Fintan O’Toole does a good analysis of the ongoing picturegate affair in yesterday’s Irish Times.
I agree with his conclusion that the whole affair is nothing less than an abuse of power. If true, he says, “we are back in the day of Sean Doherty and political pressure on the Garda.”
Personally, I don’t believe we ever left those days.
Here’s my analysis/opinion of the reaction of some of the principal characters in the affair.
Brian Cowen: Taoiseach (The Great Leader).
In my opinion it was Mr. Cowen who initiated the police action and demanded the apology from RTE. It’s just not believable that RTE would issue such a craven apology so soon over a report that most normal people would see as a harmless piece of satire.
For RTE to jump so high and so quickly could only be in reaction to the anger of ‘somebody from on high’. I believe the policeman who said he was acting on orders from on high was telling the truth and I believe he got his orders from the Government Press Officer.
Brian Cowen has always viewed those outside the Fianna Fail tribe with suspicion and contempt, including the electorate but in particular the non FF media.
He has clearly taken to heart the fantastic claims made by the FF media regarding his ‘super intelligence and amazing political acumen’. When a political leader begins to believe his own propaganda then satirists and democrats better watch out.
Michael Kennedy: Fianna Fail TD.
Kennedy had no problem if the pictures were shown on any comedy show. He had no problem if they had been published in any newspaper so long as they were in black and white. According to Kennedy, colour has an impact that was unacceptable.
He had no problem if RTE had broadcast the story on any other news programme except the main evening news. According to Kennedy this news should be strictly reserved for serious items.
Mr. Kennedy is one of those Fianna Fail backwoodsmen who believe that RTE should follow guidelines as set out by his party; he believes RTE is a government department.
Mary O’Rourke: Fianna Fail TD.
For this politician freedom of privacy in the loo is supreme, nobody should infringe on that right. So if Cowen had been portrayed fully naked leaving, let’s say, a house of ill repute, O’Rourke would have no problem with that.
O’Rourke joined a discussion on the matter on the Late Late Show on the strict condition that the pictures would not make an appearance in her presence, predictably, RTE agreed.
In common with almost all Fianna Fail politicians O’Rourke possesses a warped sense of morality. For example, she never had any problem with the massive damage done to the people of Ireland by the corrupt Haughey. When Haughey died she referred to his long career of corruption as ‘a few bumps on the road’.
Neither had she any problem with Bertie Ahern’s long series of fairy tales at the tribunal and she obviously sees nothing wrong with a former Taoiseach swearing under oath that he won the money on the horses.
Rónán Mullen: Senator.
Mullen tells us that he would have had no problem with the pictures if they had remained as a private joke with the artist. Like all ultra conservatives Mullen attacked the media for exploiting the situation saying that the stunt wasn’t satire but just a tasteless prank.
He added, bizarrely, that if something is funny it has to be in the eye of the lampooned person??
Senator Mullen is a catholic fundamentalist who was the principal mover behind the law that has made it a criminal offence to sell a Mass card without the permission of a Catholic bishop.
According to Mullen, John waters penned the most accurate and impressive analysis of the affair in the Irish Times.
John Waters: Author/Columnist.
In his intolerant article Waters is extremely insulting to the artist, Conor Casby. He also, predictably, used the affair to attack the media, bloggers and anyone else who he sees as a threat to the State, the Catholic Church or his own sense of public morality.
“The only amusing thing here is Casby’s deluded belief that he has something to say. His response is typical of a public discourse almost fatally degraded by internet auto-eroticism and an obsession with what is called “comedy”. His works are crude, unfunny, and vindictive; without intrinsic content and wholly lacking in artistic merit.”
On those who write on the internet:
“The internet has reduced public debate to the level of a drunken argument, in which no holds are barred, in which deeply unpleasant people get to voice their ignorant opinions in the ugliest terms, in the name of “free speech.”
Fortunately, his views can be dismissed with pity. Until recently I had seen him as an adequate writer with some bizarre views but having just recently read his latest book, Lapsed Agnostic, I sincerely believe the man is in need of some serious guidance.
In the book he sees George Best as a god.
“There was something superhuman in the way he played, something unworldly and yet transcendent in both the worldly and theological senses…He has walked in the skin of a god.”
As I say, a man not to be taken seriously.
Fionn Sheehan: Political editor, Irish Independent. (This reaction threw me a bit).
“The man has a family, the man holds the office of Taoiseach and he’s entitled to have some respect shown towards him in that regard.
In this case, this caricature was in no way commenting on any action that he had undertaken as Taoiseach if it was showing him, you know, running the wrong way on a football pitch or looking behind him and seeing there’s no team behind him or anything like that. But picking on a physical characteristic, I think that’s what would have upset an awful lot of people.
I think the specific reason was the nine o’clock news holds a particular place in Irish society; it’s not the six o’clock news where things are very fast moving and it’s breaking news and people being interviewed to and fro. It’s not News 2 where they take a lighter and more neutral approach. It’s nine o’clock news when the ordinary plain people of Ireland have settled down for the night and the day’s work is done”
Feck, what is this man on, I mean the news is the news is the news. I never realised the Nine O’clock News played such a central role in the life and culture of the Irish people.
Clearly, Mr. Sheehan would agree with Michael Kennedy that RTEs flagship news programmes are a thing apart, on a par with the god ‘George Best’ perhaps.
And what’s this about the ‘ordinary plain people of Ireland settling down after the day’s work is done? Has this man been looking into Dev’s heart lately?
Until now I had always seen Sheehan as a well balanced professional political analyst but, clearly, he’s taken a sharp turn towards the Fianna Fail camp.
Could it have anything to do with the fact his wife is standing as a Fianna Fail candidate in the upcoming local elections? Have we lost yet another potentially great journalist to the moral wilderness that is Fianna Fail?
Noel Whelan: Fianna Fail journalist.
Whelan wrote an article in which he blamed Fine Gael and the media, including RTE, for over reacting. He went on to outline the ‘facts’ of the matter as stated by government officials.
Whelan is one of those journalists who believe everything they’re told by Fianna Fail and attack all those who disagree. He lives a simple but happy life.
6 thoughts on “Picturegate: An analysis”
Given the quote from John Waters above, I wonder how he can justify his appearance in celebrity bainisteor?
I find it thoughtful that had someone placed caricature paintings of a semi-nude George Bush in the National Gallery, The Irish Times and John Waters would have applauded the art for its humour and statement, and the hanging itself as a gesture against the evil Bush and his wars.
It’s whose ox is gored.
Christ is a jar full of piss is OK, and even art, but don’t ever poke fun at the emperor for having no clothes.
I ploughed through your ‘commentary’ and all I can say is thanks for saving me the bother of reading all the drivel in detail.
I cannot understand why you or anyone else should bother to comment on the whole affair. It may well be that it takes our mind off other more serious problems, but even that is a cop out.
As to whether the national broadcaster should have bothered, which seems to be a ‘serious’ part of the discussion, can we cop ourselves on, it is just that, the national broadcaster, what the feck do we expect??
As to the journos, apart from O’Toole, their inputs are exactly as one would expect, either fawning nonsense, or bombastic rubbish, mixed with supposed serious comment, which it is not.
Move along, nothing to see here.
When the story first broke I took the same view as you do now Barry – Nothing to see here. However, once it became clear that the Government was playing the heavy my view changed. The stunt itself remains a clever and funny incident but the subsequent flushing out of this administration as a Haugheyite clone is important.
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