Wednesday, 2 August 2017

When the Biter is Bit: Further Reflections on the Downfall of Kevin Myers

Kevin Myers speaking to Seán O'Rourke on RTE radio yesterday
By many accounts from across the political spectrum — including that of my great friend Anthony McIntyre Kevin Myers is decent and friendly in real life. I am willing to accept that this is true.

The problem with Kevin Myers as a journalist, though, is not that he has, by his own admission, "a weakness for facile terminology." Rather, the problem is that his style of argument is making casual inferences from isolated observations and intuitions to utterly glib, unfounded conclusions, many of which are indistinguishable from sneering fascist bigotry. Myers’s recent column was not an aberration. Pseudo-intellectual shock-mongering has been his modus operandi for decades.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Retracting MyArse: A Cynical, Censorious Cop-Out

Yesterday's retractions of articles written by Kevin Myers for the Sunday Times and the Irish Independent (8 years after publication in the latter case!) reek of hypocrisy, cynicism, and cowardice.

Myers's piece in the Sunday Times was his typically noxious plat du jour -- a smug, facile, bigoted Colonel Blimp rant. This, in itself, was nothing new, for it has been his stock in trade for decades now. Of course, Myers normally prefers safer, easier targets — single mothersMuslimstravellersgay peoplefeministsetc. The only reason he finally got his comeuppance yesterday is that he just happened to indulge in the "wrong kind" of bigotry and it just happened to go viral.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Myth & Countermyth

Flag of the Irish Republic, GPO, 1916

I like Ruth Dudley Edwards a lot. We became friends in recent years through email and the internet. In my experience, she is a very kind person and is remarkably generous with her time. Politically speaking though, we are poles apart. I also find her analyses of Irish history deeply problematic. This is especially true of her perspective on the Easter Rising. Indeed, it seems to me that in challenging the ambiguities and contradictions of 1916, Ruth engages in some anachronistic myth-making of her own.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Injustice Ignored: The Christy Walsh Case

Christy Walsh
Today, an Irish man will embark on the 26th day of a hunger strike in protest against his treatment by the British justice system in Northern Ireland. This man was framed by the British Army in 1991 and spent 7 years in prison. After several appeals, his conviction was finally overturned in 2010 after it emerged that one of the soldiers had retracted his testimony and that the prosecution service had suppressed evidence that would have undermined its case. Astonishingly though, the authorities in the North have refused to apologise, admit wrongdoing or pay compensation.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Killing Palestinians: The "Combat-Age" Excuse

In modern propaganda, excuses are the weapon of choice. As the Palestinian death toll rises above 1000, apologists for the IDF's brutal war of choice against Gaza have come up with a rather clever excuse indeed: the age and gender of the Palestinian dead.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Déjà Vu in Gaza

As the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) expand their ground operation in Gaza, I cannot help but feel a numbing sense of déjà vu. Indeed, if I changed a few details, I could almost pass off the article I wrote about the last major crisis there in November 2012 as a commentary on the current violence. Sadly though, the IDF's Operation Protective Edge is longer and far bloodier than its 2012 offensive. At the time of writing, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the IDF have killed over 400 people in Gaza. Palestinians militants have killed 18 Israeli soldiers and two Israeli civilians. The United Nations (UN) estimates that three-quarters of the Palestinian dead are civilians and that at least 73 were under the age of 18. More children will surely die before it's over.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Cutting Through Kilkenny's Heart

Pile driver at the CAS construction site in Kilkenny City

There is something rotten in a country that pours concrete over its heritage. That is what we do in Ireland though. We did it to Wood Quay in the early 1980s and to the Tara Valley in 2007-10. Now Kilkenny City is the crosshairs of the concrete fusiliers. Instead of completing the construction of the existing ring road around the city, Kilkenny County Council wants to build a heavy-duty central access road with a large garish bridge right through the city's beautiful medieval heart. It's just another cynical, short-sighted, back-of-the-envelope half-measure that typifies infrastructure planning in Ireland.