Tag Archives: the guardian

Some thoughts on the London riots

By Mysterion

In response to the riots, a petition has been set up to remove benefits from those involved in the riots. At the time of writing, it has amassed 115,436 signatures. Some people have argued against this move, saying it will disillusion those people further from society. Whilst not necessarily advocating to removal of benefits myself, some seem to be under the impression that everyone is entitled to a place in society, which is something I don’t agree with. A place in society is earned by adhering to the unwritten social contract we have, i.e. respecting others and the laws of the land. It is this contract the keeps society functioning smoothly.

Some are under the impression that it is the job of the Police to keep the population in check, which is of course not the case. If everyone decided not to adhere to the law, the Police would be overwhelmed and could do nothing about it. Luckily, most people respect this social contract, but there those who choose to ignore it. These people should not necessarily gain the advantages that functioning members of society receive. When events of these nature occur, there is always the attempt to excuse the actions due to societal factors, as Nina Power in The Guardian has tried to do here. However, it is unfair to blame society as a whole for criminal elements that have always existed, and always will.

There is absolutely no justification for the actions and conduct of the rioters. People can go on all day about the reasons why this happened and the underlying causes, but simply put, these people have committed criminal acts. It is sheer criminality and it cannot be tolerated. There is ALWAYS a choice when it comes to such acts, the choice between doing what is right and what is wrong. If one were to come home and find their wife in bed with another man, and then they shot her, people might understand their reasoning behind it. But is it the right thing to do? Of course not.

Some quarters have pointed to the cuts as a catalyst for the riots, which is what Harriet Harman did on a shameful display on Newsnight where she tried to score political points from the events. This is absurd, and not even the New Statesman could agree with Harman. It is unlikely that a 13 year old stealing a widescreen TV is making a statement to the cuts to the EMA. If there is any underlying cause to all of this, it is a culture that has fostered this sense of entitlement from society for nothing, and a breakdown in the identification between right and wrong in people. A good way to establish the difference is to show the consequences of doing wrong. Punishing these rioters to the full extent of the law would be a good start.

Does class matter in comedy?

By Mysterion

This week Danny Cohen, the new controller of BBC 1, has called for more sitcoms to feature blue-collar characters. Naturally this has sparked debate about whether class matters in comedy. Someone on a Guardian blog posted this comment:

Middle Class, Working Class, does it  really matter as long as it’s funny?

Well, yes and no. A working class comedy is not necessarily better than a middle class sitcom by itself, that comes down to factors such as writing and casting. However I would say that a working class comedy has the potential to be a better sitcom. What really makes a great sitcom is the idea that the characters are trapped within their situation. This idea lends itself far better to sitcoms with working class characters than middle class ones. Aspirational working class characters are well-worn in sitcoms. One only has to look at Harry in Steptoe and Son, always trying to escape his circumstances, or Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses, trying to get rich quick. Their comedy lies within their attempts to leave their impoverished circumstances, and can be repeated week after week by returning to the status quo. It cannot be as easily done is shows as say, My Family. There are exceptions of course, but I would say working class characters have the potential for better comedy. I would also suggest, if I may, that Blackadder became funnier as his class standing diminished. As for the changes, well if it means more shows like Only Fools and Horses and less like Miranda, it can only be a good thing.

The Assange Arrest

By Mysterion

There is an interesting article on the Julian Assange arrest in the Guardian here, which makes some interesting points. Most of the comments, however, seem to be things like this:

The whole thing is a charade designed to distract us from the leaks.

I have to politely disagree here. Although the timing is highly suspicious, there is nothing to link the arrest to his WikiLeaks activities. This case is about Assange’s personal activities, rather than the cables. Whether he is guilty or not, I don’t know. I couldn’t possibly judge. Unlike some on the left…

This has been perhaps the most worrying thing about the whole situation: a quite frankly disgusting attempt from the left to smear Assange’s accusers. It is interesting how quickly respect for women goes out the window when a hero of the left is accused of such behaviour. Here is an interesting article that shows the extent that the defenders of Assange have gone to try to discredit these women.

It is hard not to draw parallels between this case and the situation surrounding Roman Polanski last year. Not just because both men flit around the world to avoid consequence, but because of the way that people have tried to defend shameful actions in their private life because of things they have done in the public arena. The Guardian article sums up the argument thus:

…it also underlies the assumption that a man’s good behaviour in public life somehow neutralises bad behaviour in private…

This kind of dangerous thinking from the left leads to apologies from people like Whoopi Goldberg, who claimed that what Polanski did wasn’t ‘rape’ rape.  Well, no.  No one is above the law, especially with such despicable acts.  At the very least, Julian Assange has a case to answer in Sweden. And if it is indeed just to cover to deflect from the leaks, I’m sure that Assange will leak the documents himself at a later date.