Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Just when I was about to tidy up my links and relegate realitycheck(dot)ie to the mists of time, I see that she/they... how do I say this next bit?... is/are back.

Auds mentions the current issue of Hot Press and the lack of an outcry at it's printing of a picture of a priest masturbating (I haven't seen it myself). She's right that all the mag is doing is kicking an easy target when it's down. The one thing, in general, that right wing-nuts seem to achieve, that pinky-lefty liberals don't, is consistency. Why, when in anti-America mode, is it not ok to criticise or satirise or even despise those who would use their religious beliefs as a grounds to terrorise others; yet it is fair play to give an organisation like the Catholic Church both barrels?

You will find no defence of the Catholic Church from me, but crimes commited and other mistakes made by its members and hierarchy does not automatically translate to tarring all priests with the same brush. In an Irish context you would be (rightly) condemned for labelling all Travellers as violent scumbags as a result of the constant inter-family feuds, for example, or for labelling all Cork people as arrogant gits, for another example.

For the sake of argument, they're the same way with drugs. The pinkos want to 'liberalise' drug-laws i.e. make chemical substances, proven to have adverse health consequences to some degree or other, available to adults who want to 'choose' (and I agree in principal - prohibition never works, regulation can). Yet one of the current favourite targets of pinko ire is big-pharma, whose products get pulled from the market (to the detriment of both the company and, more importantly, vast quantities of patients) if even circumstancial evidence suggests that potential risks exist to a minority of patients.

For example one big-pharma company, who treated Nigerian patients suffering from a highly infectious form of bacterial meningitis with a new treatment in late stage development, had a hatchet job done on them by a Channel 4 documentary, Dying for Drugs. The inference was that the company was testing it's drugs on human guinea pigs. The reality was that the drug had already been tested on American patients and that a potential epidemic was on the cards in that part of Nigeria. My point is that the people who would buy into this sort of anti-corporation propaganda are the same people who would be willing to make most or all currently illegal drugs freely available.

As a student I bought Hot Press for a while, but I soon stopped. It seemed to get like MTV for a while in the late '90s - you did well to find any music. Instead it seemed more interested in printing articles engaged in church-bashing, government-bashing, cop-bashing, yank-bashing and pieces by that bloke, with the stupid Viking name and the smart-ass voice, goading the police with his constant tales of dope smoking.

I still have two copies of Hot Press in my hoard of magazines. One from when U2'a All That You Can't Leave Behind was released and one from when How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb was released. Both feature editorials from Niall Stokes, ostensibly about the band, but used to take yet another predictable swipe at the Church. Despite the intervening four years the wording of both pieces is pretty much the same. What a shame it is for Stokesie that he's preaching to the converted... all 1% of the population. A 'pretentious, posey whiner'? Can't think of a better description myself.
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