By JR on Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Who has the greatest freedom of speech in the world today?
It is of course blacks. They can say almost anything without reproof, the n-word most notably.
But homosexuals come a close second. I have noted many instances of indulgence extended to them over recent years -- with the most obvious example being that they can use "queer" to describe themselves. Others use that word at their peril.
I haven't got the time or energy to do much more than note the phenomenon but I would like to mention two examples from Britain that stand out in my mind. Two homosexual men, David Starkey and the recently deceased Brian Sewell. See also here on Sewell. As far as I can find, neither man has ever suffered any sanction over their "offensive" utterances, though complaints have of course been made.
Starkey has been called the "rudest man in Britain" and his rejection of homosexual marriage would probably have the British police after him were he not himself openly in a long-term homosexual relationship. And he compared the Queen to Dr. Goebbels!
Other gems were when he insisted that a 16-year-old pupil could “groom” a 44-year-old teacher; stating that violence, not consent, should be the measure of rape; and saying that Princess Anne looked like a horse
And on black immigration to Britain he said: "I’ve just been rereading Enoch Powell – the rivers of blood speech. His prophecy was absolutely right in one sense.” The speech is probably the most reviled in British history but you don't have to go far in Britain to find people who say (in private) "Enoch was right"
"Starkey's comments in August 2011 on the BBC's Newsnight programme, made during a discussion about the 2011 England riots, precipitated support and condemnation from several notable commentators. Starkey claimed that "the whites have become black", and that "a particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic, gangster culture has become the fashion". The leader of the Labour party, Ed Miliband, spoke about Starkey's remarks, saying "they are racist comments, frankly"....
After stating in a debate in June 2012 that a Rochdale sex trafficking gang had values "entrenched in the foothills of the Punjab or wherever it is", he was accused by his fellow panelist, the writer Laurie Penny, of "playing xenophobia and national prejudice for laughs".
But he can also be offensive when he gets it right. For instance, he compared the Scottish National Party to the Nazis and likened the Saltire (Scottish flag) to a swastika. He also likened the SNP's view of the English to Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitism. I have argued similarly.
Sewell was primarily an art critic but went on to become an outraged commentator on politics. He was very outspoken about what he regarded as bad art. In 1994, 35 prominent figures in the art world, including Bridget Riley and Maureen Paley signed a letter to the Evening Standard, attacking him for 'homophobia', 'misogyny', 'demagogy', 'hypocrisy', 'artistic prejudice', 'formulaic insults' and 'predictable scurrility'. They spoke of Sewell’s “dire mix of sexual and class hypocrisy, intellectual posturing and artistic prejudice”.
And he described his homosexuality as “an affliction”. Fighting words for anybody else these days
He also sheltered Anthony Blunt after Blunt’s exposure as the fourth man in the infamous Cambridge spy ring
An example of his art criticism: “Any fool who can put paint on canvas or turn a cardboard box into a sculpture is lauded. Banksy should have been put down at birth. It’s no good as art, drawing or painting. His work has no virtue. It’s merely the sheer scale of his impudence that has given him so much publicity.”
Of the Turner Prize for contemporary art, he said: "Ignoring it is the kindest thing one can do."
And on women artists: "There has never been a first-rank woman artist. Only men are capable of aesthetic greatness. Women make up 50 per cent or more of classes at art school. Yet they fade away in their late 20s or 30s. Maybe it's something to do with bearing children." Can you hear the feminist shrieks?
And an odd one for the feminists: "I have a theory that only men steal books, although when I proposed that to a woman a month or two ago she was absolutely outraged"
I haven't tracked when both men "came out" but that would be a formality in the British intellectual world that they both inhabited. It would have been known informally from early on. Even in the early 20th century, many of the Bloomsberries were known as homosexuals, for instance.