You have to hand it to David Quinn and the Iona Institute – when it comes to misinterpreting stuff, why stop at academic research?
Why not just go the whole hog, put words in people’s mouths and then sue them for it?
Which seems to be pretty much the premise that RTE paid out on today.
(Yet again I’ve repeatedly contacted David Quinn about this payout, asking who the “injured parties” referred to on his blog are, and how much money each of them got. Yet again, he hasn’t responded. For a journalist, he’s not much of a fan of questions.)
The triumphalist squawking over at Iona Towers was quickly drowned out by the indignant laughter of the masses as Iona once again paraded around Irish social debate with their peculiar mixture of hubris and stupidity firmly on show.
Because it’s not enough for Iona to brag a little – they have to try to rub people’s noses in it too, which often reveals their more megalomaniacal side.
Check this out (my emphasis):
Accusations of ‘homophobia’, which are made with great regularity in the debate about same-sex marriage and adoption, are precisely an attempt to demonise and impute the worst of motives to those who believe that marriage is the sexual and emotional union of a man and a woman by definition, and that children deserve the love of both a mother and a father whenever possible.
Except that’s exactly what didn’t happen.
Reading the above, you’d think Rory went all Diana Ross, keening about how they wanted to stop him marrying all the gays, tie knots in his testicles and shove him back into a closet, behind his not-inconsiderable collection of frocks.
If you haven’t seen the relevant passage from the original Saturday Night Show, you can watch it here – otherwise I’ll quote some relevant passages further down:
At no point in the interview did Rory make any reference to marriage equality, or the Iona Institute’s anti-gay stance on it.
What he actually said is:
Oh listen, the problem is with the word ‘homophobic’, people imagine that if you say “Oh he’s a homophobe” that he’s a horrible monster who goes around beating up gays you know that’s not the way it is. Homophobia can be very subtle.
His succinct argument is probably what caused such seismic tremors among Iona’s pilars of society, as it illustrates the stunning banality of everyday prejudice – in fact, it almost excuses it, as Rory rightly points out that homophobes are not “horrible monsters,” just everyday people who have got their priorities all messed up.
If anything, Rory’s is probably the most reasonable and understanding views on homophobia ever expressed in Irish media – one far more understanding than most homophobes deserve.
Let us remind ourselves what homophobia actually is – according to Webster’s dictionary, it is:
An irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against, homosexuals.
So in a nutshell, Iona started flinging solicitor’s letters around like snuff at a wake because some of its members and a newspaper columnist were accused of being irrational.
Now who is attempting to “demonise and impute the worst of motives”?
And would they have done the same if they were accused of having claustrophobia? Or metathesiophobia (fear of change)? You’d hope not, but you never know.
Try as I might, I cannot find any academic research to suggest that the best treatment for any kind of phobia is large piles of license-payer’s money given to people who are alleged to be irrational or afraid of stuff on television.
But the real hubris comes at the end.
The RTE apology is an extremely valuable and important contribution to having such a debate.
It is no such thing. The legal letters demanding that Iona not be accused of being irrational or afraid have effectively killed any chance of such debate.
The killing of the debate and the receipt of damages from RTE is therefore no victory. It’s more a case of closing the stable door after the horse has thoroughly rogered freedom of speech in a most self-righteous manner.
But hopefully this will be a lesson to Irish media.
Never mention Iona on air or in print.
Never interview them.
Never ask them on air.
Or if they are asked to take part, don’t let them speak. Only allow them to make gestures.
We can call it Panti-mime, just to remind ourselves where it came from.
After all, as long as they insist on misrepresenting everything – research, data, other people’s opinions – they cannot be trusted to take part in reasoned adult debate.
Only then can we be sure that reasonable, caring citizens like Rory will not be “imputed” with anything other than the valid concerns he holds.
And only then can the rest of us have a debate without the hysterical warblings of professional victims who find offence wherever it suits them.