When I read Eamon Delaney’s article, my first reaction was to dismiss it as mere professional contrarianism. It may not be an honourable living, but beggars can’t be choosers in this economy. I was content to file it under risible cant and leave it at that. Unfortunately I read it again and then a third time. It was then that the truly pernicious nature of his article struck me. I invite you to read the article and substitute Black or Jew or Traveler for the word gay. I think you would agree, that if Mister Delaney was to have written this article, about any other minority, he would now be facing serious legal and professional difficulties.
It is an article that does not merit attention but I do think it demands close reading, because there is the horrible possibility that Eamon Delaney is an honest man who truly believes what he is saying. Amazing as it may seem to me, but an adult may actually believe these things. That scary notion struck me hard and causes me to have to respond to this vicious little tirade. I know that in writing a reply, I may be accused of drawing undue attention to a mediocrity, but I cannot help thinking that parsing the words and sentiments, that are contained in this article, is a necessary exercise.
Of the litany of truly silly things that Eamon Delaney allowed his brain to think and his fingers to type, I have chosen to focus on seven of the more egregious sentences. I cringe in embarrassment every time I read them and I feel sympathy for Mr Delaney, as I have come to fear that he may believe what he emoted. Perhaps however, he should leave the whole conservative demagoguery thing to his betters. For all of John Waters and David Quinn’s faults, they cannot be accused of being unlettered dilettantes, writing above their ability. At best, this piece appears to be an amalgam of lines that did not survive the journey from a first draft to a second draft, in a David Quinn article.
“Increasingly, it seems as if the homosexual community has forgotten that it is the minority.”
Brevity they say, is the soul of wit. The Bard said that, so it must be true. So why use fifteen words to paraphrase the most succinct, ‘uppity niggers?’ Just say, ‘uppity fags.‘ Possibly Mister Delaney is paid by the word and as someone who has padded out an essay or two, I understand the temptation to over word a simple point, just to achieve a word count. Unfortunately, we live in an age of limited attention, so I fear he risks his message being lost amidst the plethora of stimuli and bile that will be competing for the brian-space of his target audience. So I would suggest that Mister Delaney be brave, avoid unnecessary verbiage and above all else. be pithy. “Uppity fags‘ are being uppity.
“the growing appetite for more and more rights and privileges.”
The real strength of this line is that it reinforces the central message of the piece, while appearing to be wholly reasonable. Who would not be exasperated by ‘uppity fags’ wanting to be just like us normal folk? I think Mister Delaney’s target audience would embrace this phrase. Also equating rights to privileges allows the ignorant, to believe that the gays want more than what the good normal people have. That this is a crass canard is immaterial, the point is to get that impression out there. When a reader of the article, chooses to kick the head in, of an ‘uppity fag‘ it would not do to o’er burden them with facts. If simple verifiable facts were brought into play, I fear Mister Delaney would run the risk of appearing to be just a hateful little man.
“want to increasingly change mainstream culture to suit them.”
I think this may be my favourite phrase of them all. It’s actually perfect. Mister Delaney has managed to turn a truth i.e. a persecuted minority want their persecutors to change so that the minority are no longer persecuted, into something wrong and threatening. He could have said that homosexuals should change so that they can enjoy the rights, that the rest of us take for granted, but the PC Brigade would have lost their minds over something like that. No, what he appears to have done is condemn the gays for fighting their corner and give the reader the impression, that the very act of standing up for itself, marks the gay community as intent on turning us all into hot-pants wearing ‘fags.’ I’m sure there isn’t a battered wife in this country who hasn’t been blamed, by their husband, for the beating he is giving her.
“Many gays want to have it both ways.”
This short sentence is remarkably efficient. It is everything the first quote is not. It is a mere eight words that manage to create an image, in the mind of the reader, of that thing they hate and fear most, gay sex (but only as practiced by men, the other kind of gay sex isn’t really real and exists merely for masturbatory purposes) while simultaneously allowing the reader to conveniently forget that heterosexual hedonism is nighty splattered all over our streets. It makes the reader feel virtuous while simultaneously paints a picture of sex crazed fairies. The pièce de résistance however is the introduction of the idea of bisexuality. And everyone knows that the bis are the agnostics of sexuality, hated by all sides. I wonder if Mister Delaney was mindful when he wrote this. It would be a shame if such a gem had just accidentally spewed from the large intestine of his imagination.
“it makes many of us uneasy and impatient with the idea that raising a child is totally equivalent to a child being raised by its natural parents.”
One can’t go far wrong by issuing a call to reason. By sharing and thus validating an unease that exists, about children being raised by the gays, this offers succor to all those who feel all icky about the gays anyway, but lacked the wherewithal to express that unease in an acceptable way. Of course, that this unease is a result of smallness and should cause one to reflect on one’s own prejudices, is not important. Instead, make what sounds like a reasonable appeal, ‘won’t someone please think of the children‘ and leave it at that. A lettered conservative would have quoted statistics here. They are not hard to find, they use the same ones ad nauseam, about children doing best in two-parent families. Perhaps though, Mister Delaney knew that not one single piece of scientific data exists, that shows children do less well with gay parents. I’m going to credit him with that knowledge and for correctly steering clear of the science and sticking with base emotion. It is enough that one doesn’t agree with something for it to be wrong. It’s an unanswerable argument really.
