Thursday, December 23, 2010

Frankie Boyle in new language storm over deeply offensive remarks, Channel 4 back him to the hilt in arse covering damage limitation exercise

Dear All

Fresh from the storm of abusive behaviour towards Katie Price’s son, Frankie Boyle has sparked fresh outrage.

His latest faux pas is using deeply offensive language by using the "nigger" and "Paki".

Awhile ago Quentin Tarantino provoked the anger of Spike Lee over the word “nigger” in relation to the number of times it appeared in Pulp Fiction.

It prompted Samuel L Jackson to say this:

“I don't think the word is offensive in the context of this film. ... Black artists think they are the only ones allowed to use the word. Well, that's bull. Jackie Brown is a wonderful homage to black exploitation films. This is a good film, and Spike hasn't made one of those in a few years”.

In show business boundaries are tested, we expect to be shocked on occasion but as much as shock is a tool of the entertainer so are ethics.

I am not a Frankie Boyle fan even before his gaff about Katie Price’s son Harvey but is Boyle saying anything which is not part of mainstream subculture for certain groups like Rappers?

I would say no.

His use of the word “paki” is offensive and is rightly seen as such by society.

Tory MP John Whittingdale believes that the Scottish comedian should not be allowed to continue with his brand of humour.

He said:

"The words nigger and Paki are deeply offensive to a large number of people. I don't think even in comedy it is justified."

Whittingdale added:

"Frankie Boyle is becoming a serial offender. I really think Channel 4 will have to think whether it's appropriate to screen programmes which are regularly causing offence to a lot of people. It might be a breach of the Broadcasting Code. Ofcom will have to determine that."

Channel 4 said the use of the words was "satirical", not racist.

But they would say that.

A spokesman said:

"Channel 4 strongly refutes any suggestion we are endorsing or condoning racist language by our broadcast of Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights. This cutting edge comedy is clearly intended to ridicule and satirise the use of these words - Frankie Boyle was not endorsing them. Channel 4 would not have broadcast these words had they been used in a racist way. All the jokes highlight the unacceptable nature of this language."

And they would say that to cover their arse legally.

The spokesman added that strong warnings about the content were made ahead of the programme and Channel 4 received one complaint about racism following the broadcast.

This is clearly a matter for Ofcom but I suspect that this will not go anywhere or affect Boyle; I don’t see him as a racist but rather someone who specialises in using crude and blunt humour.

Billy Connelly made his name by being funny and offensive about body parts, times and attitudes change but good taste and manners don’t.

Boyle has found a brand of humour which he markets for a living, I think like most people that he overstepped the marked by a wide margin regarding Katie Price’s son Harvey.

Once you say something you have to accept responsibility for it, Boyle is saying things and words that in some cases are deeply offensive but that is the nature of having free speech.

The other side of free speech hopefully is that the person should show some responsibility.

Failing that, we all have several remedies, one of which is flipping over the channel.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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