Skip to comments.No Laughing Matter ... Mark Steyn
Posted on 04/02/2009 6:07:17 AM PDT by Rummyfan
Did you hear the one about the queer, the Muzzie and the pre-op tranny?
No? Well, youre unlikely to anytime soon. The British government, fresh from recent proscriptions on religious and racial hatred, is pushing ahead with legislation that will criminalize homophobic jokes.
Ive been trying to recall the last time I heard a homophobic joke in a public forum. You have to go back a ways. At Vegas, Dean Martin used to have a bit of business where hed refill his tumbler and ask Frank, How do you make a fruit cordial? And Sinatra would go, I dunno. How do you make a fruit cordial? And Dino would say, Be nice to him.
But these days, no matter how cordial you are, its never enough. On the BBC comedy show Little Britain, a weekly glimpse of the hellhole of Hogarthian depravity that is the United Kingdom, there is a recurring character whose catchphrase is that hes the only gay in the village a Welsh village, I believe, so his claim would seem to be statistically improbable, if youll forgive a bit of Welshophobia - or is it Cymruphobia? Or Cymruhomophobia? Anyway, he doesnt actually have any gay sex and he gets inordinately jealous if some real live practicing gay comes passing through and threatens his unique status. But one could argue that his determination to be the only gay in the village testifies to the social cachet homosexuality now enjoys. On the other hand, one could argue something else entirely. On the other other hand, once youve attracted the attention of Constable Plod and his crack humorological investigative unit, youre probably best to cop a plea and settle for misdemeanor hatemongering and three points on your license.
Down the leftie end of Fleet Street, various columnists, justifying their support for the legislation, or at least its goals, have tutted their disapproval of gay stereotyping in comedy. Limp wrists. Camp walks. Judy Garland references. I write as the token heterosexual Judy Garland fan (please, no tittering) on the Macleans payroll, and as a chap whos sung with Liza Minnelli on TV (oh, okay, titter mercilessly, but no guffawing), yet I confess to some misgivings about the state demanding upon pain of a seven-year jail sentence that the citizenry pretend theres nothing the red-blooded knuckle-dragging English soccer yobbo likes better than listening to Judy singing The Man That Got Away before he nuts you in the head, knees you in the bollocks and tosses you through a chip-shop window. To its credit, the House of Lords inserted a so-called free speech amendment to the bill, but the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw, has decided to repeal that, announcing that there are no circumstances in which the right to free speech can justify homophobic behavior.
And why stop there? Representatives of the transgendered and the disabled were also invited by the government to grab a piece of the joke-police action. Interestingly enough, last week Barack Obama became the first US president to do a retard gag on national TV. Referring to his bowling score (129) during an appearance on The Tonight Show, the Kibbitzer-in-Chief cracked that it was like the Special Olympics. Ha-ha! What a wag that Obama is when he unplugs the teleprompter and kicks loose a little. How do you make a fruit cordial? Appoint him your GLBT Outreach Coordinator.
If my past experience of Mr Obamas notoriously touchy courtiers is anything to go by, its undoubtedly racist to suggest that the President is disablist. Likewise, Gloria Steinem and other feminists argued that Bill Clintons support for abortion entitled him to go around dropping his pants to any female subordinates who tickled his fancy (I paraphrase, but not much). But, that said, I do wonder how things might have gone had Obama essayed the same jest on a BBC talk show. Robin Page, the chairman of Britains Countryside Restoration Trust and a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, spoke at a rally opposing the governments anti-hunting laws at a Gloucestershire country fair in 2002. If you are a black vegetarian Muslim asylum-seeking one-legged lesbian lorry driver, he began, I want the same rights as you. A jocular reference to various approved identity groups by a member of an unfashionable one (country folk). Mr Page was subsequently arrested and, upon declining to answer questions without the presence of counsel, thrown in a cell. Dont worry. He eventually cleared his name after five years.
Her Majestys Constabulary: The joke police in every sense.
Thats the problem. Even if you think its a good idea for the state to regulate speech, the only troops available to do it are blundering coppers and hack bureaucrats. Last year, as readers may recall, I had the curious experience of having the tone of my jokes examined in a Vancouver courthouse by the geniuses of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. Hitherto, such forensic dissection has been limited to the more obscure literary critics. But not anymore. Following their week-long deconstruction of Steyns tone, the BCHRT announced that for its next show trial it would be turning to the tone of Guy Earle, a stand-up comic whose late-night putdowns of some lesbian hecklers were allegedly homophobic.
