Slap it up these two bozos

Look, I know there are multiple agendas here. I know the Mail and the Sun aren’t going to miss an opportunity to stick the boot into the BBC. As for the Beeb bosses, nervous after last year’s pratfalls, they’ve been harrumphing up a storm. But two things are blindingly obvious about Manuelgate. Firstly, there was a systemic failure. This goes from execs in thrall to the cult of youth who demand “edgy” material, to the 25-year-old producer who doesn’t think that the audience out there might not all have 25-year-old tastes.

On the other hand, that producer is not going to be in a position to say to a star on a colossal salary, “Fuck off, Russell, that’s not going out.” So it comes down to the performers, and I have to say I’m only surprised this never happened sooner. Certain broadcasters, and these two in particular, have been getting away with murder for ages now. They both have track records as long as your arm.

Although I have serious reservations about both Ross and Brand, I don’t particularly bear them any ill will. Ross, as a young man, was one of the most naturally talented broadcasters of his generation. But I don’t like his chat show, for the same reason I don’t like Norton’s show, in that it’s all about him, and the guests really just figure as straight men. Parky used to let Billy Connolly tell the jokes; Ross’s guests get to sit and laugh at the host’s hilarious banter. The other thing about Ross is that, in recent years, he’s quite cynically used cuss-words and toilet humour to cover up just how Wogan-soft his interviewing is. What’s more, it’s slightly worrying that a man pushing fifty can get quite that frisson from using naughty words on the airwaves. Don’t say you haven’t seen the glint in his eyes when he’s about to say “fuck”.

As for Brand, the guy has natural charisma and can be quite witty when he puts his mind to it. What puts me off a little, apart from his media ubiquity, is the sheer level of narcissism in his act. Fair enough, he gets away with it a lot of the time – that’s all part of his charm – but there’s a very Ross-like element, going beyond the usual narcissism of the performer, where other people exist only as props for his comedy. This has, on more than one occasion, meant going into detail – including names – about past notches on his bedpost, in some cases with women who knew Brand many years ago, who are not public figures, and who may not be thrilled at his propelling them into the public arena. You know the way our culture abominates those kiss-and-tell bimbos who shag a footballer and then sell their story to the News of the Screws? I think Brand is actually worse, in that he’s the one in the position of power.

So, what of the prank? I must confess, if there was any cleverness or satire there, it was hidden so deeply as to be invisible. What we seemed to be dealing with – using a young woman’s sexual history to wind up an elderly man – was the verbal equivalent of happy slapping. Let’s take the universalist approach – if I did that, I would very quickly find myself talking to the police. Ross and Brand, at their best, may be talented performers, but I don’t see that they’re so special that they can get away with that on a publicly-funded service. I’m aware, too, that a lot of comedy has a cruel streak – that’s why millions watch videos of people falling over on You’ve Been Framed – but occasionally it is possible to step over the line into simple bullying. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re bad people, just that they ran away with themselves. Ivor Dembina’s comment, that Brand had been lauded so much he thought he could get away with anything, sounds right to me.

And I think it’s right that they are penalised. It’s right that Ross’s suspension hits him where it hurts – in the pocket – rather than an Ofcom fine that would be borne by the license payer. (It surely isn’t irrelevant that so much of the criticism has taken note of Ross’s inflated salary.) Ross, of course, works more or less exclusively for the BBC, which is why he appears so chastened, and why his enthusiastic consumption of humble pie contrasts so much with Brand’s whiny apology. Brand, on the other hand, will probably prosper from this. Sure, he’s lost his Radio 2 show, but he’s got so many contracts with so many media outlets that he’ll not really find himself at a loose end, and after a while this will all add to the bad-boy legend of Russell Brand.

(Parenthetically, and talking of middle-aged men acting out their psychodramas, I was struck in the SU thread with so many lefties’ reflexive urge to rush to the defence of Brand and Ross, and the equally reflexive lack of empathy for the young woman. It was noticeable that the few women who commented seemed to be having a completely different conversation.)

