Cumberbatch: The Umbrage Police Claim Another Scalp

Benedict ‘Sherlock’ Cumberbatch has said he is “a complete fool”, an “idiot”, “thoughtless” and that he is “devastated” for having inadvertently used the term “coloured” to describe black people on a US talk show.

It’s depressing enough that he felt the obligation to apologise. But what’s worse is that he felt the need to do so so grovellingly, self-abasingly and profusely.

Yes, we all know why he did it. It’s Oscar nomination season coming up, Cumberbatch is a possible contender for his portrayal of fashionably autistic, gay code-breaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, and Hollywood is notoriously PC and squeamish about issues to do with race.

But if anyone who owes anyone an apology, here, it’s not poor put-upon Cumberbatch but the noisome professional offence-takers who by seeking to make political mileage out of such achingly trivial issues are creating a climate of linguistic fear in which good people suffer.

First, that word “coloured”. Yes, it may be a little old fashioned. As Sarah Vine rightly notes it’s “The kind of thing your granny might say and which might compel you to lean over and gently whisper in her ear: ‘No one says ‘coloured’ any more, gran. It’s not the done thing’. To which she might reply: ‘Really, dear? I had no idea.’”

What it definitely isn’t, though, is in any way malign or pejorative. Indeed, there was a time – back in the Seventies, when it was used pretty regularly and in the politest of company – when it would have been considered positively PC.

Second, the context. Cumberbatch was using the now-apparently verboten word in the course of a diatribe against the lack of job opportunities for ethnic actors in the UK film industry. In other words, he was making a point of almost toe-curling bien-pensant rectitude. That his reward for this should be to be taken to task by the Umbrage Police is almost as absurd as if a VC hero, having single-handedly taken an enemy machine-gun position, should then be disciplined for his cruel and unusual use of a bayonet.

Third, the hypocrisy. Are we to understand then, that from now on, the National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People will be changing its name to the National Association For The Advancement Of People Of Color? (Until such time, of course, when “People of Color” too becomes discredited and unfashionable, as no doubt it will eventually because that, unfortunately, seems to be the deal: today’s PC euphemism is tomorrow’s inexcusable racial slur).

This, though, unfortunately, is how the liberal-left rolls. As Alex Wickham pointed out here yesterday, it’s the liberals who are the new puritans that want to control your life.

One of the ways they are achieving this is in their vexatious and aggressive policing of the spoken word – on college campuses, in the media, on Twitter, on TV chat shows, in schools, in books. The purpose of this will be more than familiar to students of the Frankfurt school of Cultural Marxism and to readers of Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals or George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. It’s about generating a cultural climate in which no one feels quite comfortable to express themselves freely for fear, as Cumberbatch did, of breaking some new unwritten rule of which they weren’t hitherto aware.

And it’s also, of course, about identity politics and power.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

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One thought on “Cumberbatch: the Umbrage Police claim another scalp”

  1. newholsem says:12th February 2015 at 9:16 amdont know how true this is but it is amusing:“There’s an annual contest at Bond University, Australia, calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term.

    This year’s chosen term was “political correctness”.

    The winning student wrote:

    “Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and promoted by mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end.”

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Offensive Remarks on Twitter Should Not Be Punishable by Prison, Let Alone Death

Should trolls who say disobliging things about people on Twitter face imprisonment or death?

Well the answer is now in and, depressingly, it appears to be “yes”.

Today, we read the news that a woman who tweeted under the name “@sweepyface” has been found dead in her hotel room, after having had her identity publicly exposed on television as the author of some unpleasant tweets about the parents of the missing child Madeleine McCann.

A week ago, we saw a man named Peter Nunn jailed for 18 weeks for sending a series of abusive tweets to Labour MP Stella Creasy.

Well I’ve read some of Nunn’s tweets and they’re really not nice.

One of them (a retweet, rather than something he thought up himself) says: “You better watch your back, I’m going to rape your arse at 8pm and put the video all over.”

