The satirist Chris Morris is planning, we learnt at the weekend, to make a new programme sending up Islamic terrorists in the manner of Dad\’s Army. "Terrorism isn\’t about religion," the proposal for the programme says. "It\’s about berks." Amen to that. It\’s about time it was said, and said loud and clear.

Worked for Oswald Mosely:

But years before, in 1938, Wodehouse showed us what he really thought when, in The Code of the Woosters, he gave us Sir Roderick Spode, leader of the Black Shorts, an unambiguous skit on Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists.

When Bertie Wooster acts, as ever, the turning worm, he says what Wodehouse thinks about Nazism, fascism and all such forms of extremism, and also what the British themselves naturally think about such subjects and such people. “The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you’re someone. You hear them shouting ‘Heil, Spode!’ and you imagine it’s the voice of the people. That is where you make your bloomer. What the voice of the people is saying is: ‘Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?’ ”

Spode is comic, Mosley was comic to the British,

It\’s not that they don\’t like it up \’em, it\’s that they can\’t take people laughing at them.

7 thoughts on “Quite”

  1. There’s a good start at laughing at terrorists here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uwOL4rB-go

    My teenage son pestered me for a week to watch it until finally, against my (ahem) better judgement, I gave in. What a hoot…..

    I hope Chris Morris succeeds with his project. We need some laughter in this benighted country.

  2. Unfortunately, we don’t particularly need it on the BBC – we need it on Al Jazheera, Saudi Channel 2 or even Al-Ekhbariyah.

    They probably won’t – as Spode showed, extremists of all ilks are notably deficient in the sense of humour department.

  3. SE:

    I’m not at all sure about that. I recall a piece of videotape showing a meeting of Al Quaeda big-wigs (including OBL) in which translation indicated that they were getting a good laugh that many of the 19 taking over the planes weren’t really “in the loop” that suicide was the intent. If that ain’t funny, I don’t know what is!

  4. Your analogy is better than you let on, since Wodehouse also had a “nuanced” understanding of which side he was on.

  5. Wodehouse was a Patriot

    Windowlicker: “Wodehouse also had a “nuanced” understanding of which side he was on.”
    Meaning, exactly?

  6. As I’m sure you know, Wodehouse made radio broadcasts from Berlin during the war. This resulted in his being investigated for treason by MI6, who concluded that he was “naive and foolish but not a traitor.” (More in the book “Renegades: Hitler’s Englishmen” by Adrian Weale.)

    Of Major EJP Cussen, the MI5 officer who investigated him, he said: “Didn’t you think Cussen was a priceless ass? But you ought to have seen him in uniform with his little wooden stick!”

    It seems when it comes to making fun of people in uniforms Wodehouse was without peer. Like I said: nuanced.

    Still, as long as he got a gag out of it, eh?

  7. err, and the idea of a puffed-up uniformed spy interrogating a whimsical writer for treason because he appeared on foreign radio is not a suitable target for mockery why precisely?

    authoritarian tit.

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