“Oh, please. What about breastfeeding.”
Again with the lesbians are not real. Wonderful. Gay men are bad, gay women are for wanking to. This is pitch perfect playing to the gallery. Reducing fatherhood to mere sperm donation, does not take away from the assertion that only breastfeeders are good and worthy parents. It’s an argument that may turn some women off, but I think it can be safely assumed that men, single men, childless men, men who weren’t breastfed, men who are unlikely to have ever witnessed a child being breastfed, will wholeheartedly agree with the idea that only breastfeeding mothers are acceptable caregivers for the children these men will probably never have and certainly will never see. Despite whatever misgivings I may have about Mister Delaney, he does deserve special applause for being the first (I think) to use breastfeeding as a stick to beat the gays with. Much more imaginative than the usual ‘god hates fags.‘
“There is also the danger that this insatiable demand for more and more recognition and identity (gay quotas?), will eventually alienate mainstream opinion and undo some of the valuable gains made in this country by, for example, David Norris and others, in eliminating prejudice and discrimination.”
I did a speed-reading course once and the only thing I remember from that class is that when reading a newspaper article, only go for the first and last paragraphs. In them are to be found the most salient points of the article. The rest is mere explanation. I think Mister Delaney has demonstrated that most graphically in this article. The opening gambit was a warning to ‘uppity fags‘ to mind themselves or else, and the ending carries the very same warning. Mister Delaney also introduces a key word, ‘insatiable.‘ A word that will elicit, from the reader, the idea of fags being impossible to ever satisfy. This is followed by the pretense of ever more reasonableness, a mention for celebrity fag, David Norris. This thesis of reason, is then hammered home by stating that ‘prejudice and discrimination have been eliminated.‘ One could not be anymore reasonable. That the contention is demonstrably false, does not prevent Mister Delaney hammering home his point and cloaking the reader in the warm embrace of pious self-righteousness. The fags aren’t locked up anymore, what the hell are they still going on about?
I envy the level of freedom enjoyed by Americans to say whatever they wish to say. I only wish that same freedom was enshrined in our Constitution. Then I read Eamon Delaney’s article and I am moved to think that we may have much more freedom than I had previously assumed. The article, though vile, has not however, diminished my belief in free speech. What the article has done, is highlight, most clearly, that the corollary of free speech is an attendant responsibility on those who hear or read the kind of asinine calumny that Eamon Delaney vomited into our consciousnesses, to respond. Some may say that to respond gives undeserved fuel to the ghastly and harmful sentiments expressed by Eamon Delaney and his ilk, but the alternatives are to have our freedom of speech circumscribed by an elite or to allow the harm caused by Eamon Delaney go undone.
I for one, prefer to attempt, in my little way, to amend the damage that Eamon Delaney’s article will undoubtedly cause and in doing so, hopefully be a part of a process that sidelines the kind of willful stupidity that his kind peddles as informed opinion. And that damage cannot be underestimated or understated. As liberal as I am, I still would not like to have a child of mine, realise that he or she is gay. The world we live in, even our Western World, is not yet very forgiving of difference. It is undoubtedly better than it was twenty years and even ten years ago, but when one reads articles, in broadsheet newspapers, that call for continued discrimination against gay people, then we have to admit that our enlightened age, remains quite dark in places. The most galling aspect of Eamon Delaney’s vituperous rant is that he is not just attacking gay rights, he is attacking the rights of gay people to achieve the rights he takes for granted. Such an attack must be answered.
It must be answered, because no minority has ever been granted equality without that minority first demanding it. Without that constant struggle for equality, without that incessant clamour for rights, no minority would have ever risen above the status of subject people. No minority should ever have to make itself so virtuous that every individual of that minority is saintly in their behaviour. No minority should have to change for fear of offending the prejudices of the majority. And no minority should ever have to be grateful for the fact, that they are no longer considered criminal.
So I urge everyone to read Eamon Delaney’s article and to get their friends and families to read the article and then to discuss it. Discuss it at length and then point out the fallacies, the ill-informed opinion, the prejudice, the failed logic, the lack of science, the unreason and then get angry. Get angry because every child that is gay, is at risk from people like Eamon Delaney. Every gay child is at risk from the kind of bullying that Eamon Delaney’s vicious words inspires. Every gay child faces a life of second class citizenship, because people like Eamon Delaney can’t understand why gay people should even be complaining about being second class citizens. Every gay child is at risk because the poison words of Eamon Delaney are as nectar to hateful people who want nothing more, than to have their inadequacies and prejudices confirmed by a man writing in a big newspaper.