Let’s get this straight, Jonathan Pie is not funny. Yes, it’s true that he makes me smile, sometimes laugh, but in the way that absurdism is funny, that ridiculous is funny, that our everyday impenetrable Kafka lives are funny. They are not really but it is difficult not to smugly smile in recognition.
Recently I was treated to see Jonathan Pie: Back In The Studio, a one actor theatre show, half monologue / half PowerPoint. Blistering fun. Like watching a car crash. Sharply insightful and crudely damning all at the same time. The political right was bashed as expected and refreshingly so were the liberal left. The polemic was decidedly not centre stage though. Left-wing politics were decried for their use of language to claim the moral high ground at the expense of intent of action. Use the right words being more important that doing the right thing. As you can imagine, much fun was made with language and it’s use/abuse.
At one point the term BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) was questioned. This is something I encountered at work and felt the glow of familiarity rise. In the annual report for where I work, a target labelled BAMER is shown with no explanation of what the additional R stands for, let alone the original BAME. Much fun in the office trying to work out the R. (We think it’s Refugee by the way but are not 100% certain) As I said earlier, it’s not really funny.
The show was bitter/sweet. Ultimately, we watch a smart educated person eloquently fall apart as they rail against a faceless autocracy that many of us exist in. The experience was reaffirming. I’m not the only one who thinks that political correctness is a good thing. It lays basic the ground rules for public relationships. except where it is used as a power play word game to cut people out of dialogue and dismiss opinion based on an evolving unwritten lexicon of permitted terms. Of course, one can’t talk about this kind of thing without being a misogynist, a racist, homophobic or branded as whatever is the fashionable term of dismissal.
And Jonathan Pie? Personally, I wish I were that eloquent.