The death of banter?

Those of you who are of my generation will have been lucky enough to remember the classic re-masters of Charley Chaplin or Laural and Hardy, to the magnificent "Monty Python" and "Carry On" classics,  followed by cutting edge stand-ups like Bill Hicks & George Carlin, with many others who had us all in stitches.  The main ingredient to this comedy was one thing, and this one ingredient was so powerful it even occasionally managed to leave a mark within our culture. This ingredient is simply the power of laughing and poking fun at one's self. The ability to remember that amongst all the darkness in this universe, it still has a sense of humor and laughs along with us, and at the end of the day we are all just a bunch of silly human beings. Today, while we are likely to never be short of talent and the will to laugh, we are short of freedom.  Most of our comedians now have a playing field that they're restricted to, which means those in society who are the most comical and easy to poke fun at are the ones who are strictly out of bounds, while the politically correct paradigm carved out by the authoritative mainstream very much presents us all with the branded humor we are permitted to have. Of course, this is not only an issue in comedy, but it is also present in all the art and entertainment industries. Music, Television, Cinema, and now even Sport are very much affected by this psychological oppression which is draining so much soul away from our society. It appears to all be done in the name of "Equality", but while this term is very nice sounding, it is also very subjective, and believe it or not it can be used for oppressing just as much as it can for liberty.

The classic Bill Hicks in action

Well, what bee got in my bonnet to inspire me to write this article?  Not a very big one in the grand scheme of things, but let's just say it's the straw that broke the camels back, at a time where I think most people are now very much noticing this new imposing force I am describing, and not liking it.

A few weeks ago ex England international footballer Phil Neville, who had a career playing as a defender for Manchester United and Everton, signed a three and a half year contract as manager of the English Women's team. For those of you who are into Football, most would agree it was a very smart appointment, a guy with experience at club level in England and Spain, as well as international experience,  all at the highest level in Football.  He was given the chance to have a full-time managerial job at, admittedly,  a very low level of football. What?! its the truth!  Please forgive my jibe, but I feel it is slightly relevant to the scorn thrown at Neville of which I will get into.  The day after Phil's announcement, the headlines were replaced with claims of him being a misogynist and a sexist.  Well, I guess if a misogynist and a sexist were managing a Female Football team, then I would agree that perhaps it would not be the best of assignments!  just as I would if a female that was bursting with sexism and Misandry was put in charge of a men's football team.  But lets examine the evidence for this accusation, it was these following Tweets that he sent nearly 6 years ago, some of which were aimed at his own sister Tracy who was the coach of the Ladies netball team, as well as others who took offense who he continued to wined up.

Philip Neville's Tweets

Now I understand that this is "not acceptable in today's day and age", and "this type of language is very dated and old fashioned now", I totally get that, I just don't get WHY?! Was he hilarious? no not really.  Was he threatening the future of the Female sex? no, it was old school banter and teasing, clearly aware of the feelings of feminists, but obviously being cheeky and ribbing them. This is something that has always been very present in the football game, the best course of action?  Give em some stick back!

Football has always been a men's game full of banter and high testosterone aggression, this is what has made it the most famous sport in the world. Of course, there are certain cases where we have seen its ugly side, where it has gone to far with violence among fans and so on, but you cant get away from the fact that it's a typical, get it up em, blokes sport. "You're shit, and you know you are" .. "You're not singing anymore" .. "Shit team no fans", "You're gonna get the sack in the morning" Are just a handful of tribal chants you hear aimed at men's footballers week in and week out, but when they score or win, the first people they turn to are their beloved fans. It is part and parcel of the sport and why the fans feel so attached to the game and the team. There are no favors in this sport, you win or you go down and when you go down they will laugh and mock you until you get back up. Now,  I would like to assert that I am not saying women can't do this or have no place there, as there are many women in that crowd singing along and who love the sport, and I think its great young women want to put on a pair of boots and play the game, and their game has certainly improved over the years, you go girls!  I imagine most women footballers who may read this would know exactly where I am coming from, But it seems the few often have the loudest voice and are usually backed up by the authoritative powers.

Pauline Cope, who is a Female England ex Goalkeeper,  despite her disappointment in Phil,  went onto predict he was likely to do well, only because of the team having world-class players. She also had an issue with him using the word "Girls" when talking about the team, and would rather he called them "Women".  Perhaps she would like him to stay behind and clean their boots after each game as well, just to bring out the best in them and win over their respect.  We can wonder if she is also going to object when the next male team manager refers to his team saying "The Boys did good" or "The Boys are gutted", I do hope not!.   There has got to be a comedian out there reading this and wetting their lips. But I'm pretty sure you're going to need to look for independently promoted ones!

Pauline Cope playing for England

It seems the main driving force behind this petty,  anti humor and anti-male witch hunt, was from "Kick it Out", another of these organizations who seem to use perceived moral high ground to justify ridiculous and authoritarian measures. Are they really going to win people over in the long term with such behavior? For me it's not that the crazies won in this instance, this was not the case, mainly due to the FA hitting back and informing them of the very strict and detailed analysis in which they used during their search for the manager, making those complaining look quite unprofessional and silly.  So on that level, common sense won.  But where all was lost was in the days that followed with Phil's final comments, apologizing for his language with no assertion that it was simply casual banter that he certainly should not feel sorry for. The apology was obviously the conditional end to it all. He had to apologize for doing nothing but joshing around on Twitter, and all those who followed this story will now feel that they can't be humorous in this way, or will certainty feel nervous when cracking any jokes of this nature in the future.

So it seems that the days when banter was nothing more than a harmless exchanging of being cheeky, the days when women complained every time their boyfriends or husband switched on the TV to watch the Football, though lovingly tolerated it because they knew how much they loved it, the days when women would tease men about being well trained and painting the garden fence on time, are well and truly gone. "Feminism" (not Women I might add) has assured that if the boys are going to turn on the football or look for some comedy to watch, there is a new boss in town with a new set of rules to follow, and its no joke.


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