Monday, January 07, 2008

Podcast 7th Jan

Today's podcast is now out!




Click here to get your own player.
Additional material by Mr Cru AKA David Mulholland.

Text:

We start with a brief comment on celebrity news:

Blimey some people will do anything to get out of babysitting won’t they?

Now UK politics

And over the weekend David Cameron put forward plans to dramatically cut incapacity benefits. Apparently people with no legs will only get half. He also says new claimants should have to undergo an in-depth assessment before being able to claim, which I must admit confused me because what do they do at the moment? Tap dance into the DSS? Gordon Brown responded saying he’d already proposed everything Cameron had mentioned. Nick Clegg for the Lib Dems weighed in saying he preferred a middle ground between the two positions. Ah the joy of democracy!

In the energy sector

Chancellor Alistair Darling has called a meeting with energy regulators to explain price rises. I could do that for him: “Well, blondy, since they’ve all been privatised it’s now their JOB to rip customers off as much as possible so they can increase profit to shareholders. Also we all love a good bribe and a good bonus don’t we?”

In health

A report says many cosmetic surgery clinics are using aggressive marketing tactics to pressure potential customers into having surgery. Doctors greet patients with “hello fatty, don’t get many of you to the pound do you? do you want to come round the back through the double doors? oh my god, nurse will you come in here and look at the nose on that? What a honker, do you want it sorted out or do you want to borrow my garden shears to trim your nasal hair?”. One of their tactics apparently is to offer a discount if patients have surgery straight away. Look here’s my advice - if there’s one think you don’t want done quickly and cheaply – it’s your face cut up and rearranged with a sharp knife.

The Daily Express today

Leads on page one with a giant headline about how some areas of the UK are apparently no-go zones for non-Muslims and I have to be honest, when I bought the Daily Express at my local newsagent in Dalston I did feel kindof embarrassed.

Inside they are furious about the news that the government has let foreign university students overstay their visas. This move is really unfair on Express-reading chavs. One was quoted as saying “it ain’t right like all them smart clever proper like fancy English speaking well educated sorts hanging round over here nicking all the good jobs off joyriding scum like us. Next fing ya know they’ll be ‘andin out proper customer service and doing a good bloody job, it’s wrong it is, shouldn’t be allowed”.

In the US

George Bush is beginning a tour of the middle east which some commentors suggest he will see as an opportunity to undo the damage he’s done so far in his presidency and leave a positive legacy. Other commentors who have less faith in the divine power of miracles are just hoping he doesn’t punch King Abdullah in the face, then choke on a pretzel and steer Air Force one into a west bank primary school.

Over to China

And Lost In Beijing, a film about a rape in a massage parlour has been banned. Apparently the authorities had already insisted on censoring the film to remove scenes showing dirty streets, but then two months later they decided that as well as the nasty litter and graffiti in the background they also had an issue with the WHOLE PLOT being about a gruesome rape.

And finally

A museum of laziness has opened in Bogota, Colombia. To mark the occasion ... well I think I’ll stop there and go and have a cup of tea.

7 comments:

Zenobia said...

Actually, I've known lots of people over the years who read the Express and the Mail, mostly colleagues. Although most of them were working class (so I guess your appellation of "chav" would stand, since "chav" is a slur against working class people the same way as "slut" or "ho" are slurs against women), none of them were "joyriding scum" - although I recall one of them had a teenage relative who had recently been in jail for drunk driving. Actually, most of the readership of the Mail and the Express consists of older working class women, and a lot of my colleagues had some pretty toe-curling opinions on a lot of things, particularly race. But none of them, ever, made fun of black people by putting on a silly voice, or indeed suggested that they should stop reproducing (referring to your Wetherspoons post here - you do realise that in the absence of being able to afford an expensive restaurant, Wetherspoons is often the only half-decent option for lunch, right?).

Getting back to my former colleagues, even though they did have horrible opinions, I still learned a lot from them, for instance, the huge amount of solidarity among them, and how they stuck up for each other at all times, and stood up for themselves. Oh, and one of them cured cancer for a living.

So by all means, attack the Daily Express, and attack Wetherspoons, and I'll be with you all the way - but leave people who just happen to use those companies alone.

Cruella said...

I am only joking. Although when I read those papers I am so offended by what I read I am horrified anyone could take them seriously.

Cruella said...

If you think that chav is a general insultory term for working class people then I agree it's in bad taste, for me the term isn't about that though. I know working class people who are definitely not chavs. For me chavs refers to a group of people who choose to dress and act a certain way - teenagers on street corners, hoodies, burberry and take a sort of pride in petty crime, etc. Certainly such people exist.

We could argue about why they've ended up in that situation. And I accept that in many cases it's not their own fault and they deserve sympathy, not ridicule.

I do however disagree that Wetherspoons is the only reasonably-priced place to take your family. There are certainly local family-run restaurants around my way serving really nice food at similar prices to Wetherspoons. Mr Cru went to a Turkish place only a couple of days back for £5 all-you-can-eat buffet and was stunned by the quality of the food.

