Friday, December 3

My Finely Balanced Solution to Britain’s “Statues Problem” | Slavery


TOA Bafta and Olivier winning cultural innovator, described by the Times as “the best living standup in the world” and by the Scottish As having helped establish “the new gold standard for rockumentarios”, I was invited last week to address a meeting of a parliamentary select committee on “the problem of statues.” Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden wiped both his lips with felt and spoke first.

“Love them or hate them, and everyone’s feelings deserve the same respect, slave traders are part of our history,” Dowden began. “The government does not support the removal of statues or other similar objects such as paintings or a rude puppet. The story is rife with moral complexity and all kinds of fat kings with different names. Statues were created by generations with different understandings of good and evil. Some represent figures who have done things that we would not defend today. You could probably have a statue of the Phantom of the Opera, from that brilliant piece, since you can’t see what color his face is anyway, ”Dowden continued, suddenly brighter. “He could have a bloody blue face for all we know! Or green! Say ah! What happens when the spider falls? I never saw that coming! Brilliant! ”Dowden put away his notes, licked Bovril thirstily from a cat bowl on the desk in front of him, and invited me to read my prepared statement.

“What if”, I began assertively, “in 2018, instead of British royal Prince Harry marrying actress Meghan Markle, a mixed-race descendant of a slave, actress Meghan Markle would have married a statue of a merchant from British slaves? Would the British public have preferred that, Oliver? The select committee was horrified. They were unfamiliar with my character on stage, or my similar but subtly different newspaper columnist character, and they had no context for the work. I withered, defeated. Dowden faded into soft focus, looking like a hologram of Nicholas Lyndhurst’s ghost, and my mind wandered.

Like attempts to evaluate and contextualize our history of the slave trade, the racial diversification of our royal family is sure to be welcomed and last week our now-ex-royal couple discussed this very notion with Oprah Winfrey from TV, apparently in the dining room. outdoors of a Dobbies. garden center somewhere in Gloucestershire. Just out of line, retirees enjoyed a two-for-one deal on shepherd’s pie and an elderly man pulled an inhaler from the pocket of a padded fishing jacket.

It’s only been three years since Jo Marney, the partner of that month’s Ukip leader Henry Bolton, said that “Prince Harry’s black American fiancée will contaminate the royal family with her seed.” But Meghan’s claims that her mental health had suffered as a result of racism were dismissed Tuesday by a man speaking on television named Piers Morgan, whose job it is to say deliberately provocative things that he may or may not believe while a silent and defeated woman. sits next to it. for him rolling his eyes for the sake of balance, a relationship dynamic that could be seen repeated every Saturday night on the tables of every Berni Inn steakhouse in Britain during the 1970s.

Morgan has since left the GMB couches and resigned, no doubt feeling a career opportunity to join GB’s fledgling news channel as a member of Andrew Neil’s new free speech superhero team, Avengers of Wank. Obviously, Morgan has been waiting for a conveniently shocking moment to present its sudden, principled resignation, in order to increase the value of its own cynically manufactured brand of outrage in a crowded global clickbait market. Anyone who even voices an opinion on Morgan’s game is simply playing into his hands. Morgan is a flexible girl who wants to be noticed. And if you don’t notice when making a beautiful painting of a cat, you will notice him throwing his droppings at a lady. Either way, he wins and we all lose.

Meanwhile, the reaction to the royal firm’s unworthy internal realignment is seen as evidence of hostility toward blacks in general or as proof that ungrateful women will never be satisfied. “They don’t expect us to have anything and we should be grateful. We have to hold on and shut up and we are tired, ”a black Enfield woman told the Huffington Post. “Meghan, be a mother and wife to our prince that you have stolen from America. Honey, shut up, ”says a white man named Voice of Reason.

“And what is your statue suggestion, Lee?” Dowden yelled, slapping the table with his pink hand and leading me back to the meeting. “Gove assured me you were fine.” “Simple, Oliver,” I said. “Remove all the celebratory statues of every slave trader on earth, critically contextualize them in museum cabinets, and replace them with statues of dignified women and ethnic minorities.” “Impossible,” said Dowden, “It is imperative that museums act impartially, consistent with their public funding status, and not in a way that challenges this.”

“Listen to me, Dowden,” I stated. “I know that many Tory MPs and former Channel 4 anchors believe that Black Lives Matter protesters and white supremacist rioters are so bad to each other, so for the sake of balance, we replaced Nelson’s column with a 52-meter statue. tall of the largest in Great Britain. Slave slave owner, Thomas Thistlewood, who raped thousands of black female slaves on his Jamaica plantation and forced the slaves to defecate in the mouths of those who had tried to escape, whom he later gagged. We then changed the name from Trafalgar Square to Thistlewood Square. People offended by slavery will surely be glad that hundreds of statues of slavers have been removed. While those who feel this is a whitewash of British history will certainly be appeased by the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Thistlewood’s slavery in such a historic setting. “” My God, “said Dowden, visibly moved, “I think you’re onto something!”

King Rocker, a documentary about the post-punk band The Nightingales, with Stewart Lee, is airing on Now tv


www.theguardian.com

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