Stewart Lee, the Video

A reference on PhillyChief’s blog reminded me about Stewart Lee and Jerry Springer, the Opera.

Stewart Lee is a comedian who became an arch-hate figure for Christian Voice a couple of years ago, because he was one of the writers of Jerry Springer the Opera. This was a tv programme that Christian Voice considered so inherently blasphemous that they tried to sue the BBC for broadcasting it. They were crowing on a channel Four documentary last year that they’d bankrupted the producers of the show, although I’m not sure if this has any basis in fact.

There are some really funny anti-Christian-Voice-blasphemy-complaint spiels in other Stewart Lee videos but I’ll post links to them at another time. This link isn’t to one of those, but I had to post it because of the irresistible Richard Littlejohn bit at the end.

Whenever I hear the phrase “Political correctness gone mad” I should reach for this video.

Stewart lee on political correctness gone mad

Parental Advisory: contains some extravagant and well-justified cussing 🙂

“Political correctness gone mad” goes mad

It is rare to read the free bus paper – the Metro – without seeing at least one letter with a rant about “political correctness gone mad.”

Experiment: Counting the number of readers’ letters containing the phrase and working out a daily average, maybe comparing the result to the occurrence of some other nonsense phrase like “air conditioning walnuts.”

However, that would be a bit too much of a time and consciousness commitment, so I took the easy way out and googled.

Amazingly, google could only find 681 occurrences. Impossible. Doh, I misspelled the word and missed the first “i” out. Which makes the 681 occurrences quite impressive. (A truly dedicated social researcher would try every possible misspelling. Sorry.)

The correct tally is actually “about 61,000.” Even this seems a little on the low side, given the existence of the Daily Mail and the BBC’s Have your Say. I suspect I have been too specific to get a true picture of how often “Ranting Bigot” reaches for the conceptual green ink.

I put the phrase “political correctness gone mad” in quotes. This is an English usage. I’m not sure how thinking-constricted Americans say it. How do I make a direct translation of “gone mad” into US English, in which mad means “angry” rather than insane?

“political correctness run amok” gets 21,400. Quite a respectable tally but I don’t think I’m still getting the full flavour of it.
“political correctness run amuck” garners a further 4,230.
“political correctness gone insane” gets a modest 3,090.
“political correctness gone berserk” gets only 510, (plus one result for “political correctness gone bersek”, my misspelling again.)

Ok, I’m going for the big ones: The bald phrase “political correctness” gets about 5,060,000.
The phrase “politically correct” brings up 6,150,000 entries. There is some duplication here, though. Is anyone adding these up?

Oh Buggar. “air conditioning walnuts” – the control phrase in my experiment – brings up “about 1,240,000” google hits. I kid you not.

Undaunted, I have to conclude that this might just show that there is no nonsense phrase too ridiculous to bring up millions of google hits. (And, at least, “air conditioning walnuts” doesn’t have me snarling when it appears on a web page.)

PC is not an insult

It seems that every day now there is an item in the more popular media (take that however you want) which brings the spectre of “Political Correctness” into view. In around 99.99999% of the times the phrase “PC” is used, for something other than a Police Constable 😀 , it is the start of a combination of appeal to ridicule and false dichotomies. The tabloid press are the worst for it, but this attitude is reflected in all walks of life.

One strange, yet recent, example is found amongst the comments on Bernard Manning following his recent real life death (I am sure he died on stage many a time). Now, if you have never heard of him you are truly lucky. Bernard Manning was an overweight comedian (in the loosest sense of the word) who had a small repertoire of jokes that revolved around the mother-in-law, women and ethnic minorities. Famously, when performing at a police convention he made a remark to a black policeman to the effect of asking if he (the policeman) enjoyed walking the beat more than swinging in the trees. Yeah, Bernard manning was that funny. I am not convinced there was ever a time people found sheer offensiveness as “funny” but it seems I may be wrong. People are actually leaving messages about the hateful creature saying he was a comic genius. On the radio (Jermey Vine, again) there were people saying how great he was and that ridiculing politicians and the powerful (rarely targets of Good Ole’ Bernard) was too easy, and that Bernard took the difficult path to attack vulnerable minorities who couldn’t respond.

I never said his supporters were sane did I?

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