At this time when tens of thousands of us will die thanks to the Coronavirus, we need a laugh so thanks to the bloke walking around Leicester Square in a plague mask looking a bit odd and creepy but in a fun way.
It is 2020. People are still blaming South Park for all the ills of the Western World. This time instead of the rabidly illiberal censorious right screaming about the show, it’s the rabidly illiberal censorious left in the shape of writer Dana Schwartz.
There’s a series of Tweets, with above being her first, and the next being her last, but she’s ploughing a furrow dug often since the programme started in the late 90’s.
The problem is her final message is wrong. Yes it is a very political show, but the message is that often there is nothing that can be done in terms of a simple, easy solution. The character of Kyle especially (often to be said to be the closest in terms of actual beliefs for the creators) pours out hard solutions but is mocked by others because people from the left and right don’t want complex answers but easy ones that fits their own worldview. Which is where Schwartz is as the show doesn’t fit her worldview so she threw out this attempt to basically ‘cancel’ it.
The problem is by blaming South Park from everything from the alt-right, to Trump to the current culture wars is that simple solution. An airy wave of the hand and all your problems are gone. Who needs to understand the socio-economic problems caused by the collapse of industry which has led to an alienated working class who feel isolated and ignored by all the traditional politics out there, hence why many are looking to outsiders for answers. Sadly that gives us Brexit and Trump partly because the left as a whole has advocated the discussion to the right in favour of purity spirals and identity politics rather than creating a narrative where the alienated working class see a way out.
So instead we’re stuck with people being offended by a show nearly 25 years old that’s attacked people from all political backgrounds and while it often misses a point, or gets it wrong, it serves a purpose as a satire of the times where anything is open for debate. Because you don’t like hearing what it has to say is not a reason to ‘cancel’ it, which makes me glad that Schwartz’s attempt to do just that fell flat but these attempts at censorship attack liberty itself, and sometimes liberty means people hearing or seeing things they don’t want to hear or see.
Sajid Javid has unveiled the second Brexit 50p to ‘celebrate’ the UK leaving the EU which will enter circulation this Friday when the UK leaves the EU effectively being the first nation in history to impose sanctions upon itself.
All of this is bullshit, and all of this is designed to shove faces of Remainers in it because we now live in a time so polarised that ‘winners’ (and it remains to be seen what Brexiters have won barring racism and blue passports which are made in France) will have friendship with nations we’ve just told to fuck the fucking hell off?
And to make it worse, we’ve spent millions in melting down the ones which was supposed to celebrate leaving in October thus making it a perfect metaphor for Brexit itself.
Still, the funniest thing is that the 50p piece will be a constant reminder to those Brexiters trying to pretend in the coming years that they were never Brexiters, or this insane nonsense never happened.
Back in the 1970’s I was but a wee boy, and like many folk back then, a Monty Python fan. When hearing that Michael Palin and Terry Jones had made their own series, Ripping Yarns, like many youthful fanboys I was aside myself and to this day I adore every single one of them but Golden Gordon is by far my favourite.
Palin and Jones were their own team within Python, and out of all the groupings that came out of Python these two were the best and the funniest because Palin was just a brilliant performer, while Jones timed the comedy in those episodes to perfection. They were very British, very English bits of humour that now, sadly, will be lost to people because the reference for these stories (pulp magazines and British boys comics) are not part of your average Millenial’s cultural wardrobe.
Jones was never the standout in Python for me when I was younger. It was John Cleese but as I got older and older I’d notice what Jones was doing as well as his sheer comic bravery in getting a laugh with this being one of my favourite Python sketches ever.
Something then dawned on me watching this for the 1000th time, in that if I imagine Python to have a voice, then it sounds like Terry Jones. Not Eric Idle, Cleese or anyone else. Even now if you’re riffing off Python then it’s his voice you’ll be using.
And then I started growing up, latching onto the alternatic comedy boom of the 80s which washed all before it, except for Terry Jones who stamped his approval upon things wonderfully.
