Sunday, 8 January 2012

A penny for my thoughts

Earlier this month a promoter I worked for got an email off an audience member claiming a certain piece of my material was racist, luckily we could respond by sending them a video clip of me doing the accused routine at a “Stand up against racism” benefit gig.  The bit is an observation about the poster for the pool rules at the leisure centre I worked at for 9 years having one of the cartoon children illustrating the rules coloured in brown for diversity purposes, but they accidentally made it the child enforcing the rule “No Bombing”… I finish the story defusing any racial tension by suggesting they have a Ginger kid for “No Friends”

Actual poster at Concordia Leisure Centre

It’s fine to be “Racist” to gingers as they aren’t a race, there are no colonies except maybe some parts of Scotland, there was no ginger slavery, ginger holocaust, or any history of gingers being forced to live as second class citizens… however everyone is living their own life at this moment in time and regardless of ancestry and the hardship of former generations us gingers DO get the shit beaten out of us in school, I don’t mind though, the hate didn’t transpire into adulthood and knowing I can take a good kicking has equipped me for life. Pulling a girl when you have ginger hair has an overwhelming sense of achievement because you know your personality has shone through and that the person you’re making out with isn’t shallow and likes you as a person enough to go against social prejudice, it’s like winning a hand of poker when you’ve been dealt a seven and a two off suit.

Don’t get me wrong though, as I’ve got older my hair has got a lot darker and you can barely tell I’m a ginger anymore and I’m fucking DELIGHTED…. It’s like being cured of Aids; another reason ginger isn’t a race. No one is proud of it.

Me and my Bro aged 10 & 12 braving the sun

Today I got asked by a friend/colleague to take down a joke I had as my Facebook status;

“Find a penny pick it up, the rest of the day your mates will call you a Jew”

Unlike gingers, Jews are a race of people so if I considered this gag to include any hate, malice or loathing for the group of people I would never have posted it and re-evaluated my life, questioning where these irrational hate filled thoughts were coming from. This is key; racism requires hate, I don’t HATE anyone unless that “Individual” has give me a good reason, and even then they’re usually an apology away from being back in my good books.

But yes I did use a common sweeping generalisation that Jews are shrewd with money, because of this stereotype the joke rings true… If you are tight with your funds your friends will call you a Jew, I didn’t say I was offended by being called a Jew by my mates, maybe I was over the moon to be associated with such a lovely group of people.

I can only apologise for any offence caused by what I thought was quite a positive stereotype; "you lot are good with money" isn't the verbal equivalent of being spat in the face even if you are a proud jew and have made some poor financial decisions by your own admission. Geordies don't feel the cold apparently but I'm not going to grab my coat in protest.

I love comedy and some of the best writing is from the Jewish community embracing jokes about being shrewd/tight/penny-pinchers. South Park co-creator Matt Stone is Jewish and wrote the dialogues between Kyle Broflovski and Eric Cartman; Sacha Baron Cohen notoriously self deprecated by incarnating himself as the character Borat. Both in my eyes are comedy geniuses that I idolise, would those two have been offended by my “find a penny” joke? They’d probably just tell me it’s cheap… which would ironically suggest they loved it.

I resolved the issue with my friend in private, I understood his reasoning and he understood I had no ill intent but I took the status down because of some of the comments that followed one of which started “Fucking Jews…”

Remember what I said about the inclusion of hate in a statement.  

Let’s all join hands and sing a song!

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