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Sometimes it is best to say nothing… February 10, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Reading about Liam Neeson’s comments this week the thought struck, as it so often does these days, that for many many in the public eye, or on social media, the best course of action is to remain quiet. Or guarded. Or cautious.

In the catalogue of great unforced errors of our time this one will probably not loom large, there’s too much competition. Neeson and his career will survive, and just on that I’m a bit dubious about ‘cancelling’ people for things they did earlier in their lives and about which they are repentant. But it was a remarkably stupid thing to say and for what purpose remains unclear.

There’s deeper or closer issues – what a strange attitude to take, assuming we can take the story at face value which is not necessarily the case, particularly for someone who grew up in a context of bigotry himself. The question had he learned nothing at that stage is not unreasonable.

Fintan O’Toole in a piece behind the IT paywall notes that Neeson doesn’t quite seem to understand the racial aspects of the anecdote and seems to perceive it as about revenge. But I don’t think O’Toole is entirely stretching the point to argue it is of a piece with lynch-mob attitudes. And one can also wonder at the manner in which it is freighted with attitudes to gender and so on – who gave him license to retrospectively impose ‘revenge’ on behalf of the unamed woman and why did he think it his place at all to involve himself – even putting the vileness of what he purports to have wanted to do.

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