After a period of subdued silence in relation to the Boston College oral history project Danny Morrison has found his mournful voice again. Causing him grief on this occasion is a new documentary around the life of the late Dolours Price. I Dolours is due to ''screen at this year’s HotDocs festival in Toronto – the largest documentary festival in North America''.
It is neither here nor there that I am one of those people who according to director Maurice Sweeney "definitely didn’t want to be interviewed" for the documentary. Suffice to say that my take on its provenance, among other things, led to my being resolutely opposed to it ever having been produced.
Ed Moloney, the project director for the Boston College oral history venture, is a co-producer of I Dolours. Employing the language of people used to handling spies and running agents of influence, Morrison referred to Moloney as a 'godfather' behind the Boston College oral history project. We may wonder how he learned to grow comfortable with that peculiar British term, contextually moulded as a weapon of smear for use against Irish republicans. In the prolonged republican battle against the British state policy of criminalisation, 'godfather' became the finger-word to poke republican legitimacy in the eye. There was a battle of wills and the British were up for using whatever discursive means at hand to force their opponents to blink first.
Morrison, ostensibly on the republican side, running point for republican PR, would be all too aware of this. To start using terms with a particular British state inflexion takes quite some leap for an authentic republican. But if the voice behind the words really had a British twang all along then the ground to cover is not all that great.
In his not altogether illogical piece, Morrison has claimed:
Anthony McIntyre said: “The Irish News journalist hardly covered herself in glory when she interviewed Dolours Price at a time when Price was undergoing psychiatric care at a Dublin hospital… As both a journalist and a human being, this was hardly an example of ethical behaviour.”
The one slight problem with that assertion is that it is demonstrably false. I simply did not say it. It might be a genuine mistake on Morrison's part, but with Morrison there is so little genuine about him: so the instinct is to always go with your instinct and assume it was an incident of mislead rather than mistake.
I Dolours resonates in an Ancient Rome way, drawing on the famed I Claudius. Much like Et Tu Danny would be a fitting title for a documentary about Morrison's role in the 1981 hunger strike.
Anthony McIntyre blogs @ The Pensive Quill.