newspapers, radio and feel compelled to show us reruns of the ‘incident’, breaking news reports on the lack of deviation from a well established recuperation process, colour pieces on the wider societal impacts and details of how it affects our neighbour’s chances of winning the competition. Who cares? Clearly the Public gets what the public wants.

Do we want our society to enact laws because there is a ragtag rabble crew brandishing white flowers outside of Dail Eireann under the command of General Joe Duffy and not because it is the right thing to do? Are we happy that as a society, we want to punish child rapists and then hound them for the rest of their days in a show of extreme public vengeance? Do both the simplest and the complex issues of the day have to be reduced to a catchy tabloid headline before we will engage with it? Does the lowest common denominator have to set the bar for our aspirations? Are we really happy with the fact that we sleep deprive IBEC and ICTU delegates for several days before they make the biggest economic decision for the next 3 years? But more importantly let’s talk about Wayne’s foot…..


Blogger Fence said...

Blurting is good. It is all I ever do, although, like you I sometimes consider writing and editing. But then I wouldn't get those DOH moments when I spot all my spelling errors... hmmm maybe I should edit.

I don't think the Public really wants details of Waaaaaayne's toes. But the British Public do, or at least the English public. And so we are forced to pretend to be entertained.

11:41 a.m., June 07, 2006  
Blogger Omaniblog said...

Dear BlankPaige,
You are indeed out of sort these days, and you are entitled to be so. But since you choose to confess some of your inner musings, I'll take it that you won't mind some comment on the same lines.
First, the notion that your writing is "daft" doesn't ring true. No matter how often you write in self-depricating matter about your writing, you have no credibility on this score. From my point of view, you would gain by cutting out that tendency altogether. Bloggers don't get "scooped" by other bloggers when they write opinion pieces. They get scooped when they have a revelation to make and someone gets it in before them. Whatever That Girl has to say on a topic doesn't fall into the catagory of something that can scoop you. Your style of opinion is unique. It is not attractive for its content but for its style. It is the way you put your words together, the pace, the inflection... that's what makes you worth reading.
As for you being "forced to can" a piece... I am open-mouthed, restraining myself from shout back that you are madly crazy in that space. Shift, please.

I was going to challenge you over two things: (1) referring to a "ragtag rabblecrew" outside the Dail protesting with their flowers... and (2) your labeling Liveline as "rabblerousing".

I heard the Liveline programme on which that woman rang up to say she would be protesting outside the Dail. She'd never done anything like that before, she said. I believed her.

If you'd heard Joe Duffy interview her, I defy you to label his approach "rabblerousing". I feel you have got that one wrong, completely wrong... as is your right.

I feel stronger about you disempowering yourself by withholding your writing, as if you write and then fear that someone else might write a better piece.

When you aren't going on like that, I love your writing and can't get enough of it. So I want you to be proud of your own stuff, so that I might get to read more of it.

9:56 a.m., June 08, 2006  
Anonymous that girl said...

I'm with Paige on the rabble rousing antics of Liveline. I know for a fact (dont' ask me how!) that people are phoned and asked to contribute. The content of the show is simply not driven alone by what comes in on email and via the telephones. And there are discrete ways of rabble rousing as well as overt ways...We're living in an attention economny right now and giving air time, particularly if it's orchestrated, can be rabble rousing...

8:57 p.m., June 08, 2006  
Blogger Fence said...

I heard that woman interviewed by Joe Duffy, and while she did sound quite reasonable Joe Duffy makes me want to throw things at the radio.

9:41 a.m., June 09, 2006  
Blogger Omaniblog said...

Why does Joe Duffy incite you to want to throw things at your radio? What is it in you that he touches? How does he get so much under your skin? Just some of the questions that came to me, Fence.

I love the concept of "discrete ways of rabble rousing" - it turns ordinary language inside out.

What is it about protest groups that has you all criticising them, I wonder? I don't there there are enough people outside the Dail with placards? There certainly aren't enough people holding up the traffic for causes.

In my day, there were marches all the time. Marches protesting over the housing shortage in Dublin. The destruction of Dublin's fine facades. The VietNam war. Ban the Bomb. Anti-imperialism. And so on. Am I imagining it, or has Ireland got a lot quieter? There don't seems to be many protest groups disrupting everyday life.

I'm a bit cut off from the centre of protest in Dublin but there doesn't seem to be much invective about. All the revelations about politician and planners in the pockets of property developers. The rising cost of housing... Is there nothing that could cause a really good protest march?

I think the anti-Joe Duffy protests must be worth a few pickets outside RTE, mustn't they?

11:49 a.m., June 12, 2006  
Blogger Fence said...

Mainly it is the knee-jerk reaction that he encourages. I have nothing against protest marches, or protesting in general. I'd join a anti-Joe Duffy protest.

12:57 p.m., June 12, 2006  

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