Daniel Kitson - racist?


#1

www.theguardian.com/stage/commentisfree/2017/jul/19/daniel-kitson-cant-reclaim-a-racist-word-hes-never-been-the-target-of

Not sure what to make of this really. The first line is peak Guardian though.


#2

Never heard of his shtick. This makes him sound like he’s a cunt, though.


#3

dunno, I am not of pakistani heritage, but half indian so have had that word used against me a fair bit, and I wouldn’t mind a comedian using it so long as they had a positive intention behind it which seems to be the case here (although from the summary of the joke doesn’t really seem be funny or make a particularly strong point so probably not worth it).

It bugs me that intentions don’t seem to count for anything nowadays, the focus is on whether someone affected could be hurt by it, I think the problem there is that people presume a consensus amongst those affected which I think is patronising, like I say I don’t find this offensive the writer does, maybe the logical thing is then to err on the side of caution and avoid terms that will offend some if not all, but I don’t think that is without a cost. Think that it inhibits people talking about these issues, or describe the world as it actual is (i.e a place where people commonly use racist terms), which is counterproductive.

I do not endorse Daniel Kitson though


#4

Ooh you’re basically bringing his entire show/career into question here


#5

I like Kitson.

Saw him do this joke on Wednesday. I winced. The whole audience looked a bit embarrassed.


#6

So the basic premise of the joke is a critique of racism then right? If so then obviously he isn’t a racist, because a racist wouldn’t do that. The point of the article from my memory is to question whether it’s acceptable to use that form of language to do that. She decided, from a position of some authority, that it isn’t, and no doubt he would take that opinion on board if she expressed it to him.


#7

And surely making the audience wince and be embarrassed must have been at least part of the intention. I’ve seen Stewart Lee pull that trick a million times.


#8

Lifes smpler when its Peter Kay reminding us of space hoppers


#9

Yep, definitely. She even says he isn’t racist in the article.

I still really like him though I prefer his plays to his comedy.


#10

Is he really “reclaiming” the word? To reclaim a word is to strip it of its original context and give it a new meaning, surely, so as to transform something hateful into something that can be used with pride. I wasn’t at the show (and this is the first I’ve ever heard of Kitson!) but based on the context given, it sounds like he just used the word. And not as an attack, either, but as an example of the sort of language he heard a lot growing up.

I’m not sure what to make of this either. Doesn’t look like it’s a question of whether he has a right to “reclaim” a word so much as whether he should have used the word in the first place.


#11

I’ve seen him, years ago. He was very funny, thoughtful. Not a gag-merchant. As someone above said, he ‘uses’ the word, to make a point about ingrained racism. He isn’t reclaiming it, nor directing it at anybody. Obviously it’s a painful word to hear, and has negative associations that I can’t imagine…but I think it’s unfair to put him in the spotlight for this.


#12

As mentioned above this kind of comes down to the context of use and if you want to make certain words completely taboo.

There’s been some debate over the last few years about reactions to any use of the n word on American media, as the reporting of the use of the word has been reacted to in the same way as the use of the word as a slur.


#13

I saw Kitson on Thursday and watched people looking uncomfortable when he did the cornershop skit. It had a point and it worked for me. It did it’s job in reminding people what we thought was acceptable in the past is actually racist. That we didn’t call anyone for it. I like it when we are reminded of what we use to be like, but we can change for the better. Consistent with Kitson’s outlook.

Thats my take. Haven’t read the Guardian piece, of course.


#14

Erm. Probs just take the word of it from someone more qualified to decide on this one guys? Would urge the article to be read before feet reach mouths commenting too.


#15

You realise your comment immediately follows one from someone with the same qualification right?


#16

I don’t think he does.


#17

? erm. no?

i think maybe i’ve not gotten over what my point was - someone who takes offence to the term because of the context of their own life (and therefore presumably Kitson’s ignorance of that understanding of it) is more qualified and 100% justified in taking issue with it than someone who isn’t offended by it.

I’ve read that back and am aware i am not being clear enough but can’t phrase it another way. I know kitson is a sacred cow here too


#18

So you are saying there’s no point discussing it then?


#19

OK well obviously someone who’s been exposed to racist abuse has more authority to declare something to be racist abuse than someone who hasn’t. I’m not sure anyone in this thread has actually argued differently. In this case the columnist and @MarsBonfire have both been subject to that, the difference being in their opinion of the routine. I don’t think the point you’re making is that all other things being equal the opinion of someone offended by something is worth more than that of someone who isn’t, but if you were then I think I would disagree.


#20

Everyone. Hi. I’m a person who was called that from the age of six to 25(*). I’m happy with Kitson’s observation and point.

You have my permission to laugh at the observation , love Kitson and not beat yourself over it.

(*) Since 2001, I’m just called a Muslim from time to time. And I don’t even believe in gods!