Wise fools have had a busy week
Published 05/06/2011 | 05:00
Only an ignoramus could suggest that an intellectual dissertation about pederasty in Greek society should disqualify someone from running for the Presidency. There may be quite a few reasons why David Norris should not be the next Irish President, but the senator's 'foolish' decision to engage in an academic discourse with an eccentric restaurant critic about the sleeping arrangements in Plato's Symposium is not one of them.
The invidious whispers by media ignoramuses about how it is dangerous for a gay man to talk too much about Greek philosophers suggests the only thing that has changed from that time where Yeats would tell the mob "you have disgraced yourselves again" is the replacement of the Abbey theatre by Mr Joe Duffy. It would not, though, be correct to use the famous line about the evils of 'breaking a butterfly on the wheel' to describe last week's events.
In spite of his blithe gaiety, Mr Norris is a far tougher class of animal who fought against closeted clerical paedophiles and cowardly homophobe politicians long before it was popular or profitable. Like the very different Garret Fitzgerald, Norris held the line when it came to the tough battle to create a humane civilised society. And those dithering councillors who are sniffing the wind would be wise to realise a public who love their gay sons, daughters, friends and relatives hold Mr Norris in somewhat higher esteem than some superannuated restaurant critic.