In my humble opinion, Stewart Lee is one of the funniest men on television right now. Yeah, his humour is highbrow, satirical, deadpan, left-wing [oh, the horror!]… but he still manages to have me in painful fits at times, even to the point that my wife is woken from her bed late at night to come in and ask me what’s so funny.
He did a piece recently on political correctness, which is actually not one of his funniest routines, to be honest, but he made a great satirical point. Here it is if you’re curious (note that the F-word appears once, and another swear word appears at the end, which I shall not allude to as it would spoil a great punchline):
I highlight this to make a point that is, sadly, very poignant and relevant this week. We have learned of an appalling situation that arose in Rotherham. It would appear that ‘political correctness’ has now actually led to a truly mad situation. I am in favour of being PC, since it serves a great purpose, as Lee pointed out in his comedy; in that there was a time that all niggers were viewed in the same way, just as all Jews were viewed in the same way in Germany in the 1930s, just as (dare I say it) all Muslims are viewed in the same way now in the 21st century?
I should know, I’m Irish. Well, I’m a protestant from Northern Ireland, but what does that matter to many English people! When my father went to an army training camp in England, they all just called him Paddy. Fine, it was (for most of them at least) just friendly ‘banter’ but a misunderstanding of the complexities of Irish politics and culture was certainly present. Many of us faced such misapprehension and even hostility during those bad times. I had a police officer at a Welsh port look at the address on my driving licence and ask, without any smile or hint of jocularity, “do you know any terrorists?” yet that was mild in comparison to some stories I heard! Was it mild since the officer was Welsh (a fellow Celt) and not a dirty Sassenach? Would that attitude from me be called for, even though I can truly say that my experience of the Welsh and Scots to be better on the whole than of the English? Of course not! Does my experience make me hate or dislike all English people? Of course not!
The same propaganda that was waged against the Jews in Germany by the Nazis can be repeated anywhere by anyone against anyone else. And it is, believe me! I know whom I blame for the recent credit crunch – the bankers! We all know they’re to blame, so all bankers are greedy pigs who are not to be trusted, right? Right!? Right away, I realise that while their profession has been given too free a leash by our recent politicians and they have allowed greed to take them (and us!) down a slippery slope, they are not all evil, or selfish, or psychopathic (even though their profession contains more psychopaths than any other – fact). It’s the same principle for a simple thing like car insurance – for decades, we men were subjected to higher premiums due to our gender, since we were a ‘higher risk’ according to the stats. Women joined in the chorus of ‘that’s right!’ while I witnessed slow, careful men with no worrying driving issues being forced to pay higher insurance than women who scared the life out of me with their demonic driving! Now that has changed, for fairness’ sake. Were an insurer to say “stats show us that blacks are more likely to cause accidents than whites…” we would be boycotting them in a flash! Thank you, political correctness!
Tarring an entire race, or gender, or nationality, or even sexual orientation, with the same wide brush is the reason for ‘political correctness’ – it’s not just a trendy, liberal thingy that effeminates like to wave about when they’re criticised! It’s addressing the need in us to pigeonhole people just because it helps us decide who we like and don’t like without the worry of having to make the effort to get to know them and their background a bit better i.e. we need to get informed!
However, this case in Rotherham is mad, in the highest degree possible. The fact that most of the perpetrators (not all!) were of a Pakistani background, highlighting and addressing this crime was feared by some to be seen as racist. That in itself is politically incorrect, since it presupposes that the entire Pakistani community in Rotherham would be offended by such an investigation; as if they’d cry something similar to “it’s ’cause I’s black, innit?” when the truth is that the majority of that community would be as appalled at the crimes as much as any of us – they should be given the chance to condemn it and deal with it and not have it swept under the rug for their ‘benefit’. The fact that some of the white guys in authority treated some of the girls reporting the crimes as ‘sluts’ who sort of ‘asked for it’ tells me a lot about their attitude. The crimes and the politically incorrect attitudes that allowed the abuse to go on both need to be addressed and dealt with, and if there is a fear that you’ll be viewed as racist for addressing crime, then that is ‘political correctness gone mad’!
Members of the English Defence League cornered a LibDem councillor and asked him if he would not condemn ‘the Pakistani gangs abusing these girls’ – he answered “No! I will condemn all abuse perpetrated by anyone!” Correct answer, since the dismissal of these crimes also allowed non-Pakistani child abusers to get away with it!
Grace be with you.
P.S. If that was a bit too heavy for you after the good laugh Lee gave us, here he is making fun of Islam! (YAY!):