Monday, 29 November 2010

To Henry and Edna, a son

I was THIS close to being taken in by a letter in last Friday’s Manx Indie.
One John Eoin Douglas, of Edinburgh, wrote to congratulate South Africa in supporting a recent UN vote to remove sexual orientation from a resolution calling on countries to protect the life of all people and to investigate extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions that are motivated by prejudice and discrimination.
Mr Douglas went on to opine:
“It would seem that South African politicians have finally realised that appeasing the homosexualist lobby and accepting this perversion has led to many of the current fractures and ills in their society. In addition to removing favourable treatment for homosexuals from their Constitution, perhaps they will now also get round to reversing their 1961 adoption of Decimal Currency which most right thinking people see as the start of the slippery slope to untramelled liberalism.”
Which had me both amused and completely bemused.
Was this guy for real? He wouldn’t be the maddest Brit to write to the Manx press in vague hope of putting a paranoid delusion into print, so it was hard to be sure. On the other hand, I was sure I’d seen that name before somewhere….
Eventually, I asked Garry Otton, writer of Scottish Media Monitor and author of Sexual Fascism, the book which names and shames every scumbag involved in the attempts to spread homophobia and retain Section 28 in Scotland. If anyone knew this character, it would be Garry, who let me in on a running joke I just have to share.
High culture satire fans will remember William Donaldson’s Henry Root Letters, in which Donaldson’s alter-ego wrote to the great and the good with wild suggestions, and subsequently collected both the letters and their replies in a best-selling book.
But in Prick Up YourEars, John Lahr’s biography of the common as muck and twice as shameless queer playwright Joe Orton, we can read about Edna Welthorpe, a snobbish lady literary critic whose bizarre opinions dotted the letter pages of the regional press, and who later concentrated her spleen on Orton’s plays. Orton, a prankster whose many other hilarious outrages fill the first half of the book, WAS Edna Welthorpe.
So, ladies and gentlemen, before anyone writes to the Indie, may I refer you all to the long lost funny bastard son of Henry Root and Edna Welthorpe,whose collected letters to many uptight publications who really ought to know better may be found at .

1 comment:

Richard T said...

Found him. Many thanks.