Anyway, one thing I found a little depressing was, by way of contrast to the complaints, the deluge of texts and emails to Radio 1 saying it was all a lot of fuss about nothing, and anyway that the prank was hilarious. This generational gap seems to be borne out by the reactions of most under-30s in vox pops. I hate to sound like Peter Hitchens and start banging on about moral degeneracy, but I do think this illustrates something of a coarsening of the culture.

You don’t have to go back to the 1950s to find evidence of this. Let’s consider that the late Kenny Everett, whose act Russell Brand has liberally nicked from was sacked from the BBC not once but twice for lesser infractions. Let’s recall that, after his notorious fisting joke, Julian Clary was effectively banned from live TV for ten years. Nowadays you can switch on the telly a few minutes after the watershed and hear Jordan and Peter Andre merrily trading quips about, saints preserve us, anal bleaching.

Talking of how things have changed, I seem to remember, after George Best appeared pissed on Wogan, promises that it would never happen again. And yet, the headlines last week were full of Kerry Katona’s slurring on This Morning. Whether or not she was pissed, she was clearly in no state to go on air – but neither was Bestie all those years ago. But it gets better. Kerry, God love her, is in the unfortunate position of being a celebrity without a marketable talent, whose main activity seems to be doing interviews about her awful childhood, her history of substance abuse, or other highlights in her soap-opera life. So what got lost beneath the slurring was that Kerry’s appearance was aimed at promoting her latest media venture. Which was? Yes, her televised breast reduction. I thought Cosmetic Surgery Live was bad enough, but doing a Kerry Katona version sounds like a Chris Morris skit. I suppose it’s a measure of Chris’s genius that the actual broadcast media are coming to resemble his imagination.

Really, sometimes you despair for civilisation. How long before someone, perhaps at C4, really does launch a happy slapping show? You know, that coveted 18-25 audience would love it…


  1. Binh said,

    October 31, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    The first time I saw Brand (I’m an American), he was hosting the MTV Video Awards, and I couldn’t stop thinking how annoying he was. His jokes were really, really awful to the point where I think listening to Rush Limbaugh would’ve been funnier, although he’s not joking when he talks.

    That he would stoop so low in this prank is not surprising because every joke I heard at the awards was completely unoriginal. Only someone without any good ideas would come up with something like this.

  2. skidmarx said,

    October 31, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    So was the moral panic over Julian Clary OK, or was that alright because
    (a) He doesn’t earn as much as Ross
    (b) You personally find Brand more annoying
    (c) You judge the content of what he did as less objectionable
    (d) He’s gay, so is allowed to be more fabulously outrageous ?

    About fifteen years ago a Scottish comedian whose name temporarily escapes me went to the Montreal Comedy Festival at a constitutionally tense time in Canada, and spent ten minutes escribing Canadians as moose fuckers, whereupon someone got up on stage and hit him. Was that OK?
    [Jerry Sadowitz]

  3. Lobby Ludd said,

    October 31, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Skidmarx said:

    “About fifteen years ago a Scottish comedian whose name temporarily escapes me went to the Montreal Comedy Festival at a constitutionally tense time in Canada, and spent ten minutes escribing Canadians as moose fuckers, whereupon someone got up on stage and hit him. Was that OK?”

    All depends on whether it was funny or not, I guess.

  4. We hate Shankley and St. John said,

    October 31, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Someone commented the other day that its surprising that Ross hasn’t been the subject of the first on-air barring order given the way he drools over his female guests. And your right, its all about him. I’ve seen potentially interesting stories from genuinely interesting people being ignored because Wossie wants to show them this really cool toy he bought. Pat Kenny does the same, but with him its the chronic inability to depart from the set question list. Cheryl Cole did once say to Ross ‘don’t pretend you don’t know our names’ and I think if they weren’t astute media players themselves Girls Aloud could probably wipe the floor with him in a row. As for Brand….well, didn’t Dick Van Dyke do cockney accents like that 40 years ago?

  5. Roger Ramjet said,

    October 31, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Maybe Bob Geldof was right about something for once when he called Brand a cunt?

