Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Twinkle the hamster

...ok, it's not a hamster. Or Ben Miller.


Here in Schloss Marland, we're an easy-going and democratic crowd. We discuss things and occasionally bicker about them before resolving what to do about them.

Opposite the cooker in our really-quite-spacious kitchen is where Twinkle the hamster lives. Sometimes she runs around in her wheel, sometimes she gratefully accepts root vegetables and carries them away to her little cardboard box. Sometimes we put her in her hamster ball, and she rumbles around the flat, bumping into things while we sluice out the wee and poo in the bottom of her cage.

She's a nice hamster, but we do not generally consult her when there are decisions to be made. We'd probably feel something was not quite right if something big happened in our lives and she called a press conference.

Still, she's a nice hamster, and we like watching her.

In this Age of the Sleb, we have got used to people who are on the telly thinking that, because they are on the telly, their thoughts are worth listening to. Thus Ben Miller, who performed in the episode of Moving Wallpaper described here, has spoken out against the sort of people who disapproved of its portrayal of a transsexual character and her treatment on the show. Just to remind you, the episode functioned simply as a platform for the airing of 'jokes' at the expense of the transsexual character, without any sense of authorial voice suggesting that this sort of thing is not on.

As you will see from the link, Ben's analysis of the situation is not done well; but perhaps we may be surprised to find it done at all...

He says,

"While on the one hand I would hate to feel that people were offended by comedy, I also think we have to realise when we are offended by something that other people are not necessarily offended in the same way, or that that doesn't necessarily mean that that material shouldn't be shown.

"It simply means that we have found it offensive and quite often that is simply a necessary function of comedy."

Funny, I though there was more to comedy than that.

I like that phrase "we have to realise...". We? Somehow, I don't think that white, middle-class, male Ben Miller has been at the receiving end of much, if any, of the sort of offensiveness that he's defending.

Just to make it clear, as one who has looked closely at the way these things work: if you find something offensive, it is because you find it offensive. So far, so good. But it is not the place of the person who perpetrated the offence to tell you that you are wrong to find it offensive.

But then, I do find Ben's analysis more than a bit shaky; Moving Wallpaper, on the evidence of this episode and despite what Ben appears to suggest, is emphatically not cutting edge comedy. Sub-Benny-Hill sniggering, perhaps. Not cutting edge. Not comedy. Sorry, Ben, you were just caught out doing something shoddy. To own up and apologise properly would be the decent thing to do now. But that is perhaps too much to hope for? Though I don't imagine there will be any further series of this lamentable stuff. Which is a result of a sort.

Anyway, we've heard from the one of the monkeys. I wonder what the organ grinder is going to say?