Wednesday, November 19, 2008

So Who's the Victim Now?

It seems that Patrick Jones' controversial collection of poetry Darkness Is Where The Stars Are will now have a reading hosted by Lib-Dem AM Peter Black and Cardiff South Labour AM Lorraine Barrett, and Jones has been invited to read his work at next year’s Hay-on -Wye festival.

However, something that does rather weaken Jones' case that that he was an innocent victim of a Christian hate group is the fact that he actually e-mailed his poems to every nutcase extremist group he could think of in order to "spark debate". Clearly this publicity was something that he deliberately courted and presumably relished. Christian Voice duly rose to the challenge and inadvertently gave Jones the best advertising blast he could have dreamed of.

(So interesting that in the BBC radio interview Jones actually denies having sent them to Stephen Green! Why on earth does he chose to lie?)

Mr. Guo sent me a link to the poems Green is reacting to on the Forever Delayed forum. I'm sorry, I'm all for Jones' right to put them into a public arena ... but these poems are so utterly banal (think Vogon!) one wonders how they even got published in the first place!

It's sad when battles about freedom of speech (which have to be fought ... against those who would silence voices, against the bookshop which doesn't defend its authors) serve the interests of the mediocre writer.

Update 12/12 :

Patrick Jones read his "blasphemous poems" from Darkness Is Where the Stars Are at the Welsh assembly, and about 250 Christian activists (predictably) turned up to demonstrate by singing hymns and praying outside. Said Liberal Democrat assembly member Peter Black :
I felt very strongly that no organisation should be able to intimidate and force the cancellation of a reading of this sort. ... This is a democratic society, with freedom of speech and freedom of expression, and people shouldn't be intimidated into giving that up. The Welsh Assembly is the home of Welsh democracy, so it seemed highly appropriate to do a reading here. ... My view is that freedom of speech is also the freedom to offend – once you start trying to limit [speech] on the basis that you find the view offensive, you start on a slippery slope towards dictatorship and losing your rights. That's why we staged the event.


Anonymous said...

Just read the poems - they are SO craptacular!!!!

- Poppadumdum

Walker Moore said...

Well said. Not only did he take Waterstones for a ride, but also those who (knowing all too well what Christian Voice are like) defended him.

And gosh how right you are about his poetry. I can see why he needs all the publicity he can get.