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Frankie Boyle Again- Three Times Over

December 23, 2010

This morning, I read this article which says that Tory MP John Whittingdale has said that Frankie Boyle ‘should not be allowed to continue with his brand of humour’ because he used two racist terms in the latest edition of Tramadol Nights. Thinking that I couldn’t agree more with a Tory MP for the first time in my life, I went off to Twitter- only to see this in my timeline:!/christinamartin/status/17911418980405248

This lovely quote also comes from the most recent edition of the programme.

I’ve been saying for ages that Frankie Boyle should not be allowed to express his outdated opinions in public attention. However, yet again, a mainstreamer noticed two examples of racism and didn’t notice, or didn’t care about, an example of disablist language that was broadcast in the same programme. Disablism, as I keep saying, is just as bad as racism. I’m not surprised that yet again, a mainstreamer doesn’t seem to have realised this, but part of me does wish he had.

Channel 4 are being just as bad over Tramadol Nights, though. I hope OfCom can knock some sense into them.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. John permalink
    December 23, 2010 12:34 pm

    “I’ve been saying for ages that Frankie Boyle should not be allowed to express his outdated opinions in public attention.”

    This is not his opinion. He is a comedian that bases his routine on SHOCK.


    I also note your anti-free speech stance by declaring he should “not be allowed” to say such things.

    Not only are you a moron, you are an authoritarian too.

  2. December 23, 2010 1:06 pm

    Oh dear.

    Free speech always comes with the freedom to accept the consequences. For example, you have the freedom of speech to say to your boss, “I think you’re an ugly idiot with a BO problem,” as long as you’re prepared to accept the likely consequence which is that your boss will have you up on a disciplinary for insubordination and misconduct, and will actively try to fire you. The defence “I was looking for a laugh, free speech, free speech!” won’t get you terribly far.

    Society as a whole has decided that there are certain things you can say which are unacceptable and have legal consequences. I could tell an airport that I’ve concealed a bomb on their premises, however I’d be a fool to expect that when they finished cancelling flights and evacuating the area and doing a sweep and found out there was no bomb they’d say “ho ho, you little scamp, jolly good joke,” – I’d be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    Similarly, society have decided that there are certain things, such as racial hatred, homophobia, and disablism, which are oppressive and harmful rather than funny. These things are classed as “hate crimes”. The various laws have been debated and passed and published and anyone breaking those laws has to expect that they might be prosecuted, because although they have a right to free speech, they don’t have a right to cause distress to other people or attempt to dehumanise them in the name of “having a laugh”.

    C4, as a responsible broadcaster, have a duty not to glamorise and promote criminally offensive attitudes and illegal behaviour. They also have a duty to consider their *whole* audience. They don’t have to stand next to Boyle ready to clamp a hand over his mouth, but giving him a stage and broadcasting his attitudes into people’s homes is very strange in a country where we are supposed to enjoy legal protections from that exact kind of abuse.

    • John permalink
      December 23, 2010 2:14 pm

      Absolute nonsense I’m afraid. The consequences freedom of speech should be subject to are its NATURAL consequences, not those imposed by dictact by the state. And anyway, society has no right to determine what is or is not acceptable speech.

      I take it if if became a crime to support labour in public, you would support that too?

      And the comparison to talking to your boss in such a manner is so irrelevant it beggars belief why you brought it up to begin with. You are free to change the channel away from C4. Your boss, however, would need to deal with you everyday. Thus it may be ok for him to fire you (although I would say that’s a bit of an over reaction), but for us, we need just press one button and the problem is gone.

      • John permalink
        December 23, 2010 2:17 pm

        Just to clarify my main point, which got a bit sidetracked from:

        Society has no right to determine what is and is not acceptable speech. Freedom of speech applies to the individual. If a million people find the humour of one comedian offensive, they have zero right to silence him. Zero.

        A million Frankie Boyle jokes will never do the damage that the censorship you advocate would do.

  3. samedifference1 permalink*
    December 23, 2010 6:06 pm

    If Frankie Boyle has ‘freedom of speech’ to say what he says then so do we all. So, all I’m doing in this post is using my ‘freedom of speech’ to strongly disagree with Boyle and Channel 4. Which I, for one, certainly won’t be watching again in a hurry.

    Freedom of speech does not give you the right to shout ‘fire!’ in a crowded theatre, as someone put it very well on Question Time recently.

    • John permalink
      December 23, 2010 7:26 pm

      It’s a good thing he didn’t do that then.

      And yes; you do have the freedom of speech to say he’s offensive; I actually agree with you there.

      It even, paradoxically, gives you the right to call for the police state to shut him up.

      What it does not do is excuse you for being an authoritarian Mary Whitehouse wannabe.


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