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October 16, 2009 10:51 AM   Subscribe

"I gather a repulsive nobody writing in a paper no one of any decency would be seen dead with has written something loathesome and inhumane." Stephen Gately of the band Boyzone died of natural causes while on vacation in Spain with his husband. Jan Moir of The Daily Mail saw it differently and links his homosexuality to his death. Reaction to her column is not kind.

Coincidence or not, the Press Complaints Commission website is still unreachable. Meanwhile, Jan Moir is blaming the backlash on an "orchestrated internet campaign".
posted by kmz (143 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Click on her name in the list of trending topics and Twitter summarise it somewhat cagily as:
Jan Moir is a Daily Mail (UK) columnist who wrote a column questioning the circumstances surrounding Boyzone singer Stephen Gately's death. People are tweeting their thoughts on her take, which are largely negative.
No shit.
posted by imperium at 10:53 AM on October 16, 2009


I blame it on the Homosexual Agenda.
posted by chunking express at 10:53 AM on October 16, 2009


chunking express: I'll lay bets that's exactly what she's going to do in her "explanation" piece tomorrow, too.

She's just been digging herself in further anyway: "I wanted to highlight that there are problems in civil parternships too ... like dying! of the gay! in your pyjamas!"
posted by fightorflight at 10:55 AM on October 16, 2009


These Boyzone discussions can get a little exhausting on MetaFilter.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:55 AM on October 16, 2009 [27 favorites]


Of course the backlash is orchestrated. As it should be.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 10:55 AM on October 16, 2009


Is it just me or do you not actually at any point link to Jan's column?
posted by kbanas at 10:56 AM on October 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Why no link to the offending article itself?
posted by fatbird at 10:56 AM on October 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


Holy mackerel -- you could transpose her column to any British newspaper (or American, for that matter) of the 1960s and not change anything but the names and a few of the cultural references, and otherwise not have to change a single word (in regard to the references to the "dangers" of the homosexual "lifestyle"). Truly chilling.

Here is the column.
posted by blucevalo at 10:58 AM on October 16, 2009


Link
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 10:58 AM on October 16, 2009


Facebook group: 'The Daily Mail should retract Jan Moir's hateful, homophobic article.'
posted by ericb at 10:59 AM on October 16, 2009


Sorry, I didn't want to add ad revenue for the article. Here's a "print this article" link that looks like it's adless.
posted by kmz at 11:00 AM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, those links aren't awesome. The two you want to read are:
The offending article (all advertising has been removed, after people started complaining to the advertisers so they're not earning from it) and Charlie Brooker's response (this is the one under "kind" in the OP).
posted by fightorflight at 11:00 AM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


"These Boyzone discussions can get a little exhausting on MetaFilter."

Yesterday, when I saw the news story about the guy's death, this was pretty close to how I figured the ensuing Metafilter post would be worded when it appeared.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 11:00 AM on October 16, 2009


"I have piles and piles of gay friends. They come to my home; they use my bathroom. I'm not homophobic; I just don't believe in letting guys like guys that way."
posted by Madamina at 11:01 AM on October 16, 2009 [14 favorites]


Oh fuck me there's going to be an explanation piece tomorrow?

"I pissed on the still-warm grave of someone who died too young and denigrated a wide-ranging group of people because the idea of two dudes together makes me uncomfortable, and that's more important to me than being a decent human being"

Explained.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:03 AM on October 16, 2009 [22 favorites]


"Once again, under the carapace of glittering, hedonistic celebrity, the ooze of a very different and more dangerous lifestyle has seeped out for all to see."
Fuck you. If ever there was a time I wanted to use the "C" word, now would be it.
posted by ericb at 11:06 AM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


It sounds like a typical "I'm not being ghoulish BUT here's the scoop on the latest from $CELIBRITIES death..." until you get here:

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. Not everyone, they say, is like George Michael.

Of course, in many cases this may be true. Yet the recent death of Kevin McGee, the former husband of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, and now the dubious events of Gately's last night raise troubling questions about what happened.


WTF? What exactly are you saying? "He died of being gay-married"?
posted by DU at 11:09 AM on October 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Her wikipedia entry currently boasts this edit: "There is wide consensus amongst reasonable people in the UK that Jan Moir is an utter cunt." Wonder how long it will stay up?
posted by jokeefe at 11:10 AM on October 16, 2009 [33 favorites]


I came to Metafilter looking for some coverage and comment on this. This is a truly staggeringly bigoted excretion of vile and insensitive 'journalism'. For some context, here is a collection of Daily Telegraph journalism.
posted by tawny at 11:11 AM on October 16, 2009


Fuck you. If ever there was a time I wanted to use the "C" word, now would be it.

"There is wide consensus amongst reasonable people in the UK that Jan Moir is an utter cunt."


Well, at least someone else said it for me.
posted by ericb at 11:13 AM on October 16, 2009


"For once again, under the carapace of glittering, hedonistic celebrity, the ooze of a very different and more dangerous lifestyle has seeped out for all to see."

This isn't a "gay lifestyle" issue. Gay culture is essentially modeled on the youth culture, emulating its extremes and excesses, inviting people to perpetuate them as far into middle age as humanly possible. Many gays in their 20's are coming out of their shells for the first time ever, and they tend to overcompensate for all the fun they didn't get to have as closeted teenagers. And since there's nothing to keep the party from going on five, ten, fifteen years, it really seems to keep people from maturing any faster than absolutely necessary.
posted by hermitosis at 11:13 AM on October 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


How many people here knew who Jan Moir was before this? Yeah, didn't think so.

This is yet more proof that trolls aren't just a creature of the Internet.
posted by deadmessenger at 11:14 AM on October 16, 2009


So, if I read the original column correctly, Jan thinks the covereage is too "saccharine", dismisses the family's explanation of 'previously unknown heart condition' out of hand, and concludes based on her oogy feeling that he died of what? Being gay?

The hell?
posted by sandraregina at 11:18 AM on October 16, 2009


I swear before I saw an article about this guy's death last week I thought Boyzone was a metafilter-only term.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:18 AM on October 16, 2009


The offending article (all advertising has been removed, after people started complaining to the advertisers so they're not earning from it)...

Yep.

Ads for brands including Marks & Spencer removed from online version of controversial Daily Mail article.
posted by ericb at 11:19 AM on October 16, 2009


hermitosis: that's exactly on-point, and it's really sad that people like this journalist conflate the two issues (the partay lifestyle and same-sex orientation), preventing a real discussion of the dangers facing people.

it's harder to have a real discussion about drug use at Pride if trying to address it gets you labeled a homophobe. not that i (entirely) blame the gays for it - statistically speaking, with regard to most of their critics, the labelers are correct.
posted by jock@law at 11:19 AM on October 16, 2009


The only up side to all of this, I guess, is that we get to see Brooker in top form. That's some Grade A evisceration right there.
posted by Shepherd at 11:21 AM on October 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


And since there's nothing to keep the party from going on five, ten, fifteen years, it really seems to keep people from maturing any faster than absolutely necessary.

