I did wonder this the other day when there was the outcry about Frankie Boyle who likes to attack taboos with his humour. Personally, I don’t find much of this stuff funny and so it does come across as tasteless and gratuitous. It’s outrageous and insulting to specific persons, but not, I think, wit. Maybe it’s also rather lazy, puerile writing. It reminds me of when I was at school and we used to tell jokes like, ‘why did the leper lose at poker?’* I’m not even always sure about Michael McIntyre who occasionally raises a laugh by slating someone/thing just for effect (rather than for real humour). But I accept that many people like this. It is in any case often the way stand-up is. And I have always appreciated comedians like Joan Rivers or Ruby Wax who rarely take prisoners (but who I think are consistently funny too).
And humour has fashions, like anything else. Maybe there is no place these days for the comedians of yore (although I though the Christmas Ronnie programme was pretty popular.) (Perhaps that was only amongst the older population?). But maybe attitudes have fashion too? Has the PC approach had its day?
A propos my last post, I imagine for example that the BBC will be careful to find good reasons in future why it is appointing certain persons as presenters. It won’t necessarily flood our screens with old people. That case rather goes against the trend, except that in their final judgement, the tribunal also criticised the BBC for being obsessed with recruiting ethnic minorities. Maybe that misguided policy will change too? But hopefully with selection of the best candidates, rather than some extension of the present positive discrimination.
Anyway I was much encouraged by former Home Secretary Jack Straw’s comments on Pakistani gangs. I have always thought quite a lot of him and his willingness to say ‘Pakistani’ earned him much respect from me (since that’s what they are). You can read the position of the police here. This reticence was understandable, if palpable nonsense.
I wondered too if the present government was detecting a mood for greater incorrectness, or whether it just wished to start a movement to break down the sillier aspects of correctness, when it stated in the Education White Paper last month that it wished to increase teacher authority in schools. I think even parents have had enough of this ludicrous situation where teachers have to put up with abuse because they can’t punish pupils without breaking some over-hyped code.
Next, it would be nice to see a few more infringement of rights cases thrown out by the courts. Especially those brought by women who never seem arsed to do any work, but winge loudly on their mobiles about how badly done by they are as they go down the shops to buy fags, diet Coke and undersized underwear and then fall over steps they can't see under their bellies. Oh, am I allowed to say all that?
* because he threw in his hand.