Charlie Brooker is notorious for not only being a funny man, but for also having extremely opinionated and controversial views, using his comedy and abhorrent loathing of other people to form the majority of his jokes. I admit that I have often let out a laugh or five when reading his articles and listening to his hilarious rants, but every comedian knows that the repetitiveness and boorishness of a joke ends up killing the original humour. Or at least every comedian should know and maybe Brooker is now learning this the hard way.
Brooker’s original article for The Guardian, which has sparked off all the recent debate, openly condemns David Cameron and includes a non-subtle comparison between the Prime Minister and a lizard. However, the article’s primary content and relevant debate about the BBC and their money issues, such as the choice between cutting 2000 jobs or cut “ads created not from footage from the shows themselves, but from specially-shot glossy nonsense”, is lost and forgotten under the malice and spite directed at Cameron. Brooker seemingly not only loses the direction and scope of his argument and instead replaces his original well made point about the BBC cuts and the need to advertise for their already popular shows, but he also treads into the dangerous territory of undermining his argument by being juvenile and unsophisticated, making a personal attack on Cameron.
If this wasn’t bad enough, the continuation of the argument and debate through the social networking site Twitter has further weakened his article. One individual tweeted “Genuinely a fan, but barrage of Cameron tweets has me contemplating tearing my eyeballs out. Grow up”, just one of many telling Brooker to let the argument go and to stop going on about the article. Many of Brooker’s fans have used Twitter as a way to let him know that they are no longer following his page, which instead of ignoring or dealing with in a mature manner, Brooker has again magnified the situation and created more opposition for himself and his article, obviously enjoying the attention. However, it cannot be denied that the primary concern of Brooker and his notion that “all that time and money to advertise a show which everybody knows about anyway [is] madness” has been lost and replaced with the idea that Brooker is merely a bitter journalist with an undeniable dislike for the leader of our country’s government.
Graeme Archer, a self-confessed Tory activist has also replied to Brooker’s article, but with much more success by the more intelligent use of The Telegraph rather than resorting to bitter repetitions on Twitter. Archer explains that “every social ill on the planet would be blamed on those ‘cuts’ (the inverted commas are accurate, since in many cases there are no cuts at all, merely a slowing down in the planned increase of public expenditure)”, commenting on the predictability of the Left and their opposition to said cuts. He also goes on to ask, “without the untrammelled ability to spend public money, what is the Left for? Lizard-baiting, apparently”, hitting the nail on the head. In place of a thought-provoking and rational argument now stands a ridiculous and personal onslaught of the Prime Minister, which also reflects badly on other Left wing political believers who may likewise be viewed as lizard-bashers. Archer cleverly summarises his article with the simplicity of “to describe a political opponent as a blood-sucking lizard isn’t amusing; and even if it were, it is depraved. Neither good people who vote Tory, nor their honourable opponents who vote Labour, are less than human: they are just people who happen to disagree on political objectives and tactics”, proving that you don’t have to insult or offend anyone to write a commendable and memorable article.
Everyone knows the lowest form of humour is sarcasm, and likewise the lowest form of argument is name-calling, so why do intellectual and linguistically talented people like Brooker use these forms to appeal to the public? Whether Brooker was just having a bad day, worried about missing his deadline, or genuinely does believe the government and in particular the Conservative Party has been taken over by a group of amphibians and reptiles, I do not know. But through the constant to-ing and fro-ing of journalists and the general public through different portals of the internet this entire matter has unfortunately made Brooker look foolish and caused him a loss of followers and respect. In a few months when this topic has died down, people won’t remember Brooker’s valid points about the BBC cuts, but merely recall his offensive onslaught of the Prime Minister and the unnecessary lengths he went to in an attempt to embarrass Cameron.