Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Holy crap, is this the most casually homophobic article you’ve ever read or what?

When I read this piece by Ian O’Doherty yesterday morning, I shrugged my shoulders and just kinda assumed someone else would kick up a fuss about it. But that didn’t happen. Now I’m no fan of outrage, but last year Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir was widely pilloried for a column she wrote following the death of Stephen Gately. And truthfully, that article contained little more than a few massive logical non-sequiturs and some spiteful innuendo.

On Tuesday – coincidentally, the morning after RTE’s acclaimed Growing Up Gay documentary was screened – a columnist in our biggest selling daily newspaper branded gays “sexual deviants”, and clearly equated homosexuality with paedophilia and bestiality. Read the article after the jump. It’s about a thousand times more ignorant and offensive than anything Jan Moir wrote. Yet no one seems to have batted an eyelid:

We live in strange and frequently hideous times. Every form of sexual deviancy is now seen by some as legitimate and we shouldn’t judge them.

Gay people have groups like Stonewall and the Terence Higgins Trust, paedophiles have NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association) and, of course, the Catholic Church.

And now there’s a particularly unpleasant support group — for people who like to engage in a little bestiality.

Thirty-nine-year old Douglas Spink has been arrested for running an interesting operation in Seattle — a farm where people could go and have sex with animals.

But amidst the usual roll call of animal floozies — sexy horses, dogs with a certain glint in their eye, you know the drill, there was one particularly odd animal found: mice.

Now this column can understand someone admiring a horse’s fetlocks (are you really sure that’s something you want to admit to? –ed.) but, really, this is beyond the pale.

After all, have you ever gone into a pet shop, seen a mouse and thought: “Yup, I’m definitely going to get me a piece of that honey”?

In fairness, the mice were all wearing make-up and rodent lingerie, so maybe they should shoulder some of the blame.

The little tarts.

Link is here.

O’Doherty’s point is so blatantly half-arsed, it seems redundant even to bother picking it apart. But I’m going to anyway. The news item that prompted these remarks was an isolated instance of bestiality involving two men. It took place on a farm on the west coast of the United States, eight time zones removed from this country. It is indicative of no wider societal trend, and no individual or group mentioned in any of these dozen or so local news stories listed on Google News has made any attempt to justify or defend the men’s alleged actions.

Indeed the news story wasn’t even picked up by any national or international news outlet. So its hard to see how an Irish journalist could even have heard about it, unless he purposefully went scouring the web for bestiality-related news stories. Neither is there any body of opinion in this (or any other) country advocating the right of paedophiles to have sex with children. In recent decades NAMBLA has been little more than a recurring punchline for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.

So why refer to these phantom (presumably liberal) pro-paedophilia and pro-bestiality lobbies as if they exist, when clearly they don’t? Isn’t O’Doherty just setting up straw men as targets for his reactionary outrage? And isn’t he also blatantly attempting to antagonise the gay community, by likening homosexuality to kiddy-fiddling and horse-fucking? Yes, of course he is. Clearly, there is no legitimate comparison to be made between these causes. I don’t need to explain that to any intelligent person.

Hell, I suspect I don’t even have to explain it to O’Doherty. He sounds like he’s just spewing this nonsense for fun. Which is all very well. But as long as these kind of ignorant and hateful views are given voice in our best-selling daily newspaper, so long will kids like the ones in the documentary the other night will read them and know that they are considered acceptable by society at large.

See also here.

April 21st, 2010.

45 Responses to “Holy crap, is this the most casually homophobic article you’ve ever read or what?”

  1. Darragh Says:

    Oh the amount of times I’ve spat teeth at the confusion that roams his page in search of a lumpen punchline. And you’re right Eoin, even though O’Doherty thinks he’s having swaggering fun on his page, there should be more editorial control of stuff like this (although I see, in this case, the editor ain’t so sure about Iano’s love of a silky fetlock. fnnarr).

    Imagine sitting beside Ian O’Doherty in a pub, listening to him braying on about how his next devastating 400 words are going to upset the “feminazis” who’ll be quaking in their dungarees at the thought of his straight from the hip funny bombs.

  2. gueuleton Says:

    I think he was trying to be funny. Admittedly thats only a theory.

  3. alan Says:

    Don’t rush to judge — maybe he never went to school

  4. Eoin O'Mahony Says:

    Here’s a suggestion: what if everyone who currently buys the Indo on a daily basis, stopped buying it? His editor would soon get the message. O’Doherty’s an ass, he has a purpose in that paper which is to provoke, one day he might even get his own late night Saturday TV show. Between now and then, treat like his colleague Brendan from Cork: ignore him and he will be marginalised.

