Firstly, congrats to all the recent MBBS candidates who were successful in their examinations! The Class of 2015 is officially next in line (pretending not to shake in my boots here).
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
The Jamaica Observer recently published an article entitled: Homo Thugs!: Gun-toting Gays Drive Fear in Citizens of Garrison Communities by Karyl Walker.
Cue outraged gay rights lobbyists.
In addition to its subject matter, the writing in the article is a complete journalistic travesty. To quote a friend of mine (fully qualified – in postgrad journalism school. There’s a fancy word for that).
There are relevancy issues, libel issues, morality issues, source issues – all on top of really bad writing and lazy reporting.
Since we can all agree that this article has no journalistic merit, I’ll tackle all the emotional pots it is trying to stir. Which is all of them. Sensationalism has found a new home.
The attached picture features a tube of pink lipstick overlying spent shells and a necklace with the male symbol. Which is just all kinds of stereotypical.
Imagine if the article was talking about black people and pictured fried chicken and grape juice. Maybe someone in a ski mask robbing a grocery store. Not to mention the persistent belief that all the homosexuals are men. Female homosexuality is always shuffled off to some quiet corner, tacitly condoned with creepy leering and socially acceptable fantasies.
The first paragraph really sets the tone for the entire article:
DESPITE claims from local and international gay rights activists that Jamaica is a fiercely homophobic country, recent evidence is suggesting that homosexuals are living openly in some of the country’s notoriously tough garrisons without hassle or intimidation.
It sounds like they’re saying Jamaican garrisons have accepted homosexuality, but what they’re actually saying is
“YOU’RE SLACKING OFF, GARRISONS. YOU HAD ONE JOB.”
Their aim is not to prove that our country can be accepting, it’s to prove that gay men will kill us in our sleep if we don’t.
The train wreck continues.
A reliable police source said that it is common knowledge in the constabulary that some of the top names in the criminal underworld were homosexual and had relations with multiple gay partners.
However, because of their fearsome reputations, many persons who know of their lifestyle keep their mouths tightly shut in fear for their lives.
Why is Karyl Walker trying to tell us that people would call the cops on homosexuals if only they weren’t criminals too. It’s like saying, “I want to tell the police what this man does in the privacy of his bedroom, but I can’t say anything because he also sells guns and drugs to children.”
So-called informers are ready and willing to point fingers at “crimes” of sexuality, but hesitate when confronted with crimes against humanity: murder, rape, human trafficking.
She finally crashes into what may actually be libel with her closing paragraph reaching for an illicit relationship between recently murdered Montegonian Kenley “Bebe” Stevens (openly gay and rumoured to be a criminal) and Member of Parliament Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams.
Stephens was fingered in the illegal lotto scam, the stealing of electricity, among other illegal activities. He had strong connections in the ruling PNP, as he was one of the main fund-raisers in that part of Jamaica, and was recently elected vice-chairman of the party’s West Central St James constituency, headed by state minister for industry, commerce and investment, Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams, who is also MP for the constituency.
I know journalism in this country has been taking a turn for the worse ever since I learnt how to read but sometimes it’s just really disappointing (and slightly nauseating) when the top stories from our national newspapers are no better than the top stories in our tabloids. I expect bad journalism from The Star but the Jamaica Observer has disappointed me for the last time.