Apr. 15th, 2009 07:08 pm
gwenynen: A flying bee (Hon)
[personal profile] gwenynen
Dear Mark Steel,

Thank you for talking about my great-great-great-great grandfather on your comedy programme tonight. I have always found you very funny; your book on the French Revolution was fascinating, as was your memoir of growing up as a socialist. I was brought up a socialist, and though I would never be so black and white about my political beliefs any more, I broadly agree with your rants on social justice, or the lack of.

But please, for the love of God, wtf is up with you and the Welsh hating? Tonight's show started with a predictable story about how you weren't in the "scary, English-hating bit" of Wales, and mentions of firebombs and (yawn) The Pub Fallacy. I suppose that could be just the normal regionalist joking to soften up the crowd. But you have form. I heard you on the News Quiz one New Year's Eve, for instance, ranting about the Welsh getting upset about Anne Robinson's anti-Welsh racist comments a few years back. The Welsh are always whingeing, you said, what for, I mean, it's not as though the English have ever done anything bad to the the Welsh, is it? After all, it was only our sovereignty and our language that was destroyed, it wasn't as though we were sold into slavery or anything, what do we have to whinge about?

But see, this isn't a victimhood top trumps, you know? Just because culture X had something worse done to them than culture Y, doesn't mean culture Y should just go "oh, well, never mind, we'll just forget all about that then." Good stuff has inevitably come from "our happy union with the valorous English", but so has bad stuff.
It's easy, though, to take the piss out of the Welsh. After all, you're not allowed to be Anti-Semitic, or laugh at someone because of their colour any more, so you have to have someone to pick on, right? And we're all British, so technically you're just laughing at yourself, really. Sure.

Grow up. Get some wit. Make funnies that don't depend on disparaging someone's culture and language, why don't you? Because that's just as bad as the right-wing upper-class bigots whose bubbles you so often puncture.

Pissed Off Welsh Expat.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-15 07:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] peredur-glyn.livejournal.com
How very disappointing. I'd not heard that episode, and have always been well-disposed to Steel in general.

He's coming to do some kind of stand-up in Caernarfon soon, I believe, so I wonder how he will temper his routine then, given that he will be firmly in the midst of all the cottage-burners and English-haters of Wales. (I've seen non-Welsh comedians come to north Wales and perform routines that try out vaguely anti-Welsh stuff--mocking placenames and the like--because they think it's original and that we haven't heard it all before, and the response they get redefines the term "stony silence".)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-15 07:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] juggzy.livejournal.com
What I don't understand is how blind so many people are to the low level anti-Welsh racism that is really really prevalent all through the English culture. The Welsh have it far worse than the Irish or Scots because we are seen to have no redeeming features - no humour like the Irish, no canny engineering/economic prudence like the Scots. We just sing "far too loud, far too often, and flat."

And every time you pick someone up on it, your objections are taken as proof that their prejudice is a rightful opinion.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-16 09:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] echoesreturn.livejournal.com
I'm amazed that Mark Steel was surprised that Merthyr was a hotbed of socialism...and the first place were the Welsh flag was flown. Maybe spending the last 6 months working on a chapter about Gwyn Thomas, and his vision of Merthyr - or should that now be MERVER?!- I know more about the place than I should, but bloody hell!

Fully support your comments - it's just cheap gags, and seems far more hammy than the others in the series. Poor show Mr Steel.

Oh Christ, someone even quotes Richard Llewellyn...

This is how it should be done: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL2CaiydtLY

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-16 06:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] itsjustaname.livejournal.com
I think you should find a contact address for Mr Steel and send that. It's an excellent letter.

Despite being about as much of a socialist as Genghis Khan I do like Mark Steel and have always found him very funny.

My racism of choice is being anti-French.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-17 01:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dyddgu.livejournal.com
It could be better ;-)

I generally actually don't have a problem with making fun of national stereotypes, after a fashion. After all, if you can't laugh... But I do get irked with the sort of person who would have gone on anti-racist/fascist/whatever marches, but then thinks that making fun of the Welsh or the Scots or whatever is totally different. Doublethink annoys me.

I'm quite apt to rib the French as well ;-) They make it so easy!


gwenynen: A flying bee (Default)

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