herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Michael O'Doherty: There's only one way a dinosaur like George Hook is going to go and that's extinct

George Hook
George Hook
Ruth O'Neill
Black comedy: David McSavage is starring in Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin next month
Sean O'Brien, Paul O'Connell and Rob Kearney at the unveiling of the new Irish Rugby World Cup 2015 jersey by Canterbury and the IRFU INPHO

What type of dinosaur is George Hook?

It's a question which continues to baffle anthropologists, as the man from the land that time forgot continues to spout opinions that most of us thought were long extinct.

A brontosaurus, perhaps - the enormous, lumbering, tree-munching monster that slayed all in its path? It's a possibility.

A velociraptor - the lightening quick, agile predator that hunted down its prey with graceful ease? I don't think so.

Most likely, George is descended from the Ornithorhynchus anatinus: a sea-loving mammal whose globular features marked him out as little-maligned upon extinction.

Except, however - and this is where the association with Hooky is most evident - it is not extinct like its contemporaries, living on in the shape of the charming, though tragically ugly, duck-billed platypus.

As evidence of George's prehistoric lineage, he recently engaged in a debate about Dublin cyclists, wheeling out lazy, cliched and appallingly outdated generalisations, dismissing cyclists as "criminals.'

Stuck in a time when the car was king, George has seen evolution pass him by, unfettered by the convenience, environmental friendliness, and personal health benefits to be derived from getting on your bike.

And lest one thought that his advocacy of the neanderthal "four wheels good, two wheels bad" argument was a once-off, the Hookosaurus came out with an even more extraordinary proposition last week.

Discussing the controversial judgement which saw rapist Magnus Meyer Hustveit walk free after a series of assaults on his girlfriend while she lay sleeping, George threw out the argument that what he did might not be a crime.

"You're sharing a bed with somebody," George suggested, "and obviously sexual congress takes place on a regular basis because you're living with someone. Is there not an implied consent therefore that you consent to sexual congress?"

While there is no suggestion that George agrees with this proposition, his very asking of the question, without any qualification on his part, was at best astonishing clumsiness, and at worst the re-airing of long discredited beliefs.

It seems extraordinary now, but up to 25 years ago, no matter how often he forced himself on his wife without her consent, a husband could not be accused of rape in Ireland - the wife having 'implied' that her consent was always going to be present once she agreed to marry him.

But in 1990 the law was changed, as society's attitude to domestic violence, along with previously tolerated ills such as homophobia, drinking and driving, or polluting the planet, have evolved.

It is, perhaps, strangely reassuring to hear echoes of the dark ages sometimes rekindled, as George did last week, because it reminds us how far we've come.

But unless he learns to adapt more quickly to the changing environment, the Hook-billed platypus of Newstalk is in danger of heading in the same direction as all the other dinosaurs: extinction.

 

Ruth's return from the US for RTE gig shows one thing - I can't spot talent

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It's exactly six years since I last saw Ruth O'Neill, the former Irish model who applied to become a presenter on TV3's Xpose back in 2009, by entering the show Total Xposure, on which I was a judge.

After berating Ruth for her south county Dublin accent, she only managed to finish third in the contest and, her dreams of a TV career in tatters, left Ireland to seek solace LA.

Since then, Ruth has worked her way up through the ranks of US television and, through a combination of hard work and a laid-back, charming personality, secured a presenting gig on entertainment channel E!.

Now comes the news that Ruth has returned to her home town in order to front RTE's new show, Bounce, an entertainment show which will, ironically enough, take on Xpose, the very show that turned her down six years ago.

It would be unwise at this juncture to crack open the champagne on Ruth's behalf, given the somewhat chequered history of Bounce thus far. When first announced over two years ago, RTE's rival to Xpose was going to be fronted by Vogue Williams, Daniella Moyles and Paul Galvin.

In the intervening time, the names associated with the project have been dizzying in their multitude - Rosanna Davison, Nadia Forde, Madeline Mulqueen, Nicola Hughes and Diana Bunici, as well as the original suspects of Vogue and Daniella.

The general consensus, however, is that Eoghan McDermott and Ruth O'Neill are set to be the two main presenters. And the fact that I have previously dismissed the career possibilities of both in very forceful terms - calling Eoghan "shouty" and "cheesy", and dismissing Ruth's ability to do little except look pretty, has at least clarified one thing without question.

When it comes to spotting talent, I know absolutely nothing.

 

This is what you call satire, David?

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David McSavage not only remains unrepentant about his portrayal of Joe Duffy on The Savage Eye, but still refers to the RTE star as "a gobshite".

David yesterday defended his portrayal of Joe by saying that "we open him up, and rip him apart. That's what good satire does".

And just to show how incisive and surgical his satire can be, McSavage turned his attentions to Brian McFadden and Vogue Williams. "Brian deserves to be put on trial for crimes against music ... and Vogue? (She's) a strange looking creature that belongs in a zoo."

If those stupendously unfunny comments are "satire", we can safely say that the next series of The Savage Eye will be the least eagerly-awaited show ever...

 

Sean O'Brien's witty blasts lack just one thing

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They’re crazy, those rugby lads, what with their constantly hilarious exchanges on social media.

The latest online rib-tickler to come from Irish international rugby ranks, designed to show that underneath those impressive physiques lie razor-sharp brains, features an exchange between Brian O’Driscoll and Sean O’Brien.

BOD remarked that Sean (inset) seemed to be wearing an Irish jersey that was a couple of sizes to small for him, posting the hashtag “#nextsizeupmaybe?” Sean, quick as a flash, replied “Don’t be worrying about it, your retired Remember!” – a retort that manages the rare feat of including two typos within the last three words.

Might one suggest that before he takes on BOD on Twitter, Sean may want to brush up on his grammar?

 

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