I was kinda glad that Rebecca Adlington won a bronze medal last night. She has been the victim of (basically) a hate campaign by Frankie Boyle, the Scottish “comedian”. If you feel that “hate campaign” over-states it, then I will happily go along with “ridicule campaign”. It would be counter-productive to repeat his Adlington “jokes”.
Back in the early 1970s “comedians” told jokes about Irish people, black people, Pakistani people, gay people and disabled people. It is a bad sign. It is cowardly. Telling jokes about people who are actually weaker than you is not a sign of bravery. Telling jokes about people stronger than you……now that takes Courage.
There is a kind of fashion to it all. In the 1980s, hate-comedians were marginalised by Alternative Comedy. Now in the 21st century we have comedians like Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle who are simply cruel.
Frankie Boyle memory told THAT joke about Elizabeth Windsor. While monarchists claim that “The Queen” is simply an elderly lady and Republicans would state that she is rather well protected and cosseted, Decency demands that THAT joke was simply obscene and offensive.
Without doubt, Rebecca Adlington is NOT a powerful person. She has less influence than…………Frankie Boyle is actually a much more powerful person than she is. Sell out gigs and a column every week in The Sun. He is little more than a playground bully when it comes to Rebecca Adlington.
He is obviously at his best when he attacks the powerful…………the rich, the racists…..the bad guys. A few years ago a chimpanzee escaped from Belfast Zoo and it became an item on Mock The Week……the topical news quiz which had Glasgow Celtic fan Frankie Boyle on the panel. Boyle joked quite properly that the chimpanzee might dress in a bowler hat, join the Orange Order and merge into Society.
Mock The Week is rather obviously a place where left-leaning, Guardian-reading types like myself laugh at the Powerful. So of course Boyles joke was entirely acceptable to me. The notion that the Orange Order is made up of ape like creatures in the evolutionary process is no more controversial than saying the same about the Ku Klux Klan, gun-toting Christian fundamentalists in Arizona or the British National Party.
Yet………..it is hard to imagine that joke or sentiment being allowed on BBC Norn Iron, where so many viewers are Orange Order members. Would Tim McGarry or Jake O’Kane have made that joke about chimpanzees and the Orange Order? On Television?
So…………who exactly is to blame for the inability of our comedians like Tim McGarry (brother of Philip McGarry of the Alliance Party) or Jake O’Kane who insists on telling us that he married a Presbyterian to really confront issues? Both Tim McGarry(cabaret at the 2011 SDLP Conference) and Jake O’Kane (cabaret at the 2010 SDLP Conference) strike me as Guardian reading types rather than Daily Express reading types.
Simply put the rules of Lets Get Alongerism in a Belfast TV studio are different to the rules of Lets Get Alongerism in a London TV studio. Political Correctness in Norn Iron dictates that the Orange Order cannot be ridiculed.
Yet…….as with so many things …..the narrative of Norn Iron …is different from the Reality. The Narrative is that two decades ago The Empire Laughed Back……the Empire being the comedy club where young comedians started ridiculing Norn Iron Society particuarly the paramilitaries.
The Reality is that these comedians are now as much PART of Norn Irons “Lets Get Alongerist” narrative than any other group.