Tommy Tiernan did a Hotpress Q&A at Electric Picnic – watch it here on the Hotpress website. That may be enough to make you wonder what the fuss is about. Fuss that has surfaced two weeks after the event. You’ve probably heard something about this story by now but I’d strongly recommend watching the video. Context is absolutely vital. It seems quite a frightening place where our words might be taken out of context and used against us, especially if those words form part of a performed characterisation or story. Fearfully consigning oneself to a life without stories is a fairly joyless prospect.
The interviewer, Olaf Tyaransen, makes a few strange moves during the Q&A including weirdly wrong-footing Tommy by saying he heard Brian Cowen say Ireland was a great ‘land’ not a great ‘brand’…only to contradict himself a moment later. (I couldn’t find the speech Tommy talks about but, conveniently, Brian Cowen spoke of Ireland as a brand only last week.)
I find the whole thing fascinating. The entire media furore (it’s hardly a story at all) is based on a biased article by Sunday Tribune writer Ken Sweeney. It was followed by similarly biased articles by Jim Carroll (on his blog) and David Adams (in The Irish Times). Each of these pieces suited the contexts they appeared in – Mr Sweeney’s article was cream of the crop Sunday paper material, something to raise the eyebrows over but ultimately entertainment; Mr Carroll’s blog post, although hosted by The Irish Times, is properly his own opinion; Mr Adams’s is in the Opinon section (again of The Irish Times). The contributions of Alan Shatter TD and the Archbishop of Dublin (his opinion being front page material, of course) bring the thing to a new level with talk of incitement to hatred and racism being bandied about with calls for anyone who isn’t one of Tiernan’s fellow racist idiots to boycott and ostracise him. Incitement to hatred, in other words.
I hope Hotpress (who published the full transcript today) sell a lot of copies. More than that I hope that people don’t vilify an intelligent, articulate, joyful, private individual. I know everyone’s poking fun at the church nowadays – sure it’s all the rage – but there’s definitely something to be said for “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”.
Meanwhile the jester gets a kicking from the pitiful boneheads out the back of the castle.