  6. skidmarx said,

    November 1, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Whether Sadowitz’s [I’m not sure if one needs to add an s if a possessive apostrophe follows a z] materiel was funny or not, or whether his assailant assaulting him was funny or not ?

    It was actually the only time I saw Bill Hicks on TV before his death. He was foresquare behind Sadowitz, but did suggest that his material was a bit provocative. Sadowitz appeared mystified that the should be any justification for a physical assault when he was just a comedian.

    On Have I Got News For You last night, Paul Merton and Chris Addison cleverly pointed out that all this outrage is second hand from people who have chosen to be outraged by listening to the call re-broadcast by other media (and adding to any distress to the Sachs family far more than the original cunning stunt). Ian Hislop did put the case for the prosecution by claiming that the BBC had now responded after the whole country had risen up, I think he’s mistaking the demos for the mob.

  7. ejh said,

    November 1, 2008 at 10:44 am

    We know of no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodic fits of morality

  8. ejh said,

    November 1, 2008 at 10:59 am

    The thing that occurs to me whenever there’s a fuss of this nature is – what did they expect? What did they think these people were employed to do, discuss the Categorical Imperative? You have people whose function is to provoke, then of course they will go too far, it’s like asking for a football match without any fouls. When James Brown made his Nazi-uniform joke, why were people outraged, when they can’t have been in the slightest bit surprised?

    In a way the reaction to the stunt is just the other side of the same coin.A society which deals with all its problems by means of public hullabaloo is the same one, for much the same reasons, which thinks on-air bullying is amusing.

    I’m not saying that the group who find it funny and the group who are subsequently outraged are the same people, although I will bet you there’s a sizeable overlap. I’m saying that in either case there is an absence of rational discussion and of a sense of proportion: what there is instead is a desire to get somebody, somebody is the target du jour. It’s a big scapegoat society, Britain: everything has to be dealt with by finding somebody to scream at. And even when they may deserve to be on the end of it, screaming is still a dangerous thing to do.

  9. skidmarx said,

    November 1, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    This isn’t about their qualities as comedians, it’s about what benefits – better comedy or more fearful management ? I see from today’s Guardian that Dara O’Briaian has identified this as “Man-has-his-feelings-hurt-gate”.(And the latest scandal is that the BBC has obscured the picture of Stalin in it’s copy of Brand’s resignation. I hope noone loses their job over something so utterly trivial).
    In Anthony Burgess’ “Earthly Powers” an aging gay writer in Malta looks back on a life which included being brother-in-law to the Pope. There is an early seen in which the narrator is asked to defend in court the literary merit of a gay novel (I think it may be based on Radclyffe Hall’s “The Well Of Loneliness”). He objects on the grounds that said novel is in fact a badly-written pile of crap, while his friend tries to persuade him that freedom of speech and the advancement of homosexual rights are worth a bit of perjury. My mother, an English teacher told me once that she thought Lady Chatterley’s Lover was very badly written. Good thing she wasn’t on the jury when it was prosecuted for obscenity and its defence was literary merit. If we don’t defend bad comedians we won’t get good ones.

  10. skidmarx said,

    November 1, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Please read “scene” for “seen”. I used to think that the latter was being said in black colloquial English (short for “I’ve seen) when in fact “obscene” was being shortened and reversed in meaning to the former. And “its copy” should be apostropheloss.

  11. Dr Paul said,

    November 1, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    I have this feeling that Jonathan Woss has been for ages trying to make amends for being left speechless by Julian Clary in that Norman Lamont on Hampstead Heath episode — I remember seeing it at the time; it was, well, unexpected — and has failed dismally, knowing that he was left unusually speechless at the time, and couldn’t subsequently be more comically outrageous. This sad episode shows that all he can do is insult an old bloke. It’s a bit sad that a bloke not much younger than me has to rely on nob jokes to get a laugh.

    I do detect an awful lot of intentional, forced outrage here. It was the same back in the mid-1970s when the same suspects whipped themselves into a strop of outrage at the schoolboy naughtiness of Johnny Rotten. The Daily Mail & Co are outraged because they want to be outraged. It’s really pathetic that the Broon and the other outraged parliamentarians are no different to the downmarket Tory press.

