David Norris lands in deep do-do…


I’ve never liked Senator David Norris.  His accent, the way he speaks as if he were trying to make a point to a group of hard-of-hearing people several fields away,  and of course the Joyce thing.  Yes, he’s entitled to like James Joyce.  Great writer.  But while the rest of us just read his books,  Norris feels the need every year to dress up in Edwardian clothes and prance around Dublin with a bunch of his equally-exhibitionist mates.
So no,  I can’t stand him; but this morning I feel sorry for him. Back in 2002 Norris gave an interview to Helen Lucy-Burke in which he said some things about paedophilia and the Ancient Greeks. It now looks as though what he said is coming back to bite to death his hopes  of becoming the  President of Ireland next September. 
In the interview, Norris made the mistake of talking about sexual activity between older and younger men and boys,  and pointing out that not all societies shared our views on these things – notably the Ancient Greeks. This is true in fact but you don’t hear it mentioned a lot.  That’s because nearly everybody admires Greek civilization and if you toss in this sharply different view on sex with young people,  the waters get muddied. Admiration of Greek culture then runs the risk of being mistaken for admiration of Greek sexual practices. It’s the blunderbuss judgement in action. No time for distinctions, no time for complexity.  Paedophiles, were they? And you say they kept slaves too? The scumbags.  Ripped me off last summer during my holiday in Crete as well.
Norris was brave but not very wise when he aired the facts back in 2002.  He’s now being a bit less brave,  shouting that the interview was a distortion, taken out of context, why now, where’s the tape, blah blah blah. So  don’t let’s get carried away. I still think he’s a braying egoist and he wouldn’t get my vote for President of Ireland, if the people in this corner of Ireland were allowed to vote in presidential elections. Which, thanks to a succession of cowardly southern governments including the present one,  we’re not.  

25 Responses to David Norris lands in deep do-do…

  1. Ed Simpson June 1, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    The thing that gets me about this is that once again, a Politician has been attacked for answering questions fully and honestly and without undue caution.

    I won't get into the merits of Norris as a politician (would like to see a Gay President but not a President elected because he is Gay) but it's grossly unfair and underhand for him to lose the election over this.

  2. Jude Collins June 1, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    I agree, Ed, at least in part. If I understand you right I agree with you on Gay President but not President cos Gay thing. But maybe we've both missed the important thing – Norris as a politician. Maybe that matters more than his being gay or ungay, a braying exhibitionist or a quiet-spoken modest man.

  3. Anonymous June 1, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Good article.

    So it seems he is in deep 'do-do' because he is gay AND mentioned this aspect of Greek antiquity. Rather than stating the fact. Would it be different if a heterosexual person made the remark? Am I interpreting this right?

    ps
    And it IS a shame we can't vote for an Irish president. Particulary because of Mary Robinson's background.

  4. Ed Simpson June 1, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    I think we both think along the same line on this issue, Jude. Whilst a Gay President (or, indeed, a black one) would be another useful tool against prejudice, it shouldn't be the overriding qualifier for the role. However, I also believe it can be a contributory factor. Mandela is such an example, where he was uniquely qualified for the role and his colour was actually a factor that made him all the more suitable for the role.

  5. Jude Collins June 1, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    Good point, Ed. But would Mandela have got a role as a SF advisor? After all, he was/is an unrepentant ex-prisoner and 'terrorist'…

  6. Jude Collins June 1, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Anon – I'm guessing you meant to say 'Mary McAleese's background' and not Mary R's?

  7. Anonymous June 1, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    HA! YES. Faux pas. Sorry, Jude. How stupid.

  8. Anonymous June 1, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    The problem for Doriss is once the cat's out of the bag it's very hard to put it back…
    He also reportedly said some quite alarming things about incest…he is not denying having made the comments but insists that they have been taken out of context…well I rely on Mandy Rice Davis… again…
    Like you I have no time for Doriss he plays the Gay card but is then not held accountable for his remarks…It is the lack of accountability that has brought Ireland to it's knees…
    As for his Joyceophilia it's his elitism that grates…
    As for being a 'politician'…I think it would be more correct to say he has been a member of the Seanad since oul God's time…apart from self aggrandisement what political act (careful!) has he ever been involved in…?
    I don't know if anyone saw his interview with that other obsequious bore Terry Wogan but his idea of Anglo Irish relations is quite nauseating…rather fond of the other old queen…
    He's a preening old queen…he represents one section of society only and I for one hope he gets nowhere near the Aras…the one in the Phoenix Park that is!

