The funeral of Stephen Gately has not yet taken place. The man hasn't been buried yet. Nevertheless, Jan Moir of the Daily Mail has already managed to dance on his grave. For money.
It has been 20 minutes since I've read her now-notorious column, and I'm still struggling to absorb the sheer scope of its hateful idiocy. It's like gazing through a horrid little window into an awesome universe of pure blockheaded spite. Spiralling galaxies of ignorance roll majestically against a backdrop of what looks like dark prejudice, dotted hither and thither with winking stars of snide innuendo.
On the Mail website, it was headlined: "Why there was nothing 'natural' about Stephen Gately's death." Since the official postmortem clearly ascribed the singer's death to natural causes, that headline contains a fairly bold claim.
Still, who am I to judge? I'm no expert when it comes to interpreting autopsy findings, unlike Moir. Presumably she's a leading expert in forensic science, paid huge sums of money to fly around the world lecturing coroners on her latest findings. Or maybe she just wants to gay-bash a dead man? Tragically, the only way to find out is to read the rest of her article.
She begins by jabbering a bit about untimely celebrity deaths, especially those whose lives are "shadowed by dark appetites or fractured by private vice". Not just Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson. No: she's eagerly looking forward to other premature snuffings.
"Robbie, Amy, Kate, Whitney, Britney; we all know who they are. And we are not being ghoulish to anticipate, or to be mentally braced for, their bad end: a long night, a mysterious stranger, an odd set of circumstances that herald a sudden death."
Fair enough. I'm sure we all agree there's nothing "ghoulish" whatsoever about eagerly imagining the hypothetical death of someone you've marked out as a potential cadaver on account of your ill-informed presumptions about their lifestyle.
All she's doing is running a detailed celebrity-death sweepstake in her head. That's not ghoulish, that's fun. For my part, I've just put a tenner on Moir choking to death on her own bile by the year 2012. See? Fun!
Having casually prophesied the death of Robbie Williams and co, Moir moves on to her main point: that Gately's death strikes her as a bit fishy . . . "All the official reports point to a natural death, with no suspicious circumstances . . . But, hang on a minute. Something is terribly wrong with the way this incident has been shaped and spun into nothing more than an unfortunate mishap on a holiday weekend, like a broken teacup in the rented cottage."
That's odd. I don't recall anyone equating the death with "an unfortunate mishap on a holiday weekend". I was only aware of shocked expressions of grief from those who knew or admired him, people who'd probably be moved to tears by Moir likening the tragedy to "a broken teacup in the rented cottage"
. But never mind that – "shaped and spun" by whom, precisely? The coroner?Incredibly, yes.
Moir genuinely believes the coroner got it wrong: "Healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again. Whatever the cause of death is, it is not, by any yardstick, a natural one."At this point, I dare to challenge the renowned international forensic pathologist Jan Moir, because I personally know of two other men (one in his 20s, one in his early 30s), who died in precisely this way. According to the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (c-r-y.org.uk), "Twelve apparently fit and healthy young people die in the UK from undiagnosed heart conditions" every single week. That's a lot of broken teacups, eh Jan?
Still, if his death wasn't natural "by any yardstick", what did kill him? Moir knows: it was his lifestyle. Because Gately was, y'know . . . homosexual.
Having lanced this boil, Moir lets the pus drip out all over her fingers as she continues to type: "The circumstances surrounding his death are more than a little sleazy," she declares. "Cowles and Gately took a young Bulgarian man back to their apartment. It is not disrespectful to assume that a game of canasta . . . was not what was on the cards . . . What happened afterwards is anyone's guess."Don't hold back, Jan. Have a guess. Draw us a picture. You specialise in celebrity death fantasies, after all.
"His mother is still insisting that her son died from a previously undetected heart condition that has plagued the family." Yes. That poor, blinkered woman, "insisting" in the face of official medical evidence that absolutely agrees with her.
Anyway, having cast aspersions over a tragic death, doubted a coroner and insulted a grieving mother, Moir's piece builds to its climax: "Another real sadness about Gately's death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships. . . Gay activists are always calling for tolerance and understanding about same-sex relationships, arguing that they are just the same as heterosexual marriages . . . in many cases this may be true. Yet the recent death of Kevin McGee, the former husband of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, and now the dubious events of Gately's last night raise troubling questions about what happened."Way to spread the pain around, Jan. Way to link two unrelated tragedies, Jan. Way to gay-bash, Jan.
Jan's paper, the Daily Mail
, absolutely adores it when people flock to Ofcom to complain about something offensive, especially when it's something they've only learned about second-hand via an inflammatory article in a newspaper. So it would undoubtedly be delighted if, having read this, you paid a visit to the Press Complaints Commission website (www.pcc.org.uk) to lodge a complaint about Moir's article on the basis that it breaches sections 1, 5 and 12 of its code of practice.Source: Charlie Brooker @ The Guardian