“All my films are serious, if you examine any one of them. Because they are passionate and the depict human behaviour at given points in human history. They are not dramatic, and that’s the difference. You’ve got to be careful what you say when you use those words.
You can’t make a successful comedy that doesn’t have any passion. It will not be successful. You’ve got to say something about the system. About the social structure. About prejudice, about people, about behaviour. Comedy is not successful unless it deals with… even Laurel and Hardy, you could say they were cheap comedies, they have to deal with the system. The Marx Brothers always dealt with the system.
Every picture I’ve ever made has dealt with some aspect of the social system and human behaviour within it. I don’t want to get clinical about it but The Producers was about the dream of little Leo Bloom, about success. Zero Mostel in it says ‘Bloom, Bloom I’m sinking. I’m part of a society that demands success when all I can offer is failure.’ Blazing Saddles is about racial prejudice. It’s all about the hypocritical west shitting all over a black sheriff, wanting him dead.”
Toby Young has been mired in controversy this year, with the latest revelation being that he attended the London Conference on Intelligence, where several pseudoscientific arguments on the superiority of white and male genetics have been made over recent years.
I’ve decided to discover a memo written while constructing a speech delivered to the LCI. It might be real for all you know.
I’m sending you a draft copy of the speech I’m going to give to the secret eugenics conference, just to check on the scientific accuracy of my speech. [I’ll see what I can do. Though I’m not keen on the phrase ‘secret eugenics conference’.]
Welcome ladies and gentleman. And welcome also to the not so gentle men, such as the the guy in the third row with the swastika tattoo on his forehead. (Wait a moment for people to turn around.) I’m joking of course, there are no members of the working class here.
I’m here to talk to you today about eugenics, an area of science that has a negative reputation as the result of some misapplications in the 1930s and 40s. Because of these…unfortunate uses of eugenics – the whole genocide thing – many people reject the idea entirely out of hand. I personally have been no-platformed by Teach First, who deleted my blog on eugenics. [That’s not what no-platforming means. I’ve been rejected by many journals, you don’t have a right to be paid for your words in whatever publication you want.]
This conference has a long legacy of brave speakers, willing to challenge taboos. One of my predecessors at this podium, Emil Kirkegaard, argued that paedophiles should be allowed to rape sleeping children provided that they’re unaware of what’s done to them. Many of the ideas expressed at this conference and those like it will be considered controversial to mainstream ivory tower elites. But the development of new ideas requires debate. Without an in-depth discussion, can we really say for certain that it’s wrong for a paedophile to rape a sleeping child?
Rick and Morty has a setup that’s an obvious play of the one in Back to the Future, with an elderly genius inventor supported by his teenage assistant. The style of humour is probably best explained by comparing it to Monty Python – mixing smart and dumb humour, the profound and the silly – with an added streak of nihilism.
Rick Sanchez is referred to several times as the smartest man in the universe, and he’s not shy about his brilliance. There’s a long-running pop culture association between intelligence and arrogance. Tony Stark, Gregory House, Gaius Baltar, Sherlock‘s Sherlock, Sheldon Cooper. There are public figures who play up to this idea by acting dismissively to ideas that clash with their own – Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Bill Maher, almost any of the main hosts on Fox News. I think it’s only in recent decades that this idea of arrogance and intelligence being intertwined has become so dominant, but celebrations of this personality type goes back as far as Winston Churchill and Oscar Wilde, possibly further. It’s been argued that the fact people associate arrogance and intelligence could be one of the reasons behind Donald Trump’s presidential victory, which makes sense. How else can you explain a candidate saying “I have the best words“, “my primary consultant is myself“, “I’m much more humble than you would understand” and still be taken seriously? Continue reading “The Arrogant Stupidity of Rick Fanboys”
The Daily Mail has set social media buzzing today with a front page that compares the legs of the UK’s Prime Minister and Scotland’s First Minister. But there’s been less coverage of the superficial, transparently biased, and oddly sexualised article that accompanied the headline.
I decided to exclusively uncover an early draft of the article.
