Friday, 10 January 2014

Matthew Parris: Now Then!

It was a writer I admire tremendously (I think The Spectator’s Paul Johnson has often been touched by genius) who stung me into the rudest piece I’ve ever written: aimed at him, as it happens, and the first of a series for this magazine which has this week continued for exactly 18 years. In his And Another Thing column on 6 January 1996, Mr Johnson had written this: ‘[John] Major is constantly being praised, most recently in this journal, by Matthew Parris, a self-outed protagonist of queerdom whom I think of as the Times Sodom Correspondent (they have a stringer in Gomorrah too, but mum’s the word about him). So the homosexuals like Major.’

This was not Mr Johnson’s first foray into such territory. Two years earlier he had opened an essay headlined ‘From children to rent boys in one parliamentary vote’ by remarking, ‘Nothing is more disagreeable than having to write about male homosexuality….’ but had in fact put himself dutifully through the ordeal with surprising regularity, writing a year later that ‘the theft of this word [‘gay’] by Californian sodomites … and cravenly acquiesced in by lazy sub-editors … who should know better, means that many fine old songs are now completely unperformable.’ Mr Johnson’s defence of linguistic standards has never been extended to protect that good old-fashioned word ‘queer’ in its original meaning, and some fine old sayings like ‘there’s nowt so queer as folk’ still await rescue. So does ‘faggot’.


Matthew Parris in The Spectator re-igniting an 18 year-old feud.

No, me neither.

Please also note illustration of some gayers pictured recently in modern Athens.

The Spectator's just so with it!

1 comment:

  1. Can this be the same Paul Johnson who, it was revealed quite a few years ago, while allegedly happily married, used to pay female prostitutes to whip him? Surely not.

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