Posted By: David Waywell
14th June 2019
Drugs in the past, hmmm.
I used to service elevators*** and on an application form for one job they asked “Do you take or have you ever taken illegal drugs” and I wrote as my answer “to be discussed at interview”. Well, I got my interview, and they asked me to explain my answer to this question.
“I once smoked a joint at a party. I threw up, then I threw up again, then I threw up a third time and it was at that point that I decided illegal drugs were not for me”. Next question.
By the time I left I had worked for that company for eighteen years and I never took an annual drug test even though they were required, they just didn’t bother. Sometimes honesty really does pay off.
** It has been said that LSD users think that they can fly. This is a bad move when moving around in an elevator shaft.
I think cocaine is ubiquitous in middle class professional circles, especially in London. They did a test of corporate toilets once in the city and found the stuff everywhere. I always looked on it as a rich persons drug when I was younger. When I was growing up, acid was the thing. I mean LSD, not the Jo Brand type. You could get half a tab for £2 which would sort you for the night. Not to be recommended due to the high probability of having an episode of extreme paranoia and I’ve seen people do some really weird things on it. I’ve also had friends who used it regularly who were already having flashbacks at 18. Too much of a control freak to be messing about with it myself, alcohol did (and still does) the job well enough for me.
Don’t really want to get into the Jo Brand joke or the rank hypocrisy surrounding it. I will say the BBC ought to be more careful though. The “pushing the bounds of what is socially acceptable” defence doesn’t sit well from an organisation too scared to broadcast It Aint Half Hot Mum or In Sickness and in Health.
If you want to joke about wishing bad on someone, this is how you ought to do it in my opinion. It’s actually a routine about hiding behind “it’s only a joke” when coming out with offensive crap on taxpayer funded state TV. But then Stewart Lee is in a different league to Jo Brand.
Thanks Rob. I identify with the control feak. I have enough trouble with reality. Plus I saw a friend go from articlutate & clever and become slow & dull simply from too much weed.
Lee does it well and, I’d argue, better than anybody. The hypocrisy around Brand is the same hypocrisy that surrounds comedy of all shades and colour. Once you start to “protect” people, there’s no end to it because everybody has their own lines. I read an interesting essay this week about “bad taste” and how it’s socially constructed and there is no single place where we all agree it begins. That’s why I’m so protective of it. Not that I want to transgress those boundaries but because I might want to transgress others. There was a nice article in the Washington Post about editorial cartoons being the canaries in the coal mine of free speech. I feel that was about comedy. Confident and free societies have no need for censorship, which is usually there to compensate for some other failing.
The argument I don’t buy is that comedy is harmful. The more I think about it, the less I’m convinced it’s a strong argument given that it’s been levelled against so many books, films, and video games. It gets into the philosophy of language and, to overuse an overused word, Orwellian, whether you can erase words from our lexicon to change the way we think.
The only problem is where a public funded broadcaster must draw their line. If the BBC offended enough people who pay for it, there’s a case for them changing their programming. That doesn’t mean, however, in some objective way, that certain jokes are “bad”.
I think the problem with the free speech defence is that to justify it, you have to agree that anything goes. Most people are not willing to go that far. If joking about chucking acid on one group of people is ok, then why not joking about gassing jews or burning down mosques or crucifying homosexuals?. There is no line that you can draw without being accused of hypocrisy. I’ve never liked censorship, but where applied it has to be applied equally.
At the moment we have the hate crime laws which are hugely discriminatory and provide a two tier system of justice. All they are achieving as far as I can see is tying the police in knots and causing resentment amongst the people that lie outside of their definition of victims. That cannot be good for the minority groups that the laws aim to protect. Verbal abuse is not and never should be classed as a crime as far as I’m concerned. I won’t get into it but it really does show the level of buffoonery that currently exists in Westminster, we should all be equal under the law.
The BBC is currently managing to piss everyone off as far as I can see. In the past it was only right wing people who consistently moaned. You know my view, it should become a subscription service. I just don’t understand how that got past editorial control. Really, they ought to stick to Michael McIntyre and John Bishop.
Does media content make people do things?. I don’t think so, but I do believe that it influences HOW they decide to do it. You could argue for example that without the reporting of the milkshake thrown on Tommy Robinson that Nigel Farage would instead have been the recipient of an egg, the traditional missile of choice. I think the same phenomenon has been found to exist with pornography, it doesn’t make people commit sex crimes, but can sometimes influence how they carry out the offence.
I think the depressing thing is that if Nigel Farage did now get attacked with acid, you would have Alistair Campbell coming out and saying that he had chucked it on himself. He would probably get thousands of likes for saying it too.
Indeed and I find myself tending back to the view that “anything goes”, based around previous arguments I’ve made about the right to say anything is matched by our equal right not to listen. I just don’t see how you can define a line that then doesn’t then move hither and thither based on the caprice of politicians. The argument then become the right not to listen/publish/broadcast which is an argument that can more easily be made.
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