And that was it. Jones was my favoutite Python which made his descent into dementia so horrible to see his mind go but his friends stood by him all the way. There’s a point if the DVD of the O2 shows from 2014 where Jones is clearly distressed and confused backstage, but all of them form a shield to protect and to encourage him. It’s a small, tiny moment but it shows you what he meant to his friends, and now, it’s a sad moment because we know this is him slipping away but still able to cling on thanks to his mates.
I’ll miss Jones. He was always fun, always entertaining and always it seems, right. Like everyone it seems I’ll miss knowing he’s not around to make the world that wee bit of a better place a lot.
Now here’s a thing. I’m no fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber. His musicals have been a blister on the arse of modern culture for decades, but the reaction to the film version of Cats is extraordinary and has been since the first bizarre trailer.
There’s something called the ‘uncanny valley‘ and this first trailer was full of it so people were naturally unnerved by something which looked weird at best, utterly terrifying at worst. So for the last six months, the general school of thought is this was a disaster in the making and that people should be ready to hate this film. Now the film is out, reviews are not kind to say the very very least.
But the thing was I didn’t feel involved with the pile-on. In fact I thought the trailer looked interesting in a way where the director Tom Hooper has went for a complete anthropomorphisation of the characters in a neon world. Basically Hooper has done something unexpected, but this uncanny valley problem wasn’t going away mainly as I think this as the first time a number of people encountered it.
Standing alone in the tsunami of hate is Mike McPadden’s glorious review at Daily Grindhouse. It is probably the best thing written about the film so far, and you can read it here. This bit I liked especially;
To wit: any time Groupthink issues a “WORST. MOVIE. EVER” edict, my instinct is to champion their target. I grew up circling any title rated “BOMB” in Leonard Maltin’s annual movie guidebooks and then scoured my local TV schedule each week to hunt them down. That was my film school, and it worked. Consider, too, some specific masterworks reflexively bemoaned on arrival by Big Stupid Everybody: EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC (1977), SHOWGIRLS (1995), and THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU (1996), to name just three favorites. Which do you think is more challenging, more exciting, more rewarding—those films, or whatever topped the box office and/or mainstream critics’ lists of their respective release years?
I could add hundreds of films which bombed critically and at the box office which are now genuine classics, which isn’t to say Cats is a classic, but it will be a cult film within the decade. In the meantime people will move onto another film to pile onto leaving me wondering what sort of fucked up society we’ve become where I defend something Andrew Lloyd Webber has touched…
If there’s a single title in comics that encapsulates the massive cross-company event it is DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths published back in 1985. Sure there’d been crossovers before but nothing of this scale which rewrote what DC Comics was about. Now we have The CW attempting to do something similar with their DC television series, so a five-part crossover starts this weekend with Supergirl, then Batwoman and across all their series. They’ve been building this up for a year, and in tribute to the crossovers for the comic, there’s been something similar with the TV series.
In short, they’re doing something that makes Marvel’s Infinity Saga seem like a church panto on the catering budget of the last Avengers film. Yet it looks fun as it ties in all the other DC adaptations over the decades while telling a story which is enough like Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s comic saga.
And this bring me to the trailer. Soak it the various different Flash’s, Supermen and Batman, and wonder how this is going to be done in five hours of television.
We’ll find out in just a few days…
Chris Morris is to me, the single greatest satirist the UK has produced in the last 30 years. There is nobody today pushing the limits as Morris did, or challenging not just how comedy is made, but poking a stick at culture, and the way the media works. There was never the sense that Morris was using comedy as a way to becoming a TV presenter or ‘celebrity’ as so many ‘comedians’ have done over the last few decades.
So a new project by Morris is a genuine event, and his new film, The Day Shall Come, is just that.
It looks very like Morris has found a topic nobody really knew about and is using that to shine a light upon it in a way that reflects some of what’s going on today. Here’s Morris going into more detail on Channel 4 News.
I do wish we’d see more Morris, not to mention more outright satire, but if he produces two or three great works a decade it’s a fuckload better than selling out doing a Netflix special with the same dried-up material you’ve been pushing for years like some comics out there.
So appreciate him wile we’ve got him because there’s no replacement out there.