Monday, 6 May 2013

I’m not a hypocrite, but...

There were some particularly nasty comments flowing in the vicinity of “English comedian, actor and presenter” Rufus Hound and former Conservative MP and “English author” Louise Mensch the other day; two people of whom I’d normally have little interest. I ought, I suppose, to be more upset at Hound’s description of his adversary as a “cocksucker” – should that be one word, or two? – yet outrage hardly needs my help. His mealy mouthed defence, sadly all too familiar, was spectacularly ill-thought as it effectively amounted to ‘anything goes’ when someone fails to share the same point of view - so long as you can claim it’s figurative; which of course most (all?) Anglo-Saxon insults are.

Neither do I have much time for UKIP, yet included in his abusive rant was one clarification that reminded me of the “I’m not racist, but” ad-hominem attributions to the silly party from various right-on commentators. Our comedian says:
I believe in a free press, for what it's worth, but I don't believe the press we have currently is capable of handling that responsibility.
… which would make for great satire were it not for the fact he’s serious. And unfortunately there are far too many serious types who share this contradiction. If you believe in a free press, there is no qualification, there is no Leveson-inspired regulatory body, or if there is, then you don’t, and you should stop pretending otherwise. In just the same way as one can’t say “I’m not racist but”, you can’t claim to “believe in a free press, but”. Or to put it yet another way, yes, you are and no, you don’t.


  1. The point you make so eloquently Phil, is that comedians should stick to telling jokes! (Or: Everyone has a right to an opinion, but ... )

    It's the, 'for what it's worth, ' throwaway that gets me thinking. What IS it worth? Is it worth putting up with (for example) an excess of prurience, which is possibly what keeps the print media in business, in order to have The Fourth Estate on hand when government wants to save itself from embarrassment?

    Yes, but ... I AM a hypocrite.