Witless, Charmless, PointlessOctober 31, 2009
The sudden demise of Boyzone’s Stephen Gately a couple of weeks ago left me pondering on the nature of death and I was going to write about that. But then an article by one Jan Moir came to my attention. It created a huge furore and quite rightly so.
The day before the parents were to bury their child and at a time when he wasn’t even properly cold, she wrote an article that was stunning in it’s viciousness. In the face of the coroner’s evidence, she decided she knew best because young men don’t just suddenly keel over, never to return. Charlie Brooker’s response to this is definitely worth reading. Without the evidence that comes from actually being there, she alluded to a night out of bacchanalian proportions, hours before he died; ergo the death was an inevitable and just punishment for the celeb/gay ‘lifestyle.’ Finally, she concluded the happy ever after of a civil partnership was a myth and inexplicability linked the tragic suicide of Kevin McGee, Matt Lucas’s ex partner to Gately’s death. Of course there isn’t a happy ever after. There’s not always one in a hetero marriage either, but in planet Moir, otherwise known as the town of Stepford, all heterosexuals have long and happy partnerships and none of them have even contemplated suicide, never mind made an attempt, serious or otherwise. She’s a silly, silly woman.
Generating over 20,000 complaints to The Press Complaints Commission (PCC), losing advertising for the Mail at a time when newspapers are struggling to keep afloat and advertisers are cutting back on spending in the recession, plus spawning Facebook groups calling for her sacking is quite some achievement. You’ve got to hand it to her. As loud as the call has been for her to lose her job, I suspect she’ll be with us for some time yet. People of her ilk, like cockroaches, will continue to survive in the face of any onslaught. She’s backtracked in the last week and seems to be in revisionist mode regarding her original article. Death and outrage has upgraded Gately to “a talented young man [who] died before his time,” from her original declaration that he “could barely carry a tune in a Louis Vuitton trunk.” You’d work harder to get an upgrade on an airline. She’s also apologised to his parents. She might think a little harder before she writes again. But I wouldn’t count on it.