Ian O'Doherty: Step away from . . . the pineapple
In these sensitive, caring and sharing times, we must all take account other people's feelings.
After all, there is no modern crime greater than upsetting someone else's beliefs, is there?
So the atheist students union in Reading University are looking at some time in the stocks following their latest outrage.
As regular readers will know, I don't believe in any God.
But, equally, I do get the hump with militant secularists who complain about everything from the Angelus on RTÉ (Really? Have they nothing better to be getting their boxers in a twist about?) to Christmas cribs in public.
But the story from Reading is, I'm sure you'll agree, an absolute belter.
During the college's Freshers' Week, various different student societies set up stalls to attract newcomers.
But the Reading Atheist and Humanist Society were kicked out of the campus for causing "alarm, upset and distress" to some of the new students.
And the reason?
Well, they had a pineapple on their stand which they had named 'Mohammed'.
College authorities decreed that this was not 'freedom of speech', rather it was deemed to be 'hate speech'.
This, of course, begs the obvious question -- was it hate speech towards Mohammed? Or was it actually hate speech towards the pineapple?
But really people, we need to stamp out the ever growing problem of religiously insensitive . . . um, fruit.
Ah yes, the voice of political reason
There are ways to intellectually and politically engage with the powers that be to try to get your point across.
And then there's the Éirígí way.
This group of Republican/ Socialist morons have absolutely nothing to offer other than slogans and self-aggrandising posturing and they were at it again last Friday.
So far, so normal -- politicians appear, protesters appear and the usual narrative is repeated.
This time, these fine political strategists had damning, incontrovertible denunciation of government policies.
In fact their rebuttal of the Government's approach is so brilliant, so well crafted, so mature that no politician could possibly disagree with them.
So what was Éirígí's brilliant and revolutionary strategy?
Um, they threw eggs at Gilmore's car.
Well done lads -- sure nobody could possibly come up with a more cogent and precise argument about the austerity measures than fecking a load of eggs at a car.
Even more pathetically, they then issued a press release boasting about their achievement.
Power to the people, indeed.
You want an apology? You got it. Or not
Last Wednesday, I wrote about cyclists and the irresponsible ones who make getting through the city centre a bloody nightmare at times.
I also pointed out that if you're riding a bike and blithely cycle through a red light then you can't complain if you get creamed by an oncoming car.
This piece of logic seems rather obvious, but not according to some cyclists who were outraged at the suggestion that they should obey the rules of the road like everyone else.
In fact, according one rather hilariously self-righteous reader: "You are advocating that cyclists should be 'creamed' by cars. You do mean that you want to see cyclists run over and killed."
I just meant that if you cycle through a red light then you can't complain if you're knocked down.
But that's a distinction that is obviously beyond these people.
Truly, we live in weird times
I had a rather odd conversation with my brother Dan the other day.
He told me how he had been dropped from Norwich after a bad game and was then transferred to Wycombe Wanderers.
He then played his way up through the leagues and was signed by Arsenal on the stroke of midnight on transfer deadline day.
This led to a call-up for the Irish squad, but he was sent off on his debut. Later that week, he made his debut for Arsenal, and was also sent off.
He's playing the new FIFA 13 at the minute and I think he may have gone mad.
After all, when you have your kid brother saying -- and meaning -- "I have to sort out my disciplinary record" when talking about a computer game then you know he's probably playing it a bit too much.
A true Irish hero!
May this column sincerely, hand on heart, congratulate and thank Wexford trawler man Seamus O'Flaherty.
As you undoubtedly know, one of the greatest iniquities of the EU is the quota system in Irish waters which allows foreign ships to trawl up to 10 times the amount of fish that our native fishermen -- sorry, fisherpsersons can land.
O'Flaherty refused to dump his excess quota of monkfish, as he was supposed to do and instead, gave the fish away to locals in the beautiful harbour at Kilmore Quay (I spent many summers there as a kid and loved the place).
Now he faces prosecution but whatever happens to him -- sir, the country salutes you.