Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Flushing Them Out

Sunday, 24 May 2009

So, today I’ve written a silly light-hearted thing about the BNP at the Queen’s garden party. Lots of the comments on the Guardian website are nice, hurray, some of them very smart and clever. BUT some of them are clearly from real BNP people. It’s a bit spooky. It’ll be good for me to remember, on future days when they write horrid things, that some of them really are people whose approval I would never want anyway. Interesting, when I have long suspected that some of the people who post there about me are a bit grim, to find out quite how deep their grimness runs. Nevertheless, maybe it would be a good idea for a couple of you more right-thinking heroes to go on and put a couple of comments, just to balance it a bit from giving these guys the floor? Or maybe it’s better ignored, I’m not sure. Sadly, to the fellow who says I have no power against the BNP because I am just a “jeering, common-as-muck female”, I don’t think I have any grounds to deny it *sigh*.

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Steve at 3:14 pm on May 24th, 2009

Don’t put yourself down Vix, you’re anything but jeering or common, although the ‘female’ bit I wouldn’t argue!

Anyway, I’ll join the debate and post something and if anyone wants to beat me down, let ‘em bring it to the table.

Alex at 5:54 pm on May 24th, 2009

... You probably wont be laughing when the BNP have candidates elected to the European Parliament in June. Enjoy!

Victoria Coren at 9:21 pm on May 24th, 2009

I’m hoping the tone of Alex’s post there is depressed rather than triumphant, but without knowing for certain I’ll just say that I wouldn’t find that funny, no.

Andy W at 9:41 pm on May 24th, 2009

I have to say I liked the poem.



Wise words.

David R at 2:25 am on May 25th, 2009

Well, it can sometimes be hard to get the correct tone and the words to describe exactly what you mean. Here’s Amanda Holden, talking about pizza delivery man Jamie Pugh, from Britain’s Got Talent:

“He got on my tits. I didn’t think he was genuine. I didn’t believe his emotion and I hated his voice. He sounded like a car starting.”

Now go to 4.20 onwards of this video:

(Incidentally, isn’t it incredible when the judges are speaking how the orchestra knows exactly the right kind of music to play, and when to play quietly and when to play louder, etc?)

MarkP at 9:16 am on May 25th, 2009

Contrary to what was said on Heresy last week wiki is right (on this subject at least) “Do not feed the trolls”. It’s the only way to deal with these people.

Brian at 12:20 pm on May 25th, 2009

Sorry, but I can’t bring myself to read the readers’ comments on the Observer any more, far less associate with the people who write them. Most of the comments are so badly written, it’s hard to see exactly what point, if any, they’re trying to make. There’s just some general rage being vented, and it wouldn’t really make any difference what you write - these people obviously don’t bother reading it properly. What surprises me more is that even the most witless comment will get recommendations. I think it’s best to ignore them if you can. Your fans will find their way here. Meanwhile, ridicule is a strong weapon against the fascists, so carry on jeering! (Who doesn’t love a common-as-muck female?)

Philip at 1:57 pm on May 25th, 2009

I think it’s about time we reclaimed the Observer for liberal intellectuals. People like me shouldn’t need to put up with thick people, coming over here, reading our papers.

Thanks Victoria. A pleasure to read, as normal.

Alex at 7:18 pm on May 25th, 2009

Why would I be depressed about the BNP making progress?

Victoria Coren at 7:47 pm on May 25th, 2009

Dammit, I’m the one who decided there should be a word limit on the posts for this website, and now you go and ask me THAT question. In this confined space, Alex, I can only wish you a lovely day.

Jo Carney at 10:52 pm on May 25th, 2009

VC wrote:  “Not the mauve, sweetheart, it does nothing for you”

Of course the way she sketched a gay partnership out of John Inman stereotypes was a joke ABOUT homophobia,  not a homophobic joke, wasn’t it?  A groovy girl like Vicky would never REALLY portray gay folk as giddy and faintly risible, would she?

RomanticRecluse at 11:02 pm on May 25th, 2009

Long ago I lived in a city that was being targeted by the pre-Griffin BNP.  Back then it was a run-down, violent, divided city.  Now, in the wake of riots and BNP wins, it is even worse.  The city has been poisoning itself to death for many decades and electing the BNP has continued this process.

A BNP victory is one sign that a place has deep-seated problems.  It is a deterrent to people with money, talent and goodwill.  It is civic suicide.

Alex, be careful what you wish for.

Victoria Coren at 8:41 am on May 26th, 2009

Jo - you’re missing the point. They aren’t gay. It isn’t “a portrayal of gay folk”. It’s an image of Nick Griffin and Richard Barnbrook having a camp day out.

Jo Carney at 5:11 pm on May 26th, 2009

Yep, an image drawn in your gay-stereotype colouring book.

An, hey, Al Jolson wasn’t depicting a black person, he was depicting a white black-face minstrel.  So not offensive, right?

Victoria Coren at 5:51 pm on May 26th, 2009

Well if he had been, it wouldn’t be. I’ve never seen Al Jolson’s act so I don’t know. Ali G is a satire of a white person pretending to be black, and that’s not offensive at all.
  But let’s not bother having this argument any more. I’m not homophobic, so it’s sort of pointless.

Jo-Carney at 6:07 pm on May 26th, 2009

Who said Victoria was homophobic? She’s merely using fifty-year old homophobic comic tropes in that article.  Totally different thing!  And, sure, who’s got the time to continue an argument?  Columns to write, anti-BNP credentials to establish….And if it means using an image of camp gay people who are good at colours and bicker before going out,  just like in the 70’s sitcoms, that’s got to be a time-saver.

