John Waters (columnist)
28 May 1955 |
Castlerea, County Roscommon, Ireland
|Years active||1981 – present|
|Employer||The Irish Times|
|Known for||Writing in The Irish Times,
Entering the Eurovision Song Contest
John Waters (born on 28 May 1955) is an Irish journalist. Waters's career began in 1981 with the Irish political-music magazine Hot Press. He went on to write for the Sunday Tribune and later edited In Dublin magazine and Magill. Waters has written several books and, in 1998, he devised The Whoseday Book — which contains quotes, writings and pictures of 365 Irish writers and musicians – that raised some €3 million for the Irish Hospice Foundation. Waters is an ardent supporter of the fathers' rights movement in Ireland.
He writes a weekly Friday column for The Irish Times. He was briefly fired during a dispute with the then editor, Geraldine Kennedy, but was shortly thereafter reinstated. He has also stripped off to be painted for the RTÉ programme, simply titled Naked.
Politics and advocacy
Waters has referred to himself as a "neo-Luddite" or later as a "luddite". At one stage he refused to use e-mail and stated his concern that society ignores the negative aspects of the Internet.
In his articles titled Impose democracy on Iraq and Bush and Blair doing right thing, Waters explained his support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a position based on his belief that Iraq posed an imminent threat to the West due to its possession of weapons of mass destruction.
He wrote an article titled Two sides to domestic violence, which criticised the lack of gender balance in Amnesty International's campaign against domestic violence in Ireland. Waters cited the National Crime Council report, conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute, which found approximate gender symmetry in most measures of domestic violence and he pointed out that despite these statistics, funding for women victims of domestic violence (€15 million) disproportionately outstrips funding for male victims. Waters' article led to a response from the head of Amnesty International's Irish branch.
Waters also devotes much of his column space in The Irish Times to discussing the role and importance of religion and faith in society. In an interview, he has described people of faith as "funnier, sharper and smarter" than atheists. In a 2009 article titled "Another no to Lisbon might shock FF back to its senses" Waters voiced his opposition to gay marriage stating that it was "potentially destructive of the very fabric of Irish society".
Non-fiction and drama
Waters has written a number of works of non-fiction as well as plays for radio and the stage. The title of his first non-fiction book, Jiving at the Crossroads, is a quotation of Irish president Éamon de Valera's vision of a rural Ireland including "comely maidens dancing at the crossroads". In the book, Waters comments on modern Ireland. Another non-fiction work, Lapsed Agnostic, describes his "journey from belief to un-belief and back again."
Eurovision Song Contest
Waters has entered the Eurovision Song Contest on a number of occasions.
In 2006, he entered a song, "The Words That Never Wear Out", for the Irish selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. The song was not accepted for the selection final. Waters publicly criticised the fact that the selected singer, Brian Kennedy, had been allowed to enter his own composition, "Every Song is a Cry for Love", in the final and alleged favouritism towards Kennedy. He referred to people who had publicly criticised his song as "corner boys" in a column in Village magazine.
"They Can't Stop the Spring", the song he co-wrote with Tommy Moran, was shortlisted for Ireland's entry to Eurovision Song Contest 2007. On 16 February 2007, "They Can't Stop the Spring" was selected on RTÉ's The Late Late Show to represent Ireland in that year's final in Helsinki. After a telephone vote of viewers, "They Can't Stop The Spring" won the selection. The song finished last in the European competition final, receiving only 5 points.
In 2010, RTÉ announced that Waters had sought to represent Ireland again at Eurovision, with the song "Can I Borrow a Feeling?", co-written with Tommy Moran. In the Irish National Final on 5 March 2010, the song was performed by Leanne Moore, the winner of You're a Star 2008, and finished in fourth place.
Electric Picnic 2010
Waters attended the Electric Picnic music festival in 2010 and wrote that he felt a sense of dissatisfaction with the event, concluding that there was a lack of meaning underpinning events at the festival. Sunday Tribune journalist Una Mullally replied that if John Waters felt disconnected or out of place at the Electric Picnic, that it was because the country had changed, and continued "perhaps this is the first Irish generation who have purposely opted out of tormenting themselves by searching for some unattainable greater meaning and who have chosen instead just to live".
