Pop stars should never apologise
They sure don't make pop stars like they used to.
They sure don't make pop stars like they used to.
If there's one thing politicians hate and fear more than anything else, it's the dreaded law of unintended consequences.
What goes on behind between consenting adults is their own business, is it not?
For obvious reasons, the last few weeks have seen various words and phrases tossed around with gay abandon.
One of the great shibboleths of our time is that we are living in an era of fake news. Fake news, along with fake outrage designed to elicit fake apologies, is now the order of the day.
'You can gaze out the window, get mad and get and get madder/ Throw your hands in the air in and say what does it matter?"
We're constantly bombarded with hectoring calls to do more to protect the environment, but most of these suggestions simply involve gesture politics - like turning off the lights for an hour during Earth Day. It won't make nay difference to the planet, but you'll feel all nice and virtuous and can tell people that you're doing your bit.
There used to be a well-worn phrase that all political careers end in failure. But not in Ireland, oh no.
Well, the big day is nearly upon us. Are you excited? I am.
Well, that's it, I'm toast. Kaput. Finito. I could keel over at any moment. And if you're part of the estimated 15pc of the Irish population who suffers from insomnia, you're in trouble as well. So you better pay attention, because this article could save your life.
Did you get vaccinated against the flu? Did you know that if you did get the jab, you were more likely to contract the far more deadly Aussie flu, while those who didn't bother getting the vaccination only succumbed to the more common or garden variety?
Well, it was nice while it lasted. I am, of course, talking about the Anthropocene Period, when humans ruled the roost.
If we have learned one thing from the fallout from the Belfast rape trial - and that's a rather large 'if' - then it must surely be that the sexes still struggle to communicate with each other.
No society can function when free expression is no longer valued. That's why comedians are so important.
I finished watching The Unabomber on Netflix the other night and it was probably the best piece of TV I've seen so far this year.
There are many ways in which ordinarily smart people can appear to completely lose their marbles.
Well, here we go again.
Well, they're at it again. Chipping away, sneering, demeaning and wallowing in their own misplaced sense of moral superiority, the anti-smoking zealots are once more on the march.
Of all the stupid, needless, infuriating things that Donald Trump has done since he took office - and there have been a few - retweeting some fake videos by the Britain First group stands out.
IN Amish culture, there is a tradition known as “rumspringa.”
Bear with me on the nostalgia trip, but bad weather tends to bring that out in the best of us. And even the rest of us.
Here we go again.
So, another week, another mass shooting in America.
The news that UCD is to redesignate 170 toilets on campus as 'gender neutral' has been greeted with widespread apathy and a shrug of the shoulders, which is surely a good thing.
Are you one of those people staying up late to watch the Winter Olympics? Nope, me neither. My interest is directly proportionate to the danger the athletes face. So I have a bit of an interest in, say, the luge, where someone might die in a spectacular way, and zero interest in, say, the ice skating.
Since it first appeared in the dim and distant days of, oh, about six months ago, the #MeToo movement has become the most successful social media campaign of all time.
Throughout human history, every society has had its own moral panic.
In the Information Age, any crime can shock the world. Whether it's a celebrity having some jewellery stolen from their hotel or footage of someone being bullied in a small American town, the proliferation of social media ensures that anything can go viral at any time.
So farewell, then, John Mahoney, and thanks for all the laughs.
Well, that was an unexpected 12 months.
There used to be a rather popular old saying which claimed that indifference is the best form of contempt.
It's often said that the past is another country, and when it comes to this place in the 1980s, that country may as well have been Albania.
First the outrage, then the backlash.
There'll be better books on Donald Trump's regime, but none will have the impact of Michael Wolff's breathless and riotously scurrilous account.
Ah, the will he/won't he debate.
Have you ever spoken to a Holocaust denier? If you ever get such an opportunity, I highly recommend it.
Okay, let's do a quick check list to see where we stand, shall we?
I've always believed that politics is too important to take seriously. In other words, it's best to take a sideways view of things because if you were to look it straight in the eye, you'd completely lose your mind.
Are we nearly there, yet? Are we nearly there, yet?
It was 'outrageous'. It was 'disgusting'. It was 'racism'.
Well, it's been a tough week for wealthy, blonde, white women. And that's not a phrase you write every day.
