Theo Hobson Theo Hobson

George Michael’s death shouldn’t mean that we gloss over his flaws

One should not speak ill of the dead, but if their flaws or vices are glossed over that is also problematic. George Michael was admirable in some ways, especially for his quiet charitable donations, but less so in others.

I don’t see why his penchant for anonymous sexual encounters should be politely passed over, or treated as a harmless lifestyle choice. He ‘loved anonymous sex’, said Owen Jones in the Guardian – as if fondly recalling someone’s love for opera or snooker.

Jones and others will doubtless say it is homophobic to moralise about this. So it must clearly be said that sexuality is irrelevant: whether it is homosexuals or heterosexuals who are at it, there’s nothing wrong with pointing out that anonymous sex is morally dubious, to put it mildly. It subtly undermines the link, that the vast majority of us affirm, between sex and commitment. This is a basic aspect of our moral culture, of the way that we make meaning in our lives: I dislike the idea that we should be wary of affirming it, lest a minority feel victimised.

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