From top: John Connors; Tweet from ‘Doctors for Choice’
Terry McMahon writes:
I Had the honour of hosting an extraordinary post-show Q&A with actor and writer John Connors in Clontarf last night.
The passionately articulate audience discussed class, ethnicity, gender, and mental and physical disability. It was remarkable to have uninhibited conversations about such taboo subjects.
They also touched on a subject that nobody is allowed to question anymore. Abortion.
There are many reasons why a woman or couple might feel the need for an abortion but this is also a subject that caused such rage-fueled hatred in so many egalitarian activists that they wanted John wiped off the face of the earth. Or, at the very least, stripped of his thoughts, his voice and his livelihood.
Later we talked about the avalanche of celebrities who fell over each other to be front row centre on the abortion train. They couldn’t get enough of it. Horrific stories of young girls impregnated by their scumbag fathers and rape victims left in crisis by their scumbag rapists were the only conversations allowed to be had.
Anyone who questioned if ethnicity, gender or mental or physical disability would be grounds for termination were labelled right-wing, misogynistic, fear-mongering extremists.
No doubt some will insist that it’s done. Get over it. Move on.
Then Doctors For Choice post this remarkable tweet (above). And the questions came back.
Proudly using the word “guesstimate,” they describe 900 terminations in two months. Men and women who have sworn to protect life consider 900 terminations a “privelege” (sic).
And Government leaders who let women die of cervical cancer consider themselves feminist icons. And 450 lives per month are considered products for pharmaceutical companies.
At the time, John Connors spoke up. His questions have been answered. Ethnicity, gender and physical or mental health are perfectly normal grounds for abortion. As is anything else.
We even refuse to administer pain relief to late-term aborted babies on the grounds that it may, “shame the mother.”
Where are the celebrities who brayed so loudly and so proudly back then? The ones who labelled anybody who spoke up as right-wing, misogynistic, fear-mongering extremists.
Where are these wailing accusors? These heart-on-the-sleeve liberals. These egalitarian activists. These suddenly silent hypocrites.
Paddy, a Sinn Féin candidate for Tallaght South in May’s local elections (a decision inspired by Terry’s speech ‘This Is Ireland‘), writes:
This episode with Terry is an incredibly thought provoking discussion on where we’re at as a society, the challenges we’re facing as a nation and the potential we have to make real and meaningful change if we, the people, stand together against a system that has failed us for generations.
A demonstration in support of Ed Honohan (top), Master of the High Court.
Mr Honohan had debt cases removed from him under a direction by the President of the High Court Peter Kelly.
Filmamker and activist Terry McMahon said:
“Ed Honohan is the Master of the High Court. Quite the title isn’t it. Quite the position. Quite the crown for the corrupt. Imagine the kind of man who yearns for that type of title. Master of the High Court.
A parasite dressed up as protector. A scavenger slicing the wounded for the bigger beasts to feed on. A profiteer of misery seeking the virgin bite of a fresh kill. A politician dressed in the clothes of the courts.
As Master of the High Court, Ed Honohan is meant to be a bad man. A malignant succubus. A facilitator of suicide. A team player.
Problem is, Ed is that rare thing in the corridors of power: Ed Honohan is a good man.
They call him an eccentric. That’s what they call good men these days. Eccentric. Some call him a maverick. Some claim this gentle, erudite, soft-spoken, Master of the High Court might even be a hero.
The Working Class have long known what a conveyer belt of dehumanisation the courts can be. Be a billionaire and watch the banks and the courts and the government roll out the red carpet for you.
They’ll make deals with you. Offer you contracts. Tell you to keep your taxes and write off hundreds of millions of euro for you. Be a bloke in a tracksuit and watch them stare with the blank-eyed hunger of hyenas on the hunt.
And these half-crazy half-dogs have acquired a taste for a different kind of delicacy now. They salivate as judges allow their client’s lies to destroy lives with impunity. They listen as a few more nails are banged into the coffin of our liberty.
From protected perches in foreign countries, parasitic vulture bosses instruct local-hire hyenas to move in on the vulnerable because both breeds of scavenger agree that no cold-blooded-kill has quite the warm-blooded payoff of the repossession of an Irish family home.
If that sounds extreme to you, visit the courts and witness for yourself the horror of people trying to save their homes. Witness the murderous malice the bailed-out banks and their capos have for the very people who bailed them out.
Bankers don’t bite the hand that feeds, they rip the entire arm out of the socket and beat you death with it.
And the judges tell you this is what modern justice tastes like. You’re told to swallow the force-fed bile of professional liars. Stand in line in a court ordained slaughterhouse.
