O'Doherty: Bono's very own bonfire of the inanities
This time last week, there was a good chance you were still feeling pretty stunned about what had unfolded in Paris.
For many people, the first news alerts began to beep on their phones while watching the first leg of the play-off against Bosnia. By the time our game had finished, that muddled newsflash had developed into the worst terrorist atrocity since the Madrid bombings, a real-life Friday 13th horror show which once more reminded us that there's a war on and everyone's a target.
But rather than facing some uncomfortable truths about the way the citizens of Europe have been betrayed by their ruling elites, the usual suspects immediately used their bizarrely circuitous logic to make their own political points.
It takes a strange leap of faith to look at an atrocity, which apparently had at least one 'refugee' involved, and promptly conclude that this proves we need to import more refugees.
I suppose we should have expected the usual self loathing eunuchs of the West to immediately place the blame on the French, but the idea that this attack could be used as a political loudhailer to call for even more refugees serves an ample reminder that some people simply don't care about the facts in front of their face.
That's the problem with painting yourself into an ideological corner - eventually you have nowhere to go and find yourself reaching for ever more ludicrous justifications and explanations.
What we are witnessing is the death of a culture which no longer believes in itself.
That was proved by the reaction of many readers to a piece I wrote during the week calling for a robust defence of Western values. According to some of these people, 'Western values' included such delights as the Holocaust and slavery.
The irony, of course, is that their own argument defeats their point - it was these apparently hated values which defeated those evils, not the other way around. Anyway, slavery is still alive and flourishing in Africa and the Middle East, but people would rather be enraged by something which was abolished centuries ago, than confront the fact that it still practised in those lands. I guess it's just part of their 'culture' and it would be racist to suggest otherwise.
But when you want king-sized stupidity and pointless platitudes, you only ever need look to Bono, a man now so completely absurd that he may aswell be a hologram imposter designed to make the real one like a jerk.
In Belfast during the week Bono took to the stage and urged caution in our immigration policies and stridently pointed out that if there's ever a suicide bombing in Ireland, the blood of the victims will be on the hands of the liberal herd who think refugees - good, indigenous population - bad.
No, of course he didn't. Instead, he urged fans to wear white and then asked if people wanted: "a Europe with its heart open or its borders closed to mercy?"
We're well used to this ludicrous figure spouting cliches. But I doubt the people he had recently expressed sympathy for - the victims in Paris - would be much inclined towards 'mercy', whatever that means. And, obviously, he thinks we need to show our enemy 'love', which in this case is another word for cowardice and appeasement.
The days when we can all hold hands and hope for a better future are dead and gone and they have been for a long time. In fact, it doesn't even matter whether you want to believe that we're at war, because the other side is already waging it.
It's not just a war of bombs and guns and suicide attacks, it's also a war of ideas. And we don't appear to have any. Instead, we'll simper and posture and continue to engage in the suicidal fantasy that the enemy will respond to a group hug.
Sorry, Bono. They won't.
It seems that anything that the Yanks can do...
In one of the weirder responses to Paris, numerous American campuses were united - in their scorn and fury that the deaths of 128 people in France was taking the limelight away from their increasingly mental campaigns for safe spaces, trigger warnings and their demented, feeble-minded desire to never be made feel uncomfortable.
Ordinarily, we'd put this down to more American silliness, but the disease has spread to Irish campuses and an article in a recent edition of University Times was one of the most depressing things I've read in a long time.
I won't name the author, to save him embarrassment, but in a typically whiny screed defending the rights of students to be coddled like children, he wrote: "If the freedom to say and do stupid things that make people uncomfortable is the sacrifice we must make for this, then it's a freedom we don't need."
Yup, you read it correctly - we now have students calling for less freedom, not more.
There's so many shades of wrong in that statement that it's hard to know where to begin. But this call for suppression of opinions is one that's currently being made all over American, British and Irish universities.
For example, our hero adds: "The implicit argument of 'don't read it if you don't like it' isn't really useful either. It's basically a way of saying that if you want to avoid being insulted, don't listen to the insults."
Um, yeah. That's exactly what freedom of speech means - if you don't like something, ignore it. It really is that simple.
Of course, in a world of micro-aggressions, that's probably seen as hate speech. There's no hate in this column. But there is plenty of contempt for weak-minded lemmings who demand to be treated like kids.
Amidst the carnage and chaos of the last week, one rather interesting story should have got even more attention than it received.
That RTÉ lost the rights of the Six Nations to the cocky upstarts in TV3 from the start of the 2018 tournament is big news.
Very big news.
As good as the TV3 coverage of the World Cup was (ad breaks aside), the one thing RTÉ does consistently well is its sport coverage.
In fact, RTÉ 's sports coverage is one of the reasons they use to justify the State sponsored theft that it the licence fee.
I feel sorry for RTÉ 's Head of Sport, Ryle Nugent, I really do.
But he rather made a rod for his own back when he explained that they he had been simply outbid by their rival.
"We put forward the best bid... while always mindful of the fact that we are using public funds."
Leave aside the fact that they actually have two vast sources of income (the licence fee and the ad revenue), but if they are incapable of keeping huge events like the rugby, then what is the point of the licence fee?
If they can't win even when they enjoy complete financial supremacy in this territory, why should we bother funding their failures?