It must be a relief being Ricky Gervais, still able to express a ‘controversial’ opinion yet be insulated from cancel culture by wealth; wealth is the one thing that can save you – so what’s new? JK Rowling may have become a recent target, but when a handful of anonymous authors sharing her publisher threatened to walk unless the Harry Potter scribe was dismissed, the publisher unsurprisingly stuck with their cash cow. The fact Rowling is a profitable industry in her own right spared her the fate awaiting those bereft of such a safety net, the less fortunate upon whom the pitchfork mob descends. No wonder so few dare speak out; there’s too much at stake – livelihoods to lose, hungry mouths to feed. Harder to sympathise with those who are in a position to stand up to the bullies but bottle it. They have no excuse.
Halle Berry, for example; she went for a part where she played a ‘trans’ character – cue outrage and then shameful withdrawal; cue grovelling, cardboard sign-slung-around-the-neck/hands-behind-back/please-forgive-me-my-sins apology before the Red Guard of Twitter. She’s a ‘Woman of Colour’, FFS; surely that itself should render her immune? Not so – the positions of competitors on the Oppression Olympics league table change on a virtually hourly basis, and one can’t expect a 53-year-old to keep up. Take this to the logical conclusion and picture reopened theatres staging a run of ‘Romeo and Juliet’; every night of the run features different actors playing the leads on account of them having to commit suicide for real in the final act. It wouldn’t happen, naturally, because acting is pretending, innit – like being a real woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman. Shakespeare did that kind of thing a lot, and all the girls were played by guys first time round.
Ricky Gervais this week admitted ‘The Office’ wouldn’t be commissioned by the BBC today. Imagine any genuinely funny BBC series of the past that would be, though. David Brent as a character was drawn from the real world; anyone who had ever worked in an office environment had met a David Brent, just as anyone who had ever done time had met a Norman Stanley Fletcher and a Mr Mackay – or anyone who had been in the Home Guard during WWII had met a Captain Mainwaring and a Corporal Jones. All the best sitcoms ever made drew from the real world. Even a character as mad as Basil Fawlty was famously based upon a genuine Torquay hotelier whose outrageous behaviour had captured John Cleese’s imagination when the Pythons had stayed at his hotel during location filming.
But the real world is no longer the basis of comedy produced by the BBC because the people making today’s excuse for it don’t live in the real world. They live in the Woke parallel universe they imagine is the real world because every member of their clique lives in it too. They’ve yet to twig that they inhabit a little bubble that the actual real world beyond it looks at with a shake of the head and utter bemusement. ‘Woke comedy’ is a misnomer because Woke is ultimately humourless. It can no more be funny than Matt Hancock can be taken seriously. Yet it continues to be thrust upon a viewing public whilst the comedy the viewing public actually finds funny is branded as beyond the pale; if it makes people laugh, it’s evidently problematic and therefore the audience has to be re-educated and its source of laughter denounced.
Somebody made the point recently that the BBC almost appears to be committing suicide rather than waiting for a Government to put it out of its misery. It certainly seems to be bending over backwards to destroy what remaining shreds of affection the public still have for it. The Antifa/BLM riot in Central London described as a ‘largely peaceful protest’; the now-deleted video in which a couple of posh white Woke women informed their pleb sisters how racist they all were (the so-called ‘Karens’ lesson); recruiting a drag queen to dispense advice to parents on how to educate their children on LGBTXYZ issues; playing down any Islamic angle of a terrorist incident whilst simultaneously bigging up a ‘Far Right’ angle; Emily Maitlis’ address to the nation on what it should think about Dominic Cummings; announcing £1000s to be spent on even more ‘BAME programming’ whilst axing regional output that people (AKA bigoted racists) actually watch – and that’s not even mentioning the relentless Identity Politics propaganda that has infected so much of the Radio 4 daytime output. Alas, this is what happens when the gene pool from which the BBC draws its employees is so narrow as to be practically incestuous. Auntie doesn’t so much need to be defunded as completely fumigated.
The dire ‘comedy’ output from the Woke fun factory rightly dies on its arse, but the approach has been different in other areas. Creatively bankrupt because it has nothing other than its Identitarian ideology, Woke has been unable to devise its own sci-fi or fantasy franchises and perhaps sensed all would be expensive failures if it tried; therefore, it took control of the existing ones – the superhero genre, ‘Star Trek’, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Doctor Who’ – because it knew there was a devoted audience who would devour all product regardless. The fact that these franchises have swiftly turned to shit once touched by Woke has resulted in the devoted audience quickly realising it is regarded with utter contempt and then rapidly deserting its beloved franchises in droves; these movies bomb at the box-office and these TV shows provoke plummeting viewing figures. Woke has drained the fun from all of them because it’s a fun-sucking parasite, yet the problem is with the audience, apparently.
