Sunday 19 April 2015

Poe's Law

(Courtesy of Alan at Biased BBC)....

I've had a good chuckle at the BBC World Service being caught out by a brilliant student parodist from Sheffield called Godfrey Elfwick, "writer, feminist, dreamweaver".

Preparing a feature about people who've never seen Star Wars (people like me), BBC WS producer Angela Sheeran spotted a tweet from Godfrey saying,
I've never actually seen #StarWars but the fact that the bad guy was all black and ate watermelons was unbelievably racist even for the 70's
Naturally - and doubtless only seeing the "unbelievably racist even for the 70's" bit and failing to spot the "and ate watermelons" bit (and also neglecting to check the rest of his hilarious Twitter feed) - the BBC's Angela tweeted him an invitation to appear on World Have Your Say (and, being a typical BBC producer, she then deleted the tweet after the story broke!). 

Godfrey duly did appear and, keeping a poker voice, gave the World 'his views' about Star Wars:
It was very low quality. It's not my cup of tea at all. From what I have seen of the old Star Wars films there's a lot of social problems with them. They're rooted in homophobia, casual racial stereotypes. Gold robot C25, or whatever he's called, he's a camp, neurotic coward. The only main female ends up in a space bikini enchained to a horny space slug.
The main bad guy...what's he called, Dark Raider? black, he has a deep voice, he listens to rap music. It’s just a really bad racial stereotype.

The Daily Telegraph's account, however, raises an interesting question:
It was unclear if presenter Chloe Tilley had caught on to the joke, first reported on, but she gamely ploughed on. 
And here's where your favourite blog, ITBB, gives the whole thing a thrilling new edge....

Godfrey fooled the BBC WS producer with his deadpan British style of parody, which - especially online - can be very hard to tell from yer people's actual views.

In that light, what do you make of BBC Chloe's contribution here:
Godfrey: Was Disney involved? They've got a very strong feminist track record. They've made very strong feminist films like 'The Little Mermaid', 'Beauty and the Beast', things like that.  They should stick to making more films like that in my book.
BBC WS presenter, Chloe Tilley: Hang on, let's not get into this Disney thing. I mean Disney as well, don't get me started on 'Frozen'.  I mean, that is not some ways it empowers women, in other ways it just makes them into sexualised objects which little girls watch, and it's terrifying, so...
Godfrey: I think Star Wars had one lead female character and, like I said, she ends up in a gold space bikini chained to a giant horny space slug. It reeked of misogyny. 
Here's the question: Had Chloe cottoned onto the joke and was entering into its spirit? Or hadn't she cottoned onto the joke and was merely being a typical po-faced BBC feminist and dreamweaver?

The Telegraph obviously can't tell. Can you?


  1. This made Instapundit in the US, via Delingpole's Breitbart UK bureau. Aside from questioning the judgment of a BBC News producer who thought this was a real expression of views (as much of an indictment of the state of politically correct fascism and so-called Social Justice Warriors as it is of the intelligence of Beeboids), why would anyone doing serious journalism think this guy was going to be a coherent, insightful guest? What kind of moronic political activist posing as a journalist (one of Helen Boaden's very, very young people being paid very, very low wages, whom BBC management lets loose on the airwaves before they're properly house-trained) looks at those tweets and thinks they've found a voice from which the world needs to learn?

    The BBC is very big on using social media to source their stories and keep their finger on the pulse, and this is the inevitable result of having uneducated, over-emotional, biased people do it.

    1. Put like that, David, it's no wonder the BBC producer deleted her tweet. She was 'gotchad' on so many levels.

      That's a telling point about why, even if the BBC producer thought (as she did) that he was for real, she though it worthwhile inviting him to appear, given the views he was pretending to express. That IS very revealing about BBC Angela's way of thinking.

  2. Oh come on. This is a suitable topic for the BBC to discuss. The Guardian, as ever, leads the way with a discussion the racism (and much else) of Thomas the Tank Engine.

    1. Thomas the Tank Engine was pure, undiluted fascism.

      That, somehow, reminds me of a joke from a few years back:

      I was surprised how Muslims reacted to the Danish cartoons. I thought: "How can you get this worked up about a cartoon?" But then I remembered how angry I was when they gave Scooby Doo a nephew.

    2. As a matter of fact Thomas the Tank Engine was originally a searing indictment of capitalism - the Fat Controller was originally the Fat Owner in pre-nationalistation days.

      I was angry recently when I saw a bit of the Thunderbirds film and they'd given Thunderbirds 2 the wrong sort of green colour - a kind of girly calypso rather than the fifties racing green it was supposed to sport.

    3. I absolutely - literally - dread them updating 'Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons'.

      Captain Black was the bad guy, Colonel White the chief of the good guys. Oh-uh.

      "This is the voice of the BBC. We know that you can hear us, Earthmen", #sexist.

    4. Joke's on them. It was all going to be driving tanks facing backwards and the Google comes along and it's not driving at all. In a kid's bumper car.

      I was going to answer your question but see you arrived at one via David.

      "being a typical BBC producer, she then deleted the tweet after the story broke"

      That BBC commitment to not saying anything stupid, coupled with transparency, never fails to impress.

      Looking forward to the lovingly-preserved captures of the original being shared liberally, which they'd have got away with but for those darn kids and that danged internet.

      But we can all be caught. I always thought it was 'Po's Law', as in 'Po-Faced', given the incredible seriousness with which such things get embraced when every fibre of the sane is screaming 'this cannot be...can it?'

    5. Sue will like this one from Godfrey, as a Poldark fan:

      Godfrey Elfwick @GodfreyElfwick · Apr 5
      I've seen 5 episodes of #Poldark and, surprise surprise, there's not a single person of colour in this 18th century Cornish Mining village.

  3. This Godfrey guy sounds pretty good. Has the BBC ever apologised for Bill and Ben's Weedism ?

  4. Has the BBC ever apologised for Bill and Ben's Weedism ?


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