Not really a post as such, but read this little article in the New Statesman and wanted to share a quote by one of my favourite comedians, Mr Stewart Lee:
The African-American stand-up Chris Rock maintained that stand-up comedy should always be punching upwards. It’s a heroic little struggle. You can’t be a right-wing clown without some character caveat, some vulnerability, some obvious flaw. You’re on the right. You’ve already won. You have no tragedy. You’re punching down. You can be a right-wing comedy columnist, away from the public eye, a disembodied, authoritarian presence that doesn’t need to show doubt. Who could be on a stage, crowing about their victory and ridiculing those less fortunate than them without any sense of irony, shame or self-knowledge? That’s not a stand-up comedian. That’s just a cunt.
I read the New Statesman. There, I said it. I’ve outed myself as a dirty liberal. With that said, I don’t always agree with every sentiment presented in the paper, as is my prerogative, but more often than not I can find something of value in every article if I put my mind to it. Having said that, I’ve long since accepted that anything written by Laurie Penny should be taken as gospel, which I suppose says a lot about my personal politics (i.e. consider the words of anyone approved of by Warren Ellis as being nothing but sheer literary gold). But I found something recently that actually made my blood boil a little bit. Continue reading
I first discovered Gil, as most people do, while serving time in a left-wing political party. Making regular appearances at parties and sound systems, Gil’s music was an ample part of my political soundtrack, right up there with Frank Turner, The Clash and Woody Guthrie.
It was only later, after being disillusioned with partisan notions of left and right, that I really appreciated Gil’s gift with words. He spoke of a “common sense party”, a politics of the people, for the people, and always chose the side of the underdog, be they an illegal immigrant from south of the border or the victim of apartheid in South Africa.
If years of shady politics haven’t killed your soul yet, listen to Sun City or Whitey on the Moon, turn up your headphones, get lost in his thick Illinois drawl, and learn to love people again.
Gil Scott-Heron. April 1st 1949 – May 27th 2011