One was relaxed, every inch a stateswoman while her opposite number was tense and uncomfortable: we don’t know how headlines work
By Mrs Michael Gove
Legend – or rather Hollywood – has it that the Scottish knight William Wallace daubed himself head-to-toe in blue woad paint to defeat the English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. Centuries later, Nicola Sturgeon has gone one step further. Yes, further! Whereas Wallace took the time to paint his entire body, Sturgeon wore a blue dress, the silly mare.
While Sturgeon has worn a dress that is dark blue with white trim, May worse a blue jacket. The difference is obvious.
Intentional or otherwise, the First Minister’s nutty blue suit with white piping and matching light-coloured stilettos were unmistakably reminiscent of the Scottish flag, a subliminal if not entirely subtle indication of her feelings towards Westminster.
The Prime Minister’s gorgeous blue jacket was more reminiscent of the blue parts of the Union Jack. Her union-jacket, if you will.
Continuing my effort to repost all my material from The Leaky Wiki, the latest post is from January 2012. It’s not particularly topical, and if I’m honest, it’s not one of my best, but as it’s not topical at all, it’s aged well. I think that’s lowered expectations sufficently.
You can see this in it’s original context here, or carry on reading.
Developing World Objects to The Label ‘Developing World’, Finds it Patronising
In a staggeringly short five hour speech at the UN yesterday, the ambassador from the recently re-named Developmentistan criticised the terminology used in defining the wealth of nations.
“It is about time you know how we feel about you in the west,” he announced from the podium, speaking in that unusual manner where individual syllables were pronounced slowly and slightly oddly, as people of his nation do. “You are so full of yourselves! Oh, we have reached a good point, you aren’t as good as us, and must be arbitrarily judged by our standards at any given moment. I mean, give me a break!” He paused dramatically, and wiped the sweat away from his brow. “You still have children dying in poverty, despite having the medication right there in your own country. How about you get down off your high horses, and realise that we are people too, just like you? Wouldn’t that be a nice thing to do?”
The country was renamed Developmentistan last month, in what has been widely construed as some sort of sarcastic jibe taken too far. Many media commentators have pointed out that roadsigns, hospitals and airports will have to be renamed and relabelled, at massive expense.
Sarcasm analysts believe this is the most expensive sarcasm related incident since a producer on the set of Waterworld angrily joked ‘why don’t we put Costner in charge? After all he’s a BRILLIANT director! He did SUCH a good job on The Postman!’
“At least when you called us the ‘Third World’ you were honest about how you saw us,” continued the ambassador, as he drew towards the end of his five hour speech, remarkably short by UN standards. “At least that was good, honest condesencion. We knew where we stood with that kind of attitude! We knew that you saw our society as inferior not only to your own, but to the communists who sent millions of their citizens to death camps! But now… Now….” He paused, looking very slowly around the hall, as if he was perhaps trying to make eye contact with each of his fellow ambassadors, perhaps to induce feelings of guilt in them. “Exactly what makes a country developed? Hmm?’ He paused, once more. “I bet you don’t even know where my country is, do you?”
America can be a scary place. In America, corporations are considered to be people, people who speak via the medium of money, and are allowed to refuse to pay for their employees’ healthcare for religious reasons.
It’s also a country where, in 2012, a major Republican politician, while running for President, could say that gays are weird, on camera, on purpose, and expect it to help rather than hinder his challenge for president.
Scarier still, he was probably right.
Reading satire written years before, it turns out, can mean that what was once topical is no longer memorable.
Do you remember what Current TV was? Probably not. There’s a decent chance you don’t recognise Keith Olbermann, who, to a British audience is probably best described as a real world equivalent of The Newsroom’s Will McAvoy. You can view a sample of his work on youtube – he later left MSNBC to start a new news channel, which is where I (fictionally) came in.
As previously mentioned, I’m currently re-uploading the pieces of satire I wrote for The Leaky Wiki following that site’s demise. The whole project is inspired either by vanity (that people NEED to be able to see the jokes I wrote over two years ago) or laziness (why should I go to the trouble of writing new material?) but both are good reasons.
The latest re-upload (which you can see in its original context via the Wayback Machine) was originally published in December 2011, and makes fun of those silly Colonials, who think that you brew tea in a harbour.
Leading Tea Party member sceptical over the existence of ‘America’.
Joe T. Plumber, one of the leading organisers of the Tea Party, has today expressed his disbelief over the existence of America.
