Thursday, October 30, 2008

I know naaaaathing......about my granddaughter's sex life

Hey, it's Mel again. This time she's having a bit of a rant about the entirely contrived non-story about Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand leaving sweary messages on Andrew Sachs' answerphone; the fall-out from which has now resulted in Brand resigning from his job at Radio 2.

God knows enough has been written about this already, most of it by the sort of Daily Mail reading Little Englander fuckwits whose idea of excitement and wild behaviour is an extra helping of roast beef on Sundays and maybe a bit of furtive joyless sex every other month, with the lights off, and their socks on.

There are a couple of things worth observing, however. Firstly that the BBC had had no more than a handful of complaints between the original show being broadcast and some armchair colonel in Tunbridge Wells hearing about it third hand a couple of weeks later and writing a letter of outrage to the Mail, and those were generally about the swearing rather than the specific nature of the prank. If it had stayed that way would Mark Thompson have had to make his craven apology to the "licence-payers"? Hardly. So now we're letting Daily Mail readers be the arbiters of what's acceptable and unacceptable in broadcasting, are we? Frankly I'd rather have Kim Jong-Il do it.

The other thing is - it's actually quite difficult to see what the outrage is about. I'm going to bet that 95% of the complaints were along the lines of: "how dare he suggest he's had sexual relations with the granddaughter of a national light entertainment institution. I mean, I've never met her, but I'm sure she's a delightful and fragrant blushing virginal type as befits someone carrying 25% of the genetic material of a bit-part actor famous for one role in a 12-episode sitcom broadcast 30 years ago in which his most demanding acting challenge was putting on a Spanish accent and being repeatedly hit on the head with a spoon".

So you would think that all those objections would fade away should it transpire, for instance, that the lady in question, Georgina Baillie, is a "burlesque dancer" who goes by the stage name Voluptua in the troupe The Satanic Sluts. And that, furthermore, Brand had fucked her. Three times, if the Sun is to be believed (a pretty big if, I'll grant you).

Let me make it very clear that I am in no way criticising Georgina Baillie's lifestyle choices, nor indeed Russell Brand's, for that matter - I think he's a pretty piss-poor comedian, but he's clearly having to beat the ladies off with a shitty stick, and good luck to him. In fact, that's the whole point - they're both adults, they got together, had some nice healthy cathartic sex, no-one got hurt, and no-one should have to feel guilty or ashamed about any of it.

What this story is actually about is two things: firstly, Georgina Baillie's discomfiture at having her grandfather know certain things about her that, while true, she'd rather he didn't know. Understandable, I suppose, but hardly anyone's problem other than her own. And secondly, of course, the Daily Mail seizing an opportunity to impose its deeply repressive, backward, conservative agenda on the BBC, who should be in a uniquely privileged position with their royal charter and all to resist having to bend the knee to blitheringly insular and ill-informed public opinion. If I'd thought of it in time I would have prepared a statement for Mark Thompson to issue to the "licence payers" and the gathered press corps, and it would have gone something like this:

I'd like to address the concerns of the ten people who listened to Russell Brand's show and were genuinely offended by the language - can I suggest that you refrain from listening to that particular show in future. I mean, it's Russell Brand, for fuck's sake.

As for the remainder of you who acquired your sense of moral outrage only after reading an article in the Daily Mail, can I just say this: out here in the world beyond your suburban enclaves, we swear constantly, we drink and do drugs and sleep with each other in a variety of positions and with the lights on. Not only that, but we read books, watch films and listen to music that depicts and describes all these things in great detail. And yet somehow we manage to remain caring, generous, well-rounded, moral people who take a genuine pleasure and, most importantly, interest in the wide and wonderful world around us, instead of living in fear that someone, somewhere, is having more fun than us. Let me make it quite clear - we are having more fun than you. Come. Throw off your shackles. Join us.

In concluding I'd like to add: no action will be taken against either Mr. Brand or Mr. Ross. Anyone who feels that action should be taken can feel free to continue writing to the Daily Mail, or, alternatively, to go and fuck themselves.

That is all.

Now that would be a BBC to truly give me a bit of a swell of patriotic pride (if you know what I mean).

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