During a newspaper review on radio station, Newstalk 106, Waters declared blogs and bloggers to be "stupid". He then repeated those claims the following week, sparking controversy amongst Irish bloggers who took exception to his views. In the same interview, Waters claimed that "sixty to seventy percent of the internet is pornography".
In the Irish Mail on Sunday of 6 July,[when?] Waters bemoaned vandalism and untruths in his Wikipedia entry, called for increased regulation, and backed legal action against Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales and the Wikipedia foundation in such cases. He said he set up his own web site as a response to Wikipedia. His association with the discredited Iona Institute  has further diminished his standing in modern Ireland.
In 2008, he took part in a television programme which researched his family's past. Parish records revealed that his great-granduncle, also called John Waters, died of starvation during the Great Famine.
He has also stripped off to be painted for the RTÉ programme, simply titled Naked.
Jailing over parking fine
In September 2013 he was jailed for around two hours in Wheatfield Prison over non-payment of a parking fine. The case dated back to 2011 and Waters claimed that he returned to his car one minute over a 15-minute grace period. He refused to pay the fine as a matter of principle.
- Jiving at the Crossroads: The Shock of the New in Haughey's Ireland (Blackstaff, 1991) ISBN 978-0-85640-478-8
- Race of Angels: Ireland and the Genesis of U2 (4th Estate/Blackstaff, 1994) ISBN 978-0-85640-542-6
- Every Day Like Sunday? (Poolbeg, 1995) ISBN 978-1-85371-423-8
- An Intelligent Person's Guide to Modern Ireland (Duckworth, 1997) ISBN 978-0-7156-2791-4 New edition (2001) ISBN 978-0-7156-3091-4
- The Politburo Has Decided That You Are Unwell (Liffey Press, 2004) ISBN 978-1-904148-46-3
- Lapsed Agnostic (Continuum, 2007) ISBN 978-0-8264-9146-6
- Beyond Consolation: or How We Became Too Clever for God... and Our Own Good (Continuum, 2010) ISBN 978-1-4411-1421-1
- Feckers: 50 People Who Fecked Up Ireland (Constable, 2010) ISBN 978-1-84901-442-7
- Long Black Coat (with David Byrne) (Nick Hern Books, 1995) ISBN 978-1-85459-263-7
- Holy Secrets (on BBC Radio 4, 1996)
- Easter Dues (1997)
- Adverse Possession (on BBC Radio 3, 1998)
- "Is Hot Press still cool?". Marketing Magazine (Ireland). Retrieved 26 June 2013.
- Books Written By John Waters johnwaters.ie
- Biography johnwaters.ie
- John Waters and The Irish Times Eamonn Fitzgeralds Rainy Day
- Irish Times fires columnist John Waters, RTÉ News, Sunday 23 November 2003
- Waters is reinstated at The Irish Times, RTÉ News, Monday 24 November 2003
- "Naked". RTÉ.
- The Irish Times
- The Irish Times
- Bush and Blair doing right thing Irish Times 24 March 2003.
- Impose democracy on Iraq Irish Times 24 March 2003.
- Garda Vetting & working with children OneinFour.org 18 May 2005.
- The Irish Times
- Count Me Out (MP3 audio file)
- The Risk of Education by John Waters. Retrieved: 201104-15.
- Eurovision Song Contest
- All Kinds of Everything
- John Waters (10 September 2010). "Soul poison hides lack of meaning for Picnickers". Retrieved 14 September 2010.
- Una Mullally (12 September 2010). "If John Waters feels lost or disconnected from the new reality of Ireland, it's because this isn't his country anymore...". Retrieved 14 September 2010.
- John Waters on blogs Twenty Major Blog. 10 January 2008.
- More on John Waters and blogs Twenty Major Blog. 16 January 2008.
- No child of John Waters will ever marry a… blogger... The DOBlog 16 January 2008.
- Audio of Newstalk interview with Waters 10 January 2008
- O'Gorman, Tom (14 December 2012). "John Waters on ‘Ireland and the Abolition of God’". Iona Institute. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
- Past comes back to haunt us, The Irish Times, 13 September 2008, retrieved 4 July 2009
- Lally, Conor (3 September 2013). "John Waters briefly jailed over non-payment of parking fine". The Irish Times. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
- "Journalist Waters jailed for two hours after refusing to pay fine". Irish Independent. 4 September 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2013.