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Friday 29 August 2014

Ian O'Doherty: Newsflash, gay people - Alec's not out to get you

Published 29/11/2013 | 17:37

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Alec Baldwin

Congratulations to the militant, media-based gay community for the great service they have just performed. In fact, I'd even go so far as to extend my congratulations to the Hollywood gay Jews -- to borrow a line from Larry Sanders -- involved in this case and say thanks for the mitzvah.

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Because the gay lobby in America has successfully managed to have Alec Baldwin's new show axed from MSNBC.

Of course, the fact that his chat show was suffering from a paucity of guests and was haemorrhaging viewers to the point of anaemia didn't help, but once the reliably incendiary actor had a row with a reporter and called him a 'c**ksucker', the die was cast and this week Baldwin was unceremoniously defenestrated.

The militant lobby were quick to zero in on a man who has been in their sights for quite some time and, despite disputes over whether the actor then further referred to the reporter as a 'fag' or a 'fathead', one thing remains clear -- Baldwin is gone and the mob is delighted.

In fact, according to Rich Ferraro of GLAAD, one of the campaign groups behind the witch hunt: "I consider GLAAD's campaigns to end the Boy Scouts of America's ban on gay scouts, raise national visibility of the violence and inequality facing transgender people, and battling for marriage equality to be among my greatest triumphs." To which everyone will say. . . um, so what?

Then he further adds: "But if a teacher, coach, local radio show host, or parent realises that anti-LGBT slurs are outdated and unacceptable because of this Baldwin issue, I guess we'll call it a win. Alec Baldwin's team has not been open to turning this incident into an opportunity for public education and that's unfortunate."

See what Ferraro did there? He took bigger issues like violence against gay people or marriage rights and squeezed them into a row between two grown men, one of whom decided he didn't like the choice of insult used against him.

Not surprisingly, Baldwin reacted with a wounded bafflement to the attack pigeons that circled -- after all, the fact that someone had now decreed the phrase was a homophobic slur came as news to him, as it did to most people who had been following the story.

But one element of Ferraro's simpering triumphalism stands out: "Alec Baldwin's team has not been open for turning this incident into an opportunity for public education and that's unfortunate."

Translation -- Alec Baldwin wasn't prepared to publicly humiliate himself by grovelling to a bunch of publicity hungry fundamentalists who consistently display a Stalinist zeal for show trials and tearful public apologies from those who have offended them.

Joan Rivers, for decades a darling of the gay lobby, was quick to weigh in on Baldwin's side, and she did her own take on George Carlin's 'Seven Words You Can Never Say On Tv' by saying to 'TMZ' on Wednesday that, ultimately: "Everybody's either a wop, a nigger, a kike, a fairy, a chink or a mick. Everybody's something, so why don't we all calm down?"

Now, rather brilliantly, some gay groups are calling for a boycott of Rivers, while others are defending her and pointing out that she was a champion of their cause long before it became popular or, as it sometimes seems these days, mandatory.

It doesn't really matter what you think of Alec Baldwin as an actor, or whether you agree with his brand of reliably bonkers rich man's liberalism.

The simple fact is that someone lost their job because a bunch of bullies decided they were going to have someone's head. And they won. And now they're boasting about it. What's particularly sick about Ferraro's comment is the not-so-subtle link he makes between homophobic violence and Baldwin's spat with a professional hack (which he should never have apologised for), as if Baldwin is on the same moral plane as the savages who killed Matthew Shepard, the young gay student, whose murder shocked America.

That's why the actor was completely correct to call Ferraro a 'fundamentalist'. Because, as with any fundamentalist group, any perceived infraction is automatically spliced on to some far more grievous crime.

But this practice of boycott and vilification carried out by these self-appointed regulators on what is acceptable can't be explained away by the fact that they are gay. In fact, their stated cause is actually entirely irrelevant.

No, the activists flex their muscles like this because they can. In fact, it's hard not to look at any of these groups, regardless of the cause they espouse, and see the same type of people popping up.

Sure, they may have different skin, or be a different gender. But regardless of the cause or agenda, be it the GLAAD-handling of Alec Baldwin or its polar opposite, the suffocating social conservatism of the Catholic League, we see the same totalitarian attitude that believes their own dislike of something is enough to have it banned.

Not only are you not allowed to criticise them, you must also support them.

I was once called to task by the professional gay lobby when I pointed out that holding a gay pride march with a load of lads dressed in drag -- and worse -- wasn't a great idea when they are arguing for marriage and adoption rights.

As it happens, I fully agree with equal gay rights for marriage -- adoption is a more complex matter -- and I fully agree with the Pride march. But the two don't go together.

Following a radio debate about the offending piece, one of my opponents accused me of not liking gay people. "Not at all," I replied. "I just don't like you."

Maybe that's the line Baldwin should have stuck with.

Irish Independent

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