    As for Andrew Sach’s grand-daughter, I wonder if Sachs, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, really relishes the sight of her and her pals cavorting in a video in a cod-Nazi uniform. Even the thought of her and Brand having it off must surely be less distressing to him than that.

  12. skidmarx said,

    November 1, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Johnny Rotten is now doing adverts for Country Life butter. I saw some drunk people on Saturday considering whether to scrawl “I can’t believe it’s not anarchy” on one of the billboards.

  13. prianikoff said,

    November 1, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Clary made it all up, but I once encountered Norman Lamont and his wife on a Greek Island. It was fist-free, but she got into the spirit of things and went topless. Norman remained far more demure and stayed in his grey flannel trousers.

  14. Hoagy said,

    November 1, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    In the ’76 furore ,Grundy was the bullying sexist asshole and today its Ross & Brand fulfilling his role by attacking the Sachs Pistol.
    A tour of left-liberal blogs (and some left-not-so-liberal sites who ought to know better) reveals some really feeble arguments offered in mitigation.
    Two complaints at the time of transmission does not put the bullies in a better light, it puts the attitudes of the audience in an awful one. Anyone who has trouble understanding this should consider what their attitude would be if they heard a tirade of racist bullying being broadcast instead. How would that argument go down then? Could anybody even offer it up without being flamed to bits?

  15. WorldbyStorm said,

    November 1, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Hoagy, I think I’m with you and splintered on this. There are some piss poor excuses being offered up for what was both bullying and misogyny. And in my mind there are tipping points beyond which humour which uses either, or points them up, become them. It’s not rocket science. Nor was it pushing back the envelope of comedy or maintaining its experimental and/or subversive standards. It was two guys who have literally nothing to lose abusing power relationships.

  16. ejh said,

    November 2, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Two complaints at the time of transmission does not put the bullies in a better light, it puts the attitudes of the audience in an awful one.

    That may well be so, but it does raise the question of how much of the subsequent storm has been humbug.

    It was two guys who have literally nothing to lose abusing power relationships.

    I think this is true, but one reason why I compared the original stunt and the reaction to it, rather than opposing them, is that I think both have a lot to do with power relationships. I don’t thinkthe response has been (by and large) the response of the powerless and I rather think instead that it fits into a pattern of dealing with issues by giving somebody a chasing. Very often, as here, I don’t have a lot of time for the people who are getting the chasing but it’s an unedifying spectacle nonetheless.

  17. Margo said,

    November 2, 2008 at 9:51 am

    I agree with you on this. And am not surprised by the SU thread either. There is a problem over there recognising what sexism is, and how pernicious it is too. Andy N’s contributions all seem to point to an argument that unless you are a working class woman sexism doesn’t affect you. Incidently, I’m not sure he believes that women’s oppression is an issue for us all, not just the sistaazz.

  18. David Ellis said,

    November 2, 2008 at 10:54 am

    One very funny thing has come out of this though and that was the Sun story where Sachs’ grandaughter told the rag that whilst they were `making love’ Brand kept going `Que’. Comic genius which might never have come to light if it wasn’t for the moral outrage of Sun and Mail readers.

    Have you noticed how everybody who is `outraged’ takes the piss out of Johnathon Ross’s speech impediment. Truly the comedy of hate.

  19. WorldbyStorm said,

    November 2, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Hmmm… I understand your point but doesn’t it lead us to a place where we can effectively make no critiques, and are consequently unable to deal with the issues? More to the point my sense is that there is a wide revulsion at the mode of the ‘stunt’ and its implicit and explicit aspects which goes far beyond the usual suspects. That – naturally – doesn’t in and of itself legitimate a critique but it does at the least shift us onto slightly terrain from the general right wing baiting…

  20. ejh said,

    November 2, 2008 at 11:50 am

    doesn’t it lead us to a place where we can effectively make no critiques

    No, it leads us to a place where we realise that “release the hounds” is not the way things should be done.