  5. Gerard Says:

    I tend to agree that O’Doherty’s attempt to be humorous went awry. A bit like the disastrous attempt by a well-known Irish standup comedian to be funny last autumn when his impromptu remarks about Jews went offbeam. His invite to an event in Canada was withdrawn by organizers who considered his remarks unfunny. As the proverb about apposite telephone use goes: Please ensure brain is engaged before operating mouth.

  6. paddyanglican Says:

    Irony is that in his comments he has done a Cardinal Bertone himself by equating homosexuality with child abuse!
    If the Indo wants to be considered a quality paper they need to ditch this nasty vile so called journalist.

  7. Mark Says:

    It is not the first time that he written this type of article, I think he is writing to provoke a reaction from people. Various GLBT groups have complained about him in the past.

    He has been warned by journalism bodies before and I remember in one of articles just after he had been warned, he even joked about how he must offend the gays.

  8. shane Says:

    O’Doherty spewing out reactionary drivel is nothing new, but that definitely seems to be one of the worst things he’s come out with yet. It’s no exaggeration to say that it’s the kind of article that wouldn’t look remotely out of place in a hate group newsletter.

  9. Colin Says:

    Don’t really bother with Ian in the Indo but I’ll go with the latter idea of “spewing this nonsense for fun”. O’Doherty has mentioned people “misinterpreting” his column in the past, but the column is of course set up that way. One day, he could be lambasting someone for homophobic comments, the next he himself could be lampooning homosexuality. He’s in on his own joke, just not sure about all his readers.

    A casual reader can usually find something that offends, and when he does it so often, and the lines of satire blur, can anyone blame them?

    Today in his column he takes a few auld stereotypical jabs at women then strikes at Sex and the City 2 as a being “hardly a template for female equality”.

    The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.

  10. Colin Says:

    Oh and here’s a link to today’s column where you can see the mixed messages – http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/ian-odoherty/ian-odoherty-ladies-its-all-your-fault-2145216.html

  11. Ferret Says:

    This is nothing to do with his writing, just a story about when he used to come into the pub I worked in in D4 during college.

    [Sorry Ferret, I’m gonna have to stop you there…]

  12. Denise Says:

    What a hateful pathetic man. If he really believes homosexuality is no different from paedophilia or bestiality then he is a moron. If he’s joking then… why isn’t he funny??

  13. Andrew Says:

    read down through that piece that Colin linked to and see what cutting edge ‘sounds’ Ian is reviewing this week. That’s right, a Nick Cave Best Of from 13 years ago.
    The guy has always been a hateful little dickhead. He reminds me of Myers, but without a thesaurus.

  14. demure lemur Says:

    I don’t think he’s joking. That’s some genuine hatred of gay people right there. I bet he’ll be found dead someday with a chicken stuck on his cock and his head trapped up a turkey’s arse.

    Interestingly, there are pro-paedophilia groups out there. One recently set up a political party in Holland. See? http://tinyurl.com/y5h4zb7

    As a little aside, when I was looking for a link to the dutch paedo party, I found that wikipedia says that the age of consent in the Vatican city is 12. Can that be true?


  15. demure lemur Says:

    Also, nothing.

  16. Darragh Says:

    Got in there before you censored Ferret’s story Eoin haha. Good job I’m not on the indo legal team.

  17. Eoin Says:

    Ah come on, don’t leave us hangin’!

    Re: paedo party – do they have any popular support??

  18. lee Says:

    “Every form of sexual deviancy is now seen by some as legitimate and we shouldn’t judge them.”

    Forget the homophobia, its his prose that’s most offensive!!

  19. david Says:

    @alan :

    You’re not a million miles off. O’Doherty never went to college or studied at third level. He mentions it frequently in his column in fact. He’s quite proud of it.

  20. Ferret Says:

    Oh well, hearsay and conjecture…

  21. Eoin Says:

    @ Andrew – re: Kevin Myers. I don’t think that’s a fair comparison. I rarely agree with Myers, but I always find his columns interesting.

    Even at his most objectionable, like the time he referred to children born outside of wedlock as “bastards”, he was making a serious point i.e. that in terms of welfare entitlements there is a serious incentive for teenage girls to get pregnant (equivalent to €33k per annum.)

    For O’Doherty, being provocative and offending people just seems to be an end in itself.

  22. Eoin Says:

    @ Ferret – I did enjoy your story. Just didn’t want to get my ass sued.

  23. Andrew Says:

    Ah, I realise that Myers is an evolutionary step or two above O’Doherty, but in recent times he seems solely concerned with the same kind of cheap, spiteful rabble-rousing. His suggestion that there is no point in Third World aid because all African men are horny, lazy bastards was something else. Except he didn’t use ‘horny’, he used ‘priapic’.

  24. Denise Says:

    @Eoin – I’d be interested to know why you’re so convinced hes trying to be funny and doesn’t geniunely hate gay people?

  25. Eoin Says:

    @ Andrew – I have to admit, I stopped reading him regularly when he left the Irish Times so you might have a point there!

