Sunday 21 January 2018

Ian O'Doherty: Pathetic cranks who trolled Toy Show's Lara

Harmless: Lara Reddy and Ryan Tubridy on the Toy Show
Harmless: Lara Reddy and Ryan Tubridy on the Toy Show

Jesus Christ, Superstar/walks like a woman and wears a bra."

That long forgotten piece of school yard naughtiness sprang to mind this week when the Late Late Toy Show found itself embroiled in a most unexpected controversy.

In the interests of fairness and balance - this column's two most treasured principles, as you can imagine - I should probably admit that I really don't like children. Never have, never will. Maybe it's because I was an only child until I was 14 and then my parents insisted on ruining my idyllic, pampered existence by having twins.

It was a remarkable piece of selfishness on their part and I've never forgiven them for it. But I did learn how to change two nappies simultaneously. So, as far as I'm concerned, I've done my time and I never want to be around children ever again.

And yet, and yet. I still found myself tuning into last week's Toy Show in a reflexive piece of body memory unique to Irish people - it doesn't matter whether you either have or like children, the the Toy Show is another of those Yuletide reflexes many of us seem to have.

There's always the faint hope that one of the children will go all Christian Bale and start hurling abuse at the floor crew, but the controversy this year was much more fitting for the era of social media idiocracy in which we now live.

Six-year-old Lara Reddy appeared and delivered this generation's equivalent to the transgressive 'Jesus Christ....' nursery rhyme when she sang: "My Little Pony, skinny and bony, went to the stable, to die on the table".

It was exactly the kind of harmless naughtiness that people who aren't childphobic would call 'charming.'

It was also - apparently - enough to have the usual cranks and malcontents reaching for their Twitter box to start having a pop at the kid.

Lara's father, Mark, was understandably quick to rush to his daughter's defence and while I haven't seen the vile tweets which contained the 'paedophilic undertones' he spoke of, the notion that adult animal lovers would condemn the kid for promoting cruelty to animals may be shocking, but it shouldn't be surprising.

We now live in a world where every thought, particularly the negative ones, must be immediately expressed on social media and mad people think they have the right to hurl slurs at a kid they never met for chanting a nursery rhyme they had never heard of.

You see, this is the land of competitive virtue signalling where people feel the need to fill their evidently empty lives with smug posturing to show the world not just how much they care, but how they care so much more than you do.

And if a six-year-old kid is the unfortunate focal point? Well, I guess some people are just collateral damage in the ongoing war on common sense that is now being waged by activists and idiots everywhere.

At the (bleeding) heart of this micro-controversy lies one unpleasant and frequently infuriating development - the unfounded and unearned belief held by these people that they are simply smarter than the rest of us. Therefore, we somehow need them to provide moral and ethical instruction because we're too dense or too wicked to grasp things for ourselves.

The animal lovers who criticised the kid - and there have been plenty - are the same type who freaked out over the Love/Hate cat, or who go on endless publicity stunts to 'raise awareness' of an issue when we all know that the only thing they're raising awareness of is themselves and their moral superiority.

It's the bizarre and unearned arrogance of the virtue-signaller who ultimately, holds the rest of humanity in contempt

I wonder, however, if a kid has recited that old nursery rhyme about Jesus Christ wearing a bra, what the reaction would have been? They'd probably be prosecuted for hate speech against transexuals. That's still the right phrase, isn't it?


At a time when cynicism about politics and politicians is at an all time high, Hilary Benn's speech in the House of Commons reminded us all of the value of powerful oratory.

Breaking from his leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to vote in favour of air strikes in Syria, he described ISIS thus: "We are faced by fascists - not just their calculated brutality, but their belief that they are superior to every single one of us...

"They hold us in contempt. They hold our values in contempt. They hold our tolerance and decency in contempt. They hold our democracy in contempt."

Wow - and there was me thinking that it was climate change which had turned the usually peaceful and harmonious Middle East into a charnel house of genocidal, expansionist Islamofascism.

I dunno, if we start making moral judgements on these people then we might risk offending other Muslims.

No, it's much easier and safer to blame it on the weather, as we have seen in Paris this week during the ludicrous climate change conference.

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