  9. qcirish June 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    I'm constantly amazed that today's politicians are so lacking in media savvy that they say whatever they think. It's so easy to go get a video/audio file now and was even in 2002. I heard a silly quote once “Novels may come, and novels may go, but words put on paper are stuck there forever”. Today that “silliness” could apply to interviews that are recorded. It's nearly impossible to say “I didn't say that”. Context is even difficult because the entire section can be shown if needed. You used to have to search a video tape library. Now you just call it up on the computer. American politicians are notorious for forgetting they said it on camera.

  10. Anonymous June 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    Were his reported views on lowering the male (natch)age of consent and incestuous father/son incestuous relationships also 'taken out of context'…? Hmmm I wonder…;-X

  11. Anonymous June 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    What are your thoughts on the first anon's point? Is the last anon's (15:00) point true?

  12. Anonymous June 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    Anon 15.53
    Read the article…decide/comment yourself don't ask Jude to do it for you…
    …that which is not denied is deemed to be accepted…
    To quote Francois Marie Arouet Voltiare 'I may not agree with what you say but I defend…your right to say it'…
    I have left out the 'to the death' bit I am not prepared to go that far for anyone…

  13. Tina June 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    Find me a politician who has not said something very stupid and I'll shake your hand…

    I like Norris and indeed I will vote from him; I think he will do an admirable job of representing the country as he is charming, cultured, an engaging speaker and, unlike Micheál D. Higgins, Norris is not dead.

    The fact that is a homosexual, is quite frankly, irrelevant. The Dublin elitism, while grating, can be tolerated as he is such a supporter of the Arts and in these recessionary times, the Arts need someone to defend their corner.

    And the Greeks were fond of their young male lovers; one wonders if it would cause such offence if it had been stated by anyone other than a gay man.

    As for his previous politicial acts, Mary McAleese had minimal involvement in politics before her post as Uachtarán na hÉirean; she was a lecturer, barrister/laywer (or something) and a broadcaster, and she has done a wonderful job!

  14. Anonymous June 1, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

    That's because Mary McAleese was not a 'Politician'…before becoming President…
    Dorris has been in the Seanad since Adam was a lad and I task anyone to find any record of his having played any active political role other than self promotion…
    I for one do not care how charming cultured or engaging he is…
    Anyone who feels that (homo)sexual incest should not be taboo should not represent anyone other than those who share that particular view…I don't…whatever the ancient Greeks may have done or thought…
    He reportedly felt it should remain for heterosexual incestuous relationships because of the risk of pregnancy not morality…
    As far as lowering the age of (homo)sexual consent is concerned that could not have been discussed as part of a dinner party discourse on pederasty in ancient Greece …
    I would like to know how Dorris purports to represents any group in Ireland other than the chattering classes and those who occupy ivory towers…
    Of course his homosexuality 'matters' not least to him..it's his trump card…he's playing it to the hilt…
    Now go down to the chemist and get yourself a couple of ounces of cop on!

  15. Tina June 1, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    After my chemist trip then, I will continue the graceful chattering from my Ivory Towers – the view from way up here incidentally, is marvellous…

  16. Anonymous June 1, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    Would that be the view of pederasts by any chance…? marvellous indeed…!
    We don't all aspire to the morals of Bonobo monkeys…

  17. C Donnelly June 1, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

    Jude
    Good piece. Share the hostility to Norris though feel you've it right with regard to this matter.
    Couldn't look past his 1916 rebels are 'terrorists' remark though…

  18. Anonymous June 2, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    I see Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist has had his say on Senator David Norris

    “ I …warned America about Ireland’s sad, sick, sodomite culture and fag Irish Senator David Norris’s case before the European Court of Human (i.e., Fag) Rights. (Incidentally, the “Openly-Gay” fag Irish Senator Norris was represented before that Strasbourg European Fag Court, by the famous Dyke-Enabler and Irish President, Mary Robinson.) We warned that WBC has had lots of experience with Ireland’s militant sodomite citizenry, steeped for many decades in ignorant, blind, idolatrous Catholicism, belching out their vile fagspeak, slander, and blasphemy against God and His Word – cursing WBC members as guests on Dublin talk-radio shows. Remember, Martin Luther said Catholic churches, seminaries and monasteries are nothing but sodomite whorehouses filled with unnatural brute beasts and devils. We warned that the very leprechauns of Ireland are likely to be fags!”

