Y’know sometimes how a story or a situation can just sit in the back of your mind all week? Well, it’s been one of those weeks. In this case, the thing that’s been pinging around my cranium for the last few days has been this article from the Guardian.
It’s the worst piece of journalism I’ve seen in a while, and whilst two of those comics who have been misrepresented have been afforded a right-of-reply (Richard Herring’s can be read here and Brendon Burns’ can be read here) this is still too little too late in my book.
I’ve long been troubled by the idea of how the press can deliberately misrepresent a person, and to take an avowedly and outspokenly anti-racist such as Herring and use out of context quotes to portray him as the opposite is fundamentally depressing but nothing new.
Here’s a fun game to play. Take a look around your house, and see what items could be misrepresented in some way by the tabloids were you ever to stand accused of a crime. Granted, my own house is full of a great deal of amassed paraphernalia from years of shooting straight-to-DVD splatter movies, so I have a head start. I’ve got an awful lot of bloodstained wedding dresses, gimp masks, surgical tools, cheerleader outfits and chainsaws sitting in my loft, which would pretty much mean that the tabloids would hang me without trial if they ever found the need to. But what about beyond that? Ok, let’s have a rummage through a typical loft.
What do we have here?
“Films feature full-frontal footage of naked children, and real-life death and mutilation”
That’d be Superman: The Movie, Good Morning Vietnam and JFK..
“Publications featuring underage sexualised nudity”
That’d be back-issues of the tabloid newspapers themselves (!) from a few years ago before they raised the minimum age for Page 3 from 16 to 18.
“Audio recordings detailing mutilation, rape and murder”
That’d be the Eminem albums.
“Books detailing black magic rituals”
Harry Potter stand up and take a bow.
It sounds like I’m exaggerating for comic effect here, but I’m really not. The cumalative effect of listing a whole bunch of stuff completely out of context is a very powerful thing. If I’d never heard of Richard Herring prior to that article on Monday I would, frankly, have assumed that he was at best an idiot and at worst a fascist. The fact that he’s actually one of the best stand-ups in the country and has strongly held and frequently articulated anti-racist views makes the article both incredibly irritating and also rather dangerous.
I still can’t work out Brian Logan’s motives, and in a way I’m past caring. If it was an article in the Daily Mail I’d be able to shrug it off easier (frankly, if you read that piece of shit and expect it to be anything other than incoherent lies then you deserve everything you get), but The Guardian turns up on my mat most mornings, and I’d credited them with a little more. Not a lot, just a little.
As Beck once so beautifully put it..
“Don’t believe everything that you read,
(Coughs.. Squints at lyrics sheet)
“..a parking violation and a maggot on your sleeve”