Victoria Coren at 7:52 pm on May 26th, 2009

FFS ! It’s nothing to do with gay people being good at colours - that is IN YOUR MIND. *All* people, male, female, gay, straight, old, young, would be nervous before going to the Queen’s garden party and ask each other how they looked, and all couples bicker sometimes about flirting with other people. It only becomes gay because they are BOTH MEN. And it’s funny because they are BOTH MEN WHO WOULD FIND THE IDEA EXTREMELY IRRITATING. If it were Richard Barnbrook and a female leader of the BNP I would write exactly the same thing about them going on a funny little date, even though they weren’t a couple. In this case, it has to be a gay date because they are the same sex. But as far as I’m concerned a gay date is JUST THE SAME as a straight date because being gay is PERFECTLY NORMAL. So if you really are carrying on with this because you feel a responsibility to attack homophobia where you see it, which is a perfectly responsible thing to feel, I promise that you are wasting precious time with this target. There are bad people out there and I’m not one of them!

Rosie at 9:18 pm on May 26th, 2009

Yes, Coren, what the hell do you think you’re playing at, trying to make people laugh all the time? Don’t you realise there are always victims? I should know, I’m bloody Welsh. Just say no to humour. Go and learn how to draft a mission statement or a playground behaviour policy, you evil pointy-hatted crone.

RomanticRecluse at 9:18 pm on May 26th, 2009

What is wrong with this country?  You can’t write a light-hearted article about two staunchly heterosexual male members of a political party that is opposed to homosexuality going to the Queen’s garden party together as a political stunt without people accusing you of homophobia.

It’s political correctness gone mad.

(I’ve always wanted to say that last bit)

David R at 9:25 pm on May 26th, 2009

From what I read of the article, it was that going to the Queen’s garden party is something that you would ordinarily invite your partner along to, not your mate as if you were going down the pub, and so the butt of the joke is Nick Griffin and Richard Barnbrook in their desperation to socialise with the Queen.

What concerns me though is associating Pimms with the upper class. Have you not seen the Alexander Armstrong adverts that have fought so strenuously against such a stereotype?

Jo-Carney at 11:41 pm on May 26th, 2009

Really, that’s quite enough on this topic, and VC’s wordcount has got out of control. Time for me to “storm off through the choisya in a huff” as she charmingly imagines a neglected gay partner might.
For the record, I got it that the central comic idea was a right winger’s discomfort about being in a gay-seeming situation. Fine. Only I could have done without the ‘I’m free’ shtick.

AndytheDealer at 10:44 pm on May 27th, 2009

They’re not going. 


Dan at 12:57 am on May 28th, 2009

I do have to say I laughed aloud multiple times while reading the piece, most embarrassing when I’m supposed to be working. Especially fine was the image of two BNP stalwarts mincing around BH gardens, no doubt arm in arm, so exactly the impression they desire to create… and isn’t it just so sweet that they’d want to date each other?  Surely it couldn’t be a “lack of friends” issue…?

And for anyone who reads your pieces without comprehending the humour, the joke quite clearly is on them too.  Please do continue in this vein.

Incidentally, another reason for the invite is possibly clarified here (NSFW):

David R at 3:40 am on May 28th, 2009

Storming off “through the choisya in a huff” can be applied to any couple having a tiff, in the genteel surroundings of a royal garden. But then it would depend on the kind of choisya you stormed through, as you could get hurt.

Storming through the choisya here, for example, would probably be something a tanked-up rugby team would do:

So, as with all choisya-storming related behaviour, my advice as always would be to please check first with the local gardener or park keeper before embarking on such a risky horticultural enterprise.

Shrub Storming Safety – Together we can crack it.

Montana Wildhack at 4:22 am on May 29th, 2009

Oh, lordy.  When I read your piece last Sunday, there were only about 5 comments and I was too brain dead at the time to think of anything worth hitting the ‘post your comment’ button for.  Things really went south fast, didn’t they?

I’m starting to think your Observer piece needs to come with a big disclaimer up top, “WARNING: This column may induce fits in the humour-impaired”

Q at 4:28 pm on May 29th, 2009

I’m going to hell I think.
I had to fire someone this week for racially abusing a fellow team member (and also swearing at the South African HR Officer); and I have to admit, it gave me no small amount of pleasure to have that piece of unadulterated monkey jizz escorted off site.

I did have a point I think…Oh yes, no one should feel in the least bit apologetic for ridiculing those evil sons of bitches who even now fail to realise that we’re all immigrants, just some of us have been here a bit longer than the newest ones. I certainly intend to hunt them down and hurl a tirade of abuse from behind my firewall.

Roger at 7:58 pm on May 30th, 2009

Personally Vicky, I think you should have a garden party. Now for your column tomorrow. I await your views on probably the best intellectual show on television since Teletubbies, ‘Britian’s not got a lot of talent’.

Mind you, I guess you may be busy as I heard that you are considering announcing that you’re running as an independent candidate in the next election.

daniel maris at 2:01 am on August 26th, 2009

Well anyone with an IQ above 50 is going to know the BNP is a Nazi front and also that anti-semites will go for anyone with any Jewish connections.

I’m a democrat but I don’t believe that parties that don’t play the democratic game should be allowed to partake in elections. In Germany - thanks to their experience of real Nazis - they have a system of banning totalitarian parties from using the democratic system in order to destroy it. Quite right too in my view.

Victoria Coren

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