Maybe it would be easier just to ban all jokes, except for official government-licensed rib-ticklers.
Who was that lady I saw you with last night?
That was no lady, that was my Gloucestershire Comedy Court probation officer.
Human Rights Tribunal Joke Investigative Unit. Come out with your hands in the air, not fluttering around your hips as if its Carmen Miranda night at the Gay Stereotype Lounge.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
To take part in a demonstration against poultrophobic humour.
How do you make a fruit cordial?
Be nice to him. Or else.
Sometimes you have to pick the lesser of two evils, and, if its a choice between offensive gags or massive expansion of state power, no self-respecting citizen should find it difficult working out which is the lesser evil and which is the greater threat. You dont like the Presidents pathetic joke? Hoot and jeer at him. Obama could use more of that. The best response to his suggestion that his 129 bowling score put him in Special Olympics territory came from the Special Olympics bowler Kolan McConiughey who pointed out hes scored a perfect 300 on three occasions, and hed be happy to take on Mister Hopeychange any time he wants. That aside, I thought it was a revealing remark: As one of my Quebec readers put it, in Leno veritas. Away from the Telepromptered hopeychangey touchyfeely mush, this President is not cool so much as cold. The PC niceties are skin deep, and this wont be the first time he gives us a glimpse of the harder man underneath. Unlike Clinton, he doesnt feel your pain, and he doesnt care if you know it.
Still, if Obama really feels the urge to do crip shtick, I wouldnt criminalize it. In Britain, Canada and Europe, the state advances too easily from regulating behavior to policing ideas to criminalizing language. Its almost too cute an irony that one of the United Kingdoms few remaining principled champions of free speech is the creator of Mr Bean, a man who barely utters a word. The comedian Rowan Atkinson said he didnt think he was at risk of prosecution for telling a gay joke but I dread something almost as bad a culture of censoriousness, a questioning, negative and leaden attitude that is encouraged by legislation of this nature.
Ah, but, as the computer wallahs say, thats not a bug, thats a feature. If the pen is mightier than the sword, then criminalizing words is a way of disarming potential opposition, of inculcating a reflexive self-censorship in the citizenry. And, after all, self-suppression is the most cost-effective of tyranny. Political correctness isnt merely the blasphemy law of our time. It makes communication impossible. It renders a people literally illiterate: The conventions of language used by functioning societies throughout human history - irony, indirect quotation, period evocation, and, yes, even comic stereotype - are all suddenly suspect. What a strange fate to embrace. In London, the Lord Chamberlains power to censor West End plays was finally abolished in 1968: It was widely accepted by then that there was something absurd in a palace courtier ruling that your script could have three Bastards! but not four, and that two specific references to sodomy had to be replaced with one vague allusion to heavy petting. Yet, four decades on, Britons now think it entirely normal for police constables and timeserving bureaucrats to function as literary critics determining the intent behind a throwaway jest.
To hell with it, and to hell with sensitivity training. The only way a multicultural society can live in freedom is with what the Toronto blogger Kathy Shaidle calls insensitivity training: We all need to develop thicker skin and rub along without government monitoring. CSI Catskills is a totalitarian concept, and only a bunch of fairies would fall for it.
And just to clarify: Im not saying youre a fairy if you have sex with other men.
I am saying youre a fairy if you think the state should police our jokes.
Would this be an appropriate place to post my favorite Judy Garland video?
Yes, like in America (only even more so), ordinary Britons must walk a fine line not to offend muslims, minority religions (I separate the two because islam is a cult, not a religion) homosexuals, pedophiles, bestials and aardvarks. On the other hand, muslims can freely and openly scream “DEATH” to anyone who inconveniences them.
It almost makes one want to rush out and offend and stereotype everyone in sight, just to make a Statement. But not quite ... too much work.
But if anyone makes a joke about pregnant redneck broads while I’m at Wal-mart, I won’t take offense ;-).
I knew I liked you for some reason!
A woman goes to her doctor who verifies that she is pregnant. This is her first pregnancy. The doctor asks her if she has any questions. She replies, “Well, I’m a little worried about the pain. How much will childbirth hurt?”
The doctor answered, “Well, that varies from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy and besides, it’s difficult to describe pain.”
“I know, but can’t you give me some idea?” she asks.
“Grab your upper lip and pull it out a little...”
“A little more...”
“No. A little more...”
“Yes. Does that hurt?”
“A little bit.”
“Now stretch it over your head!”
