If you really want something to wake you up with a start, imagine the queen of homophobes, Wee Free John Macleod coming out gay! No, it hasn't happened... yet. But hauling the chains of repression up the corridors of The Herald, he was outside the editor's door for this year's put-down of gay people living with AIDS, sighing: "It has fallen to me to write a column for World Aids Day". Oh, dear. He smugly observed that "in the West... the tide of the pandemic has turned... The plague is past". He listed some victims, amongst them: "Wicked men like ...Derek Jarman, ...the absurd Liberace". He dwelled on "an alarming development... The arrival of promiscuous 'bareback' sex - without condoms". Looking back on the challenge of combating AIDS, he wrote: "For good or ill, we were all forced, in a new and frightening way, to face matters of sexuality, responsibility and identity, diversity, and difference". Well, that's just tough, isn't it? But what was all this leading up to? The case of Matthew Shepherd, the American gay teenager, beaten to death and found hanging in a field offered a clue. After distancing himself from the 'Christians' who held placards saying 'God hates fags' at Matthew's funeral he sought solace in "another world, and another Aids". The "30 million Aids victims living, the great mass in the developing world, without access to or hope of the new and powerful treatments". His conscience was salved. "The Mbuma Mission Hospital in Zimbabwe - it is run and funded by the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland". These were, he claimed, "the facts of Aids in the real world..." and presumably, our world played no part in it. "The storm in Africa rages on. The storm in the West, now abates". Wishful thinking on his part, I think!
"NAKED FURY. Outrage as police strip drug-search schoolboys". It's interesting, isn't it, how a story in the Sunday Mail involving police making individual searches for drugs on five teenagers at a school in Clydebank centred on the issue of stripping boys naked, not the search for drugs? Any erosion of the schoolboys' liberty was brushed aside by the fact that "police ordered five schoolboys to strip NAKED in front of their headmaster". It says a lot about the attitudes shaping the news put out by the Sunday Mail every week.
It was in the Sunday Mail that prudish Melanie Reid wrote: "When you're a teenager, the most disgusting thing imaginable is the suggestion that your parents have sex". In a piece on Chelsea Clinton's visits to a therapist after a difficult split from her boyfriend, Miss Prim remarked: "Truly, the sins of the father are being visited on the child".
The Sunday Mail, however, is not beyond a little sexual innuendo. "What Kirsty likes most in her bed! Telly stunner Kirsty Young has revealed her secret bedtime passion." Under a full-length picture of the blonde presenter draped in black, the tabloid teased: "She loves nothing better than snuggling up with... a HOT-WATER BOTTLE".
On almost any sexual issue the Sunday Mail considers distasteful, (and that's most), the Sexfinder General himself, Father Tom Connolly, spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland has to be wheeled in. The superb documentary on Scottish Television, 'Vice: The Sex Trade' sent the Sexfinder General into paroxysms of Nannyism. "I would applaud STV for resisting screening this so early. But it really shouldn't be on TV". The tabloid suggested "STV wanted to ditch it before network chiefs stepped in". In the end, it was screened at 11pm, two hours behind the rest of Britain. To be behind England must surely confirm Scotland's status as Europe's most sexually repressed! The Sunday Mail's ugly sister, the Daily Record - part of the Mirror Group, a generic name for these monsters - crowed: "TV has finally hit rock bottom". Again? Jack Maclean was disgusted to find "women... who seemed to have no problem flaunting themselves and their profession". And "an unmarried caterer, who wasn't bothered by the consequences of having his sexual fantasies played out on the TV screen. He was stripped and slipped into a nappy... I won't repeat what happened next. It was a sight I never thought we would ever see on British television... Without doubt, this was the most sleazy documentary I've ever seen... the like of which I never expected to tarnish our screens... sex is not a spectator sport..." The soppy old croak seemed to have forgotten what his 'off' button's for!
