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Beyond the pale at the Edinburgh Festival

I have never been to the Edinburgh Festival, which has been, over the years, a launchpad for standup comedians and musicians such as Denis Leary. James Glassman, who went to the event this year, observes that Jew-bashing and “gags” about the Holocaust is going down a storm. Quite what that says about the organisers and the clientele, heaven only knows. Being an ardent defender of free speech, Glassman rightly points out that the way to deal with jerks like the “comedian” mentioned its contempt. I hope a fair amount of contempt is indeed delivered.

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13 comments to Beyond the pale at the Edinburgh Festival

  • Jso

    Almost all of the leftist jew-haters commenting on the timesonline page make a hilariously inept argument:

    I agree with Jonathon in that perhaps there is a touch of hypocrisy in that Mr Glassman has made a living making jokes about certain minority groups yet is horrified when a group he belongs to is targeted. I am not anti-Semitic

    In the very article these leftists are replying to:

    As a producer and writer on The Ali G Show, I have been accused of racism, among other things, in the past. All three characters in that show had their prejudices but I hope all thinking people would see the satire not far below the surface.

    Borat, the fictional Kazakhstani journalist, was overtly anti-Semitic. Sacha Baron Cohen would dangle Borat’s anti-Semitism in front of our interviewees and we would all be shocked and amazed at how many of them would take the bait and join in.

    Borat was also prejudiced against blacks and Gypsies. Ali G was a homophobe and a misogynist. Austrian fashion presenter Bruno hated the disabled, all fat people, ugly people and the Jews too. Apologies if I have forgotten some colour, creed or lifestyle that we would use as bait.

    The difference between Ali G and Steve Hughes is that Ali G actually has a point and a punchline which people can laugh at. He is putting his character on display for the purpose of a funny bit.

    As opposed to “I want to bash Condoleezza Rice’s brain to bits and kill that f****** Jew Richard Perle.” I fail to see a funny joke in that.

  • And on the same day that Ahmedinejad launched his Holocaust cartoon show, too! The silver lining being that the latter stunt is going to fail to provoke the Iranian flag-burning he’d so been hoping for.

  • gravid

    Hmmph, satire is “cool” but don’t say anything about my ethnic grouping puh-lease! Hypocritical nonsense I say. See Steve Hughes’s reply about being quoted out of context.

  • 1skeptic

    is it cos i is jewish?

  • James

    I’m unashamedly ‘blind’ to almost everything when it comes to comedy (so long as it doesn’t have an agenda), so I can’t say I’ve not found jokes about various groups and peoples funny in the past. To put it one way, I’m of the B3ta.com ilk when it comes to humour. Nothing is off limits.

    Some things are just funny, so long as they remain blind to an agenda.

    It starts to get serious when people use it as a pretext for something else entirely.

  • Lizzie

    I hope a fair amount of contempt is indeed delivered.

    I fear it will be masked by the applause.

  • Julian Taylor

    And on the same day that Ahmedinejad launched his Holocaust cartoon show, too.

    Is that any way the same as the CBS “anything you crazy Iranians say against GW BushMcHitler is a good thing” show the other night?

  • Fraser

    So what does everyone think of Orange suspending a member of staff for writing a “Lefty Lexicon” on Conservativehome?
    Sample: “Islamophobic – anyone who objects to having their transport blown up on the way to work.”
    (Link)

  • Two thoughts:

    Inigo Wilson is obviously a thinking person: therefore more dangerous than any terrorist.

    My household has 2 mobile phones with Orange: this seems two many by far.

    Best regards

  • Brian

    But you forget, they are ‘alternative comedians’. Leaving aside the old saw that they are alternative to ‘funny’, this means they are RIGHT ON! They are ANTI FASCIST, and ANTI THATCHER, and ANTI BUSH. Therefore, anything they say is amusing (anyone remember Ben Elton on Saturday Night Live? Ben’s hoping there isn’t anyone).

    So anti-semitic jokes far from being deplorable racialism are evidence of their moral superiority. After all, you are probably just MIDDLE CLASS and just don’t get it.

  • Had he really been trying to go after some taboos then he would have made jokes about Mohammed.

  • Doug Jones

    I shared a stage a few times with Reg at the Comedy Corner in Colorado Springs- talk about your small world.

    Reg always did have a contrary streak, notably when we did a “Clean Night” at the club, all of us doing routines that you could let small children listen to (although they might not comprehend). I can’t even recall what I performed, it was pretty weak.

    Then Reg got up and did the raunchiest, nastiest set he knew, f-bombing left and right. Made the rest of us look better by contrast, anyway. Good thing the show didn’t let anyone under 21 in the door.

  • Paul Marks

    The only amusing thing about Ben Elton was his, unintentionally, bad “working class” accent.

    Mr Elton tried to talk like a lower class person – and did it all wrong.

    He reminded me of my half brother, a man who tried to talk with a (lower class) London accent, but had not grown up in London (he did the voice very badly).

    As for Jew hating.

    Up to a little while ago it was “I do not hate Jews, I hate Sharon” or “I do not hate Jews, I hate the Israeli right”.

    However, Sharon is not in the government – and people like Peritz [spelling] (the leftist who kicked Perez as leader of the Labour party) are (Peritz is minister of Defence).

    Lukud is in opposition so saying one just hates “the Israeli right” is not going to work.

    It is “death to the Jews” – that simple.