By JR on Sunday, December 04, 2011
It's OK for Leftists to make jokes in poor taste but not OK for others
Jeremy Clarkson has apologised for saying that strikers should be taken out and shot in front of their families. I suppose that was the right thing to do. To be honest, it’s a bit hard for me to judge because public-sector whingeing makes my own trigger finger itch. But the “in front of their families” bit was gratuitous even by Clarkson’s standards.
I like to think, though, that even if I were a Lefty I’d be able to tell the difference between saloon-bar rhetoric, in which being taken out and shot is the punishment for everything from paedophilia to leaving your wheelie bin on the pavement, and a really nasty joke.
Such as, for example, making fun of the physical appearance of disabled children.
That’s what the comedian Jimmy Carr did. “Why are they called Sunshine Variety coaches when all the kids on them look the f——same?” he asked in his most recent live show. Geddit? Children with Down’s syndrome have similar features. Not much “variety” there, eh? They’re all the same! Boom-boom!
Some friends of mine have children with Down’s syndrome. It’s a tremendously difficult disability, but the quality of love between the parents and child often seems especially intense, as if to help them meet the challenge. In my opinion, anyone who exploits this condition for a stand-up cackle is, if you’ll forgive a descent into Carr-speak, a f—––– sicko.
Jimmy Carr apologised. Sort of. But not before he’d defended his joke. “It was the 238th gig of the tour and nobody has complained so far,” he said – untruthfully. A mother of a child with Down’s syndrome complained about the joke a year ago. She begged him to remove it from his stage show. Carr didn’t even reply to her letter.
Still, I can believe that he told that joke hundreds of times without anyone in his right-on audience complaining. These aren’t people who would guffaw at the sight of a Sunshine coach. But they don’t mind Jimmy Carr crossing that line because gags about the disabled are “edgy” if made by comedians with radical political views.
This isn’t the only example. Ricky Gervais likes to throw around the word “mong”, short for “mongol”. What is it about Down’s syndrome that tickles the funny bone of Lefty comics? I suppose they’re so afraid of sounding racist, sexist etc that there aren’t many minorities left. And the kids don’t answer back.
All political tendencies exhibit double standards but the Left gets away with murder. This week saw the publication of an excellent article in Commentary magazine in which Jonathan Foreman tried to explain to a US readership why the Independent isn’t sacking its columnist Johann Hari, whom we now know is a plagiarist, fantasist and slanderous liar. Foreman’s conclusion was spot on. Hari escaped sacking because he told the right kind of lies, ones that amused liberal opinion-formers.
Twitter, needless to say, heartily embraces the double standards of the Left. It went bananas over Clarkson. Misery princess and New Statesman hack Laurie Penny declared: “I am ashamed to have a passport the same colour as the crypto-fascist propagandist Jeremy Clarkson. Whose salary, btw, is publically [sic] funded.”
Strangely, I have been unable to find a tweet from Laurie condemning Carr, with whom she appeared on the “edgy” but sanctimonious Channel 4 programme 10 O’Clock Live. But she did remind us that November 20 was Transgender Day of Remembrance. Must put that in the diary for next year. Do you think Jimmy or Ricky have some jokes up their sleeves about transsexuals? I doubt it, somehow. Wrong sort of minority.