Monday 24 October 2016

O'Doherty: When did common sense become a bad thing?

Published 06/09/2015 | 02:30

No pretender: Isn't Chrissie Hynde making a very valid point?
No pretender: Isn't Chrissie Hynde making a very valid point?
Former ref Pat McEnaney

In Robert Ferrigno's hugely entertaining piece of dystopian hokum, Prayers for the Assassin, America is once again embroiled in a civil war, this time between newly declared Muslim states and the old Christian bible belt.

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The Islamification of America starts with a rejection of sex in popular culture and the tide really turns at an Oscars ceremony when all the winners declare their conversion to Islam and their rejection of an America 'which has lost its modesty'.

I doubt Chrissie Hynde has ever convinced people to do anything other than buy her records - and she hasn't been very successful at that, recently - but her widely derided remarks about the risks young women take when they dress scantily could have been taken from one of the newly converted Muslims from Prayers for the Assassin.

Accepting blame for her own sexual assault when she was younger, she further expanded her idea by adding: "If I'm walking around and I'm very modestly dressed and I'm keeping to myself and someone attacks me, then I'd say that's his fault. But if I'm being very lairy and putting it about and being provocative, then you are enticing someone who's already unhinged - don't do that. That's just common sense."

Ah yes, the old 'modesty' angle. A phrase usually employed by imams or priests, it's no surprise that The Pretenders singer has attracted the now predictable outrage of the usual worthless worthies.

But amidst her clumsy rhetoric and the squeals of fury from her critics, the truth, as ever, lies somewhere in between.

According to the outragerati, many of whom must have been on their Twitter before they had finished the first sentence in her interview, Hynde is 'victim blaming' for saying that a woman who gets drunk and walks around in her knickers is asking for trouble. Note - she didn't say they were 'asking for it', rather that they were asking for trouble. Sadly, that's a distinction which is apparently too complex for those who have only two default emotional responses - outrage or fury.

In fairness to the singer, she was talking in the context of her attack, when she chose to hang out with a biker gang who wore 'I Heart Rape' badges on their jackets, so their behaviour was hardly a surprise.

But the obsession with so-called 'victim blaming' has replaced common sense. Take, for instance, the proliferation of burglaries across the country. Gardaí in remote rural areas have taken to issuing advisories to locals to help prevent them being burgled.

That advice is obvious - don't leave your door open, keep your wits about you, etc. Is anyone accusing the gardaí of 'victim blaming' people whose houses have been broken into?

In a debate that has been hijacked by the usual shrill suspects, the narrative insists that women have the right to walk around wearing what they want and behaving as they choose. And, indeed, they do. In an ideal world, that is. And this is far from an ideal world. This is what happens when academic feminist theory is introduced to the real world - the two are simply incompatible.

Nobody denies that women who are victims of an assault are just that, victims.

Nobody in their right mind has ever suggested that a woman who is attacked deserved it and nobody would ever exonerate the predator who committed the attack.

But there is a massive difference between accepting how the world works and simply pretending it works the way you would like it to. Fundamentally, Hynde was urging women to keep their wits about them because there are bad people out there.

Since when did that become bad advice?


I can't wait for the big match today. Sure, it's only a friendly, but any time we play England there is always a sense of occasion.

There's also a match between Mayo and Dublin, but the recent row between a former ref and a councillor from Ballymun is far more amusing than anything we can expect to see on the pitch.

Former referee Pat McEnaney has been urged to apologise to the people of Ballymun because of remarks he made about Dublin player Philly McMahon (who was apparently embroiled in a head butt controversy), when he joked: "That's just how they walk in Ballymun."

Cue manufactured fury from local councillor Paul McAuliffe, who says the former ref should visit Ballymun and "personally apologise to the decent people he has insulted".

Really? No, I mean... really?

McEnaney, after all, is from Monaghan and with no due respect to that county, I doubt anyone in Dublin, let alone Ballymun, has ever given a toss what someone from that Godforsaken county has ever said about anything.

What's that?

Oh, shite - I've just been told I have to go to Monaghan to apologise for my remarks. Damn.

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