Posts Tagged ‘Racism’

The Friday Question: Watch Your Mouth!

February 6, 2009

Image courtesy of BPPerry

TV history is littered with the problematic words of presenters and pundits who have said the wrong thing at the wrong time. The case of Carol Thatcher is only peculiar in that it was said off-mic, where you’d assume a smack on the wrist might’ve been the usual response.

It’s the on-mic blurtles we’re talking about today. Ron Atkinson is the recent king of idiotic babble, with his assertion that Marcel Desailly was a ‘f*cking l*zy n*gger’, ruining his career as a talking head with three simple words last decade.

Recently, and flipping the race coin, Jesse Jackson came against a hell of a lot of stick across the pond when he said this presuming he was of air. ‘Cut his nuts off’ indeed!

Even more race-based idiocy arrived in the form of Jade Goody’s second Big Brother outing, this time as a ‘Celebrity’, when she had a mad moment (actually, loads of them) and referred to Bollywood Queen  Shilpa Shetty as ‘Shilpa Poppadom’.It wasn’t helped by her pals joining in as they made a series of slurs on the hygiene of a whole nation.

But we’re not restricted to race on this. Anyone who screwed up their career, or shamed themselves a bit is up for discussion. Think George Best or David Icke on Wogan.

Any more for any more?

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.

Big Brother’s Big Mouth (Again)

June 8, 2007

 Emily

George Galloway is helming the satellite show this week, and he’s doing a pretty good job of it. He takes it so bloody seriously, it’s hard not to stifle a chuckle as it’s like he’s roaming the American Senate again. It’s almost possible to forget the cat business.

Last night, he had a proper issue to get his teeth into.

It’s hard to imagine what’s going through the minds of Big Brother bosses at present. Probably some smugly self-congratulatory back-slapping going on over there, given their reaction to the racist language used by ex-housemate, Emily Parr in light of what happened last time. It was very much a run-of-the-mill Big Brother until Emily, brainless bozo that she is, remarked to Charley: ‘Are you pushing it out, you nigger?’ Now – whether she intended to sound ‘street’ as Gorgeous George asserted, or whether this language is so commonplace in her social network’s lexicon is pretty much irrelevant. I agreed with the general consensus in the studio. It was said to a relative stranger, flippantly, and it caused offence, so damn right she should be removed.

Charley’s reaction was fascinating to watch, for all the wrong reasons. Some may have thought she was trying to make a mountain out of a molehill, but they’d be wrong. I think she was genuinely having problems with the fact that the word was supposedly said in jest, yet she couldn’t assuage just why it had been said in the first place. She also knew the reaction would be harsh. You can’t fault her for panicking a little and discussing it with Nicky to straighten her thoughts out on the issue. She continued to speak to Emily in the aftermath, pursuing her reasons for speaking that way, but also made it clear she wasn’t judging her.

For the second time in two series, we’ve been privy to someone being offended in one of the most base ways imaginable. Without any thought about the actual meaning of the word, Emily allowed the word to ‘slip out’, she claimed. Without wanting to sound like a teacher, these words shouldn’t slip out and they also shouldn’t be among the mind’s options of words to use in any social situation. Self-censorship shouldn’t really have to come into play, in the same way that, whilst observing a friend’s young child, the words ‘nice arse’ wouldn’t just ‘slip out’ under any circumstances.

BBBM dealt with this fairly well, but it’s essential that Emily is provided with after-care and advice on how to deal with her situation. After all, the language in this context was not malicious. It was foolhardy, misjudged, misguided and fucking idiotic, but most importantly, offensive. All the same, it was simply that, an act of foolishness which may offend, so I think any tabloid lynching should be put on hold.

All in all, the whole situation only makes the Shilpa Shetty incident earlier in the year seem even more rank. Why wasn’t Jade removed from the house? Why is Danielle still tabloid fodder? Their use of language was clearly vindictive but it was allowed to have carried on. At least we’re being reminded that Channel 4 haven’t been sufficiently punished for their lack of action last time around.

Here’s the clip: