Friday, June 22, 2007

Bernard Manning finally makes me laugh

These "Have Your Say" surveys on the BBC website really do attract the most alarming people. A case in point: the recent demise of lovable racist gutbucket Jabba-The-Hutt-lookalike comedian Bernard Manning. Oh, they came out of the woodwork in force for this one. Writing in crayon, mainly, one has to assume.

In general it's a very similar argument to the one the Kray twins apologists come out with: lovely boys, always a smile, good to their Mum, only killed their own, never touched the kiddies, etc. The Manning version goes something like: lovely man, always a smile, loved his family, lots of charity work for the underprivileged kiddies, hounded by the PC brigade, only having a laugh, lots of black people at his gigs, etc. Both of which are, it hardly needs to be said, the most unmitigated bollocks.

You do worry that you're going to sound schoolmarmish for saying it, but the reality is this: he was a fat, sweaty, pig-ignorant Northern bigot who embodied a very specific kind of smug, keg bitter, pie and chips, who won the war anyway, Love Thy Neighbour, can't eat that foreign muck, why can't they speak bloody English like the rest of us, country going to the dogs, Little England mentality that needs to be scoured from the country with the brillo-pad of right-thinking tolerance lest it make us any more ashamed of it than we already, rightly, are. I strongly suspect there are some YouTube clips of his act around; if you're in any doubt have a sift through them.

It's the comedy of fear, pure and simple, and that explains the poisonous viciousness of it, but clearly doesn't excuse it in any way. If you're in the business of trying to guess the number of tears I shed upon hearing of his death, and plumped for a number in the vicinity of zero, then you're in the right ballpark.

And his Turkey Drummers are rubbish. Now that's comedy.


The Black Rabbit said...

Agree with you whole-heartedly.
But there's no need to add northern to "bigot".

Northern bigot? As opposed to what?
A southern bigot?!
I'm not sure if you'd ever put southern alongside "bigot". Be honest.

Bigots are bigots wherever they are, and they are everywhere, even in the "cosmopolitan, metropolitan south..."

Now I know you obviously know that - your fingers must have run uncontrolled over your keyboard I expect, in your haste to vent your rant.

electrichalibut said...

Yes, that occurred to me as I was writing. But I left it in because I think the sentence reads better with it there.

It's also true that there's a particular breed of bone-headed arrogance peculiar to Yorkshire and the North, the "say what I like, and like what I bloody well say" mentality Harry Enfield's George Integrity Whitebread satirised, and Fred Trueman rendered beyond satire while he was alive.

I'm not a sociologist, but I would guess it's related to being (the odd Viking apart) that much further away from the obvious route (i.e. across the English channel) for immigrants to arrive.

You manky Scots git.