Gay Erasmus is reading Jonestown

31 Oct

I will wait for it to appear in the Library. Meanwhile, check Erasmus’s first impressions [no longer online]. It certainly doesn’t sound boring.

I had lunch with Lord Malcolm at The Shakespeare; he is still struggling on, by the way, with all his usual courage. He told me that Piers Akerman had written a non-homophobic piece in the Telegraph. Amazed at that possibility, I said: “Oh, was it a defence of Alan Jones?” Indeed it was, so not having read it I have searched it out. I should add that Lord Malcolm is himself more than somewhat right wing on a whole range of things, but that’s OK. Except when I read the article I wondered if it was the one Malcolm referred to, but indeed it is.

I guess you would have to say it is not exactly homophobic, despite phrases like “purported homosexual” applied to the Herald’s David Marr*; I wonder if Lord Malcolm picked up the allusion to “Oscar Wilde posing as a somdomite [sic]”? Marr also committed the crime, in Akerman’s eyes, of having “promoted the Sydney Mardi Gras but who was actually married for a brief period before coming to terms with his own sexuality”. Could that qualify as “a cheap and smarmy shot in a nasty political vendetta” or is Akerman merely informing us? Given Marr’s adolescence as described in The High Price of Heaven, this is hardly a revelation; furthermore, many, many gays and lesbians have been married to persons of the opposite sex, often for very long periods, and sometimes even happily. In fact many of my older gay and lesbian friends were, Dorothy McRae-McMahon for starters; I wasn’t, but was able to convince myself it was because I was virtuous, for a while anyway.

No, Marr’s real crime, according to Akerman (and Bolt) is that he has expressed support for the distinctly non-gay Chris Masters, author of Jonestown, because Alan Jones is a well-known high profile right-winger. Not that Akerman’s defence of Jones is based on Jones being a prominent member of his own political club, of course. Akerman would go into bat just as vigorously on behalf of some closeted leftie, wouldn’t he? “Fairfax has displayed an unhealthy prurience in pandering to those titivated by salacious innuendo, but Marr’s defence of Masters’ notion that sexuality determines an individual’s persona is intellectually risible.” Unless, apparently, that person is called Michael Kirby (who is not a leftie, by the way, but rather an old-fashioned liberal conservative) or Patrick White. Or David Marr.


* Marcel has pointed to my misreading this sentence in his comment below, as the “purported homosexual” is in fact Alan Jones; Marr is an acknowledged homosexual. Nonetheless, my points from then on still apply, though the echo of Oscar Wilde I thought I saw may be part of my misreading, even if that would now make Akerman’s wording somewhat deliciously (if unintentionally) ironic.

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2 responses to “Gay Erasmus is reading Jonestown

  1. marcelproust

    November 1, 2006 at 3:19 am

    A misreading. The reference is:
    “But when the purported homosexual Marr has determined should be publicly dragged from the closet is prominent broadcaster Alan Jones…”
    “when the purported homosexual [who] Marr has determined should be publicly dragged from the closet is prominent broadcaster Alan Jones”
    so it is Jones who is identified as a “purported homosexual.”

  2. ninglun

    November 1, 2006 at 8:58 am

    Thanks, Marcel; you are quite right.

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