  21. prianikoff said,

    November 2, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    There have to be limits.
    I wouldn’t join any campaign with Terry Wogan in it.
    Not even for all the Horlicks you could snort.

  22. prianikoff said,

    November 2, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Supressed in bourgeois media:
    Brand proposes marriage to Georgina Baillie

    Uncut version

  23. Hoagy said,

    November 2, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Humbug?-yeah there is, of course, a large dose of it whenever the British press gets on its hind legs. Most titles have pulled stunts as bad as,or worse than, Ross&Brand. However it might do well to consider why the vast majority of attempts to get a bandwagon rolling go nowhere. Why did this one catch fire?
    The world situation is grim-war,economic turmoil,ecological meltdown,more war. The average person can barely get to grips with the scale of the problems, let alone analyse putative solutions.
    This issue is however is very much ‘human scaled’. No special knowledge or cognitive skills are needed. You merely need to have grown up in a normal human family with interpersonal qualities/values such as love,support and mutual respect. Even if these values are often missing, their lack is felt and semi-sane people can and will try to instantiate them.
    So phoning a grandfather and bragging about fucking his granddaughter is an offence well within most peoples grasp. The obvious thoughts that come to mind are ‘How would I like to get calls like that?’ and ‘Suppose I made calls like that? What could I expect to happen to me?’.

  24. ejh said,

    November 2, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Yes, I think that’s a decent point: and perhaps a point about decency itself, that even within the humbug on the subject there’s a perfectly reasonable reaction that this is a lousy way to behave, a lousy thing to brag about and a lousy thing to be paid for.

  25. WorldbyStorm said,

    November 2, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Very nicely put ejh.

  26. skidmarx said,

    November 3, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Perhaps we should concentrate on critiqueing political views rather than judging attempts at comedy as the Morality POlice. Personally I don’t model myself on Jay Hovah from the Harry Harrison novel “The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You”.

    ” ‘allo ? ‘allo ? Eez that Madame Palin ? Theez eez Russell Brand. Peut-etre c’est possible que Je suis le pere de Trig…” [ ” Il niquait votre grand-fille”]. “Merci, Jonathon, tu as nique nos travails maintenant”.[” Mais tu as nique tout le monde “].(Needs accents on a couple of the es).

  27. skidmarx said,

    November 3, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    First they came for the bad comedians, and I said nothing because I was not a bad comedian… while it is wrong to devalue the word “fascist” by using it inappropriately, I think the same is true of “bullying”. This ain’t it. I hope none of you lose jobs and have your workmates stand around going “Well he acted like an idiot so I’m not defending him.” If you need more background on the class background of this argument, you might also want to look at the Respect Conference Report thread on SUN, where also in an amusing precapitulation of this whole affair, when I accused a TalkSport schlockjock of reducing the Respect brand to the “Provisional Wing of the Daily Mail” on Tuesday, one Ger Francis called me a buffoon while admitting that he had not listened to the show I was commenting on. I don’t know this Ger Francis, though I am doubly prejudiced towards him as he seems to have disgruntled my first landlord (Death To The Kulaks!) with the SWP when he was an organiser for same.

    The question isn’t how would I feel having such messages left (not getting such calls) but how do all the people who really are harassed over the phone feel about having their experience trivialised by having this incident compared to what they’ve been through.

    Shami Chakrabati, director of Liberty, was on Desert Island Discs yesterday, and one of her chosen records was We Are The Angry Mob by the Kaiser Chiefs which begins something like:
    # We are the angry mob, we read the papers every day
    We are the angry mob, but we’re very easily swayed #

    As Newman and Baddiel would say, “That’s you, that is.”

  28. ejh said,

    November 3, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    I think the same is true of “bullying”. This ain’t it.

    Is it not? It’s attempting to humiliate someone in public for the amusement of the mob. I think I might class that as “bullying”.

    I hope none of you lose jobs and have your workmates stand around going “Well he acted like an idiot so I’m not defending him.”

