Thursday 29 June 2017

Michael O'Doherty: There's only one way a dinosaur like Hook is going to go and that's extinct

George Hook
George Hook
Michael O'Doherty

Michael O'Doherty

What type of dinosaur is George Hook?

It's a question which continues to baffle anthropologists, as the man from the land that time forgot continues to spout opinions that most of us thought were long extinct.

A brontosaurus, perhaps - the enormous, lumbering, tree-munching monster that slayed all in its path? It's a possibility.

A velociraptor - the lightening quick, agile predator that hunted down its prey with graceful ease? I don't think so.

28/05/15 To mark the season finale of the Late Late Show, well-known Irish personalitie George Hook pictured in dancing costume as The Late Late Show goes In The Mood For Dancing... Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
28/05/15 To mark the season finale of the Late Late Show, well-known Irish personalitie George Hook pictured in dancing costume as The Late Late Show goes In The Mood For Dancing... Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Most likely, George is descended from the Ornithorhynchus anatinus: a sea-loving mammal whose globular features marked him out as little-maligned upon extinction.

Except, however - and this is where the association with Hooky is most evident - it is not extinct like its contemporaries, living on in the shape of the charming, though tragically ugly, duck-billed platypus.

As evidence of George's prehistoric lineage, he recently engaged in a debate about Dublin cyclists, wheeling out lazy, cliched and appallingly outdated generalisations, dismissing cyclists as "criminals.'

Stuck in a time when the car was king, George has seen evolution pass him by, unfettered by the convenience, environmental friendliness, and personal health benefits to be derived from getting on your bike.

George Hook at the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron
George Hook at the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron
George Hook posed a selfie on his Twitter account prior to his knee operation

And lest one thought that his advocacy of the neanderthal "four wheels good, two wheels bad" argument was a once-off, the Hookosaurus came out with an even more extraordinary proposition last week.

Discussing the controversial judgement which saw rapist Magnus Meyer Hustveit walk free after a series of assaults on his girlfriend while she lay sleeping, George threw out the argument that what he did might not be a crime.

"You're sharing a bed with somebody," George suggested, "and obviously sexual congress takes place on a regular basis because you're living with someone. Is there not an implied consent therefore that you consent to sexual congress?"

While there is no suggestion that George agrees with this proposition, his very asking of the question, without any qualification on his part, was at best astonishing clumsiness, and at worst the re-airing of long discredited beliefs.

Michael O'Doherty
Michael O'Doherty

It seems extraordinary now, but up to 25 years ago, no matter how often he forced himself on his wife without her consent, a husband could not be accused of rape in Ireland - the wife having 'implied' that her consent was always going to be present once she agreed to marry him.

But in 1990 the law was changed, as society's attitude to domestic violence, along with previously tolerated ills such as homophobia, drinking and driving, or polluting the planet, have evolved.

It is, perhaps, strangely reassuring to hear echoes of the dark ages sometimes rekindled, as George did last week, because it reminds us how far we've come.

But unless he learns to adapt more quickly to the changing environment, the Hook-billed platypus of Newstalk is in danger of heading in the same direction as all the other dinosaurs: extinction.

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