Saturday, April 11, 2009

Erin Pizzey for OBE

I think it is high time that this excellent woman was given the recognition that has long been denied her. I call upon everyone to write to the British government and demanad that Erin Pizzey be given the honour she deserves.

The Myth of Sisterhood Exposed

Catfights over handbags and tears in the toilets. When this producer launched a women-only TV company she thought she'd kissed goodbye to conflict...

Their simmering fight lasted hours, egged on by spectators taking sides and fuelling the anger. Sometimes other girls would join in, either heckling aggressively or huddling defensively in the toilets. It might sound like a scene from a tawdry reality show such as Big Brother, but the truth is a little more prosaic: it was just a normal morning in my office.

The venomous women were supposedly the talented employees I had headhunted to achieve my utopian dream - a female- only company with happy, harmonious workers benefiting from an absence of men.

It was an idealistic vision swiftly shattered by the nightmare reality: constant bitchiness, surging hormones, unchecked emotion, attention-seeking and fashion rivalry so fierce it tore my staff apart.

The Comedy of Social Collapse

In every generation, satirical comedians draw attention to negative aspects of the society they see around them, and lampoon those responsible. Britain has an outstanding tradition of sharp political satire, from ‘That was the week that was’ in the 1960s, to Spitting Image in the 1980s.

What are Britain’s satirical comedians saying now? A lot of contemporary comedy seems to be about the collapse of social values and the rise of the underclass.

The first sketch of this kind was probably Harry Enfield’s ‘Slobs’, with the excellent Kathy Burke, back in the early 1990s. Here are a few selections of more recent popular work.

Catherine Tate and her colleagues have captured two things in particular about contemporary British teenagers. Firstly, the English dialect known as ‘Ja-fake-an’, in which teenagers affect the speech patterns of the Caribbean. This is one of the results of the uncontrolled mass immigration that has taken place under the Labour government. Secondly, the mindset of Lauren is one of narcissism, ignorance and denial of responsibility, the opposite of the mindset required by a good citizen.

The female teenager seems to have captured the imagination of our comedians, as the best example of the Comedy of Social Collapse is Vicky Pollard. The character of the Left-wing teacher is as much an important part of this satirical sketch as Vicky herself. It is due to the attitudes of ineffectual Left-wing teachers such as him, that children grow up to become Vicky Pollards.

The genius of Armstrong and Miller’s ‘pilots’ sketch is to juxtapose contemporary British teenagers with World War 2. By comparing today’s society with our ‘Finest Hour’, they highlight the fact that today is very far from being our finest hour.

These characters are funny because we recognise them. This is essentially observational comedy. As such, it should serve as a warning. Once we finish laughing, we need to take the message of satire seriously. In contemporary British comedy, there seems to be a pattern emerging.