    Well, it depends what they did, doesn’t it? And bear in mind that neither Ross nor Brand will be filling in any benefit claim forms in the morning.

    how do all the people who really are harassed over the phone feel about having their experience trivialised by having this incident compared to what they’ve been through

    I don’t know – it would be interesting to ask. The thing is, though, people who really harrass people over the phone get – or should get – arrested. Neither Ross nor Brand will be, or should be. So it’s not really suggested that their offence is of that order.

  29. skidmarx said,

    November 3, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Well it has been suggested by a number of people.

    If they’d been doing it with a live call rather than leaving messages I’d be a little more impressed with the hoo-hah. Actual bullying often includes the use and the threat of violence, not to say it can’t take place without it.

    What they did was offend two(2 people that complained on the night, rather than the 30,000 who’ve had to get themselves worked up over its re-broadcast on other media) people who heard Ross use the word fuck to truthfully relate an action that Brand had done. And bear in mind that an injury to one is an injury to all.

    There was a programme on radio or TV once about heckling, where some comic made the point that it’s reasonable to do it to experienced performers, but if you over-point out to someone who’s inexperienced that they’re crap it won’t necessarily improve their performance. This is at a bit of a tangent.

    I think that Graham Norton is a talentless little fuck and find it offensive that the BBC pay him millions of pounds. But if it were him at the centre of a prank message gone wrong scandal I would be hesitant to say that as it would only feed in to the right-wing campaign to determine what the BBC is allowed to broadcast.

  30. ejh said,

    November 3, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    But we can’t entirely form our reactions (or indeed our analyses) on the basis of “cui bono?”. Sometimes it may be right to say something is out of place and out of order, even though the Daily Mail – perhaps for different reasons – also says it is.

  31. ejh said,

    November 3, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    On the other hand, as this is Quote John Cooper Clarke On Splintered Sunrise Fortnight:

    This paper’s boring, mindless, mean
    It’s full of pornography the kind that’s clean
    Where William Hickey meets Michael Caine
    Again and again and again and again
    I’ve seen millionaires on the DHSS
    But I’ve never seen a nipple in the Daily Express

  32. splinteredsunrise said,

    November 4, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Hey, quote John Cooper Clarke as much as you like. And Harry Harrison is even more welcome…

  33. JM said,

    November 4, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Meanwhile, on Planet Marko a (cod-Freudian) cat has leapt out of the bag…

  34. splinteredsunrise said,

    November 4, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Ah well, I try not to pay much attention to little Marko for blood pressure reasons, but he is the gift that keeps giving…

  35. JM said,

    November 5, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Actually, Marko’s little ‘confession’ was perhaps only for those loyal online readers of his. In academic circles it is widely known (and indeed the source of much comment). Marko of course writes very passionately about the Balkans. Not for him the ivory-tower detachment and distance of, say, an AJP Taylor. Instead, Marko has er.. engaged with his subject and knows it all too well. We should salute his indefatigability in never missing an opportunity to remind us that Serbs are mad, bad and – especially – dangerous to know.

  36. D. J. P. O'Kane said,

    November 5, 2008 at 10:53 am

    What’s he confessed to then? I’d go and look but I really need to knuckle down and do some work.

  37. ejh said,

    November 5, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Funny, I thought I’d have a look but I still couldn’t work it out. I can’t really close-read Marko though, I mean he doesn’t exactly do précis, does he?

  38. Andy newman said,

    November 5, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Someone here, cowardly hiding behind the name “margo” has outrageoulsy lied and slandered me, (an identifiable person in the real world), by saying:

    “Andy N’s contributions all seem to point to an argument that unless you are a working class woman sexism doesn’t affect you. I’m not sure he believes women’s oppression is an issue for us all, not just the sistaazz.”

    This is the most scandalous misrepresentation of my position. I have argued that Brand and Ross are sexist and the left shouldn’t defend them over this incident.

    What is more, nothing I have ever said or written would lead anyone to think that womens’ oppression is unimportant.

    Ii have nothing but contempt for people who criticise me by lying about my political positions, especially when they do so from the smug safety of a psedonym.

