Saturday, May 1, 2010

Frankie Boyle and humanity : the other side of the coin

Having criticised comedian Frankie Boyle in a recent post for his 'lack of humanity', I must admit I'm left with a totally different impression of him after reading this lengthy statement he's released in response to the BBC Trust's decision to apologise for a joke he made on Radio 4 about Israel's treatment of Palestinians -

"The situation in Palestine seems to be, in essence, apartheid. I grew up with the anti apartheid thing being a huge focus of debate. It really seemed to matter to everybody that other human beings were being treated in that way. We didn’t just talk about it, we did things, I remember boycotts and marches and demos all being held because we couldn’t bear that people were being treated like that.

A few years ago I watched a documentary about life in Palestine. There’s a section where a UN dignitary of some kind comes to do a photo opportunity outside a new hospital. The staff know that it communicates nothing of the real desperation of their position, so they trick her into a side ward on her way out. She ends up in a room with a child who the doctors explain is in a critical condition because they don’t have the supplies to keep treating him. She flounders, awkwardly caught in the bleak reality of the room, mouthing platitudes over a dying boy.

The filmmaker asks one of the doctors what they think the stunt will have achieved. He is suddenly angry, perhaps having just felt at first hand something he knew in the abstract. The indifference of the world. ‘She will do nothing,’ he says to the filmmaker. Then he looks into the camera and says, ‘Neither will you’.

I cried at that and promised myself that I would do something. Other than write a few stupid jokes I have not done anything. Neither have you."

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