“Offensive or funny?”
Please do NOT read this if you are easily offended. It contains very rude and several socially unaceptable words and concepts.
The newspaper which appears to have its pages written by Max Clifford and should be renamed Hello-lite has fallen right into the trap. Frankie Boyle is on today’s Daily Mirror front page because he said “Paki”, “Cunt” and “Nigger” on last night’s programme “Tramadol Nights”.
(By the way, Tramadol is a synthetic pain-killing opiate, so just the title of Frankie’s programme should hold a clue to the fact that it may have anti-social content)
Hacks searching for angles have been writing about comedians “pushing the envelope” and “crashing through barriers” and any number of ridiculous metaphors which are supposed to suggest that Frankie is somehow “leading edge”. He is not leading edge at all. He is a rude fucker who is out to offend and thus achieve publicity.
But he is VERY, VERY funny.
His show is not the sort that I would watch with either my 13 year-old daughter or my 97 year-old mother-in-law because they would be upset and offended but it is Frankie’s right to use any material that he wishes. After all, it is his programme editors and Channel 4 who make the decision to transmit.
Frankie Boyle’s TV show is not transmitted live so it is obviously subject to editing and censorship. There is a long warning before the programme that there will be what is euphemistically referred to as “adult content”.
Julian Assange has offended many people by releasing previously classified and censored material. Material which has upset senior politicians and diplomats – yet most agree that Wikileaks should not be subject to censorship. Freedom of speech and all that. Frankie Boyle’s case is no different.
Twitter has become the playground of the sad middle classes, including many who have joined the site in order to be offended or to experience a certain “frisson” when they see naughty words in print. Don’t believe me? Have a look at http://bit.ly/fWzN3u and then click on http://bit.ly/hqekzv .
There is always a nagging doubt that had St Stephen Fry said “cunt” or “nigger” on TV, it would have been more acceptable that to have it uttered by a working class comedian whose Glaswegian delivery has the subtlety of a used condom is a church font.
Jokes about “spazzies” can be offensive but once again, similar to cunt, nigger or paki, the word “spaz” is in common use (http://bit.ly/eU3ZbY )
Remember Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s Derek and Clive and their “Who are you calling cunt, cunt?” sketch? http://bit.ly/UWSKe They did that nearly 50 years ago and it is still funny. Why? Because it is so ridiculous. “Fucking” and “cunt” are repeated so many times as to render them down to nothingness and meaninglessness. That sketch has also become acceptable because it has the veneer of Footlights humour protecting it from the latter-day Mary Whitehouses of this world.
The context is all-important. If the Queen said “fuck” it would be funny. If my child said it to me, it would be offensive. When Derek and Clive or Frankie Boyle say it, it is silly but totally inoffensive.
The Army refers to Arabs as “sand-niggers”, politicians have been heard to say what the media coyly refers-to as the “n-word”
Here’s a quote from Inspector Phazey who was once a BNP candidate for the European Parliament:
“Of course you heard words like Paki and nigger, but it didn’t mean much more than someone saying Paddy for an Irishman or Jerry for a German. It was just the language of working-class blokes. There was a fair bit of leg-pulling but it was never malicious. I remember there was one officer who, whenever an Asian officer came into the room, would go, “Coon, coon”, like he was making the noise of a pigeon. But it was a joke. It’s like saying Paddies are as thick as two short planks or Jocks [i.e. Scots] are tight-fisted. It was just jokes in the canteen.”
One hates to agree with a BNP moron but he does have a point.
The most racist and sexually repressed people are the British. They poke fun at the French (garlic-chewing surrender monkeys), Germans (no explanation necessary), Americans (fat and insular), Irish ( terminally stupid), Welsh(sheep shaggers), etc etc. In fact, try to think of a nation that the British do not have a joke about. The words “Coon” and “Nig-nog” used to be very common on British Television and it is only the British who could ” bracket” sex with violence into an every-day phrase.For the British sex and “appearances” go hand-in-hand. Remember the thousands of pregnant girls from the 60s and 70s who were either forced to have an abortion or who were farmed out to distant relatives to give birth and then have their baby wrenched away from them. They are all still suffering. Now THAT WAS offensive. They were treated in this way because of “what will ‘they’ think?” The mysterious “they” who believed that all sex and sexual words were offensive no matter what the context. Hopefully we’ve moved on from those Victorian days.
As for racism – most of you reading this would not have experienced racism so you imagine that just a word can be “racist”. Let me explain racism.
As a 10 year-old, I was lucky enough to go to a very good school and I was the first at the school who’ arrived with a foreign surname. On the afternoon of my first day, an eleven-year-old spat at me and said “Fucking Pole”. Needless to say, I made a very good attempt to remove his face and eventually we became good friends but that 11 year-old learned about “fucking poles” from an adult. There’s no way that he had introduced himself to the concept. That was offensive.
Fast-forward five years. A school disco had been organised and there were posters all around the school and quadrangle (yes, quadrangle!!). By then we had ONE Indian boy at the school. His name was Ash and we had such a laugh when we saw that on one of the posters for the School Disco, some moron had scrawled “NO PAKIS”. That was funny.
My eldest two sons were brought up in France. When they returned to England as 11 and 10 year olds, they came back from school crying saying that children were calling them “Frogs”. The headmaster told me that it was just harmless fun and he thought that it was very funny. That was offensive.
Words are only “racist” when they are delivered with hatred or menace.
Many sexual words are only offensive because we have been taught that we should be offended by the “What will they think” generation. The mysterios “they”.
So what of a comedian who is in a hurry for his 15 minutes of fame and KNOWS what an emotionally and socially constipated lot we are and is using our repression as a free PR exercise?
He is just one sad cunt of a council estate Jock.
If you ignored the warning at the top of this page and are now “offended” – just fuck off.