Horrid.

So yes I think we can all probably agree that Nunn sounds a bit of a warped individual – well in line with that recent study from Canada which suggested that trolls tend to have cruel, psychopathic, Machiavellian personalities.

But where, I suspect, the more sane among us would differ from Stella Creasy and the presiding judge is over the idea that being an unpleasant piece of work ought to be a crime punishable by a prison sentence.

Nunn was found guilty by the judge of “sending indecent, obscure or menacing messages” which, according to the prosecution, had had a “substantial” effect on Creasy who felt “increasing concern that individuals were seeking not only to cause her distress but also to cause her real harm which led her to fear for her own safety.”

I suppose if I were shallow and vindictive enough to want someone put away for being rude about me on social media that would be the line I’d take too. Probably, I might also claim – as feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez did in a supporting statement – that the “fear and horror” generated by these nasty tweets had given me “dizzy spells.” Why stop at mere offence and upset, after all, when you can up the ante to actual physical symptoms?

But I’m not that shallow and vindictive and, even if I were, I simply don’t think I’d have the brazen hypocrisy, the moral dishonesty, and the naked cynicism to pursue such an utterly dishonest case.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

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On Gamergate – and Why Grand Theft Auto V Is the Helm’s Deep of Freedom of Expression

The last — and only — time I had sex with a whore she was so impressed by my performance that she begged me to do it all over again. I thank the drugs. Before popping out in my stolen car for my rendezvous with my skanky ho, I had smoked a couple of fat blunts which I’d found ready prepared for me by my bitch next to my beer fridge and it put me in just the right mood.

But none of this was ‘real’. I was playing the video game Grand Theft Auto V (GTAV) and enjoying the transgressive thrills of living the life of a young black hoodlum in inner-city America. It’s an experience I can highly recommend, not just because you get to steal flash cars, deal drugs, drive the wrong way down one-way streets, change into any number of hoodies and cool sneakers, and shoot people — but also because as you’re doing it you’re sticking a defiant finger up to the Man. Or more specifically, to the stifling worthiness of our modern culture whose default position on innocent pleasures like this is to condemn them for their outrageous sexism, racism, misogyny and violence.

And yes, maybe games like GTAV are all those things, but it doesn’t seem to do them much harm at the box office. Au contraire: on its release last year GTAV became the most successful entertainment product in history, earning $1 billion within its first three days of release. No doubt the superb gameplay was a draw. As were the groovy soundtrack and state-of-the-art graphics. But the clincher, I suspect, for a lot of its young male fans, was the sheer joyous escapism into a universe where you can still act out your most politically incorrect fantasies without some professional victimhood group like 350.org or Everyday Sexism demanding you be carted off in the Outrage Bus for compulsory re-education.

You only have to consider briefly what has happened to the various other branches of the culture and entertainment industry to appreciate how rare this is. We live in a world where basketball club owners and football managers are expected to converse, even in private, like Harriet Harman at an equality seminar; where Hollywood scarcely dare cast an African-American in any role other than police chief, supreme court judge or the voice of God; where the crazed terrorists in TV dramas are invariably rogue Mossad agents or crazed Christians; where you can mock any religion you like on stage, provided it’s not the Religion of Peace. Gaming is the last bastion, the Helm’s Deep of freedom of expression.

Some say the reason that the computer industry managed to get so rich is that it grew faster than government’s ability to constrain and regulate it — and something similar probably explains the untrammelled rise of the games industry. You’re probably not aware — most people aren’t — that it is now bigger than Hollywood, worth $80 billion a year. It rose without anyone noticing, because gaming has long been unfairly stigmatised as an activity for malodorous bedsit-dwellers rather than cultural trendsetters. And it grew to be so enormous by doing what other branches of the entertainment industry have largely forgotten: not by giving punters what they ought to like, but what they actually want.

Read the rest at The Spectator

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