The Saturday Essay: removing the right to laugh is no longer funny

Fred on everything is not a site I visit that often, but somebody pointed me at it yesterday, and as usual it did not disappoint. Fred Reed is an American author who, as the former colonial subjects of George III are wont to say, “tells it like it is”. He doesn’t so much deconstruct bollocks as smash it to a pulp against the nearest wall with a mason’s hammer; but in so doing, his prose retains its sharp wit and uncomplicated irony. Like most of the tiny band who think 21st century invented morés laughable, he regards that disabled body as worse than daft: quite understandably (and in my view accurately) he thinks it dangerous.

His target in the linked article is the falling standards and rising intolerance of US campus students and their agents provocateurs-cum-endlessly-indulgent teaching staff. Thirty years on from The Human Stain, things are worse than ever. The problem is more endemic in the States than the UK (where the same crap happens, but we being infinitely more apathetic, it never gets too infuriating) because the whole pc, multicultural, zero-tolerance mess has been more fanatically promoted by most of the deranged protectorate for much longer.

In the Anglo-Saxon West, the surreal success of soi-disant liberals has been to bring about the end of freedom of thought. Free thinking is actively discouraged, and has been replaced by “You can’t say that, not in today’s world” or even worse, “How could you even think such a thing?”

The most obvious manner in which this linguistic fascism gives itself away is, not surprisingly, in the language it uses. The word ‘correct’ would’ve made George Orwell smile contentedly, and the attachment of ‘progressive’ to all ‘liberal’ ideas suffers from the same fault: all our change is progress, yours is merely reactionary.

Worse still is the language it insists you and I must not use. To this end we have “the N word” and that worst of all sins, “the C word”. Nigger is without doubt an offensive word because of its historical overtones, but tone and context are everything; I watched a TV forum construct some years back in which the word nigger was discussed non-stop for twenty minutes, without the word ever being pronounced. As for cunt, the mistake made by most people who need strong smelling salts whenever the word is uttered is to somehow imagine that men are thinking of female pudenda when they use it. They are not. Over supper at some North London table many years ago, I offered the view that Gordon Brown is a stupid cunt, and a lady said, “I really object to the casual use of Anglo-Saxon swear-words”. “It’s Latin you fucking moron” I responded. It earned me a rebuke for being a bully from the host. Perhaps he was right.

Does any of this matter? Of course it does. It encourages herd thinking, and that produces mob reactions. It nurtures the rationale for totalitarian régimes in which Thought Crime as a concept can become acceptable. It stifles the natural cultural questioning that produces creativity in a stable civilisation. And it celebrates the minority, the unnatural, the false and the fluffy in a world where (I’m glad to say) things aren’t like that at all.

But above all, it invites furious backlash among the less erudite corners of society, who justifiably feel left out of the discussion. In my own country of origin, such citizens have been ignored on the issues of immigration, Islam, feckless father syndrome, anti-social sexual perversions, definitions of rape, EU membership, neoliberalism,  education and multiculturalism for the best part of three decades.

The profoundly disturbing consequences of that arrogant dismissal of their feelings by the self-appointed élites are there for all to see today. Not a single feminist soundbite has changed the role of gender in our culture, and misogynist practices among minorities have been disgracefully ignored. The compelling nature of Black gang culture has been hidden by idiotic talk of systemic racism. Britain now acts as a home to some 15,000 Jihadist sympathisers. Hundreds of people are in jail because of judicial decisions (or laws themselves) framed and developed by misguided interpretations of reality. The police themselves have become politicised, prosecuting homophobia while ignoring corporacratic crime. The entire paedomania of recent years is based on a wicked brew of ignorance, conspiracy, and mob rule.

We have a Conservative government busy eroding such liberties as remain to us in Britain, and we have it because the anti-neoliberal decent tendency is often repulsed by the arcane and at times childish insistence inside the Labour Party that LGBT is a massive issue, feminism is important whereas ageism isn’t, and we are all ‘colleagues’. Thirty years ago – rest assured – they were using ‘comrade’.

We are very possibly going to end our association with the EU some time next year, and while I welcome that, we’re doing it for entirely the wrong reason. UKIP’s  strategy has been to make the referendum a 1-issue campaign: immigration. I too think the UK is hugely overcrowded – and the statistics agree with me – but immigration got out of control because the pc-multiculture cadres refused to decouple it from the race issue. We should be voting Leave because the EU is a corrupt, mendacious, bankrupt, neo-fascist cacophony of fat bureaucrats and controlling shadow bankers. This is how Alice in Blunderland the cloud-nine fairy thinking gets.

It is merely one more dimension of escape from facing reality. If at some time in the future there is anyone left to write the history of this era – say, 1980- 2020 – they could do worse than call it the Age of Escapism. Virtual reality, ‘friends’ you’ve never met, wealth trickles down, socialism has never been given an even break, gender behaviour is all learned, the eurozone is out of recession, America is powering up for the next growth phase, austerity saves economies, everyone disabled is nice, we should pay governments to hold our savings before they steal them, Quantitative easing is a stimulant, and the Pope is a Jew.

That last one is not right, I know. He’s sort of, you know, Jew-ish. Not a completely, world-dominating Zionist Jew like most of them are. Not a Rothschild, Palestinian-baiting Israeli Jew. Listen, the Pope’s OK  – him, I like. But her….

And right there is the real bottom line: one can’t tell jokes like that any more. What all these pinched goblins across the spectrum are doing is taking away our right to laugh. Their real desire is to stop us laughing at them: but of all the unnatural notions of which they wish to persuade us, that one surely is the most batshit bananas.