  19. Anonymous June 2, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    Dorris was at it again yesterday…depleting the ozone layer with his oul windbaggery… Correcting the hoi polloi on the Classics…you'd think he'd have the cop on to stay away from the Ancients at the current time…
    I have to say I really don't get the GAY agenda…constantly defining themselves according to their sexuality…some sort of perverse Ontology…'I'm Pink therefore I am'…
    I'm sure Dorriss is a nice old ginger.. a bit like Quentin Crisp one of the 'Stately homo's of Ireland'…quite honestly I neither know nor care what consenting adults do behind closed doors…as long as it doesn't frighten the horses…
    However when it comes to holding the highest public office then accountability is paramount…
    Come to mention it I don't get 'fag hags' either…unless of course they're FoD'S…
    Not sure but I think Dorriss is Church of Ireland a branch of the Anglican religion…but with more dressing up…
    Buggered if I know…!

  20. Anonymous June 2, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    Actually didn't they discover that 'Billy the Pink' batted for the other side a couple of years ago…? a case of 'Oranges Are the Only Fruits'…?
    You keep bowling 'em I'll keep batting them…!

  21. Anonymous June 2, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    I guess why they like the National Anthem so much…
    'God Save our Gracious Queen'(Billy)…?

  22. Christopher June 3, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    Jude, I tried to make a similar point in my blog and had people texting me to complain. http://mccamley.org/blog/my-i-agree-with-nick-moment

    Any Catholic commentator who tried to provide any differentiation or context around the child abuse issue was treated the same way. People basically don't want to know. And sad thing is it's true of all sorts of issues. Try to discuss tax policy, banking crisis, cuts, history, peace process – people want to stick with their tiny, limited world view and God forbid you'd drag them out.

    And I include you and me in that, Jude. Your Shinner view of life is impossible to puncture. Apart from that/because of that do enjoy your blog.

  23. Jude Collins June 3, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Thanks for contribution, Christopher. I prefer to think of it the other way round – the Shinners share MY view of life, so I think people would be better employed, if they don't like it, trying to puncture the Shinner view of things. They wield power, I'm just a bloody blogger…Come to think of it, virtually ALL of the media – north and south – and I include the Venerable Organ (maybe especially the venerable organ) are at best lukewarm on republicanism and at worst hissy-fitty about the SF view on republicanism.That strikes me as bias, to a greater or lesser extent. My pathetic twopence-worth is a spear in the river/drop in the ocean, by way of an alternative view. What do you think?

  24. Anonymous June 10, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    I am saddened that the anti-homosexual remarks on this blog have not been taken off. For those to comment about “Fags, calling David Norris (Dorris), Dyke-enabler, etc” shows the low level of intellect and high levels of ingorance. A hate campaign is not accetable. Have you never heard the saying “If you have nothing nice to say, do not say anything at all”? Act with your vote.

    Shallow Judgement on how one speaks, is low and the fact that David Norris champions an Irish Author is that such a bad thing.

    I have met David Norris, he is loud, energetic but he is also gentle, caring and senstive. Gay he is but he has not just sprung up as a gay man and thought I will be the first Gay president of Ireland. He has been a civil servant to Ireland for many years.
    His work on Gay-rights have been needed,espcially in your country, that is “a little” behind the rest of Europe in its acceptants of Minorities, such as homo-sexuals.

    Change is needed in Ireland and I think you should be proud that David Norris wants to represent and loves your country.

  25. Anonymous June 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Anon 13.39
    The attribution of 'feminine' names amongst the Gay community is a well known custom … as common now as in the 'Molly' houses of 18 century London…the habit of referring to themselves thus is as prevalent as ever…hardly homophobic…Similarly being a lover of all things Ancient Dorris will appreciate the origin of the name from the Greek…Dorris does not represent me…and I expect more from a President than knowledge of Ancient Greek sexual practices and obscure texts…If anything I think the tables have turned…no pun… the world is if anything heterophobic…However notwithsatnding any of the above the thing that really grates is the hypocrisy of someone who feels that the decision of a Republic to gain Independence from the British Commonwealth was wrong but still wishes to represent that Republic is not only bizarre but makes that persons candidacy untenable…