Lots of straight people do this too. Anyone who has kids over 30, anyone who gets married after 25 - you're holding off on maturing and essentially singing your death certificate for an early demise.
posted by GuyZero at 11:22 AM on October 16, 2009


geez, signing. Sing your death certificate if you want though.
posted by GuyZero at 11:22 AM on October 16, 2009


Click on her name in the list of trending topics and Twitter summarise it somewhat cagily as:

Wow, that led me to the source of those which is a site called What the Trend?, which is just the most useful site I've ever seen. Who needs twitter?

Also, they've since updated the description to: " It's getting a very negative reaction on Twitter as it takes a 'blame all the gay people' attitude. " I think it's like a wiki.
posted by smackfu at 11:23 AM on October 16, 2009


Jan Moir's piece was definitely the kind of nasty homophobic bullshit that you expect from the Daily Mail, but I have to say that when I read the reports describing the death of a healthy 33 year old man from acute pulmonary oedema as being due to 'natural causes' before any toxicology reports had been received, I couldn't help but wonder whether the the hand of pr spinners wasn't detectable in those earlier reports.

It may have been due to a previously undetected heart condition, but a major cause of death due to pulmonary oedema in young men is drug intoxication. It doesn't seem unreasonable to wonder how they ruled this out without the toxicology work being done?

OTOH, it's extremely unreasonable to suggest that because he's gay, he's obviously dead as a consequence of a massive man-on-man-on-man drugs and sex binge, which is what Moir appears to be suggesting.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:24 AM on October 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Anyone who has kids over 30, anyone who gets married after 25 - you're holding off on maturing and essentially singing your death certificate for an early demise.

what
posted by kmz at 11:25 AM on October 16, 2009 [19 favorites]


GuyZero, I have no idea if that's extreme sarcasm or if that's really your view, but.... really?
posted by mikeh at 11:25 AM on October 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


[W]e are not being ghoulish to anticipate, or to be mentally braced for, their bad end: a long night, a mysterious stranger, an odd set of circumstances that herald a sudden death.

It is not disrespectful to assume that a game of canasta with 25-year-old Georgi Dochev was not what was on the cards.

I love this. It's like a new game or something:

"It is not inappropriate of me to have screaming fights with my significant other in five-star restaurants."

"We are not racist to assert that a black man couldn't handle the job of baseball commissioner."

"It is not creepy of me to spend my lunch hour hiding in the high school locker room."

I could do this all day!
posted by Navelgazer at 11:26 AM on October 16, 2009 [10 favorites]


It's exactly what hermitosis said, except applied to straight people. I'd hate to think he was being anti-gay. He's merely being anti-party-lifestyle, as am I.
posted by GuyZero at 11:27 AM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nobody, gay, straight, living or dead, should be written about so damned badly.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:28 AM on October 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


How many people here knew who Jan Moir was before this? Yeah, didn't think so.

Actually, in Britain, where they deal entirely differently with their pop stars than we do here in the States, I'm sure he was quite well known.
posted by hippybear at 11:29 AM on October 16, 2009


Anyone who has kids over 30, anyone who gets married after 25 - you're holding off on maturing and essentially singing your death certificate for an early demise.

Ha, ha!
posted by setanor at 11:30 AM on October 16, 2009


Oh, I see, it's pointing out that since gays couldn't easily marry within the same sex and have children in those relationships, they could not be mature adults. Because marriage and children are the only path for mature adults. Makes much more sense now.
posted by mikeh at 11:30 AM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


GuyZero, you're making the dial on my Sarcasm and Irony Detector spin round and round.
posted by brain_drain at 11:32 AM on October 16, 2009


After a night of clubbing, Cowles and Gately took a young Bulgarian man back to their apartment. It is not disrespectful to assume that a game of canasta with 25-year-old Georgi Dochev was not what was on the cards.

This is likely true. Three-handed canasta, while possible, is not a very congenial card game. Perhaps they were going to play hearts?
posted by hippybear at 11:33 AM on October 16, 2009 [7 favorites]


Actually, in Britain, where they deal entirely differently with their pop stars than we do here in the States, I'm sure he was quite well known.

Moir is the newspaper columnist.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:33 AM on October 16, 2009


He's merely being anti-party-lifestyle, as am I.

I'm not anti-party lifestyle. And while plenty of straight people become susceptible to the same choices and turn their adulthood into an extended adolescence, there's not nearly as much pressure or precedent for gays to settle down or take on responsibilities beyond their own career and general self-sufficience as there is for straight people to settle down. I'll be interested to see if that changes as the new generation of "it's nothing special" gays actually manages to sow their wild oats at the same time as their straight counterparts.
posted by hermitosis at 11:36 AM on October 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is there a print equivalent for "video nasty"? This was some real Julius Streicher type shit.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:36 AM on October 16, 2009


It's a good thing I don't read the Daily Mail.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 11:38 AM on October 16, 2009


hermitosis... Moir goes further than being anti-party, here:

"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 . . . in many cases this may be true. Yet the recent death of Kevin McGee, the former husband of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, and now the dubious events of Gately's last night raise troubling questions about what happened." (emphasis mine)

I'm pissed that he calls a consenting threesome "more than a little sleazy." What. Why.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:39 AM on October 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


there's not nearly as much pressure or precedent for gays to settle down or take on responsibilities beyond their own career and general self-sufficience as there is for straight people to settle down

After reading this I question if you actually know any people.
posted by GuyZero at 11:40 AM on October 16, 2009


After reading this I question if you actually know any people.

Well let's see. Gays are more likely to keep the details of their personal lives secret from their families. They are less likely to be pressured by their families to settle down and have kids. They are less likely to think of themselves as being likely to settle down and have kids. They are less likely to be surrounded on all sides by friends who have settled down and having kids. All of these points are essentially in flux in our culture right now, but they are far from becoming obsolete. If you are a gay male and most of your friends are gay males and you live in an urban setting that puts geographic distance between yourself and your family, then you basically live under a different set of rules than most of your straight friends. Is this so hard to imagine?
posted by hermitosis at 11:46 AM on October 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Moir is the newspaper columnist.

Oh! *blush* Can you tell I'm not from Britian, don't listen to boy bands, and don't read the Daily Mail?
posted by hippybear at 11:47 AM on October 16, 2009


settle down / sow their wild oats

Is it really that little-known a fact that it is possible to have a long, happy and fulfilling life without doing this?
posted by setanor at 11:47 AM on October 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


basically live under a different set of rules than most of your straight friends

I'm straight. I have lots of friends who are straight, and lots of friends who are gay. I can tell you that none of us feel any pressure to "settle down" in any capacity.
posted by setanor at 11:48 AM on October 16, 2009


hermitosis: may I suggest you quit while you're ahead? Using the tyranny of the closet and the lack of full incorporation of GLBT individuals into a culture which has systematically hated them for generations and continues to do so only serves to show that you don't really grok the full implications either of what it means to be gay in the modern age or of the words you continue to spout.
posted by hippybear at 11:49 AM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is it really that little-known a fact that it is possible to have a long, happy and fulfilling life without doing this?

Among the sexually repressed who jealously watched for years as others got to do this, I can imagine this would be a tough idea to advance. Though plenty of gays discover this for themselves.
posted by hermitosis at 11:50 AM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is there a print equivalent for "video nasty"? This was some real Julius Streicher type shit.

Yellow journalism?

Thanks to this Daily Mail call-out, I knew well enough to not be shocked by the shocking words above. Thanks, jontyjago.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:50 AM on October 16, 2009


Had a similar take to Peter McDermott - seemed something of a rush to rule it death by natural causes but to go from that kind of private idle speculation* to making any kind of link to him being gay or commenting on gay marriage or a gay lifestyle or whatever is just loathsome. As if the clubs of the Med aren't full of people of all sexual orientations and marital statuses doing things that would make a Mail reader's toes curl.

*And to be frank, unless foul play was involved, the exact cause of death is surely only of concern to immediate family and friends, who may appreciate not having the details raked over in public.
posted by Abiezer at 11:51 AM on October 16, 2009


> Anyone who has kids over 30, anyone who gets married after 25 - you're holding off on maturing and essentially singing your death certificate for an early demise.

Not necessarily (when it comes to women, anyway).
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:51 AM on October 16, 2009


It's like every time I hand you a new shovel you start digging twice as hard.

You're describing the majority of people under 40 in most every major urban center. The delay of "settling down" and childbearing is across the board. In some countries like Japan it's a source of major social upheaval. This phenomenon is as gay as apple pie.
posted by GuyZero at 11:51 AM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's like every time I hand you a new shovel you start digging twice as hard.

Whatever dude. You're right, it's exactly the same, across the board. What was I thinking?
posted by hermitosis at 11:55 AM on October 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


GuyZero: "The delay of "settling down" and childbearing is across the board. "

I forget who put it in this context, but they observed that species generally respond to environmental stress by breeding less.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:59 AM on October 16, 2009


> you don't really grok the full implications either of what it means to be gay in the modern age or of the words you continue to spout.

hippybear, Apparently I don't grok that either, perhaps you'll explain why hermitosis' experiences are somehow part of reactionary anti-queer efforts?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:59 AM on October 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh god I'm so confused. Is GuyZero being a tool, or just playing one for effect to show up hermitosis's comments?

Also: Moir is a she, not a he. And the rest of her column is worth a read, to see how she has a pop at TP for not being young enough, a sneer at the bodies of even older women, and then a dig at her friends. What an awful, awful writer.
posted by fightorflight at 12:04 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Folks, it's the Daily Mail. I repeat: it's the Daily Mail. I don't know how much people here in the U.S. understand of what the Daily Mail stands for.

I also have a strong suspicion that this Jan person was shit stirring for controversy. It sells papers. And she doesn't care what harm disgusting lies she tells and what harm she causes. But, you know, it is the Daily Mail.
posted by VikingSword at 12:04 PM on October 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is GuyZero being a tool, or just playing one for effect to show up hermitosis's comments?

Thankfully the answer is a simple "yes".
posted by GuyZero at 12:05 PM on October 16, 2009


Lest there be any doubt about her character, note than Jan Moir also uses the word "decorous" to mean "decorative".
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:09 PM on October 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


Ambrosia Voyeur: I'm not sure they are really his experiences, but in this comment, he goes out of his way to point out that gays have issues with being part of their families and incorporating into the larger culture due to their sexual orientation. He uses those as justifications as to his beliefs why gays are somehow less mature and incapable of settling down than others in the culture. It's pretty clear (to me anyway) that issues with the closet and the lack of community support might cause integration problems, but that is because of societal pressures and not because of being queer by any measure. Plus, he makes the all-too-common mistake of assuming that gays only live in urban areas, or have left their hometowns, or whatever.

Not sure what "reactionary anti-queer efforts" you are referring to. I certainly did not use any of those four words in what I wrote. But he was not speaking any broad measure of truth about what homosexuals in the modern age strive for with their lives.
posted by hippybear at 12:12 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


VikingSword: "I don't know how much people here in the U.S. understand of what the Daily Mail stands for."

You'll never go broke betting on American provincialism.

On July 16 1993 The Mail ran the headline "Abortion hope after 'gay genes' findings".

I take it that's characteristic?
posted by Joe Beese at 12:14 PM on October 16, 2009


Quite a week for Twitter in the UK, what with the Trafigura controversy as well. It really seems to have come of age.
posted by WPW at 12:15 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I could reach the Press Complaints Commission website earlier this afternoon, and was touched to note it had thoughtfully included two giant links for its visitors: one to complain about Jan Moir and the The Daily Mail, and one to complain about the rest of the press.
posted by somergames at 12:18 PM on October 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


hippybear, the very first thing I said was that this isn't a gay problem, it's a youth culture problem. I did theorize, using some generalities that by no means represent the full spectrum of American gay culture, about why this may have come to be mistakenly perpetuated as the "gay lifestyle", even within the gay community.

Sorry if I was unclear.
posted by hermitosis at 12:19 PM on October 16, 2009


hippybear:

Compare: "Gays are more likely to keep the details of their personal lives secret from their families." vs. "gays have issues with being part of their families"

Compare: "you basically live under a different set of rules than most of your straight friends" vs. "gays have issues ... incorporating into the larger culture"

Compare: "They are less likely to be pressured by their families to settle down and have kids." vs. "gays are ... incapable of settling down than others in the culture"

Compare: "If you are a gay male and ... live in an urban setting" vs. "gays only live in urban areas"

I certainly did not use any of those four words in what I wrote.

Well look who suddenly got religion about not being misquoted.
posted by jock@law at 12:21 PM on October 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


I could reach the Press Complaints Commission website earlier this afternoon, and was touched to note it had thoughtfully included two giant links for its visitors: one to complain about Jan Moir and the The Daily Mail, and one to complain about the rest of the press.

Ha! I did my complaining in the morning, and the site was working fine. I think the story exploded at lunchtime or shortly after.

