I’ve been out leafleting in my ward and meeting constituents for much of the day, so I’ve come home to Twittergeddon over the Jan Moir article appearing in the Daily Mail today promoting a vile innuendo about the death of the singer-actor Stephen Gately, a gay man whose untimely end is something the Mail can’t comprehend as a human tragedy. Moir has presented it instead as a tragedy of morals, a tragedy of celebrity life and a tragedy of being gay. What a callous and stupid woman.
I’ve read the article (online, observing the changes of headline and the removal of advertising) and Moir’s puppety statement (Paul Dacre pulls her strings) in which she says:
“In what is clearly a heavily orchestrated internet campaign I think it is mischievous in the extreme to suggest that my article has homophobic and bigoted undertones.”
Arrogantly put, Miss Moir. (I’d say Ms Moir but the Mail doesn’t approve of that kind of political-correctness-gone-mad, and I read on her website that she lives with her boyfriend so she’s probably not married. Hang on – presumably the Mail doesn’t approve of that kind of thing either. Note to Mr Dacre: One of your lady columnists appears to be living in sin, sin I tell you. Please explain).
Whether the Mail likes it or not, the internet does exist and has a valuable purpose – the democratisation of news and information. The debate has moved from the newsprint pages to allow people an immediate ability to agree and disagree on the issues of the day, via Twitter for example. Gone are the days where a debate would meander along for a few days on the letters page, and that is all to the good. The debate moves faster and stronger now and can no longer be controlled by editorial barons like Mr Dacre. You and your paper are not what you were, Mr D, and it’s my sincere hope you will both become less and less with every day and month.
Miss Moir affects shock that anyone could have thought her article had ” homophobic and bigoted undertones”. Of course not. They were overtones, typical Daily Mail homophobic and bigoted overtones, clear as a clanging bell. Just read the last line of the whole article: “The ooze of a very different and more dangerous lifestyle has seeped out for all to see.”
The post-mortem on Stephen Gately has shown death by natural causes. Gately’s mother has spoken of a hereditary heart condition (Moir seems to suggest that the poor woman is kidding herself) that was probably the cause of his death aged 33. Not enough to satisfy Miss Moir. She suggests there was a rushed post mortem, perhaps a cover-up.
She then goes on to state, with all the confidence of one who knows the damage they want to inflict: “Another real sadness about Gately’s death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships. Gay activists are always calling for tolerance and understanding about same-sex relationships, arguing that they are just the same as heterosexual marriages.”
Actually, for the information of Miss Moir and those of her opinion, it’s not tolerance LGBT activists call for. ‘Tolerance’ suggests LGBT people are yours to patronise from above. ‘Understanding’ suggests we are somehow socially deficient, at a permanent disadvantage as human beings.
We want equality and equal rights as human beings and citizens. Same-sex relationships are every bit as valid as heterosexual marriages, and heterosexual relationships in general.
Moir goes out of her way to take a sour potshot at the ‘happy ever after myth’ of civil partnerships. Are ‘heterosexual marriages’ 100% successful? Perhaps she doesn’t know that, as she is not married to the man she lives with. But she doesn’t tell Mail readers that. Oh no.
I doubt the many, many complaints that have gone to the Press Complaints Commission will get very far, but they have been worthwhile – as with Twitter – as an expression of public contempt for poison pen journalism like Miss Moir’s.
She also makes a living, when she isn’t a paid extremist for the Mail, as a restaurant critic. She’d better watch out from now on for any gay waiters. I’ve known several over the years and if people aggravate them … well … who knows what might end up in the soup?