Watch haunted, broke and broken people form an orderly queue to be put out of their misery, while the spoils of their lives are shared among their killers.
Nobody speaks out for these people in the courts. People who can’t afford expensive lawyers. People who can’t afford to feed their kids because they’re still trying to furnish a loan that the banks long ago had written off in that bailout. People who can’t afford to think of any way out of their pain, other than at the end of a rope.
In court, nobody protects these people. People like you and me. People like your parents, your brothers, your sisters, your sons, and your daughters. Except for one man. Ed Honohan. The Master of the High Court.
The basic function of law is to ensure moral, financial and physical protections are afforded to all citizens equally. The Association of Judges Ireland states that:
“The idea of law is that it embodies the core values of our society, creating rights and entitlements as well as duties and obligations. Nobody is above the law, no matter how wealthy or powerful they are.”
We already know that’s a fallacy. We have already witnessed the obscene consequences of our neoliberal Government. Policies are implemented. People struggle. People suffer. People die. And politicians get promoted.
Ed Honohan protects people by using the law. In the realm of the hunter and the prey, he doesn’t take sides. He simply holds bankers and their capos to the same standards that those parasites hold us to.
When the law is weaponised by highly-paid henchmen to protect their insatiable vulture bosses, Ed interrogates the bankers’ rabid exploitation of that law and finds a way to hand a few silver bullets back to the people.
He makes the law a two-way street. A little more balanced. Finally accessible to both sides. He brings equality to the law and uses it to do what the law is supposed to do. On behalf of the people, he faces down the vulture funds. And, for that, Ed Honohan has become the hunted.
Countless people will verify how Ed Honohan has empowered them. But a judge wants to stop him. Countless people will prove how Ed Honohan uses the law to protect them. But a judge wants to remove those protections.
Countless more will need the help of a good man like Ed Honohan in the future. Some of those people might be you.
But a judge has taken it upon himself to prevent Ed Honohan from giving you that help. Why would a judge impose such obscene censure on a fellow servant of the public A judge renowned in the past for his attempts to recognize social and economic rights. A judge due to retire in a year or two.
Ed Honohan is trying to protect vulnerable people. And he is doing it better than anybody else in the courts. In a culture where pretenders, poseurs, and politicians fail upwards, Ed Honohan is a proud servant of us, the people. Nobody is quite sure, anymore, who some of these judges might be servants of.
A good man like Ed Honohan wouldn’t be made Master of the High Court today. Fairness and decency and dignity don’t sell in this era of every man for himself and to hell with the vulnerable.
We pay lip service to mental health but, let’s be honest, there is nobody more despised in this country than people who need our help. They are weak. They need to be cut off like the cancer that they are.
They need to be tortured and sacrificed to the banks because only then can the strong survive. Only then can the banks and the judges and politicians go back to rolling out the red carpet for their billionaire buddies flying high above the faulty radar of the law.
Another eccentric Irishman, Edmund Burke is purported to have said, “The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing.”
But what happens when Good Men do something and get forcibly stopped?
That’s my daughter’s hand around my finger. Her mother is a midwife. Another midwife helped the birth. Their dedication is astonishing but now midwives have had to vote to strike. And it’s beautiful to see so many powerful people support these women who have chosen to make a life out of helping other women give birth.
Okay, it hasn’t happened yet, but it will.
Social media is awash with campaigns for these astonishing midwives who guide women through the miraculous process of birth and thereafter. Support is everywhere. And the t-shirts and the hoodies and the pop-up shops are amazing.
Okay, it hasn’t happened yet, but it will.
Anyone who questioned any recent campaigns has been proven wrong. Equality is here. Rights are real. Support is everywhere. Particularly for the midwives who do thirteen-hour shifts, without a break, to facilitate the miracle of birth for women who are at their most profoundly vulnerable, as they bring new life into our world.
Mental health is everything. The best way to be mindful is to attack the mental health of another while claiming you are the victim. If you do it right you might even make them go all the way. And you can really milk it when you read their eulogy at the church. You will look so sensitive you might even get some sympathy sex out of it.
2.Be steadfastly heroic
Children are important. Old people are important too. But nobody is more important than you. You supersede all others. This does not make you a narcissist. It makes you a hero. This world was made for you. Old folks are easy to get rid of. Kids are even easier. These people are just background actors in your charismatic close-up. Never let the living get in the way of your deadly destiny.
3.Be responsibly free
Censorship is dangerous. Unless you are doing the censoring. Then it is necessary. Any coward who disagrees with you is dangerously wrong. They need to be confronted with courageous censorship. You are only doing what needs to be done to protect everyone, including those you are censoring. Intelligent people proudly block out all contrary thought. Only then can you truly think freely.