Incidentally, when the Mail complains about an "orchestrated campaign" to complain to the
PCC, it is talking nonsense - clearly it doesn't understand how social media works - and it is also being pretty hypocritical, since it orchestrated its own complaint campaign during the Brand/Ross/Sachs affair.
posted by WPW at 12:26 PM on October 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


We can only hope this will scare some advertisers away from the Daily Heil in general. The day that rag goes under will be a great victory for journalism in the UK and non-fascists everywhere.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:26 PM on October 16, 2009


Crap post, transparently ginning up a bunch of outrage over a crap column without even bothering to link to it.

That said, given that it's the Daily Mail, I'm surprised that Moir stuck purely to indicting homosexuality by innuendo—couldn't she come up with a way to blame immigrants in council housing for Gately's death?
posted by klangklangston at 12:29 PM on October 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


jock@law: paraphrasing is allowed. Blatant inserting of ideas not in the actual comment is not. You know that as well as anyone, and you're just being fighty for the sake of being fighty.
posted by hippybear at 12:30 PM on October 16, 2009


On July 16 1993 The Mail ran the headline "Abortion hope after 'gay genes' findings".

I take it that's characteristic?


Absolutely. Basically, anything the most socially regressive readers can get behind: anti-immigrant bashing, Europe-Is-Evil-And-Taking-Our-Rights, foreigners are stealing our jobs, blacks/asians/muslims/whoever don't belong etc.

Daily Mail - bottom of the barrel.
posted by VikingSword at 12:30 PM on October 16, 2009


I'm not bagging on the fpp, but really, there's something vile written in the Daily Mail, well, daily. If we are to link to every one, we'll need to pretty much link to the whole thing, every day. That said, this 'piece' is especially disgusting.
posted by VikingSword at 12:33 PM on October 16, 2009


I'm not sure they are really his experiences, but in this comment, he goes out of his way to point out that gays have issues with being part of their families and incorporating into the larger culture due to their sexual orientation. He uses those as justifications as to his beliefs why gays are somehow less mature and incapable of settling down than others in the culture. It's pretty clear (to me anyway) that issues with the closet and the lack of community support might cause integration problems, but that is because of societal pressures and not because of being queer by any measure. Plus, he makes the all-too-common mistake of assuming that gays only live in urban areas, or have left their hometowns, or whatever.

I read his comment completely differently, and it didn't come off to me as being judgemental or as blaming being gay on the lack of settling down.

I didn't read hermitosis' comment as a statement on Why Gays Are Immature, but more of an explanation for why many (urban) gay men tend(ed) to have lives that tend to have quite a different trajectory from their straight counterparts.

As a closeted gay teenager, I never, ever dreamed girly dreams about my wedding day or anything like that. That was never an expectation of mine. I knew I was different, and that my life would be different (from that of my heterosexual female friends).

Different, yeah, right. Now I'm a forty-mumble-year-old gay married dyke who lives in SF with her partner and cats. So exotic! So unusual! It's all good.
posted by rtha at 12:36 PM on October 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


I find her article quite disgusting, but I also can't for the life of me see her reasoning. I know it's probably impossible, but I'm trying to understand what she's saying. This is pretty much all I have:

"He caught the gay and eventually the gay killed him".

Is that right? Does she actually think that homosexuality is a fatal virus/disease? Or does she just think that all gays are massive party-ers, that being a hedonist is inextricably bound up in being gay? Because that doesn't make any sense either. So I'm genuinely stumped as to what she's actually saying.
posted by ob at 12:36 PM on October 16, 2009


Anyone who has kids over 30, anyone who gets married after 25 - you're holding off on maturing and essentially singing your death certificate for an early demise.

i waited for both until i was 38 and now i'm 52

*looks over shoulder nervously*
posted by pyramid termite at 12:39 PM on October 16, 2009


Nobody, gay, straight, living or dead, should be written about so damned badly.

Nobody, gay, straight, living or dead, should write so damned badly.
posted by JeffK at 12:40 PM on October 16, 2009


I have always found it an interesting insight into a given society, to read their gutter press. My exposure has been to Swedish, German, U.S., British, Indian - it tells you what concerns, fears, prejudices are percolating under the surface. It's like at the beginning of Blue Velvet when the camera pushes in under the grass, and you get to see the particular fauna that populates that lawn. Historically, I think the Brits invented the modern gutter press - no? Anyone have any perspective on this? In the U.S. this seems to be dying as all press is dying, and instead has taken on a special life on the radio.
posted by VikingSword at 12:40 PM on October 16, 2009


... it's a youth culture problem.

Also, youth culture killed my dog.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:41 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, but I cannot take seriously someone who, a few entries down in her column, actually committed the words "Oh, my giddy Spanx power panties!" to newsprint.
posted by Spatch at 12:44 PM on October 16, 2009


hippybear, I don't agree that your take on hermitosis' comment was a neutral paraphrase, nor did I misquote you. I asked a question, pushing you to take your criticism of his remark toward a weightier political destination than you did by merely saying his remark belied inexplicable ignorance. My curiosity was: how do his statistical-sounding generalizations serve to harm queer culture, because you seemed to be offended by them in a way I would assume meant you took them to be, indeed, harmful.

The whole disagreement is in an unusual context, as it impedes the pillorying of this columist we're supposed to be enthusing about, and I, as I remarked above, disagree with hermitosis if he meant to imply that she completely conflated the gayness of this story with the debauchedness of its non-story side. She does use this fantasy of hinkiness to conjure up "the myth of happy endings" for gays, which I think is clearly fucked up.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:46 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


That tweet from Fry makes me want to snap out a fan and bat my eyelashes at him. That's generations of elegant British disdain coming to the forefront like a thoroughbred racing a possum.
posted by adipocere at 12:48 PM on October 16, 2009 [15 favorites]


Is that right? Does she actually think that homosexuality is a fatal virus/disease?

I assume she actually thinks that she writes for the propaganda wing of the British National Party, and she would be right.
posted by Errant at 12:49 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


> makes me want to snap out a fan and bat my eyelashes at him.

That's funny, because I find it a bit frustratingly erotic also, but in a very clearly "domme me a lesson, I'm being terribly arch" sort of coquettish way. He's the one with a fan, I daresay, and it's a shame if we Merkins miss his best queening bits on account of his general Britishness.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:53 PM on October 16, 2009


From the article:

Another real sadness about Gately's death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships.

Whut
posted by davejay at 12:55 PM on October 16, 2009


Is this the UK's response to Toronto Star's "we mistakenly accused a teacher of sexual assualt on minors, but since he killed himself after that and can no longer sue us for libel, we'll assume that he was guilty as charged and write a column about what a horrible person he was" incident from the other day? Desperate old media prepared to do anything for hits (all publicity is good publicity, etc), or what's going on here?
posted by effbot at 12:56 PM on October 16, 2009


If they find a bitten apple with traces of cyanide, I'll seriously freak out.
posted by Free word order! at 12:57 PM on October 16, 2009


If they find a bitten apple with traces of cyanide, I'll seriously freak out.

FURTHER PERPETUATING THE MYTH OF THE WICKED QUEEN
posted by hermitosis at 12:58 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


As a gay British person, rolling my eyes and/or feeling a bit nauseous at the Mail has become part of my routine so thoroughly as to be almost unremarkable. Not that you need to be gay to be disgusted at the Mail: even by the standards of the British press it's noted as being a particularly virulent homophobic, sexist, racist, classist, anti-trade unionist rag that likes banging on about things like Values and Traditions and Sending Them All Home.

A lot of my friends own badges and t-shirts that read 'Hated By The Daily Mail.' "Daily Mail Reader" is a kind of shorthand in Britain for (depending on who you ask) either "hateful bigot" or "staunch traditionalist and defender of values."


I'm not bagging on the fpp, but really, there's something vile written in the Daily Mail, well, daily. If we are to link to every one, we'll need to pretty much link to the whole thing, every day. That said, this 'piece' is especially disgusting.


So I'm not surprised it ran an opinion column of this nature in the slightest. As VikingSword says, they publish vile, offensive and upsetting things all the time. What is interesting and absolutely fpp worthy is the sheer amount of public outrage this has caused-- before the PCC website crashed, it looked like there were going to be record numbers of complaints. Sorry to use anecdote as data, but acquaintances who had formerly never seemed to be that intensely bothered about homophobia have posted on Facebook or Twitter about how much this has got on their goat. And it all happened very, very quickly, in response to the kind of shit that the Mail pulls all the time and never gets called up on.

I wonder why it was this column that seems to have been a particular tipping point? Maybe because even for the Mail it's pretty vile, maybe because Moir chose to pick on a much-loved and genuinely inoffensive singer. Maybe because it coincided with a national news story about homophobic crime rising in Britain. I don't know, but it is worth talking about: why has this piece in particular become the focus of (righteous) disgust for its homophobia?
posted by somergames at 1:02 PM on October 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Three-handed canasta, while possible, is not a very congenial card game.

I didn't even know three-handed canasta was even possible, but lo and behold.

Still prefer it as a four-person game. Just wish other people around here knew how to play it.
posted by dw at 1:05 PM on October 16, 2009


Yeah um I read that twice. In no way did this woman say "Oh this guy died because he's gay and you know how the gays are with their hard-partying."

Sorry. All she is doing here is asking for all of the facts about a celebrity death this time around, before everyone sugarcoats the ending- they way the media usually does when the deceased is a celebrity.

This piece is about media whitewashing, not an attack on the gay lifestyle or civil unions.

But once again, thanks to twitter and other social media, people see something they think is an "outrage" and jump in blindly because they want to show everyone how hip and progressive they are. "Yes, I too hate that woman, because she hates the gays. Everyone love me now." Social media is nothing but one big bandwagon. And it's becoming the ying to Fox News' yang. Both are very bad things.

And now that I've read her explanation, it seems I'm correct in my assumption:

"Some people, particularly in the gay community, have been upset by my article about the sad death of Boyzone member Stephen Gately. This was never my intention. Stephen, as I pointed out in the article was a charming and sweet man who entertained millions.

"However, the point of my column-which, I wonder how many of the people complaining have fully read - was to suggest that, in my honest opinion, his death raises many unanswered questions. That was all.

"Yes, anyone can die at anytime of anything. However, it seems unlikely to me that what took place in the hours immediately preceding Gately’s death - out all evening at a nightclub, taking illegal substances, bringing a stranger back to the flat, getting intimate with that stranger - did not have a bearing on his death. At the very least, it could have exacerbated an underlying medical condition.

"The entire matter of his sudden death seemed to have been handled with undue haste when lessons could have been learned. On this subject, one very important point. When I wrote that ‘he would want to set an example to any impressionable young men who may want to emulate what they might see as his glamorous routine’, I was referring to the drugs and the casual invitation extended to a stranger. Not to the fact of his homosexuality.

"In writing that ‘it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships’ I was suggesting that civil partnerships - the introduction of which I am on the record in supporting - have proved just to be as problematic as marriages.

"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."

posted by Zambrano at 1:06 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


My favourite part that his toxicology report revealed cannabis use and therefore GAYS ARE EVIL! I guess gay is the new Mexican.
posted by mek at 1:09 PM on October 16, 2009


Zambrano, Alastair Campbell has put together a pretty good point-by-point dismantling of Moir's fork-tongued non-apology. It's not about "media whitewashing" at all, unless you consider the coroner to be part of the media.
posted by WPW at 1:11 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


He's merely being anti-party-lifestyle, as am I.

However, "marrying after 30" does not necessarily mean "pro-party lifestyle." In my case it means "anti-marrying losers".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:12 PM on October 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


"In writing that ‘it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships’ I was suggesting that civil partnerships - the introduction of which I am on the record in supporting - have proved just to be as problematic as marriages."

Well, maybe then we should just have "marriage" for all, instead of separate but equal arrangements? Would it have been better to have someone like Jan back in the day "be on record" as supporting civil partnerships for blacks and whites? We've had a lot of experience back in the 60's with those who claimed "why, I'm for equality, but let us keep things separate - separate but equal!!!". I'd be much more impressed if she "was on record as supporting marriage rights for all".
posted by VikingSword at 1:18 PM on October 16, 2009


> "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."

In other words, "That is some way to die, Stephen, it makes you look like a homosexual! (The Internet boos and Moir is startled. She nervously speaks and points at the crowd). Uh, oh...maybe you are all homosexuals too! (The Internet boos louder).
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:19 PM on October 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


I would like to mention that I have been constantly offended in what is clearly a heavily orchestrated internet campaign to get the image of pedobear and lolcats onto so many different websites. Damn you, Anonymous!
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:23 PM on October 16, 2009


"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."

She's right, nobody's suggesting that.

What people are suggesting is that her article is explicitly homophobic and bigoted.

Oh, and Zambrano, I think you are simply seeing what you want to see.
posted by reynir at 1:34 PM on October 16, 2009


I actually don't care why this article sparked outrage that others did not. Though if others wish to speculate, speculate away! As for me, it caught my eye because a gay friend of mine died last week, and all of us who were friends with him are still in a bit of shock over it, and feeling rather raw and sore. He was sick, cancer infecting his spine, but we didn't expect it to end the way it did or this soon. I thought for a moment what if this Jan person dared suggest that my friend died because of his gay lifestyle and there were questions still to be asked and I saw red.