Personally, I don’t give a shit if you’re male, female, black, white, gay or straight – what matters is a) Are you a good person? b) Are you good company? and c) Have you got something original and interesting to say? Promoting poisonous dogma that pits people against each other and groups us all in boxes based on irrelevancies like race, sexuality and gender is an effective way to divide and rule under the guise of ‘diversity’ (another misnomer); but some of us are averse to being segregated by minor aspects of our personas that have no bearing on the people we happen to be, so this cancerous critical race theory-inspired groupthink has to be resisted. It’s hard, though, when it controls so many of the platforms that facilitate social interaction.
Whilst reluctant to venture into conspiracy theory territory, I can’t help but wonder if a certain virus was conceived to complete the control process. The post-lockdown excuse for a life is one in which our every move is monitored and regulated with the kind of Project Fear efficiency Stalin would have enthusiastically endorsed – from mandatory mask-wearing in public to social distancing, from providing bank details if buying a drink to limiting the amount of people we can meet and mingle with; the compliant comply whilst we who instinctively resist are quietly losing our marbles behind closed doors. And I think to myself…what a horrible world.
JACK CHARLTON (1935-2020)
Ah, Big Jack. 23 years at Leeds United, over 700 appearances for his only club, England debutante at 30, World Cup winner, the most successful manager of the Republic of Ireland ever, and not averse to the odd fag before a game – blunt and opinionated, but passionate and committed; a man from a different and superior era. I got his autograph when I was a kid, holding his pint of Guinness as he signed my match-day programme. He seemed huge, like a Geordie giraffe. At the time, he had already retired from playing and had a show on TV where he coached kids without the use of cotton wool; he shouted at them like they were fully-grown professional footballers; no doubt today their parents would sue Charlton for not telling their precious little babies they were all winners. Big Jack would never have taken the knee; he’d have taken out a few players with his knee, though. RIP.
© The Editor
5 thoughts on “UNFUNNY BUSINESS”
No chance of any sci-fi programmes in the future when they’re only allowed to employ real Martians or Vulcans.
Some recent data reports that the presence of ‘people of colour’ on TV is already almost double the proportion in the population. Like you, I don’t give a flying fig what background characteristics performers have, it’s their performance that counts, e.g. Neil Nunes on the ‘Shipping Forecast’.
Maybe we should insist on proportionate representation in athletics – bye bye any more medals then, when the relay squad must be at least 85% white. And where are we going to find enough white-skinned criminals to correct the balance? Bad news for the MOBO Awards. Etc. Etc.
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Re your first paragraph, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility there’s some sort of pressure group demanding precisely that, probably claiming they themselves are Martians or Vulcans and therefore an oppressed minority on Earth. I used to know a Goth many years ago who was contemplating some dental surgery to have ‘fangs’ installed, believing she could become a bona-fide vampire if she went ahead with the op. I think there’s a bit more to being a vampire than hoping you never bite your tongue, but there you go.
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I am sometimes in the same room as my wife as she watches the BBC hospital dramas. I find out that these are meant to be in or near Bristol ( Brissle, moi dear.. Apologies for Scots accent.) where I used to work from time to time. A local lad, at my request, took me to a traditional scrumpy pub. A few of the local regulars had the thousand yard stare. Scrumpy went down well and it was not until I came to stand on leaving, after three or four pints, that I found I had lost control of my knees. Balance and brain were fine. I had bought first round so up until leaving standing was not needed.
But I digress.
At other times I catch glimpses of reality hospital programmes, also from Bristol area.
Totally another world, or ward. In drama they all speak with varieties of Lunnon and all the really skilled people are of a certain shade. In the reality version some people speak local and a fair proportion of the really skilled people are varieties of Asians.
Good post, Winegum, and I totally agree about BBC. The gurgler awaits it. Which is sad because for all my youth it’s comedy was avidly looked forward to. Now it is 4extra but even that is catching up with the era of shite.
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I caught an episode of ‘Casualty’ around five years back, not having seen it since the 90s. It was like a daytime Aussie soap, but not as good. I couldn’t believe this was what passed for prime-time drama produced by the BBC. It doesn’t matter how aesthetically creaky it may now look, but an episode of ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ from the early 70s is like an Arthur Miller play by comparison – the writing, acting and characterisation are in a different league. I could’ve easily used the decline in drama quality instead of comedy with this piece, but comedy seems to be especially piss-poor at the moment. Both were genres the BBC once excelled at, but today they seem to have taken a leaf out of the Police Force manual by redirecting their resources into areas that tick minority boxes whilst still being funded by the money of the majority they hold in complete contempt.
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JACK CHARLTON (1935-2020)
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