4.Be ready for battle
Words mean what you want them to mean. The idea that words should retain their functionary meaning is moronic. In this battlefield of feelings, there should be no room for tone. Or intent. Or satire. Or humour. Or confusion. Or context. Or anything. Etymology is for imbeciles. You own all language. Words are yours to weaponise as you wish. Attack! Attack! Attack!
5.Be relentlessly compassionate
‘Compassionism’ is the way forward. It may not even be a word but it is the new political doctrine. Show the world how compassionate you are. Use the word hugely. If anyone points out that your behaviour is the anthesis of what it means to be compassionate, annihilate them. Viciously. Relentlessly. Barbarically. But compassionately.
6.Be more intelligent-er
Stupid people contradict themselves. Wise people contradict everyone else. You are never wrong. Even when you are. You have never been wrong. Even when you were. You will never be wrong. Even when you will be. That’s real intelligence.
7. Be ready to embrace emotion
Never hesitate to accuse another without foundation. Due process is a scam. Everybody is guilty of something. Nobody is innocent of anything. Just because it didn’t happen doesn’t mean they didn’t do it. Just because they didn’t do it doesn’t mean you are wrong. People are what you accuse them of being. If you feel they did it then they absolutely did it. Emotion is the new evidence.
8.Be full of feeling
Facts are for fools. Never let facts get in the way of your feels. If people expose your lies with their facts then attack them with your feels. Feelings trump everything. If you feel something is real then, goddamn it, it is real. Even if it isn’t. Feeling is the new fact.
Last night. Outside Cleary’s. Freezing to death. They covered their faces with the sleeping bags but both gave permission for this to be posted. Meanwhile, we’re all fighting about the lyrics to a fucking Christmas song. pic.twitter.com/g0ANMqSgAb
Ella (left), who is pregnant, and her children, from left:, Skyler (3), Paige (2), Logan (4), Torrie (10) and her partner Derek who are homeless and living in Emergency Accommodation at yesterday’s Housing Demo in Dublin city centre.
Terry McMahon writes:
Told my ten-year-old he was coming on the march in support of homeless people. He went nuts. Bananas. Barking in protest. My three-year-old was sitting on my shoulders, ready to leave, confounded by her older brother’s rage. This is the exact conversation, word for word.
Him: “But marches don’t change anything! You all think you’re doing something but you’re not. The scumbag Government don’t care. It’s bullshit. I’m not going. I’m not. You can’t make me. I’m not going.”
I didn’t know whether to high-five him for calling the Government, “scumbags,” or chastise him for saying, “bullshit.” But I did neither. Because, on multiple levels, the kid had a point. I had no smart comeback so I told him the only broken truth I know these days.
Me: “You’re a ten-year-old kid. You have your own bedroom upstairs. You have a place you can call your home.”
Him: “I’m not going.”
Me: “If you don’t want to, you don’t have to.”
Him: “Good, because I’m not going.”
Me: “But hear me out.”
Him: “I’ve heard all this bullshit before.”
Me: “You can’t say bullshit.”
Him: “I can when it is.”
He was making to leave. I had five seconds to reach him.
Me: “There are four thousand kids out there who don’t have a place to call home.”
He didn’t stop but he did slow down.
Me: “What happens when one or two of them see a ten-year-old kid on the television, marching for them?”
He stopped. He didn’t turn around. But he did stop.
Me: “What happens when that boy or girl sees a kid who doesn’t know how to really change anything in our crazy country but still puts his coat on to march in the rain for them?”
He didn’t move.
Me: “What happens when those boys and girls see that ten-year-old kid leave his warm bedroom and cosy house to let them know that he hates their scumbag bullshit Government as much as they do?”
Me: “What happens when some stranger who is only ten-year-old still finds the basic decency to make those kids feel less alone in the world by trying to give them a tiny sense of hope for the future?”
He didn’t move. That was it. I had nothing left. The words had run out. He turned and stared at me again. It was coming. I could feel it. The explosion of words to justify his anger.
He opened his mouth to give his standard, brilliant counterargument. But only one word came out. And it was quiet. And it pumped my heart with blood. Because it was the look in his eye when he said it. The look that told us both that he understood. The look that nearly made me burst out crying.
He put his coat on and opened the front door of his home, where he has a warm bedroom upstairs, then looked up at his three-year-old sister sitting on my shoulders.
Him: “Let’s go.”
It took a ten-year-old boy to make me remember to never forget why we march.