“I’ve been skeptical over President Obama’s birth certificate for a while,” he revealed in an exclusive sit-down interview.
“After all, you can’t blindly believe everything you’re told. Yes, there may be masses of legal documentation, a birth announcement in the local Hawaiian newspaper at the time, and witnesses who remember him as a young boy.” admitted Plumber.
“But, even given all that, it could be some kind of con – his father would want him to be involved in the greatest nation on Earth. And, how do we know he’s not playing a long-con, like in those Ocean’s films? How do we know he’s not a Kenyan Muslim terrorist bent on destroying America? You can never be too safe.”
Plumber is a man who loves America, so much so that he regularly dresses in cowboy boots, shirts in the colours and patterns of the American flag, and similar patriotic apparel. Plumber, formerly Michael Edwards, renamed himself when he first took an interest in politics in January 2009, choosing the name of his favourite Founding Father.
“All of that got me thinking – what else am I not sure about? People say we put a man on the moon – but we just have to take NASA’s word for it. It’s not like we can go up there to look about, is it?”
This uber-patriot was now in full flow, giving an argument he had clearly had to give many times before, given the opposition to his line of argument.
“In fact, the more and more I thought about it, the whole American revolution thing started to seem a bit iffy. I mean, think about it – a young nation stands up to the greatest empire in the world – and wins? That’s just the kind of crap Hollywood would make up. Sure, there’s loads of documentation, thousands of books and articles written about the events – but all that exists for Obama as well!
“In fact, how do I know you’re not a lizard man, part of a vast conspiracy that secretly runs the world? I bet you can’t disprove that right now, can you? Here, let me cut your face off.”
It was shortly after this point that I decided I had all the quotes I needed for the story, and left, with only minimal scarring to my face.
The Leaky Wiki, a satirical website which I wrote for between 2011 and 2013, eventually fell apart, somehow unable to make huge profits despite internet sarcasm being in high demand and low supply.
Using the Wayback Machine I’ve combed through the wreckage, recovering what was mine, which I’ll re-publish here on my blog in the coming weeks and months.
My first piece for The Leaky Wiki came back in November 2011, a distant time, very different from today, when there were questions about why Qatar had been chosen to host the 2022 World Cup. It’s like another lifetime entirely.
Qatar World Cup NOT Chosen as a Result of Bribery, Leaked Emails Show
Shocking emails have been leaked today, which show that Qatar was chosen as host of the 2022 World Cup, not because of bribery, as had been previously widely assumed, but because FIFA delegates genuinely believed them to be the best choice as host.
Critics have pointed out that the bid was plagued with problems as Qatar had no existing football infrastructure, and the heat regularly reaches fifty degrees Celsius in the summer. Sepp Blatter even announced that they may play games indoors, and alternately may move the whole competition forward to January.
‘It just made sense that Qatar was chosen because of bribery,’ commented one leading Premier League footballer, who asked to remain anonymous. ‘I mean, I’m no brain cutting person, I struggle to keep track of which Page 3 girl I’m banging. But even I know that when choosing the hosts, it makes sense to make sure the players will be able to stand up during matches.’
These new revelations have shaken what little faith there was in an organisation that has elected Sepp Blatter as it’s president 4 times, with many administrators wondering why Qatar would be chosen were it not for financial self-interest.
‘Qatar has no football history or infrastructure,’ said one leading English FA administrator. ‘I’m the guy who keeps suggesting we put David Beckham forward as part of our bid teams, despite his sounding like a ten year old girl, and not a very bright one at that. But even I can’t understand how the delegates can be so stupid. We had all thought that the fact that we were promised more votes than we received for our bid was a betrayal, but I’m starting to think that the delegates didn’t realise our ‘donations’ to their domestic football programmes were meant to be an implied bribe. Honestly, I have no idea how you’d work with that kind of person.’
In related news, other emails leaked at the same time reveal Saudi Arabia to be a frontrunner to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
This weekend sees the release of the third in the Hangover franchise, with Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifanakianakis set to spend a couple of days searching for a lost friend, and piece together their lost memories for the third time in 4 summers.
Writing for the Ann Arbor Review of Books, I’ve watched and reviewed the first two Hangover films.
Click here to read Marathon Man: The Hangover