Archive for April 23rd, 2008

Popbitch – 10.4.08

April 23, 2008

Popbitch

Popbitch, like the marvellous B3ta, has been going for ages now. Is it years?

It started off as an acerbic antidote to Hello! magazine – a fresh delivery of spurious and occasionally unfathomable celebrity rumour, every new one as scurrilous as the last. But then Heat magazine started trying to do something similar but in a tamed down fashion, Holy Moly defected and put out something similar (but not quite as good) and then, across the pond, Perez Hilton started blogging. Celebrity-fever went into hyperdrive, after a time, and Jordan sold books despite clearly being an illiterate moron. It had all turned into a fresh kind of madness.

Popbitch is now a kind of brand – selling a small amount of advertising space per newsletter. I don’t visit the website so I couldn’t tell you what’s going down over there, but as a regular reader of the newsletter I can tell you it’s still relevant, if a little spiteful and a tiny wee bit out of time these days.

One thing I always enjoyed was the crap joke that came at the end – always woeful, often sick. Bad, sick, wrong-minded jokes have made a bit of a comeback these days. B3ta published a whole book of them. They’re the kind of jokes you feel bad for telling your pals at the pub, but secretly enjoy the wince you force them to cringe into as the punchline spills out of your gob. These ‘gags’ concern – among other things – disability, paedophilia, gender and race. They are not for the easily offended, but B3ta goes out of its way to distance itself from the content of the joke. Instead, the subject matter is actually irrelevant and the structure of the joke and how far the content is pushed into the realm just beyond bad taste becomes key.

Popbitch, either through laziness, idiocy or complacency seem to have forgotten that the disclaimer, the shroud of irony is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, to paraphrase Alexei Sayle, it all gets a ‘bit Nuremburg’. And so, on Thursday the week before last at the end of the newsletter, the following joke was mailed out:

Old Jokes Home:
A Pakistani husband and wife come out of the divorce court.
The woman starts crying.
Her ex puts his arm around her and says “Don’t worry, we’re still cousins!”

Now. Looking past the fact that the joke isn’t even vaguely amusing, ignoring the fact that it’s not breaking any ground in bad taste and looking at the fact that the joke was isolated at the end of an email – doesn’t it look a little bit odd to you?

Doesn’t it look a little less like the Ricky Gervais racism-it’s-ok-to-like, cushioned on the ironic get-out clause and a little bit like the sort of shite that came out of Bernard Manning’s wobbling mush?

Isn’t it just straightforward racism?

Shame on you, Popbitch. Maybe it’s time this sort of crap came to an end.

We are grown ups, after all.

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