Is prostitution, or ‘sex work’ as it is increasingly called, simply a market transaction, perfectly legitimate as long as the sale is voluntary? Or is it something which is inherently harmful, which sustains criminality and undermines the very idea of gender equality?
It’ll be forty degrees today in Alice Springs, in Australia’s Northern Territory, but it’s likely to go down to thirty-eight around midweek and then plummet to thirty-two in a fortnight’s time as autumn takes hold. But hey, what do I care? I don’t live in Alice Springs, I live in Dublin.
Pity the poor continental children who must grapple with Charles the Bald, Charles the Bold, Charles the Fat, Charles the Simple, Philip the Bold, Philip the Fair and a good dozen of Henrys. To all of this complexity, Winder is a perpetually good-humoured guide.
Perhaps what most of us currently want to know about the extreme right is how dangerous is it? To which the answer might vary from country to country. And is it likely to become more dangerous? Will it be isolated, will it be contained, or will it be conciliated, comforted and brought in from the cold.
But why should there be just two forms of nationalism? There is Trump’s “America First”, there is Viktor Orbán’s quite dour Hungarian nationalism, there is French nationalism, which is arguably based on a notion of cultural and intellectual superiority; there is Irish nationalism, there is Scottish nationalism and there is English nationalism,
James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’, published nearly a century ago, featured the themes of sexual harassment, both in Leopold Bloom’s possible relationship with the servant Mary Driscoll and in Molly’s adultery with Blazes Boylan, which seems more motivated by his power over her career than affection.
Éilís Ní Dhuibhne has written a moving memoir of her affair and subsequent marriage with the Swedish folklorist Bo Almqvist, who died in 2013. Life with a divorced man old enough to be her father might not have been the story she would have written for herself, but it led to a long and happy marriage.
Actor, journalist, Fenian activist, historian, victim of police brutality, and, latterly, lawyer and lobbyist Gus Costello wrote with sympathy of the plight of African Americans in the ‘draft riots’ of 1863, a conflict featuring Irishmen on both sides, as police protectors and as members of the mob.
Gerard Manley Hopkins’s rejection of Anglicanism to seek truth in the teachings of the Roman church shared many features with another ‘betrayal’ which happened seventy years later, that of the so-called Cambridge spies, who abandoned capitalism for the ‘alien creed’ of communism.
Catholic and Protestant are routinely employed in Northern Ireland as labels denoting ethno-nationalist divisions which date back centuries. But the divisions have little enough to do with theology, deriving more from distinct relations to land, power and political legitimacy.