Monday, 13 December 2010

Off The Boyle

Last week on Channel 4 Frankie Boyle made the following jokes about Katie (Jordan) Price’s eight-year-old son, who is blind, suffers from autism, gains weight easily and can barely walk:

“Jordan and Peter Andre are still fighting each other over custody of Harvey - eventually one of them will lose and will have to keep him.”

“I have a theory about the reason Jordan married a cage fighter - she needed a man strong enough to stop Harvey from fucking her.”

I think Boyle should be absolutely free to say whatever he likes, about whoever he likes, to whoever he likes. And in turn, I – and anybody else – should be free to call him a cunt.

I’ve never rated Boyle. I always thought he was merely a sanitised version of the great Jerry Sadowitz. Boyle always seemed to be far too pleased with himself about being controversial. More to the point, he’s just not that funny – any halfwit could sit on a panel show trotting out shocking lines. I could do it, no problem.

I think the main problem I have with Boyle’s joke about Harvey Price is that he played it very safe. It’s not like he picked on a random mother and her disabled child. He wouldn’t have the balls to do that. He picked on Katie Price because he knew there would be quite a few people out there who would think it only right that she was the butt of that kind of joke. Which makes him much worse – because he used a disabled child simply to score a very cheap and easy joke against a very easy target. A cursory glance through the comments on blogs etc. bear this out – many people defending the joke on the grounds simply that it’s attacking Katie Price*.

The thing is, we’ve all received those kinds of jokes as texts or have heard them or told them to friends. What we haven’t done, however, is broadcast them on a public platform. He knew full well that Katie Price would hear the joke. And what does that say about him? That he thinks it’s fine and appropriate to belittle a disabled child knowing that his mother would hear it and be greatly upset about it? When we tell those kinds of jokes we tell them quietly and with a sense of knowing that it’s all a bit distasteful. It’s not hypocrisy to tell those jokes that way – it’s just plain decency. Let’s face it, what kind of nasty, spiteful cunt would go out of his way to deliberately upset the mother of a disabled child?

I don’t know, it’s entirely possible that people have made jokes about Maggie. But I haven’t heard them. And I would hope that anyone making those jokes would at least have the basic fucking decency to make sure that I didn’t hear them.

But as I said, I think Boyle should be free to tell whatever jokes he likes. I’d be totally against censoring him or prosecuting him. I just wish that we could get a real sense of what kind of a cheap bastard he is. He isn’t breaking down barriers or pushing the boundaries. He’s not Lenny Bruce or Bill Hicks or Jerry Sadowitz. He’s just a dime a dozen gag man who believes that saying shocking things is a shortcut to being funny.

Oh, and I also found out that Boyle once said the following about Lewis Hamilton and his brother who suffers from cerebral palsy – y’know, as Maggie does.

"Lewis Hamilton (to his brother): I won a championship today, what did you do?
Brother: I drank from a fucking cup Lewis. Ok!"

* I’ve never understood why we’re all supposed to hate Katie Price. As I’ve never understood why we’re also supposed to hate the likes of Kerry Katona or Cheryl Cole or even Cher, the young girl on X-Factor. Some of the comments I see on Twitter are just ridiculous – the hatred is visceral. I wouldn’t mind so much if these same people were attacking the world’s real villains but they always seem to go for these kinds of working-class girls who, presumably, have got a bit too big for their boots or something. As with Boyle, it’s cheap, it’s nasty and it’s also quite misogynistic. I wish they’d stop it - or at least dish out some of their disdain for people who really deserve it (as a friend of mine on Twitter routinely, and rightly, does).