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Gervais, mong and about 800 words about it

I know you’ve been waiting for some kind of opinion on this whole Ricky Gervais saying ‘mong’ thing, what with me being both a prolific social commentator and the kind of person you all turn to for the base on which to form all of your own opinions. So here are some words.

A bit back – I can’t be arsed checking exactly when – Ricky Gervais, ‘the best comedian in the world’, decided he was going to come back to Twitter. He left a bit bit back – I can’t be arsed checking exactly when – for some reason – I can’t be arsed checking why. He came back and he started using the word ‘mong’.

Mong, if you’re not aware, is a disparaging term used to make fun of people with Down’s Syndrome. I used to call my brother a mong when we were kids. He would call me a mongoloid from Mongolia. Everything would be ‘mongy’ or ‘monged’ or ‘mong the merciless’ or whatever else.

Basically, it’s a word I know of and a word I used a lot in my earlier days. Still do, sometimes, very rarely, and when my brain isn’t thinking. And you know why? Because it’s still not a very nice thing to say.

Now, Gervais is saying he’s ‘reclaiming’ the word… yeah, you’re just as black as those that reclaimed nigger, or just as gay as those who reclaimed faggot and queer. Definitely exactly the same situation there, and certainly not just a man shouting a word because it gets a reaction from people. That’s not an argument, it’s not a leg to stand on – it’s a lie. It’s a hasty protection constructed to deflect criticism and make people think ‘oh, it’s all a hilarious ironic jokey satirical humorous take on society at large, the taboos we all face on a daily basis and our general humanity, as well as the changing face of morals and what is acceptable through the ages’.

Well, that or it makes them think they should call people who disagree with Gervais a mong.

There has been a defence mounted of ‘freedom of speech’ and whatever else, and to echo Richard Herring – I’m all for that. I’m all for talking about anything and everything. I’ve gone on before – very recently in fact – about how everything is funny or nothing is funny.

But that doesn’t mean it’s funny just because you say it.

When I was a kid saying mong I said that word because I knew it wasn’t a nice word to use. When I said it it was because 1) it wasn’t swearing so I was allowed to say it, and 2) it was mean, nasty and insulting. Just like whenever my parents were out of earshot I would swear, because I knew it was bad, I knew it would draw reactions from those around me.

I knew it would get attention.

Just like now when I make jokes about questionable subject matter, from paedophilia to racism and everything inbetween – it’s to get a reaction, nothing more. I know why I do it, and I don’t defend it as being some higher cause I’m pursuing.

I don’t lie to myself, I don’t lie to my fans, I don’t lie to those that try and question what I’m doing and I don’t spend my time – with the massive influence I have – trying to make people restart using a word that had fallen by the wayside with good reason.

I’m going on a bit here, but it has annoyed. I’ve long held the belief that Ricky Gervais isn’t as talented as people think, and his shock-schtick wore thin pretty much the first time I heard it. It’s never done with subtlety or class. There’s never anything clever about it – it’s just saying the words. There’s never any deeper meaning to it – it’s just trying to get a reaction.

That’s simplistic, cynical and – worst of all, from a comedic standpoint – lazy. If you want to ‘reclaim’ the word mong, do so in a way that has some intelligence and point behind it, not just because you’re the loud kid begging for attention. I wouldn’t want to have to shout you down as a faggy, mong-faced nigger now, would I?

But hey, what does my opinion count? I’m not worth millions and in loads of films and stuff, so clearly everything I say and think is irrelevant.

This’ll do for the send off:

Oh, and those slating Herring for his Hitler Moustache routine are brilliant. It couldn’t be further from an attention-grabbing stunt if it tried (alright, maybe it could be a bit further, but you get the point):

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Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy

I like to complain about things, because complaining makes me feel like I have some kind of handle – some kind of control on the world around me. When I don’t. I really don’t. And the things I complain about tend to be the most insignificant nothings you could ever imagine.

The 3G on my phone didn’t work for about five minutes earlier. People nearly died because of that. My internet ceased to function for the one minute I definitely had to look at Twitter. The vein-bulge in my forehead still hasn’t gone down.

But it’s stupid. It’s not worth getting worked up about. So I’m trying to teach myself the zen of Louis CK (as introduced to me – properly – by NewDad himself, Jon Denton). This clip pretty much sums it up:

It should be the way to think. It should. But it won’t. I’ll keep on complaining when my TV – that I got for free – won’t turn on until I turn it off at the mains and back on again (taking an extra 20 seconds). I’ll keep whining when my trophies won’t sync fast enough on the PS3, or I struggle to get the hard drive back on my 360.

It’s not just me – I’ll listen to people like Bar-nes complain about Android SDKs and his computer. I’ll see people moan that too many people are moaning on Twitter, or complain that they wanted to do something then didn’t, for no reason other than they just didn’t do it.

But all the time, in the back of my head, I’ll be trying to think like Louis.

And failing.

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