Speech Police Have Come for John Cleese – His Response Is Perfect
By P. Gardner Goldsmith Jun 16, 2020
The dystopian future that many dreaded is here, thanks to the anti-creative, pencil-pushing, screen-swiping, social justice whiner bureaucrats at the tax-funded British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
According to the BBC’s own eyeball-blanching website, an episode of “Fawlty Towers,” the very series that, in 2019, was named the single greatest British comedy of all time, must be removed from the public eye.
Evidently, the comedy of Monty Python co-founder, author, and filmmaker John Cleese is just too powerful for the Victory Gin-fueled Proles, so it’s being stuffed down the British Memory Hole until Big Brother – or in this case, Aunty Beeb — decides it’s acceptable.
A 1975 episode titled ‘The Germans’ was taken off UKTV’s streaming service because it contains ‘racial slurs.’
Which was part of the point of the episode, one of the most hilarious and fast-paced of the series, which sees desperate main character and inn-keeper Basil Fawlty struck on the head, operating at an even more frantically desperate level than his usual high-tension self, and, in trying NOT to insult peaceful German tourists, making a fool of himself in front of them.
It appears that last bit has been lost on the tax-gourmands at Aunty Beeb, who have removed the episode from their streaming platform “until further notice.”
And Mr. Cleese has responded in classic style, offering a series of Tweets that not only allow people to see his point of view regarding the BBC, but his overall position on comedy, politics, and the act of demonization.
First, he noted this, about the BBC:
I would have hoped that someone at the BBC would understand that there are two ways of making fun of human behaviour. One is to attack it directly. The other is to have someone who is patently a figure of fun, speak up on behalf of that behaviour. (Think) of Alf Garnett…
The latter being the satirically bigoted main character of the late Sixties British comedy, “Till Death Do Us Part”, the series that served as the inspiration for “All in the Family” (that featuring leftist Norman Lear’s take on the man he saw as the US equivalent, Archie Bunker).
…we laughed at Alf’s reactionary views. Thus we discredited them, by laughing at him. Of course, there were people – very stupid people – who said ‘Thank God someone is saying these things at last’. We laughed at these people too. Now they’re taking decisions about BBC comedy.
Sadly, on that last point, Mr. Cleese is wrong. It’s not the right-wingers who are censoring him. It’s the left-wingers. The tables have turned.
From the 1970s, when British conservative Mary Whitehouse led charges against what she saw as scenes too frightening to be shown during Tom Baker’s era with producer Phillip Hinchcliffe at “Doctor Who” (specifically, a shot from the Robert Holmes-penned classic “The Deadly Assassin”), to 2020, people have been arguing over what can be broadcast on the tax-funded airwaves.
But today, the crusade against “unacceptable” speech has been adopted by leftists who were sired on the self-defeating gruel of “hating hate” or hating that which is portrayed as “hate”. And they’ve carried it much further than Mrs. Whitehouse ever imagined: into real life, and real legal action.
In fact, the left has been dogging foxes like Mr. Cleese and free speech for some time.
No one can deny this. In March of 2018, John Cleese himself noted the absurdity of the Scottish government prosecuting comedian and Youtuber Count Dankula (aka Mark Meechan) for creating a spoof video of his girlfriend’s pug saluting Adolf Hitler.
Two years ago, leftie hand-wringers got angry that Mr. Cleese incisively and satirically employed the term “poof” to describe his deceased gay friend and former Python member Graham Chapman. They didn’t seem to notice that he was making a point about people being too hung up on labels and the idiocy of political-correctness. They didn’t seem to care that he was defending the spot-on point made in July of 2018 by his fellow Python, American filmmaker Terry Gilliam, who’d mocked the infantile nature of social justice identity politics and the destructive, self-proclaimed moralists who peddle it in media.
To whit, Mr. Gilliam trenchantly had offered:
Now we need one of this, one of that, everybody represented… this is bulls**t.
And he had added:
I no longer want to be a white male, I don’t want to be blamed for everything wrong in the world: I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian… My name is Loretta and I’m a BLT, a black lesbian in transition.
And, Mr. Gilliam also noted:
Comedy is not assembled, it’s not like putting together a boy band where you put together one of this, one of that.
And this is where one can draw an important lesson.
This drab, lifeless, humorless attack on brilliant comedy, this “memory-holing” of Fawlty Towers doesn’t merely reflect the state of comedy, or the tawdry, base, reductio ad absurdum of the so-called social justice war. It’s a reflection of the fact that the BBC is a government institution, and, as such, is an example of a danger to us all: The Tragedy of The Commons.
From Mary Whitehouse’s termagant, pearl-clutching attacks on “Doctor Who,” to today, the fact that the BBC is a government-run, tax-funded institution means it is a bald-faced example of The Commons, where everyone sees his tax cash snatched by the state, and turned into what bureaucrats label “entertainment” and “news”.
As a result, the Beeb stoops, and grovels, and censors, and whines, and eventually caters to the lowest common denominator so as not to offend anyone.
Identity politics is its bread and butter, and collectivism is its means of funding.
And, sadly, this collectivist mindset has become so pervasive in Britain, many can’t even distinguish between what is the state and what is society. Hence Count Dankula makes a parody video for his girlfriend, and the state arrests him.
Is it any wonder that John Cleese left the UK in late 2018 to live on the Caribbean island of Nevis, openly noting that the people there are friendly and warm and a beautiful polyglot who foster a welcoming societal environment?
And Mr. Cleese leaves as Britain becomes harder…coarser…darker, because, like a fungus, the mindset of the Tragedy of the Commons has invaded every nuance of everyday life.
It’s a tragedy, indeed.
It’s not funny at all.