Thursday 23 March 2017

Ian O'Doherty: It was just like watching Martina Luther King

Playing to the crowd: Panti Bliss’ speech at the Abbey was an example of whining self-pity not courageous civil rights oration. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Playing to the crowd: Panti Bliss’ speech at the Abbey was an example of whining self-pity not courageous civil rights oration. Photo: Douglas O'Connor

It was the story that grew legs and has been cantering around the national psyche for the last few weeks, stopping only to grab you by the lapels and scream in your face: "Well, are you a homophobe? You are, aren't you? You want to beat up gay people and kill us all don't you, you horrible homophobe."

The chances are you didn't even realise that you were a homophobe, but that's the problem with the straights, you see. They fill you full of insidious propaganda and before you know it you're looking at a culchie in a frock and not finding him amusing or inspirational. Which means you are guilty of the 'H' word.

It's hard to think of a group of formerly oppressed people who have so managed to completely turn public sympathy against them. In fact, it's hard to imagine any debate in recent times when the average punter will hold both sides in equal, weary disdain.

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