RIGHT TO DIE
What a strange country we live in. First an otherwise healthy young woman is refused the option of terminating a baby which threatens her life and subsequently dies. And now a woman is told that she must let nature take its course and die in extreme pain and suffering. The ruling against assisted suicide in Marie Fleming's case hardly came as a surprise, we are one of the world's most conservative countries when it comes to these matters after all. But what was surprising was the complete and utter lack of empathy displayed by those handing down the decision. Yes there was unspoken intimation that Ms Fleming's partner would not face criminal sanction should he ignore the ruling, but the underlying message was absolute: The law is the law and we cannot change that.
But they can change that, and like it or not they will change that. Ireland is no longer the parochial stronghold it once was. Our people think for themselves now. We don't need the Catholic church to make our decisions for us. Assisted suicide, just like abortion, will become legal in this country within the next ten years, the people will demand it. We're considered one of the world's most forward-thinking nations in so many sectors but our legislature is that of a country still bound by ancient tradition. Only by freeing ourselves of those shackles can we ever hope to truly develop as a nation.
I may just have stated that abortion, one day, will become legal in this country. And I stand by it. But in what guise will this act take place upon our shores? I've always been mystified by women, and even more so by their bodies, but I never realised just how many ways a pregnancy can go wrong. Those charged with creating a new bill to protect the rights of women have been left in an unenviable position. I think we can all agree that abortion should never become a lifestyle choice, but thereafter the issue becomes decidedly more complex. The law, as it stands, states that abortion is illegal if there is a danger to a mother's health but not her life: however should the woman be suicidal then the procedure may be allowed.
Could it be any more vague? And of course the big question is how do you ascertain whether someone is suicidal or not? It gives me a headache just thinking about it. Put it this way how often do you hear the bereaved of someone who has taken their own life say “We had no idea he/she was suffering, why didn't they just tell us”. If those closest to a person can't tell whether someone wants to end it all then how can anyone else? You may say that a psychiatrist should be able to make a judgement call, but how can such responsibility be placed in one person's hands? Abortion will always be a divisive issue, which is why above all else any new legislature needs to be clear, concise and, most importantly, deliver closure.
IS IT COZ I IS BLACK?
The Irish government is one of the more laughable political organisations on the planet, but they've got nothing on the English FA. That lot are an absolute hoot. The days of fusty old men in smoky dark rooms are long gone but it seems their spirit prevails. How else can you explain the furore over Reginald D Hunter's appearance at the PFA awards last Sunday night? If you don't know Hunter he is an affable American comedian with a penchant for pithy social commentary. Oh and he's black. Which means he has the right to use the N word without censure. In a clever turning of the tables that particular word is commonly used among the African-American population as a term of endearment. It is far removed from the phrase spat so viciously in the direction of black immigrants during the past century.
So a black man on stage, performing to a cosmopolitan audience, peppering his repartee with the word nigga. Standard behaviour really. It was considered cutting-edge and radical when Eddie Murphy did it in the 80s, but not anymore. And by all accounts Hunter went down a storm, enjoyed in equal measure by Caucasians, Afro-Caribbeans and Hispanics alike. Well done FA jolly good show. “But wait, maybe this portrays us in a bad light”, they thought, “lets denounce this man and all who worship at his altar, just to be on the safe side”. And so it was. They apologised profusely, wheeled out an ashed-faced Clarke Carlisle, and promised to get Stan Boardman back next year. Two steps forward one step back. Oh well.
OOOH YOU SO SEXY
The public wants what the public gets. No this is not another rant about our arcane policies and our refusal to enter the twenty-first century, it's something far more serious. Look at this list, it's FHM's 100 sexiest women as voted for by the British public. Notice anything? Yeah Mila Kunis gets top billing and no one could argue with that, cute as a button and sassy as hell she's a worthy winner. But from that point on things turn to shit. There's no other way of putting it. Rihanna? Helen Flanagan? Pixie Lott? They all have their merits but I see sexier women on a daily basis just walking down the street. That's not to say I wouldn't, because I clearly would, but this is the sexiest women in the world for fucks sake!
Think of the screen sirens of yesteryear, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Faye Dunaway, and compare them to this motley crue. Jesus Christ it's like comparing roast beef with Aldi's own brand luncheon. There is no comparison. Anyone would think we as a society are growing uglier as the years pass. But it's not even that – Marion Cotillard for example bears comparison with any past beauties – it's simply that these vacuous celebrities spend their every waking minute in the tabloids. Their one goal in life is to gain recognition for their existence however meaningless. And the knock on effect? Helen Flanagan becoming officially the sexiest woman in the entire British Isles.
TORRENTS OF ABUSE
They still haven't removed the HMV logo from the now defunct record store in Limerick City centre. Every time I walk past it I die a little inside. Not saying that I'd spend hundreds in there every week were it still open, but I'd like to have the option. But alas it has gone. Ah well at least we can still rent films. What? Xtra-vision gone into receivership? Now you've gone and done it. Sadly it's just another nail in the coffin for the brick and mortar store, pushed to their limits by the rise of online shopping and illegal downloading Xtra-vision now faces a battle to stay afloat. A battle they will inevitably lose. Luckily those of us in Limerick have the wonderful Moviedrome to avail of but the rest of the country isn't so fortunate.
I'm sure those at the movie rental chain are cursing the internet and it's file-sharing ways but no one is to blame here. Given the option of downloading something for free or paying for the privilege the majority are understandably going to plump for the former. You can bring in all the Copyright Acts you want but where there's a will there's a way and people will simply circumnavigate these laws and be on their way. I must be one of a dying breed in that I don't download films illegally. This is not borne from any moral substance, I simply prefer to just pop a disc into a player and proceed from there. And now with Blu-rays offering a home cinema experience unlike anything else I have no desire to fiddle around with torrents, laptops and wires. Call me old-fashioned, call me a Luddite, I don't care – just let me watch my movie (that I paid for) in peace.
LAND OF THE FREE
I feel like I've been very political this week, it's quite tiring getting on your high horse all the time and I don't really enjoy it. “Ireland is shit, our government is corrupt, Enda's a wanker”, fuckin' hell it'd wear you out. Truth is Ireland is a great country, we just like to moan and even at the height of the Celtic Tiger we were all whinging our bollocks' off. Now America, that is a shit country. Yes they've got bright lights, huge portions and thousands of flavours of ice cream but they've also got guns which are manufactured for children. And not the little plastic things we used to fire at each as children either. No these are real guns with real bullets which cause real pain and in some cases death. One such case occurred in Kentucky this week when a five year old boy mistakenly shot his two year old sister and killed her.
But the strange thing about this case was not the fact that a five year old had access to a live firearm. The reaction of the child's parents was the real story here. Rather than lambaste the gun-makers and denounce their product they instead turned to God. It was God's will they said, it was her time there was nothing we could have done. Erm yes there fucking was. You could have removed the gun from the premises. You could have said to yourself “Hmm maybe five is a bit young for a gun, let's wait until he's six”. You could have behaved like responsible adults and bought your children toys which are, y'know not lethal and stuff. But then again you're American, so this kinda thing is quite difficult for you. I apologise.