Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Question Nuance

Today I blatantly stole an idea from Dave Hill (and now a picture from The Spine).* I opened a blog over at The Telegraph.

Actually, I didn’t steal the idea as much as I went back and posted on the blog I’d registered earlier this year. I’m A. Aaron Esq, which as you’ll no doubt know is the name of my grandfather. I didn’t expect any replies to the small piece I wrote about Gordon Brown. Nor did I expect people to misunderstand me and actually accuse me of liking the man. So, in response, I wrote the following, which I’m also posting here so as to bore you all with yet more of my wise words about the great man himself: Mr. Bernie Clifton.

I opened a blog here at The Telegraph and people immediately misunderstood me. Did I really say I liked Gordon Brown? It seems that I did. Or I didn’t, depending on which comment you read in response to my original post. I don’t know where I went wrong. Things are never this difficult on my own blog. But there I’m usually writing about sling-backed thongs, stripping, and the North Wales exotic dance circuit. Do I really smell of pineapples and am I really the owner of the largest collection of thongs in Wales? Well, yes and yes. Do I like Gordon Brown? Of course I don’t. It’s a foolish thing to ask of a man who is often mistaken for Lembit Opik. It was a question of a nuance that some people just didn’t pick up.

Nuance. Can’t live with it. Can’t bash it on the back of a head with a spade.

Miscommunication has to be one of the less enjoyable novelties of trying to communicate on the internet. Irony doesn’t tend to work without a fat smiley at the end. Nor does sarcasm or anything that isn’t as blatant as: ‘I dislike Gordon Brown and wasn’t so hot on Blair.’ Yet out of it comes at least one interesting question. Who do I like? There’s so much negativity around, shouldn’t I begin by saying who and what I like? If we’re all going around castigating Brown, isn’t it good to know who we’d like to see in his place?

I don’t know if I have the answer to that question, but I do like Bernie Clifton.

I’ve been thinking a lot about him in recent days. Last week, I bumped into him in the local shopping centre where he was collecting money for charity. I’ve written about this elsewhere so I won’t go into too much length about him here, but things seemed simpler in the days of Crackerjack. Even now, people seemed to have so much faith in an old comedian with bad knees and dressed in a faded yellow ostrich suit. Yet it’s hardly surprising when we’re led by a man whose personality hasn’t been bypassed as much as it has had a ring road built around it.

It’s not that I want my politicians to act the buffoon, but I don’t seen buffoonery as being anathema to being serious. It’s a lesson that politicians simply fail to heed. Churchill recently came fifth in a poll of great wits. Does anybody think him a lesser politician because of it? The same is true of Einstein who once stuck out his tongue and it became one of the iconic pictures of the century. Groucho Marx’s aphorisms are routinely quoted as if wisdom and Chaplin is seen as a great artist making significant political films.

Gordon Brown would never countenance an ostrich outfit. I don’t imagine at any point in his life he’s ever donned a pair of yellow stockings and feathered shoes. But then, can we imagine him sticking out his tongue, saying anything witty, or even making a significant political point on anything? I don’t suppose it means I should dislike him any more than I already do but it certainly doesn’t make me trust him.

And that’s why I like Bernie Clifton. It’s all a question nuance and seeing the absurdities in ourselves. Life seems so much more healthy that way.

*Thanks to David at The Spine for letting me use the picture.


David B said...

Fret not, Chip. You could steal the family silver and do it with style. Feel free to use what you need and discard the rest.

David B said...

I've been meaning to mention, Chip, that I've added you to my recommended blogroll. Consider it a high honour. Or perhaps not... :)

elberry said...

As a great man once said, "most people are fools". Write anything that has more than one interpretation and you'll have some asshole bleeting at you for your supposed evil.

Worse are people who are actually intelligent but have absolutely no sense of irony.

i wrote this:

and got an email from a reader (an intelligent man) asking why i hate children. i labouriously explained that i was being ironical.

ElizaF said...

*Thanks to David at The Spine for letting me use the picture.

/Me makes a strangled noise, a muffled squeak, a gasp and is led off the premises by two burly thong wearing men.

Big Chip Dale said...

I know, it's such a scary picture! It's so funny I had to ask him if I could use it. Shame it didn't cause more of a storm at the Telegraph.