From top: John Connors winning an IFTA last year; Calls to action against Mr Connors and Terry McMahon from ‘Collective Action’
When I was publicly labeled a “cowardly traitor” by Gemma O’Doherty I received late-night messages from private numbers.
I didn’t blame Gemma O’Doherty for those calls. My number is easy to get and they weren’t so different to any other sad-sack trolls on social media who get to be the hero in their own fantasy.
You could hear subtle breathing but nothing else. It was as if the callers were thinking. Planning. Perhaps fantasizing. One time you could hear somebody urinating. Long and slow. Knowing I was listening.
After that, things escalated. The callers finally found their voices. It was just ridicule, initially. Juvenile insults about my crap writing. My shit films. My horrible voice. But that progressed to declaring I was the enemy. A fraud. A dead wanker walking.
I said nothing to my family. My missus is pregnant and there are enough lunatics to be dealing with in our family already. She doesn’t need to be burdened with any more of my ‘political bollox’ as she aptly describes it.
In truth, the whole thing was kind of embarrassing. I’d backed the wrong horse and understood this was part of the fall-out. So I just deleted the messages and got on with the day-to-day reality of preparing for a beautiful baby.
But I was with a close friend one night when one of the messages was left. We were in his gaff reminiscing over a good single malt when one of the anonymous patriots let rip. My mate was shocked. He was adamant I should call the cops.
But a good single malt with an old friend is too rare to be interrupted by the ravings of some broken soul. It made sense to just pour two more measures. Besides, there was too much pain in their wailing messages.
Like the high-pitch hurt of an ex-lover at 4 in-the-morning who swears to themselves they will never call again. Except one last time. This final time. To say what can only be screamed.
O’Doherty can’t be held responsible for the 4am rage that they feel the need to express from the confused confines of their dank and sweaty bedrooms. There was never any real danger.
It’s the ones who smile directly to your face in daylight that are often the real threat. Or it’s the censorious cowards who insist they have right on their side as they attack with impunity anybody who doesn’t subscribe to their world view.
You know the ones. The new Puritans.
This anonymous group of brave-as-hell soldiers recently declared their intention to name and shame and takedown Ireland’s Right Wing “Fascists.” A noble call if ever there was.
Only problem is, they don’t seem to know what a fascist is. But, courageous as these heroes are, they’re not going to allow silly little facts get in the way of their feels.
The fact that John Connors has done more for disenfranchised people of all socio-economic classes and races than these keyboard warriors combined is irrelevant.
The fact that John Connors has single-handedly rewritten the social contract when it comes to society’s expectations of Travellers is irrelevant.
The fact that John Connors has created more works of film, television and theatre for no money than many of the state-funded companies combined is irrelevant.
The fact that John Connors has won multiple IFTAs and gave an acceptance speech that inspired millions of people is irrelevant.
The fact that John Connors is a young man in his twenties who refuses to be limited by any political doctrine or engage in censoring any opposition is irrelevant.
John Connors did commit one fatal error. The dumb bastard stood by his principles. And, frankly, he wasn’t the most articulate about it. He hurt some folks’ feelings.
Caught up in the national maelstrom of a profoundly divisive referendum John Connors refused to subscribe to the frenzy of Repeal. And, by Christ, for that, he must be punished. No matter how long it takes.
John Connors is a fascist. That’s a fact. He is a fascist because a small band of nameless-faceless self-appointed keyboard warriors feel he is a fascist.
They feel he must be stopped. By any means necessary. And the other sad fact is, some people who should know better have refused to defend him against what could easily become a career annihilating accusation.
Some people who should know how dangerous the weaponising of censorship is have remained silent because John Connors is a mouthy chap who should have learned acquiescent silence as all the other artists did.
John Connors is a man who might have had a different moral position to some people on a life and death issue. He may have articulated it badly. Trying to do the right thing, we’ve all messed up.
The self-appointed moral guardians of a so-called ‘Antifa’ group publicly naming and shaming John Connors as a fascist is one thing but the fact that many people would rather watch a good man hang because of a difference in opinion than stand up for a larger principle is the real reveal here.
When will it be your turn to be publicly named-and-shamed for refusing to subscribe to the teachings of the New Puritans?
The moronic stench of the screaming poseurs is to be expected but the increasingly common silence of decent people gives too much breath to the frightening idea that, in our new political landscape, when it comes to to the cancer of censorship, feeling truly is the new fact.
Update: ‘Collective Action’s response to this post was to call for a personal boycott and publicly label me a:
“Neo-nazi, racist, homophobic, transphobic, right-wing, hatred-inciting wanker.”
I mean I can take most of those insults but, come on, labeling me a wanker really is a step too far.
Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69
Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet