An Irishgirl abroad — New York life through a European lens

A quick “I told you so”

Posted in Irish, Relationships, Religion by Frieda on January 11, 2010
Mrs. Robinson

Mrs. Robinson

Not that you’re disagreeing with me, necessarily.

DUBLIN — I ended my last post with a suggestion to “watch this space” — the particularly Irish space where scandals are brewing this winter holiday. Within four days, a new scandal had broken: the Mrs. Robinson liaison between the 59-year-old wife of Northern Ireland’s First Minister and a 19-year-old boy.

It’s a complicated, seedy, and frankly fascinating affair and one that has been treated widely enough elsewhere (here, here and here to give a small selection). I will, however, direct you self-promotionally to a whimsical piece I wrote about Iris Robinson’s credentials (or otherwise) as a feminist icon.

I’m watching BBC news right now. The newscaster has pointed out that Peter Robinson’s temporary replacement, Arlene Foster, is the first woman to lead government in Stormont, and the second woman, after Mrs. Thatcher, to hold such high office in the UK. And she’s only 39.

I’m not really arguing that feminism has anything to do with this story, but it’s funny how the tawdry shuffle of power is playing out for women.

I promise my next post will be wholesome.


4 Responses

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  1. louche said, on January 11, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    If he’s 19, then doesn’t he qualify as a man? He can vote! He can legally (if not ethically) have an affair with a 59-year-old married woman!

  2. Frieda said, on January 11, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Hello Louche, yes, it’s not illegal, and I do wonder if the ages were the other way around, a 59-year-old man and a 19-year-old girl, whether it would seem so sordid. One problem is that Iris R. herself moralized quite a bit, taking a stance against homosexuality, and she was a member of the Light ‘n Life Church … There’s a strong whiff of hypocrisy here.

    I think illegality will emerge, but it will be in the political and financial realms rather than the sexual. Still, the whole thing seems rather ill-advised, no?

  3. louche said, on January 12, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    I’m by no means denying the hypocrisy; if you want to hear an amusing dissection of her hypocrisy, check out Dan Savage’s podacst #169, where he kicks off the podcast with a discussion of this business. Savage, a gay sex advice columnist, normally reports on the most egregious sexually hypocritical — and often also homophobic — politicians in the US when they have their comeuppance; I think he takes tremendous solace from the Robinson case because, for once, they’re European.

  4. Frieda said, on January 14, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    I didn’t know Dan Savage does podcasts. I know him from his Savage Love column in New York’s Village Voice … I’ll have to look the podcasts up (and figure out how to access them)!

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