Cruella said...

Intrigued though - you're not offended by me joking about the French?!

Zenobia said...

If you think that chav is a general insultory term for working class people then I agree it's in bad taste, for me the term isn't about that though. I know working class people who are definitely not chavs. For me chavs refers to a group of people who choose to dress and act a certain way - teenagers on street corners, hoodies, burberry and take a sort of pride in petty crime, etc. Certainly such people exist.

That's how I thought you meant it, but compare what you just said to this quote from today's Julie Bindel article:

"The teenage boy has just been asked how he feels about women being called "bitches and hos" by hip-hop artists. "You gotta understand," he tells the interviewer, looking towards a group of scantily clad young women, "some women are bitches and hos.""

You can't divide a whole class of people into "good" ones who behave themselves and "bad" ones who deserve to be slurred - and possibly prevented from reproducing and so on.

I can see you're joking, but still, imagine how you'd react if someone said the things about women that you said about working class people?

I do however disagree that Wetherspoons is the only reasonably-priced place to take your family. There are certainly local family-run restaurants around my way serving really nice food at similar prices to Wetherspoons.

Don't you live in or near London though? I've spent lots of afternoons in places like Shrewsbury or Wolverhampton desperately looking for somewhere to eat that wasn't Wetherspoons - and well, the worst thing about them is that they take over pubs and their presence drives up land prices and eliminates competition, so a lot of town centres are basically built on these mobius strips that lead you back to Wetherspoons and McDonalds all the time.

Intrigued though - you're not offended by me joking about the French?!

Er, well actually I am kind of taken aback sometimes by stuff you come out with. I'm fairly sure you're not racist or xenophobic though, so I let it slip mostly. See, when most comedians I like use racial or class or sexist slurs, they do it to make fun of people who use them, whereas you don't usually use slurs, but you do funny voices and stuff and usually you're doing it directly to make fun of that particular class of people. I can see you mean no harm most of the time, but I think it's something you should be aware of.

Cruella said...

I guess here's my whole philosophy on the subject:

1) It's not fair to ridicule people for something they have no control over: gender, ethnicity, sexuality, things that happened to them as kids, etc.

2) That said some groups who clearly don't mind having the mickey taken, it's ok. Like did you ever meet an Australian who said "Please don't call me an Aussie, it offends me?". I think most people are not too bothered about jokes about national stereotypes - as long as you're not too harsh.

3) If you choose to do it - you're fair game. 4x4 drivers, dungeons and dragons enthusiasts, scientologists (well any religion unless you've not really had a choice about it), art students, mcdonalds customers, etc.

Now for me I guess I've always thought of "chav" as being a lifestyle choice. The few I know exhibit some pride in being "chavs". If people feel it's a generic term for working class people then I agree we shouldn't use it - as your example shows. For me it just doesn't mean that though. I shall drop it for a bit and ask around, see how people understand the term.

To be honest I think most of the time I'm taking the piss out of me for being a posh little white girl from North London who secretly thinks she should run the country...

Now really though for a quick lunchtime podcast I can't be expected to do a tour of the restaurants in Wolverhampton. As I said to Anji Capes on my comments before - there may be nicer ones. The ones near my house are really horrible and disgusting - you really really wouldn't go there.

Zenobia said...

That all seems fair enough. Although, I think the fact that you are quite posh probably means that taking the piss out of the customers of cheap shops and restaurants could come across the wrong way. I don't like Wetherspoons either, their food is mostly hideous though occasionally edible, and certainly on Saturday nights they can be quite, er, boisterous, and not in a good way. But I can see why people would use them, because there seem to be three or four of them for every decent pub.

I think it's quite horrifying to think that anyone takes the Mail and the Express seriously, but I think it's very much a case of large companies preying on an impressionable and no-so-well-educated audience than the audience being actually stupid. A lot of older working-class women grossly underestimate their own intelligence as well, so they'd go for a paper which they thought was in line with it - another reason not to take the piss out of anyone's readership.

Otherwise I would tend to agree, if it's your choice then you're fair game for mockery, which is actually another way of taking into account the fact that really there's no such thing as total personal choice, there are always other factors there -psychological, social, etc. So taking the piss out of a personal choice can't really be seen as a complete character assassination. Well, unless you're Ayn Rand.

It's quite interesting actually, because humour is often full of pretty grim and terrifying stuff like mental illness, physical handicap, death, disease, etc... It's odd, because I don't find Derek & Clive's Cancer Song that offensive, but then again they weren't making fun of a whole group of people who are less privileged than them.

As for customers of McDonalds or Wetherspoons or whatever, I think you're probably right that there's no point trying to prove people go there out of necessity, because a lot of people just like going there. So it would be more interesting to see why they like going there. You could say it's because they're just daft. Then again, I'm sure it's more complicated than that, and the reason probably has the words "cultural hegemony" in it somewhere.

Sorry if that was a ramble-fest.