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Posts Tagged ‘It really isn’t funny’

Irish police launch sitcom. Nation not entirely amused.

April 10, 2011 1 comment

Back in Atlantis, in the Middle Ages of last week, reports came to light that our police are medieval cretins.

At an environmental protest camp in the west of Ireland, two young female protesters were arrested. Their video camera was also arrested. Because the video camera was still switched on, it captured the ensuing comedy stylings of these professional guardians of the peace as they joked back and forth about raping the two women. The transcript of the pilot for the Father Ted-esque sitcom can be found here.  

Unidentified garda: “Sounds like a Yank or Canadian.”

Garda B: “Well whoever, we’ll get Immigration f**king on her.”

Garda A: “She refused to give her name and address and told she would be arrested.”

Garda B : “…….and deported”

Garda A: “And raped.”

Garda B: “I wouldn’t go that far yet….. She was living down at that crusty camp, f**k sake, you never know what you might get.”

(Laughter) 

Garda A: “Give me your name and address or I’ll rape you.”

(Laughter) 

Unidentified garda: “Hold it there, give me your name and address there, I’ll rape you.”

(Laughter) 

Garda A : “Or I’ll definitely rape you.”

Unidentified garda: “Will you be me friend on Facebook?”

Now, before you become enflamed with righteous rage, the thing to remember is that this was harmless banter. It was mates having a laugh and telling funny, funny jokes.

This, from what I can gather, has been a significant contribution to the ensuing debate about standards one might expect from police, about violence to women, about whether we take rape seriously. Lots of people whinging that ‘they were just having a laugh.’

Sure they were. Frustrated stand-up comics, both of them. And the material! It’s almost as funny as Frankie Boyle. No, that’s not fair. I’m going to try to be fair.  It’s funny like Beavis and Butthead. In fact, if I really put my prejudice aside and try to objectively evaluate its comic potential, I am forced to admit that it’s probably almost as funny as Abu Ghraib.

 If we were to become so politically correct as to outlaw such simple, innocent office banter, that’s the sort of comic genius that would be lost to future generations. If you’re honestly going to tell me I can’t have a laugh about raping people, where will you go next? Tell me I can’t joke with blindfolded prisoners that they’ll be electrocuted if they step off the box? Oh, the hilarity of punching the powerless; where would frustrated, inadequate little wankers be without it?

But outside of the comic merits or demerits of their script is the context of the conversation. Two policemen joking about raping two women they have just arrested does not send a message that rape is taken particularly seriously as a crime. Mind you, prosecution stats provide enough evidence of that without the puerile soundtrack of two gobshites revealing themselves in all their troglodyte glory.

Maliciously not breaking the law

March 10, 2011 Leave a comment

The delightful UKUncut have raised the issue of legal tax avoidance, which means not paying tax that one is not obliged to. A silly position, one might think, because who pays more tax than they are obliged to? Frankly, most of us pay the amount that is removed before we ever see it, and then try to remember to pay our council tax before we get a court summons. We don’t offer to pay more and there’s really no mechanism in place to do so. I’ve tried paying too much council tax, due to a serial inability to count when it matters, and they send it right back to me, or at least refund it at the end of the year.

So can it possibly be fair to label those who have not broken the law as malicious anti-social thugs who wreck the fabric of society and destroy the lives of ordinary people through their selfishness and greed?

I don’t know. Can it, Mr Cameron?

The branding of recipients of welfare payments as work-shy fraudulent scroungers is not Mr Cameron’s. It has been a mainstay of the right-wing press for years now and was pandered to pitifully under Labour. But Mr Cameron has added an entirely new layer of mythology to this fable. Mr Cameron has sought to blame welfare recipients for an international recession.

And that, my friends, is pretty fucking impressive.

I mean, seriously, I am impressed. Awed, really. I’ve read my Orwell, and I’ve seen some really impressive backtracking and arse-covering in my time but this has been my first genuine sighting of the 1984 experience.

Back in early 2010, the people of Britain were still generally under the impression that the international recession was caused by diabolically run banks. Through a subtle understanding of context clues and sheer, bloody-minded repetition, they had also grasped that this was something to do with lots of countries. There was a clue in the ‘international’ bit. Four months later, there was the sudden revelation that in Britain, the international recession was caused by the welfare state, unemployment benefits and probably Disability Living Allowance with its 1% recorded fraud rate.

And while blaming Labour for ‘giving all the money away’, there is a simultaneous attempt to blame the recipients for receiving it.

Let’s be clear about one thing – this goes beyond ‘clamping down on benefit fraud’. This is about linking receipt of benefit with a vast array of pejorative and slanderous terms – because these people are all malicious anti-social thugs who wreck the fabric of society and destroy the lives of ordinary people through their selfishness and greed.

The inability to find or keep a job during a period of international recession, and then to claim the benefits to which you are entitled makes you a malicious anti-social thug who wrecks the fabric of society and destroys the lives of ordinary people through your selfishness and greed.

Losing your job right now in any of the inevitable rounds of redundancy brought about by drastically reducing the size of local government or the civil service? That’s right, unless you’re independently wealthy and were only working because of your personal passion for the job in question, this will make you a malicious anti-social thug who wrecks the fabric of society and destroys the lives of ordinary people through your selfishness and greed.

Every mention of ‘hard working families’ means one thing – anyone not working is to blame for your hardships. You aren’t a person having a rough time during an international recession – you are a Hard Working Family, you have an identity. So do They. And They’re to blame.

At some point a logical circuit has to break in this cycle of unholy nonsense. I’m not sure how or when that’s going to happen. For many people it will come when they lose their job, possibly after years of working, perhaps having never received any state benefits before, or not in any way they appreciated as such.

I don’t know what percentage of the population will need to be unemployed before the miserable reality of making ends meet on welfare payments reasserts itself in the national consciousness. I do think we might find out, but it’s not something I’d wish on anyone.

In the meantime, querying the extent to which multimillionaires avail of their own brand of benefits, questioning their contributions to society during a time when we are repeatedly told ‘there’s just no money left’, asking why this government has not stepped up to close these loopholes with the same remarkable alacrity as they show when it comes to welfare benefits? Well, that seems quite a sensible thing to do under the circumstances.