The missing link between humanity and fungus, Russel Brand, is in trouble again.
Well I don't like him, I have to say. But that's just me. I don't like his low-grade schoolboy humour and his irrelevant use of swearing and the unbelievably stupid things he does. Evidently, lots of people do like him because he makes money at being an infantile git, but I'd never pay to watch him.
This time though, he is unfairly lambasted. The paralympics athletes are Outraged! Outraged I tell you! Apparently he has insulted them.
Here is what he actually said.
He told his audience: 'I don’t give a f*** about the Olympics. It’s boring Blue Peter sport and a waste of taxpayers’ money.
'At least the Paralympics have some kind of novelty value or something.'
Now, he is allegedly a comedian. That joke would not have raised a smile with me. Not because of Outrage!, not because of the 'oo, that's a bit close to the bone' feeling I get with some of Frankie "Specky Ginger Plonker" Boyle's stuff, not because of mild irritation, not because of anything other than it's a pretty weak joke. I mean, I expect jokes at that level from Pissed Angus McWaster late in the evening, but a professional? I'd expect something with a bit of thought behind it.
I don't care about the Olympics either. It's full of people doing stuff I'll never be able to do so watching it is akin to watching a porn film starring Nine-Inch Nigel with a woman who keeps saying she wants even more than that. That's not exciting, it just induces feelings of inadequacy.
Those taking part in the Olympics are the closest to physically perfect specimens the human race can produce. When you have enough muscles to put half of Coventry in the shade, lifting what appears to be a locomotive axle with extra wheels on it isn't such a big deal. If I did it, you would first be utterly stunned, then you'd have to call an ambulance and a crane.
So watching someone with the leg muscles of a gazelle running like, um, a gazelle, isn't interesting. Point to one of them and say 'He won that race' and I'll point to his muscles and say 'Well that's hardly a surprise, is it?'
Point to someone with no legs and say 'He won that race' and I'm going to look twice. Won a race with no legs at all? Now I'm impressed.
So, although I'll have to wash my fingers in bleach after typing it, Urko's stunt double is right. The paralympics are much more interesting than the olympics. Watching people do something they've trained to do for years, with bodies at the peak of fitness and perfection - yawn. I know they can do it simply because they're in the competition. I know I could never hope to come close to the level of fitness of the guy who came in last. There's no need to rub it in.
The paralympics is full of people competing in sports despite missing a few limbs here and there. Now that, to me, is worth seeing. Naturally, I still couldn't beat the guy who came in last but that ceases to be the point here. This is about people who, when I was a kid, would have been told 'You can never do that' and doing it anyway.
The PE teacher ( the gym stuff, for non-UK readers) used to say that to me and I thought 'That means he's not going to force me to try. I'm just going to nod and keep quiet and let the other poor buggers sweat.' The chemistry and physics teachers stopped saying it after a while.
So it is actually embarrassing to hear paralympic athletes bleating about a comment made by the guy who didn't get Animal's job in the Muppet auditions. He made a comment which, when you look at it, wasn't actually derogatory. In fact he rated the paralympics as more entertaining than the olympics and if you want to say it's not about entertainment, what the hell did you think all the tickets were for?
People buy tickets for the olympics and paralympics for the same reason they buy tickets to watch Barnum's scariest freak. To be entertained. That's it.
I won't buy tickets for any sports events because I'm not interested enough so I won't be entertained. I won't buy tickets for the last toilet brush in the shop's shows because I'd just sit there through the entire performance thinking how many bin bags I could have bought and then thrown away instead.
It's entertainment. All of it. That's what it's for. All the olympics, all the paralympics, all the football, the cricket, Wimbledon, all of it. Entertainment. It is all 'novelty value'.
That's what people pay for.
If you imagine it is there for some higher, empowering purpose then I'm afraid you're just nuts. It exists because people pay to watch it. Sponsors hand over cash in return for advertising because people will see the advertising. No other reason. Don't go looking for deep meanings and Righteous missions in the paralympics. It is entertainment, just like any other spectator sport.
If it wasn't entertaining it simply wouldn't exist.