What interests me is that there was a reaction, it was nearly all against her, and companies pulled ads. She got called out on bullshit, and the Daily Mail suffered (loss of ad revenue) because of it. People are complaining in droves to the Proper Authorities.

Its horrid that she wrote such an article, and by her 'explanation' thought it was perfectly okay to write. Its not good.

But people complained. The vast majority is against that gay-bashing attitude. And that to me is a hopeful, good thing. So it was this article and not the one before; attitudes are shifting. And in a positive direction.

As for my friend; next weekend we are having a memorial potluck. If the turnout to the memorial 'lets me and have drinks' was any indication, there should be a fantastic turnout. He affected a lot of people in very positive ways and was very well loved. You do not mess with the memories of those who were loved.
posted by sandraregina at 1:37 PM on October 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


Sorry...let's meet!
posted by sandraregina at 1:37 PM on October 16, 2009


You know, this is kinda off-topic, but I would love to visit this magical place where it's totally socially okay and not weird at all to be over 30 and single and straight. Allow me to present the following exchange between myself AND A DELIVERY PERSON I BARELY KNOW:

Delivery person: So, a...[looks at package] Kelly [last name redacted] doesn't live here?

Me [sick and sniffling, he pointed out, for extra pity]: No, I'm pretty sure I'd know.

Delivery person: Okay, that's why I didn't just leave it yesterday and left you a note instead.

Me: No, sorry, there's no one by that name here.

Delivery person [a woman several years my senior, I point out to do away with any ideas you may have that this is manly back-slapping going on]: Ha ha! You wish, right?

Me: ...Errrr. Heh. Yeah, okay. [closes door/returns to deathbed]

So yeah. Societal pressure such that strangers feel compelled to chime in on your marital status? It's a thing that is happening, yes.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:41 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know, this is kinda off-topic, but I would love to visit this magical place where it's totally socially okay and not weird at all to be over 30 and single and straight.

It's called "New York City" (well...some parts of New York City)
posted by kathrineg at 1:44 PM on October 16, 2009


Sidebar:

That's funny, because I find it a bit frustratingly erotic also, but in a very clearly "domme me a lesson, I'm being terribly arch" sort of coquettish way. He's the one with a fan, I daresay, and it's a shame if we Merkins miss his best queening bits on account of his general Britishness.

I suppose it is possible to distinguish between "Stephen Fry" and "Terribly Arch Stephen Fry" but I think it'd be like trying to pick up on the difference between "The white hot heat of a thousand suns" and "the white hot heat of a thousand suns, plus ten degrees." Give or take.

Bless.
posted by Diablevert at 1:45 PM on October 16, 2009


Is it just me, or does it seem that one of the innuendos she's trying to subtly inject into the discussion is the possibility that the fluid found in his lungs was, well, possibly not caused by pulmonary edema? Because, you know, they obviously had a little orgy since they -- pshaw! -- weren't there just to play canasta.

That's the sort of ignorant, ass-backward assertion that I can hear lots of homophobes making, and it seems she laid the groundwork for it.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:45 PM on October 16, 2009


This piece is about media whitewashing, not an attack on the gay lifestyle or civil unions.

I have to disagree, Zambrano. It is absolutely an attack on what Moir views (or can snidely represent) as "the gay lifestyle", and nothing to do with 'media whitewashing'. As the coroner confirmed, Gately died suddenly from natural causes. Sometimes, tragically, young people do die suddenly, particularly young people with a family history of heart failure. The coroner stated it had nothing to do with whether Gately had been partying, who was in his room, what 'illegal substances' (one spliff) he'd taken. Those are 'the facts', everything else is speculation.

A homophobic article doesn't necessarily have to say HE DIED BECAUSE HE WAS IN THE GAYS I HATE THE GAYS WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN. It can be more subtle than that. In this case, Jan Moir wasn't very subtle.

Also, I disagree that most of the outrage has been from people blindly jumping on a social media bandwagon. I think people have been honestly and earnestly offended and upset by what is, at the absolute least, an article in extremely poor taste. And, you know, if it does the slightest bit to defeat or even de-normalise homophobia, I don't see what's so wrong with people wanting to "demonstrate how progressive they are." I think this is a case of a lot of people saying "this is homophobic, offensive bullshit, Jan Moir, knock it off" and I'm glad they're saying it.
posted by somergames at 1:45 PM on October 16, 2009


This piece is about media whitewashing, not an attack on the gay lifestyle or civil unions.

Go back and read that column properly Zambrano and then try again.

Also, just nthing the MetaTalk thread once again about the Daily Mail.

(Sadly, I've seen the Mail used as sauce on a few FPP since then).
posted by panboi at 1:53 PM on October 16, 2009


Hmm... That Brooker piece is front and center on the Guardian website. Not used to seeing him there like that.
posted by Artw at 2:04 PM on October 16, 2009


Wonder how long it will stay up?

Well, at least it can be cited.
posted by Artw at 2:04 PM on October 16, 2009


I would love to visit this magical place where it's totally socially okay and not weird at all to be over 30 and single and straight

Toronto? San Francisco? Note, however, that these are both gay meccas, so maybe the gay agenda* is working after all.

* my 2009 gay agenda is almost out of pages - anyone know where I can pick up a nice one for 2010?
posted by GuyZero at 2:09 PM on October 16, 2009


It's called "New York City" (well...some parts of New York City)

Heh. That's because all the couples leave and there's no one to judge.
posted by smackfu at 2:37 PM on October 16, 2009


After a night of clubbing, Cowles and Gately took a young Bulgarian man back to their apartment. It is not disrespectful to assume that a game of canasta with 25-year-old Georgi Dochev was not what was on the cards.

Of course, because gay men don't ever have people over to their homes for anything other than hot man love.

Also, why the specificity about the young man's nationality?
posted by brundlefly at 2:47 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, why the specificity about the young man's nationality?

a) adding extraneous details makes newspapers seem more authoritative and omniscient - they're often tempted to throw in other details like "bipedal" and "viviparous" but then they'd have to delete "canasta" or "gay agenda"
b) obviously it was for sex as you certainly can't talk to a Bulgarian since they don't speak English there
c) Bulgarians are notorious cheats at canasta
posted by GuyZero at 2:52 PM on October 16, 2009 [11 favorites]


I assume it's meant to imply that he was a prostitute, because if you're from Bulgaria and you go to gay people's houses, it's because you're broke and sleazy. Classist, homophobic and xenophobic all in one? Yahtzee.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:54 PM on October 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


somergames: I wonder why it was this column that seems to have been a particular tipping point? Maybe because even for the Mail it's pretty vile, maybe because Moir chose to pick on a much-loved and genuinely inoffensive singer. Maybe because it coincided with a national news story about homophobic crime rising in Britain. I don't know, but it is worth talking about: why has this piece in particular become the focus of (righteous) disgust for its homophobia?

