No, of course we shouldn’t. For a start, that’s just the sort of reaction they feed off, witness the latest witless attack on cycling.
A gay, former Tory MP Matthew Parris has penned an idiotic article calling not for cyclists to be driven from the roads, but to be killed by a garrotting technique sometimes seen on trails used by family cyclists.
Parris is a famous UK newspaper columnist. As such he’s duty-bound to attack cyclists at some point in his writing career: it’s pretty much a columnists’ stand-by piece, a slice of invective guaranteed to rile cyclists, and boost the column’s online readership as cyclists are forwarded to the piece and some comment in the sort of kneejerk reaction the writer was hoping for.
The Parris piece started thus: “A festive custom we could do worse than foster would be stringing piano wire across country lanes to decapitate cyclists.”
Naturally, he’d say it was a light-hearted piece, not meant to be taken literally, but there’s no way on earth The Times would run a “light-hearted” piece calling for the bloody, indescriminate death of horse-riders or Jews or Muslims or disabled people.
The piano wire “joke” isn’t silly banter, it’s incitement to hatred, incitement to kill.
There was no need to go for the jugular in such a literal way. Parris could have made his points about littering without the death threats.
Tucked away in his poison there were some reasonable points. But Parris got it wrong about bottles of Lucozade (cyclists carry their own water bottles on bike rides) and the roadside rubbish he decries sounds a lot like it was thrown from cars, not by cyclists.
Not that cyclists don’t litter. Some do. Used sachets of sticky gel litter the roads on cyclo-sportives. This is not on. But, why did Parris up the ante and pick on all cyclists because some wear Lycra, some are louts and some may drop litter?
His first sentence is the sort of lazy ill-informed invective that newspaper sub-editors are employed to spot, and excise. That The Times sub left it in place may mean the newspaper was short-staffed over the Christmas period, or that the newspaper employs pig-ignorant sub-editors.
Here’s the Parris piece but with the word ‘cyclist’ satirically replaced with ‘homosexual’, and other choice edits.
A festive custom we could do worse than foster would be stringing piano wire at the entrances to gay bars to decapitate homosexuals.
It’s not just the good fashion sense, though Heaven knows this atrocity alone should be a capital offence; nor the fruity hairstyles, though these ludicrous items of headgear are designed to protect the only part of a gay man that is not usefully employed; nor the self-righteousness, though a small band of homosexuals on winter’s morning emits more of that than a cathedral at evensong; nor even the perverted disregard for all other bar users, though the lynching of a gay man by a mob of boozed-up hetro drinkers would be a joy to witness.
No, yet another homo-generated horror – and a new one – has come to my attention this Christmas. They’re chucking their empty moisturiser pots into hedgerows as they pass on the way to Hampstead Heath.
Bin-liners in hand, a group of us, infused with the seasonal goodwill that illuminates this column, of course, decided to walk a mile of a pretty and winding lane that had become particularly badly littered this winter, and collect it all. It’s amazing how much of the stuff there is when you start looking, and we ended up with a whole sackful. And what was the principal offending item? Versace spring-water bottles and empty Vaseline jars were lodged high in hedgerows at a gay man’s bottom level. Forgive me, but heteros were not the culprits here.
What is the carbon footprint of a panting, pill-popping, Lycra-clad gay bar frequenter? a) His or her journey to the gay bar is totally unnecessary; b) whole convoys of cargo boats steam the Atlantic to bring the unguents to be energy-intensively refined for their face creams; and c) the chemical processes that generate the vile materials that clothe, shoe and coiff a homosexual – not a man-made fibre among them – will be poisoning entire provinces of China.
But it’s the good manners and manicured nails one cannot forgive. In just one little posse of these perverted monsters there are levels of self-satisfaction that could power a small religious crusade, such as those awfully smug gay rights marches.
Does coming out turn you into an insolent jerk? Or are insolent jerks drawn disproportionately to homosexuality?
I don’t believe a word of the above parody of the Matthew Parris piece. It’s vile. And, quite rightly, the wrong thoughts it contains wouldn’t appear in any UK newspaper. So, how come the cyclist version was deemed fit to print?