There’s a generation out there that probably don’t know who Nicolas Roeg is. Yet, to some of us, this beautiful bastard is as important as Stravinsky, Picasso or Joyce.
Among the many movies he made, some are good, some are stone-cold classics, and some are one-of-a-kind masterpieces.
There are few things more tiresome than some fool making the death of an icon somehow be about them but…a financier of one of my little films, (there are only two, for Christ’s sake), knew Roeg and passed that film onto him.
The financier had no idea if Roeg would even watch it. But Roeg did. Three times, he said. And Roeg imparted a scene-by-scene breakdown detailing the most profoundly personal reactions and insights.
I nervously asked the financier if Roeg might be willing to give a short, single-line quote for the poster. The financier had no idea how Roeg would respond. No idea if he had stepped over the line. No idea if I had gotten him into a world of shit.
Roeg responded immediately and this is the single line he sent: “A stunning and shattering piece of work with a profound sense of truth.”
It was like a student monk doubting his faith receiving a telegram from God. Or a piece of music from Stravinsky. Or a sketch from Picasso. Or the address of the best whorehouse in the Monto from Joyce.
We used to repeatedly watch his films. When nothing else compares, you often find yourself returning to your first love. It’s why we listen to an album for decades. Or study a painting for centuries. Or build a culture around a reinventor of language. Just like Stravinsky, Picasso and Joyce, every time you return to a Nicolas Roeg film, some new and astonishing human truth is revealed to you. Or about you.
There’s no point in listing his movies. The people who know Roeg already know his legacy. As for the people who don’t know him, I envy you. You are virgins in one of the greatest orgies in cinema.
His last breakout movie was ‘Witches (1990) Some producer had the insane idea of offering Roeg a movie based on Roald Dahl’s book written for kids. That’s like offering a hotel management position to Norman Bates. It became one of the scariest kids movies ever made and one of the most brilliant.
There was nothing Roeg couldn’t do. Except be ordinary.
I was asked to write a piece for the Sunday Business Post’s powerful three-page-special (behind paywall) on homelessness yesterday. 500 words. In fairness to the editor, it was probably the lawyers who advised the cuts, so respect to The Sunday Business Post for running what they did. This is the piece as it was intended, unedited and unapologetic…
“I’m not crazy – I will end homeless families living in hostels”
Then Minister for Housing Simon Coveney (Irish Independent, January 4 2017)
Imagine the excitement of thousands of forgotten Irish children, holed-up in emergency accommodation, as minister Simon Coveney swears he will get them out by summer 2017.
Imagine those children, two years later, realising the only thing Coveney’s promise secured was his own political advancement. He was made Tánaiste. The second most powerful man in Government.
Imagine those children today, knowing that their dreams and aspirations were nothing more than cannon fodder for the normalisation of obscenity.
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines Psycopath as: a person who has no feeling for other people. Does not think about the future. Does not feel bad about anything they have done in the past. Very mentally ill. Unstable. And dangerous.
Coveney taught these children that lying leads to success. Lack of empathy benefits progress. Betrayal is good for business. Only certain lives matter. Dreaming is for the few. A childhood is for the chosen. The consequence of naivety is eviction. The price of vulnerability is horror. Santa is too busy hanging with the socioeconomically selected kids to visit your sorry working-class ass.
These children were taught the literal Cambridge Dictionary definition of what it means to encounter a psychopath. They have learned that political leaders don’t give a damn if increasing numbers of children’s lives, along with the lives of their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, end in a damp doorway.
Is it abnormal for our children to yearn to connect? It is abnormal for our children to yearn to love, and to be loved in return? Is it abnormal for our children to yearn for a home, with their own bed, where they can sleep, without fear, every night? Is it abnormal for our children to want us to fight for them? For their nation. For their soul. For their right to take back their stolen childhoods.
Despite the normalisation of obscenity, there is hope. Profound hope. All studies have shown normalisation works both ways. When courage becomes common, we normalise heroism. When heroism becomes a condition of being human, we normalise nobility.
When we value humanity and art and science, beyond commerce, as something fundamental to our existence, something vital to our wellbeing, something capable of changing our world, we put those children’s sublime dreams and aspirations into action.
These children know we are braver than we believe. They understand that we will only comprehend courage in retrospect, after we have taken action, on their behalf. They have learned that we don’t have to fear liars. Or traitors. Or psychopaths.
These brave boys and girls are waiting for us. They are yearning for us to teach them what it means to go crazy for real. What it means to fight back. What it means to be what they need us to be. Powerful parents. Dragon slayers. Psycho killers.