O'Doherty: No sex, please... we're feminist busybodies
Published 29/11/2015 | 02:30
Porn, what is it good for?
Well, the answer according to Marian Relihan, of the Kerry Women's Interactive Network, is absolutely nothing.
In fact, proving that the spirit of Mary Whitehouse is alive and well and apparently stalking the wild hills of Kerry, Relihan reckons that: "The majority of porn ends in the man degrading the woman... this is informing children... this is a backlash against all the strides women have made."
That's fair enough, in it's own way, I suppose. After all, I doubt any responsible parent would like their children to learn what they need to know about sex from watching smut on their phone.
To an innocent, naive eye such as my own, the answer to that conundrum would appear almost deceptively simple - parents should do some parenting and if their kid is young enough to be dangerously impressionable then they're also young enough to be monitored.
But this isn't really about the kids. It never is. No, this is about banning porn from the internet for everyone. In fact, this week, Relihan wrote to Minister for Communications, Alex White, to ask him to ban porn websites in Ireland.
The fact that such a thing is actually impossible, and smacks of a Saudi Arabian attitude to what citizens are allowed to watch in the privacy of their home, matters not a jot to campaigners who get their knickers in a twist anytime someone else drops theirs.
The group first tried to ban porn in this country back in 2012 and the campaign was so spectacularly irrelevant that they obviously decided it's high time to have another go.
Reading Relihan's comments is like trawling through a compendium of feminist cliches.
Apparently, all porn is 'violence against women,' which will probably come as a surprise to people who enjoy gay erotica. But the joy of being a campaigner, any campaigner on any topic, is that you don't have to back up your prejudice with facts or statistics, you simply throw out a load of emotive phrases and pray that people's natural revulsion will do the rest of the job for you.
For instance, even a degenerate hedonist like myself was shocked to hear that: "You can actually put into a search engine something like 'My Little Pony' and you'll find someone having sex with a horse."
Maybe Ms Relihan has a more daring search engine than mine, but when I entered 'My Little Pony' into Google, more than 60 million hits came up and while I must admit that I didn't trawl through all of the pages, none of the ones I opened involved anybody engaged in bestiality - which, anyway, is already illegal.
This is ultimately where the prudish prohibitionism so beloved of sex-phobics like Whitehouse and the Catholic League of Decency collides with the modern feminist who would sneer at such old-fashioned attitudes, even though they share exactly the same traits.
Like religious fundamentalists, modern anti-porn campaigners aren't satisfied with simply saying they don't like it and would prefer if nobody else watched it. Instead, they need to inflict their own private views on everybody else. Whenever someone says that they want to 'educate' people, you know you're dealing with a crank. The issue has nothing whatsoever to do with adult erotica and everything to do with a desire for control - over what people watch, listen to and, ultimately, what they think.
Simply put, some people have a weird compulsion to tell other people what they should be doing, and while that role was filled by priests and nuns in the past, we have merely replaced clerical busybodies with secular ones.
But she has research which proves all the women taking part are coerced and doing it against their will!
Well, not really, because she also admitted that: "I haven't got the figures in front of me, but it's a huge percentage."
Oh. Well, as long as she's being scientific about it...
Thanks GAA, for exporting stereotype to Fenway Park
Why did they choose to showcase Ireland's most impressive sport to Americans in such a deranged way?
One of the dubious joys of growing older is that you eventually realised that you've been wrong about lots of things.
One of those things is hurling. While I'm still happy to dismiss it as bog hockey when the mood takes, there's no denying that when it's played well, it's a genuinely mesmerising sport. It's incredibly fast, unbelievably skilful and requires immense bravery.
It is, in other words, a supreme sport and one deserving of respect, unlike Gaelic football, which is terrible.
So why did the powers that be choose to showcase Ireland's most impressive sport to Americans in such a deranged way?
For a people prone to going potty whenever we think foreigners are laughing at us, we have a bizarre habit of giving them more ammunition than they could ever hope to use.
Live ammo was about the only thing not used during the recent 'Fenway classic' in Boston when Galway and Dublin clashed in a mass melee.
I would say that the whole thing looked like a cross between ice hockey and Rollerball, but that makes it sound far more exciting than it actually was.
Instead, it was like looking at a mass brawl outside a chipper at closing time rather than an exhibition of elite sport.
That's the objection many Irish sports fans had to the hugely publicised punch up. If hurling is as good as its supporters claim, why would the players choose to abandon this golden opportunity to bring the game to a wider audience and have a massive scrap instead?
It's hard to escape the lazy 'fighting Irish' cliche when we're the ones propagating the stereotype.
Both of them are terrible candidates for the biggest gig in the world, although for very different reasons.
But even if Trump fails to secure the GOP nomination, he has achieved one thing - proving the old adage that nobody knows nothin' about nothin'.
American commentators have simply thrown their hands up in the air as The Donald skates over his increasingly demented gaffes and it now seems that every time he opens his mouth he merely changes another foot.
His remarks about Serge Kovalevski, a reporter who suffers from arthrogryposis, which impedes and interferes with limb movements are the latest assault on basic decency. Speaking at a campaign rally, Trump went after the reporter by mocking his disability in a way that was astonishingly nasty, even for Trump.
What next? Call Mexicans rapists? Oh, wait. How about insulting America's veterans who were POWs? Nope, he hit that already. Maybe suggest a wall along the southern border? Nope, been there, said that. Deport all Muslims? Um, that was last week's headline.
Unlike many Irish people, I don't dismiss every American politician as a gobshite. But whatever else The Donald may be, his personal attack on a reporter with a life changing condition proves that he is certainly the biggest jerk in the race.