I’ll look for some Wal-Mart jokes while you’re gone, too. :)
This is hugh. And series. :)
Meantime; for thicker skin; and a reintroduction to 'laughing at one's self'; watch 'over and over', if necessary: Clint Eastwood/Grand Torino'. . .
Boy, she sure was something wonderful. :)
At first I thought the UK’s “immigrant” community would have problems with this, but since it focuses on humor, I suppose not. They’ll just have to not laugh too loudly while cutting off a homosexual’s head. Then they’d be cited.
#20 is for Gabz, LOL!
50 Fun Things To Do At Wal-Mart
1. Take shopping carts for the express purpose of filling them and stranding them at strategic locations.
2. Ride those little electronic cars at the front of the store.
3. Set all the alarm clocks to go off at ten minute intervals throughout the day.
4. Start playing Calvinball; see how many people you can get to join in.
5. Contaminate the entire auto department by sampling all the spray air fresheners.
6. Challenge other customers to duels with tubes of gift wrap.
7. Leave cryptic messages on the typewriters.
8. Re-dress the mannequins as you see fit.
9. When there are people behind you, walk really slow, especially thin narrow aisles.
10. Walk up to an employee and tell him in an official tone, I think weve got a Code 3 in Housewares, and see what happens.
11. Tune all the radios to a polka station; then turn them all off and turn the volumes to 10.
12. Play with the automatic doors.
13. Walk up to complete strangers and say, Hi! I havent seen you in so long!... etc. See if they play along to avoid embarrassment.
14. While walking through the clothing department, ask yourself loud enough for all to hear, Who buys this crap, anyway?
15. Repeat Number 14 in the jewelry department.
16. Ride a display bicycle through the store; claim youre taking it for a test drive.
17. Follow people through the aisles, always staying about five feet away. Continue to do this until they leave the department.
18. Play soccer with a group of friends, using the entire store as your playing field.
19. As the cashier runs your purchases over the scanner, look mesmerized and say, Wow. Magic!
20. Put M&Ms on layaway.
21. Move Caution: Wet Floor signs to carpeted areas.
22. Set up a tent in the camping department; tell others youll only invite them in if they bring pillows from Bed and Bath.
23. Test the fishing rods and see what you can catch from the other aisles.
24. Ask other customers if they have any Grey Poupon.
25. Drape a blanket around your shoulders and run around saying, ...Im Batman. Come, Robinto the Batcave!
26. TP as much of the store as possible.
27. Randomly throw things over into neighboring aisles.
28. Play with the calculators so that they all spell hello upside down.
29. When someone asks if you need help, begin to cry and ask, Why wont you people just leave me alone?
30. When two or three people are walking ahead of you, run between them, yelling, Red Rover!
31. Make up nonsense products and ask newly hired employees if there are any in stock, i.e., Do you have any Shnerples here?
32. Take up an entire aisle in Toys by setting up a full scale battlefield with G.I. Joes vs. the X-Men.
33. Take bets on the battle described above.
34. Nonchalantly test the brushes and combs in Cosmetics.
35. While handling guns in the hunting department, suddenly ask the clerk if he knows where the anti-depressants are. Act as spastic as possible.
36. Hold indoor shopping cart races.
37. Dart around suspiciously while humming the theme from Mission: Impossible.
38. Attempt to fit into very large gym bags.
39. Attempt to fit others into very large gym bags.
40. Say things like, Would you be so kind as to direct me to your Twinkies?
41. Set up a Valet Parking sign in front of the store.
42. Two words: Marco Polo.
43. Leave Cheerios in Lawn and Garden, pillows in the pet food aisle, etc.
44. Re-alphabetize the CDs in Electronics.
45. In the auto department, practice your Madonna look with various funnels.
46. When someone steps away from their cart to look at something, quickly make off with it without saying a word.
47. Relax in the patio furniture until you get kicked out.
48. When an announcement comes over the loudspeaker, assume the fetal position and scream, No, no! Its those voices again!
49. Pay off layaways fifty cents at a time.
50. Drag a lounge chair on display over to the magazines and relax. If the store has a food court, buy a soft drink; explain that you dont get out much, and ask if they can put a little umbrella in it.
I gotta admit - I was just about to punch out of the video - and then I saw the first wisps of smoke working their way down the stairs on the left.
Good one, Beast.
The UK is going down the toilet, fast.
I only link the best ;)
They have essentially outlawed Benny Hill, Monty Python, Are You Being Served, and pretty much all British comedy ever made.
And the beat goes on.
"Those who control language control minds."
Great Britain today, USA tomorrow. No Joke.
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