Penguins and playgrounds – What happened when Melanie Phillips Came Out to play
So the Daily Mail’s done it again.
‘How?’ I hear you cry, ‘Is it the Muslims? Has Jonathan Ross done something outrageous? Maybe the BBC’s been giving people cancer? Or perhaps… no… NOT THE WHEELIE BINS!!’
No no dear friends, none of that. Well not as far as I know, though going by the Mail’s usual ‘standards’ at least one of the subjects above will be in that rag somewhere. But no, the topic du jour is that oh-so-reliable pet hate of the Mail: The Gay Agenda.
Now, at this point I’m going to assume you know what I’m talking about, because if you don’t then I don’t know how you found this blog unless either you know me or you were expecting something about Doctor Who. If so, sorry to disappoint. For those sheltered few who haven’t seen what everyone’s talking about yet you can have a look at it here, but don’t worry because that link doesn’t take you to the MailOnline’s own page, rather it directs you to somewhere else where the article’s copied specifically so the Mail doesn’t get webpage hits, which after all is the only reason they publish what their vile writers spew forth. And let’s face it, any way of p*ssing off the Mail by denying it its web advertising revenue means happy days in my book.
But as I say, I’m going to assume you’ve already read that article and are here for some comment thereon. Normally I’d be happy to oblige but tonight I’m more than happy to find myself remarkably outdone by other bloggers. With that in mind, and having been inspired by a viral effort by myself and others on Twitter (remember how good Twitter is for spreading commentary), this post will instead be a summary and round up of some of my favourite commentary on Ms Phillips’ article and the surrounding furore. I hope you enjoy it all as much as I did.
First up is the ever-reliable Tabloid Watch. I mentioned this blog back in my election post and I’m happy to say that he’s risen to the task of unpicking the Phillips article (and the original article upon which her piece is based) with considerable and pleasing precision. The comment by a Mr iainkilpatrick is also worth a look (currently 9th comment down).
Then we have the delight that is the Twitter hashtag. Sadly I think I’m a little bit late to the party on this one because aside from Melanie Phillips herself there aren’t any other related tags in the UK’s top ten at the moment. Fear not though for if you search #dailymailmaths you’ll find some good tweets that play on Phillips’ oh-so-irrational fears, much in the same way that #nickcleggsfault did during the last election (though the less said about him these days the better).
As well as the tags there’s the flurry of articles from interested, indignant or mildly irritated/amused bloggers such as http://www.al-vimh.net/?p=205 from The World According To Al Vimh, and http://cardiffblogger.co.uk/?p=1268 by Cardiff Blogger. There’s also a piece about why we should feel sorry for the pitiful Ms Phillips by the brilliant Guy_Interrupted, and THAT post by the magnificent Danny Baxandall, known on Twitter as @Baxfail. I kid you not, this is an incandescent GEM of an article! In the short time I’ve spent tonight between reading it and vowing not to sleep until it goes viral it pretty much already has!
Update: Old Mel has posted a reply addressing the furore over her piece. You can have a look at it here (again, not a DM link, this one goes to Pink News). It’ll come as no surprise to anyone that what she says is a load of rubbish. She trots out the ‘I’ve got nothing against gay people’ line a few times and says she will happily defend us as long as we’re suffering what she calls ‘true prejudice’. Amusingly she claims to have defended us in the offending article. That bit must have passed me by then. But by far my favourite part was when she said she “often [defends us] when considering the threat posed to [us] by radical Islamism”. So gays aren’t at the bottom of the pile as long as the Muslims are around, yes? How nice of Mel to say so.
And that’s my take on all that’s been going on so far tonight. But in the midst of everything it’s vital to remember precisely why this is so important, and it was the magnificent Johann Hari who reminded us why this issue is not to be taken lying down. Whether we do it through debate, rage, protest or simply through humour, this is why it’s so important not to let the bigots grind us down.
And always remember kids, It Gets Better.