What is evil? Is it an act? Is it a state of mind? Can someone commit an evil act and still be deemed a decent person, or are they consumed by powers beyond their control which merely makes them agents of evil?
I was once accosted by a group of self-professed anarchists who started shrieking 'no speech for fascists' every time I opened my mouth.
Monday, August 28, 2000 is a date which will live in stupidity.
It wasn't supposed to end like that.
It should always be remembered that a large proportion of academics are entirely mad.
It has been rather interesting, even amusing, to observe the hysterical reactions from the usual circles to the sight of Leo Varadkar wearing the 'shamrock poppy' in the Dáil earlier this week.
Ah, you know the feeling - you're doing your shopping, picking up some basic provisions and before you know it you've spent all your money on booze. You didn't intend to buy all those bottles of wine and you have no idea why you have two slabs of cheap beer in the back of your car. All you wanted was to get a few things for dinner but there in front of you, impervious to your resistance, was the booze aisle and when we see booze, we just have to buy it, don't we?
I was once asked by a wise man: what is most important - justice or mercy?
What does it mean to be Irish? It's a question which has been asked a lot in the wake of the Halawa case, while forgetting the only legal fact that counts - he is an Irish citizen, and entitled to exactly the kind of consular assistance available to any other Irish citizen, regardless of where their parents come from. You can have as many doubts about the many holes in his story as you like, but the law is the law.
It’s returning for its eighth season, tonight marks its 100th episode, it features one of the best screen bad guys this side of Ramsay Bolton and people have loved the show for years.
To the non-religious mind, all forms of faith are vaguely absurd.
As the Harvey Weinstein story grows more horrible and weird by the day, we're witnessing the collapse of the Hollywood hierarchy.
While the country may have been understandably preoccupied with Hurricane Ophelia yesterday, the news that Sean Hughes has died at the age of 51 came as a shocking blow to Irish comedy fans.
When the news broke that infamous movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was a serial predator, my only surprise was that people were surprised.
Forget hygge, we're now on a lykke bandwagon.
Think you know your comedy?
Arguably the greatest stain on America's conscience, the death penalty is an obscenity that has no place in a civilised society. Apart from the obvious horror of executing an innocent person, the state-sanctioned murder of even a genuinely guilty individual reduces the people - in whose name the act is committed - to the same moral level as the criminal. In other words, it is a declaration that the state's moral bottom line is no better than a killer's.
First they came for our Christmas ads and we said nothing. Well, not quite. First they came for our Christmas ads and the nation, as one, rolled their eyes to heaven and had a grim laugh as yet another bunch of unelected, unrepresentative, State-funded busybodies decided to justify their existence by going after Christmas commercials.
In a time of unprecedented strife and rancour, where people seem further apart than any time in recent memory, the one thing we really need is... an abortion referendum.
Most young journalists - one would hope, anyway - will be familiar with the name Walter Duranty.
Another day, another scandal.
Sometimes it's hard to be a woman - apparently.
I was watching Sky News the other afternoon - how I came to have an afternoon free to watch the telly is another matter entirely - and a woman from an organisation called Anxiety UK was being interviewed.
For most people, growing up means learning new things and remembering old lessons.
You'd swear we have no domestic controversies of our own, such is our insatiable desire to import them from other countries.
Every now and then, it's a good idea to take a take step back from the Sturm und Drang of popular culture and see if you can tie any disparate threads into a coherent knot.
It has been the one conversational constant for the last few months, a never-ending deluge of opinions, conspiracy theories, general befuddlement and occasional outright fury.
Now here's something to gladden the heart of every proud Irish man and woman - we're the most liberal country in the world!
It started in the roof. Rustling, scratching and the dreaded fear that, after being told for years I had bats in the belfry, I now had mice in the attic.
It always amazes me how some secular people bring a religious fervour to their politics.
Unless you've been living with your head in a bucket, in a cave, on Mars, you will know that we're rapidly approaching the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana's untimely death.
I used to think that we're witnessing the end of liberalism, and that was something to be deplored. After all, the basic tenets of old-school liberalism were tolerance, an acceptance of opposing points of view, a fundamental belief in freedom and an opposition to censorship.
Amidst the hysterical hand-wringing and ever-present stench of envy, one person will be happy at how the BBC pay controversy has dominated the headlines for the last few days.
As Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather went through the gruesome motions of their rolling press conferences before their much anticipated bout in Las Vegas on August 26, many emotions came to the fore - most of them involving some variation of either disgust or contempt.
By now, you will have read the horrifying details of a crime committed by a thug called Robert Maguire.
Well, have you had your 5-a-day yet?
I'm sure, by now, that you've seen the video of Donald Trump scrapping with a guy with the CNN logo digitally superimposed on his head.
Well, it's that time of the year again - the strawberries and cream have been prepared, the Pimm's is on ice, Wimbledon has just started and, of course, we also have the traditional sexism row.
For all the talk of the so-called era of 'new politics' we're supposed to have entered, it seems more a case of here comes the new politics, same as the old politics. The squabbling remains, the point scoring continues unabated, and we even have the sight of Paschal Donohoe lamenting the rise of populism - a tactic so belonging to 'old' politics it might as well be carbon dated.
When the news emerged that one of the London Bridge terrorists had lived in and married in Dublin and may also have had extensive contacts with other extremists in this country, were you shocked? Flummoxed? Stunned?
The death last Sunday of Galway woman Teresa McDonagh (pictured) following an attack by two mastiffs was horrific but, sadly, not surprising.
A few years ago, I went to see a psychic in action. I didn't go voluntarily, trust me.
Well, I didn't see that one coming, did you? But maybe I should have. After all, everything is up in the air at the moment.
If words are the best weapons in a battle of ideas, then we're in more trouble than I thought.
'The androcentric scientific and meta-scientific evidence that the penis is the male reproductive organ is considered overwhelming and largely uncontroversial."
When you think of Nóirín O'Sullivan, what springs to mind?
Ever see one of those cases where you wished both parties could lose?
Well, that was a week of it, that's for sure.
In last week's column, I mentioned the erosion of the nation state in the face of ever increasing EU meddling.
The EU is dead. It is no more. It has ceased to be. It's bereft of life. It rests in peace. It is an ex-EU.
So, it looks like next spring, then.
In all the recent talk of the books that most accurately reflect our febrile cultural landscape, several classics have been mentioned.
Back in the day, when I was in the process of selling my apartment and trying to buy a house, the general wisdom was that I should keep the apartment and let it out.
How the mighty have fallen. And how quickly they fell. When news broke on Wednesday that Bill O'Reilly had been sacked from his role as the main star on Fox News, the general reaction was one of jubilation.
One of the perks of this job is that you get to meet a wide variety of people.
Well, they're at it again.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Or, in Donald Trump's case, just damned.
Well, it's that time of the year again.
One of the more amusing furores of recent weeks erupted when British journalist Melanie Phillips was less than complimentary about this country.
Oh Ricky, you've done it again.
As Dee Forbes approaches the end of her first year in the job, any performance review she conducts on herself will surely be framed along the lines of 'be careful what you wish for'.
It was violent. It was horrifying. It was funny. It was brilliantly written and yet it has been largely forgotten. Anyone who saw the 1992 movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer would have sniggered at the idea that such a throw-away flick, most notable for the sight of Donald Sutherland going through the motions while he waited for his cheque to clear, would spawn a TV show which would go on to become one of the most important pieces of television of its generation.
So three innocents dead. A terrorist shot. London shut down. Yes, another week, another terrorist attack. Amazing how we quickly we get used to them, eh?
It's called the salami effect. You take a piece of salami and cut a thin slice. The salami still seems the same size. Then you take another thin slice. Then another. Before anyone has really noticed, the salami is gone.
Like many white suburban lads my age, I came of age during the golden era of rap and hip-hop.
'Yeah, I was offered a trip to Aleppo for Paddy's Day. Sounds great, but the wife wasn't keen. Doesn't look like I'll be able to make it."
SS-GB has been the most eagerly awaited new drama of the year. Well, certainly the most eagerly awaited from my perspective.
Have you spoken to X recently?' my wife asked me the other day.
Well, that wasn't in the script, was it?
A Trump victory would usher in a new age of intolerance, they said. A Trump victory would bring hordes of his demented redneck fans on to the streets, chasing down the defeated Hillary supporters and forcing them to read the Bible and swear allegiance to the flag.
As I said in the main piece, mockery is a useful tool and laughter is the sound that tyrants and dictators and all bullies hate the most.
Earlier this month the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill was passed in the Dáil.