    @ Denise – I never said I was convinced. But I do think it would be hard to work in the media without knowing at least, say, ten gay people. And I don’t think it’s possible to know ten gay people and still think there’s anything wrong or disordered about being gay. Maybe I’m naive…

  26. albinicus Says:

    he’s a shit stirrer nothing else..the jim corr of journalists..a man who believes in everything and nothing at the same time..a man that makes me want to stick a spatula down my windpipe

  27. demure lemur Says:

    According to my dutch friend Pepijn, everyone hates the paedo party and the leader has had to go into hiding.

    The age of consent in the Vatican City is actually 12. That’s not just something some funny fecker put on Wikipedia.

  28. Eoin Says:

    Well exactly, so they’re not exactly formidable political force.

    Re: Vatican age of consent – who the hell is (legitimately) having sex in the Vatican anyway?

  29. Denise Says:

    Sorry to keep harping on about this, but even assuming it is intended as a joke, and allowing that none of us think it’s funny, can anyone even tell me what’s supposed to be funny about it??

  30. demure lemur Says:

    Not exactly a formidable political force, what with the public hatred and the enforced hiding. You have me there. But still pretty whack.

    Who the hell is legitimately having sex in the vatican anyway? Um, 12 year olds? Jokes aside, I was reading a polemic against anti-Catholic propaganda on the online Catholic forum, and that’s pretty much the Catholic argument. No one can consent to sex in the Vatican, only to marriage, and therefore the technical age of consent doesn’t matter. Or something.

  31. Stella Says:

    “O’Doherty never went to college or studied at third level. He mentions it frequently in his column in fact. He’s quite proud of it.”

    Does Ian O’Doherty really claim that he never went to college? Well, that’s a load of bollocks, because he was in my Journalism MA class in DCU back in 1997.

  32. Eoin Says:

    @ Stella –

  33. jax Says:

    I think Irish people see their country as a shitty backwater. We accept whatever crap is thrown our way. Corrupt politicians telling blatant lies to our faces that even their own mothers wouldn’t believe. Bankers conning us out of billions while men sit in jail for stealing a couple of hundred somewhere.

    I guarantee you the very same Irish people who signed petitions and joined Facebook groups to get the Daily Mail woman fired will just tut about this and think well… what are you gonna do?

    To be honest like, I’m even half thinking that way myself. [Edit – E.B] So what if he tells hundreds of thousands of decent people that they’re no better than paedophiles. No one pays him a blind bit of notice otherwise.

  34. debbie kenny Says:

    myself and my son took part in the growing up gay program and i would just love to come face to face with this idiot. making money out of words that hurt others all you are is a bigot.

  35. Eoin Says:

    Hey Debbie

    Fair play for your involvement in the programme. Re: O’Doherty. If you did confront him, he’d probably deny making any of the insinuations that he obviously did make.

    He’d admit referring to gays as deviants. But would argue that the majority of people are straight, therefore gays deviate from that. Bullshit, of course. He knew exactly what he was doing. But probably had a deadline to meet and felt like generating some cheap outrage.

    That’s his life and those are his choices. But no respectable newspaper should have printed what he wrote.


  36. gueuleton Says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head there Eoin. Someone asked further up what was the joke if its supposed to be funny?

    I’d say he finds bestiality funny in the same way Beavis & Butthead would + casual homophobia for good measure because offending politically correct opinion is an achievement no matter how artlessly its done.

    Like most who skirt the edges of hate speech (BNP etc.) he’s pretty careful about what he says. Regrettably, I think he’s just about covered his ass.

  37. Nathan Says:

    Its one mans opinion which is hardly something to get worked up over.
    To suggest he goes hunting for beastiality related news is probably a bit of the mark as his colunm is generally about the weird and strange.
    And as for people no longer buying the indo as some kind of protest… wouldn’t work because the majority no longer purchase the papare but read it for free online

  38. Karl Says:

    The problem with the piece is that he “casually” lumps homosexuality, paedophilia and bestiality together, which automatically implies that all three are equally illegitimate.
    It’s more stupidity than any genuine shit-stirring, methinks. Careless, half-arsed prose rather than hatred.

  39. albinicus Says:

    note in his rebuttal today he makes no reference at all to what you were actually offended by only inaccuracies in the comments to your piece…sidewinder..

  40. Colin Says:

    @albinicus: Agreed.

    He never mentions anything about “the item” that caused offence. Just named Eoin and then discussed the random off-topic comments, must have read them a few times over as they were posted, guess he’s a fan. It all reeked of the easy way out.

    The rest of the column was, of course, consistent with O’Doherty.


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  42. Stella Says:

    Belatedly returning because I’m amazed he denied being in that DCU class. It must have been someone with the same name who looked exactly like him and ended up being a journalist. Intriguing.

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