Saturday 25 May 2013

The bad thing that happened in London the other day has had the obvious effect of revitalising the far right groups of England. I don’t begin to pretend what goes on inside the head of someone who is so proud of their country that they wear balaclavas while they shout anger at the town squares of the country. Somehow they have drawn a definitive link between the shoutings of a man who had just attempted to remove someone’s head with an entire religious group who have nothing to do with the act.

Do all puppeteers have to apologise for Emu?

Aside from the troubling minority of people whose pride in their bizarre beliefs manifests itself in wearing a balaclava to voice their bizarre opinion, there are definitely people who share a diluted version of this opinion. Some people think they are OK because they are not being a big mob in a square. But they still say things that seem bizarre. One person on Twitter asked what was wrong with mosques putting banners out to say they condemned the murder that had happened. This person said they weren’t saying that it was OK to blame a group for the actions of one – but it wasn’t going to hurt if they did condemn it (by putting banners on the side of their religious building condemning something that was nothing to do with their faith).

There was also some people very much hating the racists – focusing on their clothes. There are a couple of things here. I think my main issue would be that there is a lot hate about racists before worrying about that they shop at Sports Direct (an oft quoted part of much of the ire). Another point, which may border on being patronising (if there’s a group I’m not that concerned about patronising…) is that the people with less money, and thus might shop at places with cheaper clothing, are the maybe the people who are the prey of leaders of hate mongering. I would also add there are also lots of people who shop at Sports Direct/wear discount clothing without being horrible racists – and, thus, it might not be the best thing to make crass generalisations about people who make crass generalisations.

Yes, of course I make cheap jokes about cheap clothes but it’s OK to be a hypocrite in situations that aren’t about a potential descent into racially motivated hatred.

There were similar comments linking the groups of racists to football fans. Given the activism of the troubling racists and (yes I said and) the increasing exposure of UKIP the best way for the people who agree that both groups are wrong (I said and…I am not saying they are (exactly) the same) is probably to ensure there is debate and education – rather than for some cheap jokes and silly generalisations with no grounding. ARE WE  GETTING THE IRONY? GENERALISING ABOUT THE KIND OF CLOTHES THEY WEAR? BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE WITH THEIR BELIEFS MIGHT ALSO BE FOOTBALL FANS THUS THEY’RE ALL THUGGISH FOOTBALL FANS (IMPLICATING ALL FOOTBALL FANS)? The next step is picketing outside all football grounds and Sports Direct stores and labelling everyone entering and leaving as a racist.

OK, it’s not the next step – but it’s an exaggerated fifteenth step on a road of making a point.


Near the end of writing what’s above I came up with the Emu line. Momentarily I thought it was a moment of genius and thought about dumping the above and writing something completely based on that. I did more than think about it, in fact, I started writing it (below). However, I quickly realised that I wasn’t really parodying anything and was more in danger of belittling the bad thing and being a bit blase about an issue that isn’t that blase. 

It survives as a testament to (1) me acknowledging that some ideas are bad, (2) some things are maybe only worth ‘joking’ about it you’re making a good enough point and (3) that I still think it might make someone laugh so I’m ignoring (2) & (3) rather than doing the sensible thing and deleting it. I still like the Emu line.

There was outcry in Anti Puppeteer League (APL)  across the country this week after the Puppeteers association refused to condemn the actions of Rod Hull and Emu. APL groups marched in Whitely, Accrington and Portsmouth claiming that the country isn’t safe from over-zealous puppeteers attacking people with their puppets after someone watched a video of the Hull/Emu partnership attacking Michael Parkinson on YouTube.

The marches were not the only action taken by APL member across England this week: hundreds of Punch & Judy shows were the sites of angry protests – and attacks on puppeteers increased dramatically since the YouTube video was watched the other day.

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