Thursday, April 19, 2012

The past is a foreign country

As the 1990s dawned on this misty island, condoms could only be bought on prescription and there was no divorce. It was an interesting decade in many ways and one feature of those years which gave me much entertainment was the spectacle of the more reactionary elements in society resisting changes in anything that had to do with sex.

Their mouthpiece was a weekly newspaper called The Irish Family (which later became The Irish Democrat), an organ (if you will forgive the phrase) which I was obliged to read as PR consultant for Durex at the time.

One evening, as we ate in Cooke’s Café, I told my editor, Peter Murtagh, about this curious duty and the amusement (mingled with some horror) which it brought to me.

We decided to invent a character who would caricature (not that this was always required) the outpourings of the extreme Catholic right. Peter came up with the name, and the suffix (which stands for National Teacher): Aodhghán Feeley NT. Mr Feeley channeled his thoughts through me and I wrote his Real Ireland column in the Tribune for several years during the first half of that turbulent decade.

Mr Feeley is still going strong, somewhere in the recesses of what passes for my mind, and is now a sprightly 116.

Anyway, here’s a sample of what he was saying in 1995. Nora Bennis and Joe McCarroll were, and I hope still are, real people. The rest were products of my fevered imagination.

by Aodhghán Feeley NT
The Sunday Tribiune, January 1995

As everybody knows by now, I have a bit of a "thing" about Nora Bennis of Solidarity. Whenever I hear her voice ("like the breath of an angel on your cheek," as Brother Cathal says) or see her picture, I get this funny feeling in my legs and I am reminded of that day, many years ago, when I first saw Breda over a steaming plate of champ and crubeens.

Anyway, there I was, driving home in the rain, listening to the evening news when I hear that young whippersnapper, Myles Dungan, tell a shocked nation that Limerick City is about to have a sex shop. And you could hear the sneer in his voice as he introduced the lovely Nora who has organised a fast and prayer vigil in response to the outrage.

"This is all about kinky sex," Nora began, in that wonderful voice which Brother Cathal, as he says, frequently compares to "a celestial exhalation". Now my interest was immediately aroused. Nora was very clear that she knew what she was talking about. It was kinky sex, impure and simple.

Now, as soon as I got home I wrote Nora yet another piece of "fan mail", but in this instance, I was seeking her advice. You see, at a recent meeting of Families Against Secular Humanism (FASH), held in the Macushla Room of the Pathé Hotel, Roscrea, the issue of kinky sex came up. It was my old school friend and fellow-pedagogue Labhras "Imperial Leather" Ui Laoire who cut to the core of the issue. "In order to defend the virtue of Irish women," he thundered, "it is essential that we know precisely what kinky sex is. Nora Bennis has drawn attention to kinky sex. But I, for one, need more information as to how to define what exactly it is."

A sub-committee was immediately formed, under the chairmanship of Brother Cathal, charged with the task of defining the nature of "kinky sex". They have been meeting daily, behind closed doors, in the Mostrim Arms in Edgeworthstown, for several weeks now and Brother Cathal tells me that "progress is slow, but light is dawning." Breda is acting as what he calls his "amanuensis" and while I can't put my finger on it I can't say I'm happy with this. Wasn't there a series of films called that?

Anyway, now I can tell Brother Cathal and his sub-committee that Nora Bennis can put them properly in the picture as far as kinky sex is concerned. Incidentally, I would advise Nora to initiate a local single issue group to tackle the Limerick problem: Families United in Combatting Kinky Sex is Breda's suggestion for the title, though, of course, it would be unfortunate were it to be referred to by its initials.

As many readers will be aware, I was invited to attend a seminar on "Traditional Family Values and Say No to Gun Control" at the University of Moosejaw, Idaho last autumn. It was at the behest of the traditional theologian Professor Anna L. Sphincter (a great admirer, she tells me, of Joe McCarroll's Homosexual Challenge). The Moosejaw Moral Alert Centre is where I attended a PIMPLE Program (Principles in Moral Protection and Lewdness Eradication) and was first made aware of the insidious ways in which practicioners of the Occult penetrate the sub-conscious of our young people.

Using simple equipment the PIMPLE team at Moosejaw can detect satanic messages in "pop" songs. I was so interested in this that I have set up a PIMPLE research laboratory as part of the Aodghan Feeley Foundation in Mullingar. Using my old Pye radiogram, a couple of reel-to-reel tape recorders, a large stock of HB pencils and their own piercing intelligence, a crack team of volunteers, all of them occasional contributors to the Irish Family, are screening tapes and records even as I write and we will publish the shocking interim results very shortly.

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