Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Yous are All Sexists

About a month ago, massive images of 1990s' comedian Jim Davidson's face began appearing on posters dotted around Glasgow, bearing the news that his latest theatrical tour de force, "adult pantomime" Sinderella 2: Another Scottish Romp, would soon be rolling into town. It didn't take long for the city's sharpie wielding pranksters to start making their own additions to Jim's smirking face.
Liam Turbett, Vice Magazine, 2015

I am sorry to have missed Nick Nick's unseasonal pantomime. Apparently, Davidson got pulled, either because of poor ticket sales or a drunken indiscretion. Whatever, as a champion of freedom of speech, with a passing interest in being offended by art, Sinderella 2 was on my to-do list.

Turbett's review, predictably, coruscates Davidson for the laziness of his humour - he recognises that the problem with 'funny' racism, sexism and crudeness is that it relies entirely on the audience finding the subject intrinsically funny. He conjures an image of Sinderella as the cave where the 1970s  crawls off to die, with aged jokes and poor performance competing to bore the audience. 

yeah, they really did this
Obviously, I would never call for a ban on work like Sinderella (it seems as if the show can implode without any outside pressure), but I am not entirely enthusiastic about the revival of abusive comedy. As a pretentious theatre critic, I'm used to difficult art, but it rarely challenges my vague leftist politics. I was hoping Davidson could provide that challenge. But if, as Turbett suggests, that challenge involves imitating the dumb racist impressions that ruined The Two Ronnies, I'm out.

Since I missed the show, I don't really have the right to comment - but I am going to make a point about the resistance to Jimbo, Dapper and their ilk. Apart from their continued existence being partially the fault of liberals who laughed when 'irony' came into play as the big excuse for saying the unthinkable, banning these guys is not an effect strategy for eradicating brain-dead sexists. 

Dapper's new persona
Language does allow the human mind to form offensive ideas, but simply banishing certain ideas or words, or even people, does not get rid of the ideas themselves. Indeed, those who resist Jim Davidson are as sexist as he is... 

Look at the word used to make Jim look stupid on the poster. To demonstrate how low Jim is, the writer has used a swear word that is... oh, come on. This is 101 stuff. Call him a prick, a knob, even a bell-end. 

1 comment :

  1. I find this article hypocritical and incoherent. You make the argument that banning Davidson is not an effective strategy for eradicating sexists. However, nowhere in the article do you cite an example of anyone actually wanting to ban him, or proposing that banning Davidson would be a way to combat sexism. You seem to be arguing against a non-existent issue. You say yourself the show was stopped as a result of poor ticket sales or drunken indiscretion.

    You say that you had intended to see the show as a means of challenging your leftist politics. Then you indicate that you didn't actually plan to see the show as its blatant racism was too distasteful.

    You say that "those who resist Jim Davidson are as sexist as he is". Yet you have shown your own resistance to Davidson throughout this entire article, stating you find his comedy crude, racist and old-fashioned. Going as far to say you would not attend his show. Are you saying you are a sexist for being resistant to Davidson? There are obviously many legitimate reasons to find him awful.

    You don't actually offer any reasonable explanation for why resisting Davidson makes someone sexist. You seem to imply that those who seek to ban words or ideas are automatically sexist. Aggressive censorship may be a tool used by sexists, but it does not seem to be sexist in and of itself.

    You say that "simply banishing certain ideas or words, or even people, does not get rid of the ideas themselves". In the very next paragraph you tell people not to use the word "cunt". You acknowledge that banning certain unpleasant words is a futile exercise in censorship that doesn't address the societal issues at the root of these negative ideas, then you immediately try to ban the use of an unpleasant word.

    After telling people not to use the word cunt because it is sexist, you then offer a list of insults based on male genitalia as an alternative. How is this not simply displaying another form of sexism? Are you saying that offensive words for female genitals are unspeakable, but male-focused insults are absolutely fine? Obviously I accept that men have not been subject to nearly the same level of denigration or disadvantage as women. and I recognise that "cunt" is a more hateful and emotionally-charged word than prick or bell-end. But if your point is that we shouldn't use such explicitly gendered insults against women, simply offering another list of gendered insults seems like a lazy and hypocritical alternative.