I was extremely disturbed to hear about the homophobic attack in Liverpool the other night, the one perpetrated by a large gang of teenagers on a gay man which has left him gravely ill in hospital. The list of the poor bastard's injuries is stomach churning.
You do have to wonder what sort of society we have allowed to develop when children (that is what they are at 14, regardless of what they might want you to think), are prepared to kick and beat somebody to the brink of death because his sexuality is different from theirs. (If they are even having sex, beyond the occasional desperate, unsatisfying wank.)
The ultimate responsibility is theirs, of course, since nobody forced them to set upon the victim, but what the hell were their parents doing letting them stay out at that time of the night at that age? And who are they hearing the kind of bilious, hate-filled rubbish from that shapes their malleable minds in such an unfortunate way?
Some of their music, yes. A lot of it is packed with ridiculous, infantile macho posturing that they are bound to imitate; it's in their movies and their games too, although less explicitly, perhaps, when you're talking about hate crimes like homphobic assault.
But you can't just blame the entertainments they're exposed to. They are also exposed to parents who should be proud to ingrain in their children the egalitarian principles a civilised society is based on. Problem is, principle is laughed at nowadays, and liberal principle particularly. Half of the parents who have teenage children now grew up in the Eighties when Margaret Thatcher declared that there was no such thing as society, and books which featured positive images of homosexuality were banned from our schools.
We also have the leader of the BNP publically declaring that he finds the sight of gay men kissing "creepy" and the Catholic Church doing backroom deals to steal from their home in the Church of England those who find the ordination of women and gay priests repellant.
When you think about it, nobody except the stupid white male stands a chance in this country anymore. But the gay community must feel particularly under assault.
Sometimes I think we're hurtling back into the Middle Ages so fast I may even have missed us landing.