‘When humour is gone, you might as well be living in 1984’

June 12, 2016

JOhn Cleese 2008jpg by Paul Boxley

THOUGHT CONTROL: Political correctness, says Monty Python star John Cleese, makes humour lose its soul if it tries to eliminate criticism. In the Big Think video, he claims psychiatrist Robin Skinner made this devastating observation of the PC doctrine – “If people can’t control their own emotions, then they have to start to control other people’s behaviour.” Picture by Paul Boxley.

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GETTING OUT: The Monty Python star has revealed, that despite being a prominent Lib Dem celebrity supporter, he has decided to Vote Leave. He sent this tweet to former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown: ““If I thought there was any major chance of reform in the EU, I’d vote to stay in. But there isn’t. Sad. Sorry, Paddy.”

 

A SOMERSET-born household name has made declared war on political correctness whilst simultaneously declaring to quit the EU in next week’s poll.

John Cleese, 76,  who is hails from Weston-super-Mare, is the cack-handed, outrageous hotel owner from Fawlty Towers and is one-sixth of the well-known Monty Python Franchise and his sketches alongside the late Ronny Corbett and Ronny Barker in the Frost Report also live long in the memory bank. He is also widely known for his roles in feature films such as A Fish Called Wanda, Clockwise, Silverado and Fierce Creatures.

As I was putting this together, I discovered that the prominent Liberal Democrat supporter had committed to join the Vote Leave camp and has accused EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and “threatening” the UK and branded David Cameron’s attempts to reform the EU a “failure”.

In a tweet he posted on Saturday 10 June, he appeared to part company with former Lib Dem leader Lord Paddy Ashdown on the Euro referendum: “If I thought there was any major chance of reform in the EU, I’d vote to stay in. But there isn’t. Sad. Sorry, Paddy.”

In this video from the Big Think, he looks back at his 50-year career and argues that a large aspect of the art of comedy is about “causing offence” and this is being stifled by political correctness.

“Political correctness offends me. For example every day the British newspapers offend me everyday with their laziness, their nastiness and their inaccuracies, but I’m not going to expect someone to stop that happening, I just expect people to speak out about it.

“When people are offended they want to ‘come in and say ‘Stop that!’ as one former Chairman of the BBC said: ‘There are some people I might wish to offend’ and there is truth in that too.

“So, the idea that you have to be protected from any kind of uncomfortable emotion is one I absolutely do not subscribe to.There is a fellow I subscribe to who talks about psychology and psychiatry and is a renowned psychiatrist Robin Skinner says this  ‘If people can’t control their own emotions, then they have to start to control other people’s behaviour.

“When you’re around super sensitive people, you cannot be spontaneous and relax and you have no idea what is going to upset them next. And that’s why I’ve been warned recently don’t go to university campuses because political correctness has gone from a good idea meaning let’s not be mean to people who can’t particularly look after themselves to the point where any criticism of any individual or group can be labeled cruel.

“The whole point about comedy and the whole point about humour is that all comedy is critical, believe’ me I’ve thought about it – even if you make a very inclusive joke like ‘How do you make God laugh? The answer is ‘Tell him your plans.’That’s about the human condition, that’s not excluding anyone. If you start saying ‘We mustn’t offend them! Then humour’s gone. Then as far as I’m concerned you’re living in 1984.”

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rebecca June 12, 2016 at 6:48 pm

Well said, Matt.

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