Two stories making the news today made me go ‘Oh for pity’s sake.’
Story number one concerns the radio programme I’m sorry I haven’t a clue. This launched in the early 1970s and promoted itself as the antidote to panel games. The magnificently acidic Humphrey Lyttleton chaired it from start to when he died, and the reins were taken up by the laconic Jack Dee. A running gag since the first shows has been the scorer, ‘the lovely Samantha.’ Humph created her as a bit of a statement about the vacuous female assistants on game shows, and the joke stuck. There was a massive amount of harmless innuendo, including the deathless ‘Samantha has scored on more desks than she can remember.’ All clean harmless fun. As a long-term listener, I’ve had a lot of girlfriends over the years, and lots of women friends, and not one has taken offence, not one.
Now some benighted woman has contacted the Beeb to say that Samantha is objectionably sexist, and the Beeb has cravenly agreed to an investigation. For goodness sake, woman, grow up and get a sense of humour. If you want to hear sexist, check out Jo Brand claiming that the way to a man’s heart is ‘with a sharp knife through the ribs.’ I find that joke funny too, but it is sexist in the extreme.
Second story. A British MP, one Penelope Mordaunt, has been taken to task for having the sheer effrontery to poke gentle fun at the Parliamentary process. She accepted a bet to weasel the word ‘cock’ into question time. She did pretty well, and managed to sneak in a few ‘lays’ and ‘laids.’ All good clean fun. Some of the more rabid newspapers suggest this is tantamount to treason, and are demanding her resignation. Oh please. Parliament is pompous in the extreme, and a bit of levity is welcome. Nobody died as they say.