Because he was a Nice Young Man, I think. They're a perceived rarity these days, and most people though of him as the sort of guy you could take round for tea with an elderly relative. An aura of 'niceness' that I think made people feel instinctually positive towards him - something that made his death extra shocking, and then some bitch comes and basically pisses on his grave before he's dead? Yeah, shitstorm time. The Mail is normally vile and hateful, but they usually pick on targets who aren't nice or much loved.

I do wonder about Mail readers, in that they seem to sustain a level of rage and hatred all the time that I can only manage in small bursts. People are accuse feminists, or indeed any equal rights type activists of being too angry, but compared to the Mail rage level we're all the Zennist Zen you've ever met.
posted by Coobeastie at 3:01 PM on October 16, 2009


It is not disrespectful to assume that a game of canasta with 25-year-old Georgi Dochev was not what was on the cards.

Actually, it is. Hopefully the 1,000 complaints to the press complaints commission will bring this point home to Ms Moir.
posted by panboi at 3:02 PM on October 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


It seems that even the Mail is sort of realising that it has, as the saying goes, dropped a bit of a bollock on this one. Jan Moir, after a near-the-knuckle satirical Twitter account was set up by a prankster, has been advised by the paper to set up her own, and is apologising repeatedly. The apology started out as "heartfelt" (this was the graceless nonpology reproduced above) but has graduated to "full". She's stlll trying to get away with apologising for the distress caused, rather than the actual content, and is claiming (by God, I hope truthfully, or there is going to be some froideur around the Moir breakfast table) that she has a gay son, and arguing that it follows that she cannot be homophobic. Unsafely, of course, but there we go.

I confess that there were one thing that really tickled me about the nonpology. In Jan Moir's response she explained that when she had said:
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. Not everyone, they say, is like George Michael.

Of course, in many cases this may be true. Yet the recent death of Kevin McGee, the former husband of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, and now the dubious events of Gately's last night raise troubling questions about what happened.
What she meant was that
civil partnerships - the introduction of which I am on the record in supporting - have proved just to be as problematic as marriages.
This is just wonderful. Bear in mind that she is writing in the Daily Mail - a paper which has never really lived down its support for the British Union of Fascists, which supported the odiously homophobic Section 28 and which gave Richard Littlejohn a platform to complain about people being too kind about murdered prostitutes (Stewart Lee is very good on this - this is a YouTube link, for which I apologise, and the Littlejohn section starts at 4:55 or so). Apparently, however, the readership of the Daily Mail have, from the moment civil partnerships were put on the books, been labouring under the misapprehension that they are not only just as good as heterosexual marriage, but much, much better. That's the readers of the Daily Mail. To a man and unhappy, self-loathing woman, they all felt that heterosexual love had been totally out-evolved on the day civil partnerships arrived. How strange, now, for them to have to process the idea that a public, legal union between two people in a long-term relationship might be just like a marriage.

Your mind? Blowed.
posted by DNye at 3:02 PM on October 16, 2009 [9 favorites]


Also, why the specificity about the young man's nationality?

Because it plays nicely into two of the Daily Mail's other favorite tropes: dirty furriners go home and HURF DURF EROPEUN YEWNYUN!
posted by [expletive deleted] at 3:10 PM on October 16, 2009


It is not disrespectful to assume that a game of canasta with 25-year-old Georgi Dochev was not what was on the cards.

A game of canasta between a gay couple just sucks. One hot gay dude ends up with two cards, and the other hot gay dude just keeps scoring canasta after canasta. Having a young hottie around to score points off of is actually fairly critical to keeping the relationship strong. That, and the canasta eyewear.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:13 PM on October 16, 2009


Just a little thought that just occurred to me: there are quite a lot of people both in this thread and on the internet in general that see the strong and quick reaction to this column as something negative, like a straw fire that will burn bright, but not for long, or an instinctive backlash that will soon lose its impulse.

While I can agree that wild-eyed actionism is usually counterproductive there is one huge advantage to those fast, vocal reactions: have you ever tried to trained an animal not to do something? It is almost impossible to do this when punishment is administered only after a while. If a cat or a dog did its business on the living room rug in the morning and you yell at them or squirt them with a bottle when you come home at night they will never learn that their behavior was wrong. The correct method is to complain immediately when they do something wrong, because otherwise they don't make the connection between their behavior and the corresponding punishment.

Therefore I almost prefer this kind of direct feedback to a more generalized murmur of displeasure because it shows those in charge exactly what people have a problem with, and what specifically they have to do to avoid it in the future.
On the other hand it seems like it would be exceedingly easy to go overboard with this kind of thing, and thus detract from the original intent; would a more measured, less visceral reaction have been as thought-provoking?
posted by PontifexPrimus at 3:20 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I see the speed more as a result of this being such a trite, intellectually corrupt position (he died of teh gay!) that it can be refuted by the same part of your brain that pulls your hand away from the hot stove element when you touch it. People twitter their offence before they even realize how offended they are.
posted by GuyZero at 3:33 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Holy crap - have you seen the front page of tomorrow's Daily Mail?
posted by essexjan at 3:55 PM on October 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


Apparently, the truth about that night is starting to come out. I can just imagine the cogs in the editors mind turning at a furious rate to come up with the whole sordid story.
posted by arishaun at 4:00 PM on October 16, 2009


People are complaining in droves to the Proper Authorities

As no one else seems to be, it's worth noting that the Press Complaints Commission is a toothless self-policing body run by the papers themselves, and in no way comparable to any of the other UK media watchdogs.
posted by cillit bang at 4:01 PM on October 16, 2009


the Press Complaints Commission is a toothless self-policing body

Shock horror?
posted by grobstein at 6:19 PM on October 16, 2009


MetaFilter: a toothless self-policing body
posted by brundlefly at 7:11 PM on October 16, 2009


In what is clearly a heavily orchestrated internet campaign

Not exactly related, other than, perhaps, in a shared underlying viewpoint, but I think this comment is funny because of the parallels to the arguments against evolution: Something this large and complicated can't possibly have 'just happened' in response to the environment, it must have been designed.
posted by robertc at 4:32 AM on October 17, 2009


(was/were substitution up there, and the Stewart Lee link involves one (very) rude word near the end. Apologies - very short on sleep lately)
posted by DNye at 5:25 AM on October 17, 2009


It's a disgraceful article, but in a way I'm glad she wrote it because it's such a fascinating insight into the Daily Mail mindset. On the one hand, there is Normal Life (marriage, kids, mortgage), and then on the other hand, there is Everything Else. If that's your view of the world, then I suppose it makes perfect sense to think of gay marriage, cannabis smoking and mysterious death as being connected in some sort of 'alternative lifestyle'.

The really scary thing is that she genuinely believes this. It's quite clear from her non-apology that she cannot understand why anybody might regard the article as offensive or homophobic.
posted by verstegan at 6:34 AM on October 17, 2009


Remember when the Daily Mail decried the colonial de-Africanization of Africa by China. Because China was doing business with African nations along with US and UK interests?

Seriously. It was like the last 500 years had never happened.
posted by clvrmnky at 8:24 AM on October 17, 2009


kmz: "Meanwhile, Jan Moir is blaming the backlash on an "orchestrated internet campaign". "

Stephen Fry is not an orchestrated campaign. He's an awesome dude with over a million twitter followers, and woe be to anyone who fucks with him. He doesn't need to orchestrate with anyone. He tweets "wtf, gay bashing at the daily mail," and that's all the orchestration he needs.
posted by shmegegge at 8:31 AM on October 17, 2009


The PCC is up again and they have a nice little link on their 'complaints' page about this article. Whether its to funnel it straight into a delete file or not, its rather interesting.
posted by sandraregina at 11:17 AM on October 17, 2009


Blah blah anyone still reading blah blah --

Sarcasm, especially well-crafted, dry sarcasm, is often impossible to discern in text, I think we need a punctuation mark that indicates "the preceding statement is sarcastic," if only to stave off the inevitable "wtf?" or "I can't tell if you're being serious, but if you are, you're a dick"-type comments.

Since the only language with a punctuation mark that means "sarcasm" uses the same exclamation point used in Spanish to denote EXCLAMATION (though Spanish uses it to bracket the statement with another exclamation point in the inverse position), we really, truly need a new punctuation mark for sarcasm--even if it's only used here on MetaFilter. Can someone suggest one? Should we have a suggestions/vote discussion on MetaTalk? Emoticons just don't cut it, and it should work just like a period or question mark or exclamation point as the punctuation mark that ends the sentence.

Example: Because the gay lifestyle, as has been proven over and over again, is a danger to society{\}
posted by tzikeh at 11:55 AM on October 17, 2009


The other slightly odd thing about this is that it was allowed to go out in that form. I mean, it actually doesn't look as if it was subbed. For example, any subeditor worth his or her salt would surely have noticed that:
He was the Posh Spice of Boyzone, a popular but largely decorous addition.
Should read "popular but largely decorative".

Likewise:
Gay activists are always calling for tolerance and understanding about same-sex relationships, arguing that they are just the same as heterosexual marriages. Not everyone, they say, is like George Michael.

Of course, in many cases this may be true. Yet the recent death of Kevin McGee, the former husband of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, and now the dubious events of Gately's last night raise troubling questions about what happened.
Is not really grammatical. Clearly it should have been either
Yet the recent death of Kevin McGee, the former husband of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, and now the dubious events of Gately's last night raise troubling questions about [whether same-sex relationships are the same as heterosexual relationships, in which, in Moir's perception, people who have divorced never commit suicide and people who are married never die]
or
Yet the recent death of Kevin McGee, the former husband of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, [made Jan Moir, if nobody else, question this claim that not everyone is like George Michael], and now the dubious events of Gately's last night raise troubling questions about what happened [on that last night, with the suggestion that they are in some way related to being like George Michael, and by extension ].
There's no "what happened" which applies directly to both "the recent death of Kevin McGee" and "the dubious events of Gately's death". For that matter, there is no reference back to the actual subject of the para, which is the equivalence drawn by "gay activists" between "same-sex relationships" and "heterosexual marriages" - which, again, a sub would probably have changed to either to "same-sex relationships" and "heterosexual partnerships" or to "civil partnerships" and "heterosexual marriages", for balance. Even the Mail style guide can't state that relationships and marriages are the same thing for heterosexuals, surely?

Which is odd - possibly the copy was submitted late? I think it's possible that the Mail echo chamber might be sufficiently perfect that nobody would have thought that this would go down badly, or at least that it would only upset the people the Mail seeks to upset, but there are some errors that I'd expect of a blog post rather than a newspaper piece in there.
posted by DNye at 12:08 PM on October 17, 2009


A couple of factors might come into play there, DNye: firstly, it was published in FeMail, which is effectively a supplement. Accordingly, it will be made by a supplementary production and sub-editing team team, not the paper's main news and comment editors. (There's a good chance it'll have been subbed by some lifer who was posted in a corner where he couldn't have done any harm, until now.)

Secondly, even if it was a good sub-editor, there are1 also the office politics: often columnists are even more touchy about their precious prose than reporters, and so will kick up a fuss if a sub makes a minor error. This will either lead to the subs being told not to touch the copy beyond what's necessary, or the subs themselves deciding the writer can be given enough rope to hang themselves.

(If I had to lay bets, I'd wager it was the latter. You can't write that badly, and about such offensive topics, without upsetting some subs at some point. I'd bet too that she's had a pop at some subs in the past -- people who, after all, are just trying to stop her looking like an idiot. So when this gem came through, I suspect they printed it knowing full well what'd happen. In summary: if you're a shit writer, don't make enemies of the subs.)
posted by fightorflight at 12:27 PM on October 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Very good points, fightorflight, and very probably correct - I am reminded of Giles Coren's operatic responses to sub-editing. After a couple of these, I imagine that the average sub would probably want editorial blessing before so much as taking out an orphan.

(And, since irony is the most common element in the universe, that should have been or at least that it would not only upset the people the Mail seeks to upset) above)
posted by DNye at 2:01 PM on October 17, 2009


"News of the World released video of the night Gately died showing the singer and Cowles leaving a nightclub in Majorca. The video appears to contradict reports that Gately had been on a drinking binge." *
posted by ericb at 2:27 PM on October 17, 2009


Example: Because the gay lifestyle, as has been proven over and over again, is a danger to society{\}

Clearly this will be adopted quickly and spread like wildfire\
posted by jock@law at 6:08 PM on October 17, 2009


Moir complains about "a roaring ball of hate fire" in today's Daily Roaring Ball of Hate Fire.
posted by rory at 2:48 AM on October 23, 2009


I think this might be Tanya Gold's tribute to Jan Muir.
posted by Artw at 11:04 AM on October 27, 2009


I don't believe Tanya Gold actually exists - she's so absurd that I think she's an involved practical joke a la Richard Geefe.
posted by Grangousier at 11:23 AM on October 27, 2009


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