It was really interesting to watch Gail Porter's documentary on mental health (Being Gail Porter) and the Luke Chadwick stuff regarding being mocked on telly by Nick Hancock and his sporting comedy sidekicks all of those years ago. I admire how they've spoken about the mental anguish they suffered. The Gail Porter documentary was really interesting as you saw how crushed she was at the time, by the mockery of Mark Lamarr. She almost crumbles into a defensive fold on the desk in front of her.
I have always hated that kind of humour. And I say that as someone who has been the brunt of it, and as someone who even if I didn't deliver it, I certainly laughed along. That's not to say I haven't mocked people... And I won't make excuses for it, I have, but it has never, as far as I remember, been about their appearance. It is usually about behaviour, pomposity, arrogance (all of which I'm sure this media magnifies more than is actual, because of the delivery method, and on my part, the love of writing). And I am impatient with people.
Having been the brunt, and witnessed the almost complete appreciation of the mockery by the crowd, the mob, I wanted acceptance. So acerbic mockery of others thoughts, "style," beliefs etc, became a thing. I love satire, and comedy that bursts balloons, challenges hierarchy and politics. And I thought that's what I did. But I'm sure for some it was hurtful and unkind.
And I'm sorry.
It was a defense mechanism created in the furnace that was a school in a system that threw every social and mental problem into one building after a verbal reasoning test at 11. In the years when the solution was, "just toughen up."
Cruel comedy really isn't my thing. I loathe it, and when a comedian resorts to cruelty, it totally turns me off them. Buzzcocks and They Think it's all Over, were great programmes when they stuck to laughing at eighties hairstyles, or daft trends etc, or own goals, bad golf shots etc, but mocking how people looked; who they were etc, and actually the sexism in those programmes, were awful, cringey to watch. I hate Graham Norton's mockery, or Mock the Week when it becomes mock a person for being.
It really does take years to recover from bullying... The stages of recovery are recognisable to me.. People laugh loudest when the pain is concentrated on someone else for a change; addictive personalities seek other realities and confidence through chemicals, and then, if the person is lucky they get to a point of realisation, a part of their lives when they say, "well this is me. Like it or lump it." And they actively walk away from others being mocked (though the subtleties in this, and just how naturally and quickly this can be injected into conversations can throw you). I've long admired the people who can just walk away from mockery without laughing. I'm not sure who it was, but on TV relatively recently someone said, and I paraphrase, "ah, mockery. I don't do that,"when confronted by another politicians mockery of their political leader). And I've tried really hard to make that calmly walking away, part of me. A sign of disapproval that just hopefully is subtle enough to show that, and quiet enough not to be lecturing. It isn't easy. In fact it really can really isolate you. But, you do feel better to have not been part of it... And to have made a point. I'm not perfect. I do fall. A lifetime of defense is really difficult to strip away.
I'll fall, fail... I'm imperfect. And I apologise for that. But I'll do my best.
Those doing the mocking are the ones to pity, I realise now. They are insecure. They worry how they look, sound and come across. They worry about their place in pecking orders.
Gail Porter doesn't any more (but has been terribly effected by her earlier life). Luke Chadwick seems confident, happy, but it must have been eating him up inside to have to say something yesterday.
I don't anymore (but it itches now and again). School was hellish. Its a long time ago. But it shaped me... In a way I hope other children really don't have to be shaped.
This is me.