When I was a little we used to say a rhyme ‘ineey, meeny, miney, mo, catch a ni***r by the toe’, you will notice in typing it I couldn’t bring myself to type the actual N-Word, because now I know better. At that time I had no understanding of the word, it was a meaningless as the Ineey Meenies and so I can perhaps be excused for using it then, where I never would now. (for those interested, it has been replaced in the rhyme now with the word Tiger)
Jan Moir wrote an article today trying to explain and excuse the words she recently wrote regarding Stephen Gately, but she failed miserably. She attempted to convince us that the intent behind her words was not what we believed it to be – well I’m sorry Jan but that excuse might work for a child saying a word they don’t understand but when you put something into print surely you have a responsibility to ensure that you carefully check your words so such a ‘misunderstanding’ cannot occur?
Moir states ‘Certainly, something terrible went wrong as my column ricocheted through cyberspace, unread by many who complained, yet somehow generally and gleefully accepted into folklore as a homophobic rant’, well I read it and I complained – the article linked Stephen Gately’s death inextricably with his sexuality, and made gross assumptions about his life and death. Moir now claims that she would have written the same article had Gately been heterosexual, I find this unlikely- but if she had it would still have been an appalling article. Statements like, ‘Healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again’ are undeniably ill-informed – so at the very least Moir is guilty of bad journalism.
Moir’s article today http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1222246/The-truth-views-tragic-death-Stephen-Gately.html , lacks understanding and integrity. A few half hearted apologies for offence caused are followed by a litany of excuses and the reiteration of her misinformed belief that ‘clearly much of it was an orchestrated campaign by pressure groups and those with agendas of their own’. She seems to be trying to convince us that she did nothing wrong, and has been misunderstood, and that she attempted only to question and seek the truth (which would have been an admirable pursuit had this been the case).
It seems to me that a little contrition and an admission that, whatever her intent may have been, she made a mistake in writing what she did, would go further then apportioning blame for the reaction her words caused.