There are millions of reasons in the world for people to get offended. Now they can range from silly, insignificant little things, to big things…and, in some instances, I’ll bet many of us have had the misfortune to be in the company of some joyless, depressing individual who is so angry, they manage to suck the life out of you by being aggrieved by absolutely everything – with nothing, not even a humour transplant, being capable of saving them.
It’s vitally important to be considerate and respectful of differences in this world. However, having witnessed the backlash visited upon actor Liam Neeson, right, last week, I’d have to worry we’re now living in a time where the politically correct culture has become so widespread, it’s almost like an out of control weed (you know, the kind of one the lovely garden designer Diarmuid Gavin would tell you to cut out because it’s infesting your entire rose garden). Or, to put it another way, we’re living in the presence of (some) irrational, angry and easily offended people who in my view are contaminating our society.
But back to big Liam (by the way, a lovely human being, who in 2011 became the first Irish Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF) and what has become his publicist’s nightmare.
Last week, the Ballymena man sparked a major scandal by publicly recalling what would be construed to be a ‘racist’ incident from his past, (it happened 40 years ago), while chatting to a journalist at a celebrity press junket to promote his latest movie (Cold Pursuit) – which is a revenge movie. This week, he is suffering the damaging effects of the fall-out. The highly respected journo in question, (Clémence Michallon), who is reported to be ‘a (US) culture writer with The Independent,’ (the UK one, not the Irish Indo), says she felt a “strong responsibility” to share Liam’s comments (and she had every right to do this), while the much-loved actor is now fighting to save his career and his reputation. Me? I’m wondering if perhaps, (and I’m not apportioning any blame here on the publication involved, they were, as the journo says, ‘telling the story as fully as possible’), given the obvious outrage that would ensue, maybe, just maybe, a teeny bit of extra professional and ethical practice could have been employed here?
Of course nobody prompted Neeson to disclose this highly personal experience. (Motivated by desire for revenge after a close friend had “been raped by a black man,” Neeson roamed the streets, cosh in hand, in search of a “black b***ard,” so that he “could kill him”). As a journalist myself, who has been to many a celebrity junket in the past, I’d have exercised both my professional and my personal judgement, and in this instance I really do wonder if I would have taken the decision to disclose the actor’s controversial and hurtful comments. Again, they had every right to do so.
But I raise this, because many years ago, in the course of an interview I was conducting, a high-ranking minister, (now former minister), made an incredibly controversial and shockingly discriminatory comment to me. I wrestled with my conscience at the time. The minister was an odious creep and his comments were repulsive, but, given he’d downed a few lemonades, (of the alcoholic variety), I decided that it would serve nobody any good – neither himself nor his voters – to make public his pathetic schoolboy remarks. He clearly regretted his words, later sending me a text…I told him never to contact me again and blocked his number from my phone.
So, while we know Liam is human, and he was rightly enraged by his friend’s violation, and while the majority of us can understand the strong urge for revenge he had burning inside him when his loved one had been attacked, I’d comment that, given he’s an influential figure and a father, what he said was pretty much nauseating and worrying. It was also very stupid, and due to this I’m wondering if perhaps Liam was playing up to his ‘tough guy actor’ persona, deciding to get into character and drive home his movie’s point? Maybe? Maybe not? In any event, the only ones who have the right to act in a law enforcement capacity are the police authorities, who should be contacted in order that justice, (and not revenge) is carried out.
On the road again…
Myself and himself would like to wish all you fabulous romantic Rossies a wonderful Valentine’s weekend. As we’re currently undergoing the stressful process of moving house, (again), and living out of boxes, I’d imagine, for us, given this week we’ve spent more time hissing insults at each other, than we did holding hands, the entire process of writing down that loving gesture on a card will be put on hold for a week or two. I mean, there is absolutely nothing in the entire universe guaranteed to create conflict, and, in addition, test a relationship between what is normally a very close-knit couple to its very limits, than a home move.
You see, as a no-clutter-allowed freak, I have scant time for anyone who keeps, and has attachments to, what I would deem to be meaningless objects, so, as you can imagine, the pre-move arguments, and the currently-moving arguments are, let’s just say, not pretty. Especially given that, as I write, hubby is actually retrieving items from the bin!!! Add to that, I’m unable to locate my toothbrush…and the TV, which I like to listen to in the background as I work, was accidentally totalled last night, yep, it’s technically fecked, and needs to be urgently replaced before the Sky engineer arrives to re-connect us. I tell you readers, right now I want to sit in a corner, coiled in the fetal position and howl at the top of my voice while my darling, desperate-to-stay-out-of-my-line-of-fire hubby, calm as ever, seems to take it all in his stride!
Look, we’ll survive this move. We’ve been through worse, as my step-mother keeps reminding me, and, next week, hopefully when things are a bit easier, we’ll get into the Valentine’s mood with a nice celebratory ‘new home’ toast to ourselves. Have a great one folks.