Trump and that Puerto Rico speech

Puerto Rico has been suffering after the impact of a hurricane, and instead of acting like a president, Donald Trump has been acting like a massive prick. After weeks of criticism he’s now saying what Puerto Rico suffered is worse than the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

During all this Trump made an astonishing speech where he did this when pronouncing Puerto Rico.

Apart from noting Melania’s increasingly cold, dead-eyed stare the fact is there Trump is being racist at a time when being presidential is called for. Step up comedian Peter Serafinowicz who as part of his series of Sassy Trump videos to point out how Trump sort of could have done it.

It shouldn’t take a comedian to point out how to be a leader of your country, but if Trump doesn’t want to be seen as a angry authoritarian racist arsehole he might want to take notes.

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A quick word about Harvey Weinstein

Larger than life‘. ‘I heard the stories but not first hand‘. ‘He had a reputation‘. All phrases I’ve heard about film producer Harvey Weinstein in the last few days as the scale of his sexual assault and rape has been unravelled in the American media in horrible detail. I mean, listen to the fucking prick here…

That above clip is from this incredible New Yorker piece which is some of the best journalism you’ll read this year. Fact is though, people knew Weinstein was a rapist to the extent where comedy programmes like 30 Rock joked about it.

And Seth MacFarlane more or less let it all hang out at the Oscars in 2013.

Channel 4 journalist Alex Thompson sums this all up.

Every single time a case like this breaks it turns out victims have been harassed and that people knew, and not just folk like you or me who may have heard stories down the pub, or somewhere online, but people who work with or know the person/s involved. People could have spoken out but these powerful people would have destroyed their lives as much as they ruined the lives of the people they assaulted and abused.

People like Weinstein aren’t protected by one or two people. They’re protected by an entire establishment, and although I don’t buy the line that the films he produced are ”tainted” somehow, I will say that some people who had close relationships with him over the years have got some serious questions to answer because there is fuck all chance people like, say Kevin Smith, knew nothing.

It is ultimately simple. These people profit through inflicting power. One person can’t fight them alone. We all have to. Be that Savile, Weinstein or whoever is next exposed like this because there will be another, and another and so on because I hope these people’s days are numbered. They sadly won’t be, but if we can all work to expose as many as possible then maybe someday wankers like Weinstein are relegated to history.

Genetics are not a reason Scotland doesn’t qualify for football tournaments

Scotland failed yet again to qualify for a major international tournament. Manager Gordon Strachan has said something utterly extraordinary.

“Genetically, we are behind,”

Strachan’s idea is that we Scots are too small and we need big blokes to make ourselves effective on the world stage of football. This is bollocks.This is that Scottish habit of failing to accept your own faults and failures so rather than working with what you have, Strachan comes up with bullshit.

This is what’s known as the ‘it’s shite being Scottish’ meme. It’s easy to do, and I’ve even done it myself. It is however a mortifying piece of pathetic self-pitying that solves nothing. I like Strachan, he’s funny but for most of this campaign he’s failed to pick players playing in Scotland who are in form with Leigh Griffiths being the best example. It isn’t unrelated that when Strachan starts picking him regularly we start doing well.

That though is not really the point. Wallowing in a ‘och, we can’t do this. we’re Scottish.’ really is crap and what’s worse we nurture this idea, this concept, of glorious failure and take some perverse joy in it. We’ve went from the nation that invented much of the 20th century to whining miseries in a century and you know what? I’m tired of it. We can do better, not because we’re entitled to it but because we’re capable of doing more than we think we can if we work out ways to do just that. Part of achieving that is dropping this attitude of people like Strachan or quite I few people I’ve met since coming back to Scotland.

We shouldn’t be scared of failure but we should learn from it.It seems too many have learned to take failure for granted and accept it as the natural way of things and that isn’t good enough. So Scotland, get up off your knees and do better!

The return of the Nazis

2017 is going to go down as the year of a number of things but it will go down as the year the Nazis came back in force from America in events like Charlottesville to the ripples of Brexit. If you think I’m being hyperbolic have a read at this series of articles from journalist J.J Patrick about the rise of the Nazis. Its pretty worrying reading even if you have to admire the work behind the article.

That however is the tip of the iceberg. Buzzfeed this week published an amazing, not to mention scary article by Joseph Bernstein about how Milo Yiannopoulos, far-right site Breitbart, it’s editor Steve Bannon and an assorted group of Donald Trump  supporters, neo-Nazis, dregs from Gamergate and anyone willing to listen all united to form a movement that threatens the very idea of what a liberal democracy is in the 21st century. It’s an amazing read.

This shouldn’t be a shock to anyone who has paid attention over the last few years, especially to Yiannopoulos who has transformed himself from an annoying prick on BBC,s Daily Politics to far right rabble rouser.

When we’ve got the likes of Nigel Farage or Katie Hopkins still being treated as mainstream, or when the fascism seen in Catalonia is defended then at some point we’ve got to admit we’ve got a problem because the far right are looking to radicalise children.

