Tuesday, 19 August 2014

BBC satire neither condemns the BBC nor excuses Janice Atkinson

I usually agree with Iain Dale but cannot agree with his earlier blog on the Janice atkinson / BBC affair (HERE).

Little Britain is not to everyone's taste, but it is a form of satire. Whilst programmes such as Spitting Image and TW3 and to a lesser extent HIGNFY cast a satirical eye on real people, decisions and organisations, Little Britain holds up a looking glass at the country and perhaps some of our own duplicities and hypocrisies. I suspect we and perhaps excuse friends and colleagues who show similar traits to the grotesque characters paraded on the TV screens by David Walliams and Matt Lucas. And perhaps just occasionally the person we catch a glimpse of might be hidden part of ourselves?

The characters "Mr Dudley and Ting Tong" are actually a little deeper and their story less obvious than a casual glimpse at the narrative might suggest. Like most of the Walliams / Lucas grotesques, the target of their satire isn't the 'mail order Thai Bride' but Mr Dudley's exploitation of and the connivance of Ting Tong to achieve her own goals.

Mr Dudley and Ting Tong are vulgar characterisations; two exploitative, ghastly people praying on each others vulnerabilities. Both are worthy of satire. But to say that the BBC was hypocritical in condemning Janice Atkinson for using the phrase "Ting Tong from somewhere" whilst exploiting "Ting Tong from Tooting" is a little wide of the mark. For example, should the BBC refrain from criticising racism as Walliams/Lucas portray a racist character named Maggie Blackmoor who vomits whenever she comes into contact with a member of the BME community?  Promoting laughter at absurdity is one of the best ways to defeat it. The gales of laughter from the audience at BBCs Question Time as a Minister tried to justify his expense claims was far more effective than a thousand written words in the broadsheets.

What we mustn't do is to allow focus to turn towards the BBC and away from the real culprit, who is Janice Atkinson; just as Labour tried to do after the Gordon Brown / Gillian Duffy incident. This is the same Janice Atkinson who, on a crowded High Street, stuck up two fingers at a reporter and called on him to "eff off".  Her "Ting Tong from somewhere" comment is indicative on many levels; the fact she thought it was acceptable, the lack of respect for one of her constituents, the willingness and ease she will resort to cheap vulgarities, stereotypes and generalisations when it suited her. To me, the "from somewhere" is just as bad as the "Ting Tong" and demonstrates a lack of respect. The fact that the victim of her ignorance was a member of UKIP is actually irrelevant. 

Mr Dudley and Ting Tong are two unpleasant and exploitative characters who pray on each others fears and insecurities for their own self advancement. An accurate and parallel with Ms Atkinson and her party, 

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