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Anorak | Sandi Toskvig’s Tory C*nts And Jan Moir’s Unnatural Gays Are A Delight

Sandi Toskvig’s Tory C*nts And Jan Moir’s Unnatural Gays Are A Delight

by | 6th, June 2011

ON the BBC Radio 4 News Quiz, presenter Sandi Toksvig recalled the posters held aloft at the TUC and student protests against cuts and made an ‘original’ quip:

“It’s the Tories who have put the ‘n’ into cuts.”

That was October last year at 6:30pm and again at 12:30pm in a repeat.

This was Toksvig who bemoaned male-dominated panel shows:

“Testosterone-fuelled arguments between the boys make it difficult. Women’s jokes aren’t about trying to top the last person or ‘win’ the game. I think that if more women were in charge, everyone would get a look in.”

The Daily Mail had heard enough. Its front page screamed:

“BBC BOSS: OBSCENE JOKE IS A DELIGHT”

A retired newspaper exec Colin Harrow had complained to the BBC and the BBC Trust that the joke was “offensive and unacceptable“.

The BBC’s Mayhew Archer responded:

“I want you to know that I thought very hard about whether to allow Sandi’s joke to be broadcast. I knew it might offend some listeners, and if my job was simply not to risk offending any listeners I could have cut it instantly. But that is not my job. My job here was to balance the offence it might cause some listeners against the delight it might give other listeners. I say delight because I thought it was a good joke and I knew that a huge number of fans of the programme would love it. I am not saying this is a good thing. I am simply saying that I think attitudes shift.”

John Whittingdale is chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport select committee. Said he:

“That word is way out in front in terms of people finding it offensive, and I think to broadcast it on radio at 6.30pm is inappropriate. Even though they did it by implication, nobody was left in any doubt about what was meant.

“Perhaps it hasn’t occurred to the BBC that one of the reasons why this word has lost its shock value is that it is now being used on television and radio. But I would expect them to be aware of the risk that children might be listening, especially at such an early hour.

“I hope that the gentleman who made the complaint takes this matter to Ofcom because I think they are the appropriate people to rule on this, not the BBC Trust.”

The BBC added that listeners should have the balls to cope with the jokes:

“The BBC has rigorous guidelines. The News Quiz is a long-running panel show aimed at an adult audience. Listeners are used to a certain level of robust humour.”

But isn’t the main point that comedians are very rarely funny? They are right on, samey, political and keen to pander to the audience’s mores. The faces on UK panel shows are from comedy’s central casting giving you exactly what you expect. The joke is that it’s not nearly offensive enough.

Toksvig aims only to jump on a bandwagon of offence. She is offended by the coalition’s cuts to public spending. She wants to show you how offended she is by making her views known. The Daily Mail seeks out an old quip to show how offended it is. And this is the paper that has caused offence, notably when Jan Moir suggested gay Boyzone’s singer Stephen Gately’s death was unnatural because he was a gay Boyzone singer.

Moir is a snide hack. But she reserves the right to cause offence and appeal to her readers. The Mail championed free speech by letting her broadcast her views.

Liberals who enjoy Toskvig’s joke bridled at Moir’s words. They wanted her sanctioned. Charlie Brooker and Stephen Fry ordered the outraged to complain to the Press Complaints Commission and have Moir censored. Intolerance would not be tolerated, came the cry in the Guardian and on Twitter.

Now, the Daily Mail wants free speech squashed because it is offended. It has, like the liberals who seek out the Daily Mail to be offended by, stared long and hard at its bugbear, the BBC, and finally found something to be outraged by.

The result is that the Daily Mail is used to define liberalism as the BBC is adopted to define the conservative’s superior morals.

“Go on,” says the liberal to the Daily Mail. “Say something that defines me.”

“Go on,” says the Daily Mail to the liberal BBC. “Say something that defines me.”

The result is an onanistic nothingness in which the debate is everything…



Posted: 6th, June 2011 | In: Key Posts, TV & Radio Comments (6) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink