Ian O'Doherty

Thursday 21 August 2014

Ryan Tubridy and postcards from the edge of common sense

Ian O'Doherty

Published 21/05/2014 | 02:30

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Call for apology: Ryan Tubridy

When Ryan Tubridy interviewed 'Chris', a self confessed wife beater, he must have known it was going to be a controversial topic. But I doubt he ever suspected the controversy would be caused by his remarks about how he would treat any man who beats a woman.

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Tubridy, as you know, admitted that he would react violently to any man who battered any woman close to him and most of those listening would simply have nodded their head in agreement.

Or so you may have thought.

But providing yet another depressing example of how Western society is sleepwalking into oblivion, the holier-than-thou mob has been out in force to paint him as some sort of weird wannabe vigilante who uses his radio show to issue sinister threats to listeners. And no matter how good or bad his ratings are, no presenter wants to go around threatening his audience.

One contributor to independent.ie was particularly vociferous in his condemnation of the remarks and made the ludicrous, but not unusual, claim that his reaction was not 'acceptable'.

That is simply wrong, on grounds both logical and historical. Because there are times when violence is the only acceptable response. Whether in the macro concept of a 'just' war or the micro level of a guy intervening to stop his sister being used as a punch bag, the same principle applies – sometimes violence is the only way stop a bully. It doesn't matter if it is armed militants or the kind of lowlife who uses his fists on women, some truths remain eternal.

Of course, we live in a UN age, where moral equivalence is the king and meaningless platitudes its queen.

It is much easier to look at a volatile, asymmetric conflict and say that there are two sides to every story and the only way forward is to have dialogue and, in the UN's case, maybe an angry letter.

This is because the West, alone amongst all the other cultures of the world, has lost the ability to judge. Or, to be more precise, we've lost the moral clarity to be prepared to judge. Because to be 'judgmental' is wrong. To not show appropriate understanding is wrong. And, inevitably, any sort of physical intervention, even to protect the weak, is always wrong.

On a broader, international level this is a result of Western paralysis in the face of being accused of being racist or, heaven forbid, being seen to take the moral high ground. But there are times when those who are morally superior should have the balls to say so. And there are times when we should be prepared to state that actions will have consequences and there can be no complaints – whether you're Boko Haram, al-Qa'ida or the slap-happy 'Chris' – when a bigger, tougher guy comes along and puts you back in your box.

The argument against such a response is built on a faulty foundation because it uses that old canard about two wrongs not making a right. But who says that responding in such a way is wrong at all? It might not be pleasant and it might be a necessary evil. But that doesn't make it any less right.

This isn't about fatuous macho posturing. It's not about throwing shapes and giving the big-I-am. It's about having moral clarity and being prepared to address an injustice and, crucially, to stop it happening again.

But proving that we have lost our ethical moorings and are now exhibiting real signs of a culture in terminal decline comes the call that "Ryan should apologise for the comments he made – as an apology for condoning violence as a response, something that modern society is trying to eradicate, be it spousal abuse or indeed a reprisal".

That sentence really is the most elegant example of our cultural malaise you could imagine – combining as it does the equivalence between 'spousal abuse or indeed a reprisal' – as if the two are comparable – and, inevitably, calling for him to apologise.

But who should he apologise to? Those men who beat their wives but who really, really want to stop? The big men who only punch her because they love her so much but sometimes they get frustrated and lash out? Seriously – who could feel aggrieved by what he said, other than a wife beater? And who cares if they are offended? That should be the least of their worries.

What's next? Censuring somebody for saying that paedophiles are monsters who can't be cured?

Oh wait – the Broadcasting Authority already did that a few years ago.

And the broadcaster who had his knuckles rapped?

Yup, Tubridy.

Jesus wept.

Okay HSE - Over to you

One of the most spiteful examples of people using power simply because they have power to use was the recent decision by the HSE to ban the use of E-cigarettes from hospital grounds. It was a remarkably mean-spirited and typically stupid diktat. After all, if you have to go to the trouble of leaving the grounds, why not just smoke a real fag instead?

The reasons given by the HSE were many and muddled. But one notable justification was their claim that there was no proof that they worked. Not that they might be bad for you, mind. Just that they might not work.

Well, a new survey in the medical journal Addiction claims that E-cigarettes are actually hugely beneficial and Professor Robert West, from University College London, adds that "E-cigarettes can substantially improve public health".

So, there's an academic, who presumably has no horse in this race, who thinks they are a good and effective tool for people who want to quit.

Will the HSE now review their policy?

Hardly – when does Nanny ever admit she made a mistake?

Ah bless, he's just a big softie

Reports of Kim Jong-un being a bit of a bad 'un may have been greatly exaggerated.

Because following the collapse of an apartment block in Pyongyang which left hundreds of North Koreans dead, the tyrant has been reportedly been "finding it difficult to sleep".

Well, that's understandable. After all, that's hundreds of his citizens he now won't get to kill.

No wonder he's having sleepless nights.

Irish Independent

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