The Sunday Mail announced: "A former butcher's shop in a sleepy Scots town is the centre of world-wide sleaze empire". Steady on! It was just a lingerie business selling its wares on the Internet! "The kinky knickers-on-the-net business is being run from a shop in historic Fife, overlooking the ancient village cross". Apparently, "boss Graham Gilmour boasted that thousands of bored Scots businessmen were tuning in to his sordid Internet address..." By highlighting certain words you can see how the Sunday Mail weaves it's own language of repression into the owner's statement.
You can't help having a soft spot for "The Wee Bear". Which is more than the Sunday Mail had for him when they discovered "sick student Steven McCory goes looking for under-age sex on the Internet... The baby-faced 19-year-old sends messages begging 'innocent girls, 14-16, for casual sex.'" Bless! Just a wee 19-year-old posting messages for "friendship and possible relationship" before Nanny Mail went at him with her cane. They contacted "furious Strathclyde University bosses" and "told them what he had been doing". He hid his face behind a rucksack as the reporters "confronted" him at a bus stop. To add to his shame, the Sunday Mail mentioned he was "still a virgin because he suffers from an embarrassing sexual condition". Then they printed his photo, indicated his address and blasted him with their vitriol: He was "Sick... twisted... devious" and a "cheat". Then they added that the "sleaze student" was accused of boasting and lying. The Scottish Media Monitor can reveal that a sleazy Sunday Mail reporter entered into correspondence with the Wee Bear posing as a 15-year-old girl in a sick quest to entrap him.
Why on Earth should picking up a sex worker, driving her to a café and "ordering teas and burgers" affect the way Robert Paterson, a senior manager for the Royal Bank of Scotland does business? The Sunday Mail is worried "he even locks up as the last man out at night". Paterson has interfered in their puritanical quest for moral fascism in Scotland! For that he will pay dearly! "Seedy... sleazy... balding..." (Although quite what that has to do with anything, I don't know. Most male readers of the Sunday Mail are bald, aren't they)? Desperate, as always, to link a sex story with children, the Sunday Mail found out "the sleazy banker is a director of the Scottish Centre For Children With Motor Impairment". Er... So?
Is "wee lassie" appropriate language to use when reporting women? The Scottish Sun got away with it reporting sport's presenter Hazel Irvine's comments on wearing makeup. "It's girl powder... In the Sunday Grandstand hot seat, the inquisitive wee lassie in whose company gruff football managers once fidgeted has grown into a major media player in a class of her own..." The Scotsman inappropriately declared Ms Irvine "bereft of makeup, the pale face that grins out from under a Nordic mop blonde hair could belong to a 14-year-old. Which in a sense she still is. There is something of the eternal schoolgirl about Irvine, if not the eternal swot".
Paedophilia is a taboo subject in our society today. After the classroom massacre at Dunblane, gay men have been more closely associated with child molestation than ever before, yet claims Hamilton was gay were fabricated and evidence he fulfilled a sexual interest in boys have not materialised. Even a man convicted of murder is likely to fare better after his release than a paedophile as the case of "convicted child molester Andrew Doharty (51) from Sandyhills, Glasgow", in the Sunday Post, demonstrates. When it comes to housing, Doharty is at the mercy of local authorities. With no choice but to move in with his brother "...in Shettleston, the area where he carried out a horrific catalogue of sexual abuse", his future also rests with the Sunday Post. Their description of his offences will contribute greatly to the extent of any subsequent vigilantism. Mrs X told the Sunday Post: "'My daughter has been too afraid to go to school all week and my little boy hasn't been to school for four years.' Mr and Mrs X have themselves been in and out of hospital with psychological problems and the family is on medication. Their 14-year-old son suffers from agoraphobia and post-traumatic stress disorder. He needs special tutors at home. The two girls, now 11 and 18, have also struggled to cope". Docharty's brother's "house is just 10 minutes from the family's home and near the school their youngest daughter attends". Doharty is "on parole after serving two and a half years of a four-year sentence". There is simply not enough information here to make any sense of the case, but more than enough to create moral hysteria and add to the children's distress.
The Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser publicly involved itself in a "rape victim's national campaign to keep sex beasts off the streets". In an area were vigilantism can easily get out of hand their campaign followed the rape of a 15-year-old girl by "evil" John Locke from Coatbridge. Such a campaign does little to address the root of the sex pathology and crime we are witnessing in Scotland. That would take education. It appears the media would rather report rapes of men and women than have to deal with that!
"Kiddie porn doctor freed" cried the Scottish Daily Express in anguish. "A doctor escaped jail yesterday - despite being found guilty of downloading 'revolting' child pornography from the Internet... Dr Philip McAndrew was instead fined £1,500..." A disturbing aspect of this case is that after accessing websites from outside the UK, a natural response after finding it contains illegal material, might be to try and dispense with the material. However, after disposal, it can still be stored in a cache on your computer leaving you open to prosecution. In this case, a spurned lover found the material -and all we know is what the Scottish Daily Express tells us - on a disc "before the police raided his home in East Lothian". This was heralded as "Lothian and Borders Police forensic computer unit's first successful computer child pornographic prosecution".
The Scottish Daily Express reports "crackdown on sex offenders... targeted by new crime-cutting measures to be introduced across Scotland next month". They are part of the new Crime and Disorder Act 1998. "Unlimited fines and tougher sentences are to be introduced to control sex offenders... which will give police power to apply to sheriffs for civil orders against convicted offenders. The orders will effectively ban the criminals from going to parts of a community - such as play areas and schools - that officers think will put members of the public at risk". In addition, landlords will have more power to repossess houses in cases of "anti-social behaviour".
A man ahead of his time, Chief Inspector of Prisons, Clive Fairweather was reported in the Scottish Daily Mail saying, "that weekend sex sessions with partners and even homosexual lovers could reward drug-free prisoners". As usual, if it's got sex in it: the Scottish Daily Mail are on the blower to Sexfinder General, Father Tom Connelly of the Catholic Church who belched: "I always assumed that people were put in prison because they had done something wrong. It should not be a question of giving somebody sweeties because they've done something good".
"It's one of the most popular traditional Scottish country dances and has been enjoyed by generations". Come on, you must've seen this one coming. "At one school (St Joseph's Academy in Ayrshire) the name Gay Gordons is considered out of step with modern times. So staff have renamed it the Happy Gordons so they can avoid the possibility of causing embarrassment among pupils". PE teacher Mr Dorian says: "The word gay has a stigma, which we are removing from this dance". The only sensible voice in this piece from Linda Gaul, newly elected chair of the Scottish Country Dance Association in the Scottish Daily Mail of all places. She said: "It would be better if the school educated the children so that the word gay did not have a stigma, rather than avoid using it at all". A year later, Lindsay Clark, organiser of Gordon 2000, a millennium celebration taking place in the Aberdeenshire town of Huntly, birthplace of the Gordon family pointed out that the original old Scottish word was 'gey' and had been changed over the years. The Sun and Record made a meal out of it. "Dance is not O-Gay", (Sun) and "It's a gey silly row over Gay Gordons", (Record). The latter reported: "Scottish country dancers want to stifle sniggers - by renaming the Gay Gordons" in "a bid to distance the dance from the modern meaning of the word gay", even though Ms Clark assured them this was not the case.
It's not only the Scottish press that misrepresents us! Here is a little winter warmer from the otherwise impeccable Boyz. "Glasgow... It may be damn fucking freezing, but it's also the home of sexy, kilted cuties and a thriving little queer scene. Just remember to wrap up nice and warm..." At this time of year, Glasgow's warmer than London!
"No, you can't have your own news", squealed the Daily Record after London turned down a six o' clock news programme for Scotland. Gays have consistently been denied the opportunity to get the news on their terms across in the mainstream media in Scotland. I don't remember the Daily Record making much of a fuss about that. Well, we'll see what a fuss we'll be making of the Daily Record when the Scottish Media Monitor begins broadcasting on SubCity in February or March.