We need to question everything, look at news sources and treat some people with the contempt they deserve because there’s a fight coming where we need to decide not just what sort of countries we all want to live in, but what sort of planet we live on because the Nazis are back, getting into power, or powerful positions and we’ve let it happen too easily.

The ongoing farce of Theresa May

It was the final day of the Tory Party conference in Manchester today, and Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech was without doubt the most memorable political speech of the year. Sadly for May it was for all the wrong reasons First of all comedian Simon Brodkin handed her a fake P45 in a speech which by this point was going down as well as calling a snap general election and losing your majority.

Coupled with May’s cough due to her cold, and the fact nobody in that hall believed a word being said it really couldn’t get worse? It could. This happened.

If you wrote a political comedy and included that moment the script editor would say something like ‘mate, that’s just taking it a wee bit too far‘. Even Armando Ianucci didn’t go that far.

On a human level one has to feel sympathy for May, except I’m not going to feel a fucking yoctogram for her as she had no sympathy for the people her policies have hurt, even killed since her government came to power in 2010. I could not care less for those commentators mumbling about feeling sorry for someone who is taking us off the edge of a cliff thanks to Brexit and has encouraged all the racists in the UK in her time in government.

This isn’t to say the alternative is appetising, it isn’t. But May’s speech summed up not just the state of British politics but the UK as a whole. Holding itself together for seconds before falling apart and becoming the laughing stock of anyone caring to pay attention. Still, if we’re all going to be fucked at least we’re still able to laugh right?

Homage to Catalonia

Carlos Ezquerra is a comic artists most famous for being one of the co-creators of Judge Dredd. Carlos lived under the fascist state of General Franco, and this influenced his design work on Judge Dredd with that eagle on his shoulder sort of giving the influence away.

Early designs for Dredd are somehow more menacing.

Why more menacing? Because look at the Spanish police who were out in force in Catalonia for their independence referendum last Sunday.

You don’t have to take a position on independence to have looked at the images on violence being enacted by the Spanish state on Sunday and be horrified that in a major European country in 2017, the police are breaking people’s fingers and denying people a voice.

I’m still not inclined to take a position on Catalonian independence, but I’m now more inclined to support it, which isn’t a unique position after the weekend’s events but the one thing I think any decent person can agree on is the level of bravery, dignity and astonishing ingenuity from the people of Catalonia. Pro and anti independence supporters have now taken to the streets to demand action and I hope the situation is resolved peacefully.

The Catalonians though have given us an example of how to behave in the face of brutality and for that I, and we all, should pay homage to them.

Mel Brooks and political correctness

Mel Brooks popped up on Radio 4’s Today programme to talk comedy, and his comments have hit the usual outrage. Essentially his point is this;

“Comedy is the lecherous little elf whispering in the king’s ear, always telling the truth about human behaviour.”

What that means is that anything is up for grabs in comedy, as it should be and even he draws a line, as it should be.

The director said he could find comedy in almost everything but conceded there were areas even he would not mine for material.

“I personally would never touch gas chambers or the death of children or Jews at the hands of the Nazis,” he told the BBC’s Radio 4’s Today programme.

“Everything else is ok.”

These should be uncontroversial comments but this is 2017 and saying that anything is up for grabs means people will react in a way to prove Brooks point. Now remember, Brooks has been alive a very long time, and has fought actual real Nazis as well as breaking down barriers with material like this.

Yet in stepped members of the modern mainstream left who decided having a pop at Brooks rather than actually grasping what he said was the thing to do.

Well, that’s a question; when did he do anything worthwhile? I mean it isn’t as if he fought Nazis in WW2, reshaped the world of comedy in the 60’s, made some of the finest comedy films of all time in the shape of The Producers, Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety, Young Frankenstein, not to mention producing The Elephant Man and hiring David Lynch, not to mention producing David Cronenberg’s version of The Fly. His C.V. is beyond impressive and in recent years he’s been semi-retired which anyone shouldn’t begrudge him.

But no, rather than deal with the point that everything is up for grabs in comedy the supposed ‘liberal left’ rail against Brooks based not upon what he’s done, but based on their own identity politics. And Brooks has a point. Can you imagine a major Hollywood studio letting this into a major film in 2017?

Me neither, but deconstruct that scene and it’s clearly attacking racism by using language which isn’t ‘politically correct’ which is a phrase that’s moved on from the Stewart Lee definition.

Essentially it is depressing to see the left adopt the same knee-jerk rhetoric and intolerance as the right. There’s a lot of comedy out there which is nice, safe and bland but for those of us who don’t want to endure Michael McIntyre we want to have the ability to offend and attack those people, attitudes and institutions that comedy should. What’s hypocritical about many of those attacking Brooks is they’re ageist which shows how pathetic some of them are.

Comedy should point out truths and when it can, punch up at everyone and although intent is also key (which is why Bernard Manning was a bigot as he never dared punch up) Nobody should get a pass because it might sound offensive to someone, regardless of their politics. Otherwise we’re crossing into a censorious society where the powerful can potentially escape because it doesn’t fit one’s politics to attack them.