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If you can’t take a joke…

November 8th, 2006 · Posted by Skuds in Life · No Comments · Life

Both our local papers are full of righteous indignation over the comments made about Crawley on Have I Got News For You last week, but treating Prince Philips’s digs about everyone in the town being fat as if it was the legendary funniest joke in the world.

To make it worse, it turns out that Phil made another ‘joke’ when visiting a local secondary school: he popped his head in a classroom and asked if all the pupils could read.

To put that in context, this school is the one with the worst results in town and amongst the worst in the county. A victim of invisible selection, the school actually does very well with its intake, improving the standards of pupils enormously, but it does draw its pupils mainly from, you’ve guessed it, the poorer areas of town and many of the pupils do have real problems. Does he have some sort of instinct for homing in on the disadvantaged and then taking the piss out of them or is it all just chance?

Anyway, this is described by the Observer as Phil being “on top form“, while Paul Merton and Ross Noble are described as launching a “tirade of abuse against town“.

I guess it is not the double-standards I object to – just the way it is the direct opposite to my own double-standards.

Merton and Noble are comedians, a couple of the best in the country, and they were presented with a story about a town’s car park signs showing “fuck off” instead of the number of available spaces. Of course they made jokes about it, and if the hackers had got to a sign in Kensington, Horsham, Swindon, Maidstone, York or anywhere else they would have made the same jokes. The target of the jokes was the fact that a road sign had been changed and the location of it was really incidental.

The irony of it all is in the placement of the story in the paper. We have the mayor saying

“I cannot see where they get their opinions from. I would like them to come and visit our town. I would be only too pleased to show them round so they can see how lovely it is.”

On the opposite page are the headlines

  • “Midnight attack – two men targeted as knifeman loses part of finger”
  • “Man bottled in parade fight”
  • “Pensioner’s sex charges”.

Turn the page and you get

  • “Arsonist set car alight just yards from sleeping family”
  • “pensioner fights off intruder”. (Not the same pensioner.)

Still… one man’s “top form” is another man’s “tirade of abuse” I suppose.

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