Thursday, November 05, 2009

Gordon in the morning: Written on the body

Gordon has a detail from the Williams/Ross interview that hasn't been in other reports:

"The differences [between Take That and Williams] we've had have just melted away.

"I celebrated by getting a Take That symbol tattooed on my right arm."

Gary! Gary! Look what I done... I done a tattoo off your logo and it's a proper one, with ink and everything. It's not like a transfer, like the other one I had done. Let me back in the band and I'll have your face done on my tummy. Pleeeeeeeeeaaaaasse, Gary.

From Williams to Walliams. Gordon has done an exclusive interview with David Walliams (it's quite hilarious, too - if you can ss the words "to read the whole of this exclusive interview, buy today's Sun newspaper" without giggling, you're made of stone.

Walliams has something to say about the current over-reaction of people to some jokes:
"This debate has always happened - 'Are comedians going too far?'

"Richard Pryor in the 1970s, Monty Python and Life Of Brian. The comedian's role has always been edgy.

"The idea that we want comedians to be on message, to be saying the right things - well, that's pointless."

Put through Gordon's filter, though, this becomes:
David Walliams on comedy's PC plague

Over the last couple of weeks venomous criticism from the politically-correct brigade has been aimed at other brilliant British comics accused of overstepping the mark.

Gordon, you really think the Mail - who started the whole Sachs thing and ushered in the new climate - are "politically correct"? Do you really think the people who didn't get the joke about the Queen and Phil on Have I Got News For You were complaining because they were "politically correct" and not merely confused and outraged from the Shires?

Still, interesting to see that The Sun hates this "brigade" and their venomous criticism. I guess Gordon is thinking of stuff like this:
Lately we've had Frankie Boyle attack Olympic gold swimmer Rebecca Adlington for having a face like someone looking in the back of a spoon.
Jimmy Carr then had a laugh at the expense of our injured soldiers.
Even our maimed boys could still kick your butt, Jimmy.
David Mitchell from the Peep Show thought a joke about girl-in-the-attic Anne Frank would get him some cheap laughs.

Inevitably, yes - that's from The Sun. Smeato's column, in fact.

Smeato's column is worth a read, by the way, for this wonderful example of what happens when you don't read back your own copy:
Like Walliams, Rod and Emu were notorious for jumping on folk.

They thought twice though when The Big Yin eye-balled them both with the deadly warning: "I'll break its neck - and your f***ing arm."

Now that's funny.

Morecombe And Wise used to entertain more than 20million telly viewers - more than The X Factor could ever hope for.

And they never felt a need to swear or be cruel.

So it's funny to threaten to break the arm of an elderly children's entertainer, and funny to swear while you're doing it, but not funny to be cruel or swear. They should let him write the BBC Editorial Policy guidelines.


Anonymous said...

"Morecombe And Wise used to entertain more than 20million telly viewers - more than The X Factor could ever hope for."

Oh I love this argument. Given that these figures are typically taken from captive prime time Christmas day broadcasts where they were up against only two other channels 30 years ago (and were still less popular than Mike Yarwood), it is of course completely fair to compare them to a programme up against hundreds of TV channels, home video/dvd, the internet, etc. etc. Now admittedly I'll take Eric & Ernie over a grown man verbally abusing vulnerable young people any time but I'd hardly compare the two. If a light entertainment programme like that was put up against X-Factor today, only a fool would rate its chances.

On the Smart/Walliams interview, where on earth do they get this PC "plague" from? What planet is the Sun Editorial (I'll give Smart a little bit of fairness here) living on? The only people I ever read complaining about comedians (seemingly mostly left-leaning and so to Sun/Mail readers, the main PC "brigade", whatever that means) are the very same Sun/Mail morons. Also you have to laugh at the "historical" references. Surely the reason you remember Richard Pryor and Life of Brian for being supposedly controversial is for exactly the same reason you are complaining about comedy criticism today. It should probably be pointed out that the people complaining about them were exactly the same Sun/Mail readers who complain today - uninformed imbeciles. These people are the worst hypocrites in the world.

Robin Carmody said...

I must admit I've always regarded Lucas & Walliams (Jimmy Carr even more so) as a resurgence of right-wing, smugly apolitical comedy dressed up in a thin veil of irony. Even if he didn't himself spout Sunspeak, the fact that it is *possible* for the Sun to put such a spin on his words - in a way it never would be with, say, Stewart Lee - is significant, I think.

I tend to regard the more extreme form of political correctness as a form of Europhobia repackaged for lefties (it doesn't actually protect all minority groups equally - this was the point Richey Edwards made in "P.C.P.", a song which can admittedly be misunderstood as right-wing until you *really* read the words and understand that he's accusing the metropolitan lifestyle-left of not being tolerant *enough*), and the less extreme, much-abused form as simple politeness, courtesy, decency and mutual tolerance (which are obviously not virtues much admired by the Mail and Sun). Basically the term has been so hideously overused, predominately by newspapers which can't tell the difference between hypersensitivity and common courtesy (and which often cite it as the main cause of something actually led by American commercialism, c.f. Hallowe'en / Guy Fawkes) that it has effectively ceased to have any meaning, and should be avoided. This sort of misuse can taint a term forever.

Robin Carmody said...

one other thing - "brigade" as pejorative (something which has its own Wikipedia entry) is a horrible anti-thought, but no "side" is above using it; c.f. "blue rinse brigade" (which may be a turn-their-tactics-back-on-them phrase but I still hate it: it greatly understates how organised the political Right is, and how dangerous, reduces it to a caricature)

Anon #1 again said...

Couldn't agree with you more Robin. The phrase simply has little meaning anymore. I used to get taught to be polite and respectful to others by the same people who would now describe me as PC simply for doing what they taught me and, I should add, what they taught me I still believe to be the right thing. The same people now complain to me about imaginary PC-gone-mad threats to the world, usually extreme exaggerations of, as you put it, hypersensitivity and use this an excuse to ignore common courtesy.

Robin Carmody said...

I do partially blame some aspects of the far-left for distorting and exaggerating the issue. I think their intentions were good, but had they better understood how the right would jump onto it I think they'd have been less extreme and hypersensitive in their language, and more careful to define their concepts. I tend to believe that extremists of all sides help *each other* and give each other justification for their idiotic prejudices, as has happened in this case (the classic example: no Thatcherism without trade unions, who had some very good cases which much of the population - including some who were in no way conventionally left-wing - sympathised with, going over the top while the going was good).

One problem I have with the extreme and dogmatic form of "cultural Marxist hypersensitivity" (which could be a good term for the sort of thing which gets lumped in with common courtesy and gives the latter a bad name) is that it peddles the same line as the free-market, consumerist latterday right to the extent that it is dogmatically pro-pop-culture and anti-high-culture. It claims to be opposed to neoliberalism but, in practice, supports many of the products that are used to push neoliberalism into new territories, because they may originally come from (but are now completely out of the control of) fashionable minority groups. Like you say, though, that doesn't justify abandoning and sneering at the principle of common courtesy. I think Jimmy Carr et al need to know just how difficult it was for certain people in this country in a time they can't really remember.

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