I can’t let the Russell Brand/Jonathan Ross affair go without comment.
There was a great deal of tut tutting in Ireland in response to the affair but, curiously, hardly a word of criticism of Tommy Tiernan’s obnoxious performance on the Late Late Show in which he exploited the suffering of disabled people for a few cheap laughs.
When it’s one of our own we tend to analyse the incident to death and then make excuses but we seldom actually admit that anything wrong occurred.
In stark contrast our sense of outrage is immediately triggered when such behaviour occurs in other countries. Truly, our hypocrisy is world class and none better than Irish Independent columnist Kevin Myers.
In his column Myers tells us that civilisation as we know it is in danger if the likes of Ross and Brand are not permanently banned from the airwaves. He tells us that the BBC is a corrupt organisation, that in addition to Ross and Brand, Simon Cowell and Jeremy Clarkson are also abusive bullies.
Phew, heavy stuff and to cap it all Myers tells us that 9pm is far too early a watershed for the broadcasting of sexually explicit remarks. Are we seeing the emergence of an Irish Mary Whitehouse here?
Myers’ hypocrisy is of a particularly obnoxious kind because if he was to adopt the standards he demands of the BBC he himself should be permanently excluded from writing in newspapers.
The Ross/Brand affair was in the halfpenny place in comparison to his infamous ‘Bastard’ article in the Irish Times in February 2005 in which he accused unmarried women of
“Consciously embark upon a career of mothering bastards because it seems a good way of getting money and accommodation from the State.”
There was massive and sustained outrage over the article eventually forcing Myers to issue what he called an unconditional apology. It was, of course, nothing of the sort. We can see this clearly by simply comparing two contradictory quotes, one from his article and one from his apology.
“And how many girls – and we’re largely talking about teenagers here – consciously embark upon a career of mothering bastards because it seems a good way of getting money and accommodation from the State? Ah. You didn’t like the term bastard? No, I didn’t think you would.”
Obviously, Myers was fully aware that his use of the word bastard would cause outrage but he tries to cover that up in his apology.
“In tackling this subject, I deliberately used the word “bastard” because I genuinely feel that the word has no stigma attached to it; and because I feel this with such a passion, I did not allow for other people’s sensitivities over it.”
Russell Brand was fired from his job and Jonathan Ross was suspended for twelve weeks which will cost him £1.7 million in lost wages but that’s not enough for Mr. Myers, he demands that:
“The only punishment for a such a studied and deliberate assault both on their lives and on the standards by which the rest of us live must be a condign and permanent exclusion from the airwaves.”
The ‘Bastard’ article by Myers was a much more serious incident than that of Ross and Brand and yet he demands nothing less that the total destruction of their careers as punishment.
Obviously, Myers is of the opinion that his offensive article required nothing more than a shallow and dishonest apology.
As I said; Irish hypocrisy is world class.