  39. Andy newman said,

    November 5, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    I would like the cowadrdly and pathetic margo to referencne exactly what I am supposed to have written that leads her to make this accusation about me.

  40. Andy newman said,

    November 5, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Incidenty, it is even more contemptible that “margo” writes these slanders about me here, where I may not have seen it to refute it, and where my own opinions (which are the exact opposite from what Margo says) are not here for other people to make their own judgement.

    Truly shocking

  41. harpymarx said,

    November 5, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Margo: “Andy N’s contributions all seem to point to an argument that unless you are a working class woman sexism doesn’t affect you. Incidently, I’m not sure he believes that women’s oppression is an issue for us all, not just the sistaazz.”

    As a woman contributor over at SU I have to say that I haven’t seen comments from Andy where he says only working class women experience sexism. And again, where has he said that women’s oppression is not an issue for all women? Of course it is and he believes that as well.

    Andy’s position, as he argued above, is that he condemned the appalling sexism of Brand and Ross and the left shouldn’t stick up for their sexist behaviour.
    While what has amazed me about some of the comments I have read so far about Ross/Brand was the defensive behaviour shown by some lefty men in defending Brand/Ross’s juvenile, sexist brand of humour. Where, simply, a woman is humiliated by being dragged into their pathetic scenario and she’s the butt of the joke.

    And Margo I think their defensive behaviour in defending Ross/Brand’s humour deserves your ire and criticism rather than attacking Andy about something he hasn’t said.

  42. ejh said,

    November 5, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Ah, just a note, but the use of pseudonyms on the internet isn’t usually considered cowardly provided they’re consistent within a site.

  43. splinteredsunrise said,

    November 5, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    I agree with Harpy there, and I don’t think it was a fair characterisation of Andy’s argument.

  44. Madam Miaow said,

    November 5, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    And Margo I think their defensive behaviour in defending Ross/Brand’s humour deserves your ire and criticism rather than attacking Andy about something he hasn’t said.

    I agree with that, Harpy.

    It’s unfortunate that in recognising the way the event has been used to bash the BBC and promote a reactionary agenda some have been driven to ignore the power-play involved. The prank wasn’t a brave dig at someone in power — it was two well-paid white males with a public voice witlessly drawing a woman into the spotlight for a savaging over her sexuality.

    You can be wary of the right-wing hysteria and still acknowledge what they did was wrong — as even Russell Brand did in his amusing and pertinent response to the Daily Mail. They are not mutually exclusive.

  45. Andy newman said,

    November 5, 2008 at 11:38 pm


    using a pseudonym is cowardly if the person so doing is hiding their own identity while at the sae time maliciously lying about a named and identifiable person in the real world.

    Frankly there is a despicable pattern to this, with utterly untrue statements about my political views posted on various blogs, always by people using pseudonyms.

  46. skidmarx said,

    November 6, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Harry Harrison. From Deathworld :

    “Mental inertia alone is not going to cause trouble – there is cultural inertia too. Some of you in this room believe my conclusions and would like to change. But will all your people change ? The unthinking ones, the habit-ridden, reflex-formed people who know [italics] what is now will always be. They’ll act like a drag on whatever plans you make, whatever attempts you undertake to progress with the new knowledge you have.”

    From the last paragraph of “Bill The Galactic Hero … On The Planet Of Robot Slaves”:

    “In the name of decency – and the urgent desire to get a PG rating – we must reluctantly draw the curtain on this delicate scene of heterosexual intimacy. Let us simply observe that the sun which, as it was wont to do, sank slowly in the east and darkness descended across the trackless sand of the trackless desert and this world, for the moment at least, and only in this spot, was very positively at peace.”

  47. margo said,

    November 7, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Oops, didn’t mean to cause such ire.
    I was simply referring to something that I read that tried to distinguish between real women and those that used ‘middle class linguistic codes’ or words to that effect.

    No time to find the exact spot, sorry. If I misread that, then I apologise. It’s in an exchange about GG.
    I do believe that womens’ oppression is a problem for all women – it’s just that working class women suffer the double bind of class exploitation.

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