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Home > Media

ILTEOTS #239: Robert Kilroy-Silk vs Roger Myers

"Roger Meyers Sr., the gentle genius behind Itchy and Scratchy, loved and cared about almost all the peoples of the world. And he, in turn, was beloved by the world -- except in 1938, when he was criticized for his controversial cartoon Nazi Supermen Are Our Superiors."

-- from "Itchy & Scratchy Land"

10 January 2004

Sometimes it can be tricky to establish whether media figures are racists.

Take Ludovic Kennedy in The Oldie:

I am all in favour of black advancement, but there's now hardly a TV pub, police station, soap, vox pop or ad without rather more than its fair share of black participation.

Get in some Jimmy Young listeners and a cultural theorist, and you could argue this one all night. What are the rights and wrongs of positive discrimination? Does Ludo's use of "fair share" indicate that, as you suspect, he generally patronises "ethnics"? And zzzzzzzzzzzzo on.

Or there's the BBC sitcom about a black family, The Crouches, which was criticised for getting wrong most of the language and etiquette of black British family life -- and for being written by the white author of Rab C. Nesbitt. Even the long-time-racist newspaper The Sun balked:

The first episode centred around a subject the BBC must assume absorbs all black people - the hunt for a perfect pair of trainers. Half an hour of this trash said probably nothing about Britain's black community and everything you need to know about the BBC.

But again, you could argue this one. Should black characters be portrayed "being black"? Again, you could talk the living bejesus out of this and get nowhere conclusive.

And thinking of The Sun, how about their Mr. Men feature, which implied asylum seekers are part of the "sad side of Britain today", associated Albanians with organised crime and introduced us to "Mr. Yardie"?


Call them racists, and they'll call you naive and say something witty about muesli. And you really don't want to get into it. Why can't the racists come out and state it more clearly? But no-one does "these days". You'd need to have the brain of half a...

...and then there's "Kilroy", would-be Mayor Of London and campaigner against broadcasting regulations. In his essay "We owe Arabs nothing" in the long-time-racist newspaper The Sunday Express, he explained that he's very cross with "Arabs" for their failure to "go down on their knees and thank God for the munificence of the United States":

Apart from oil - which was discovered, is produced and is paid for by the west - what do they contribute? Can you think of anything? Anything really useful? Anything really valuable? Something we really need, could not do without? No, nor can I.

What do they think we feel about them? That we adore them for the way they murdered more than 3,000 civilians on September 11 and then danced in the hot, dusty streets to celebrate the murders? That we admire them for being suicide bombers, limb amputators, women repressors?

Just occasionally, you find a no-brainer. It's political incorrectness gone mad.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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