I watched question time last night. Piers Morgan, who couldn't be more annoying if he tried (and I suspect he does ) A sensible Scottish woman who didn't really have much to say, a woman from UKIP who really did prove the point that empty vessels make most noise, and Joey Barton. A football player and that very dangerous thing, a superficially stupid man who possesses the seeds of intelligence but fails to nurture them.
The single most unfashionable thing in the world today is to be superficially sexist. You can be 'proper' sexist and nobody has the balls to say anything (see what I did there!!!!), but you can also be clumsy, accidentally crude or just say the wrong thing, and world screams at you, ganging up like playground bullies and throwing outraged stones. Barton made a stupid joke, it wasn't actually a joke - it was a metaphor, and it was actually a very good one - except it was 30 years out of date and in entirely the wrong place at the wrong time - as soon as it had fallen from his mouth like lead weights, he knew it was a mistake - but it took 45 mins for anyone in the audience to grab the chance of temporary immortality to pull him up on it - I have a strong feeling that the audience needed the time to check on twitter to make sure they were in the right gang. Sexism, is, of course - a very bad thing - we don't live in the 30's - or the 50's or even the 70's - when the role and place of women in society was different, and changed over the decades to evolve into something that's already a million times better than it was - and continues to change, and mutate - and like most things, swing back and forth from better to worse until we finally get to where we need to be - but seriously, it wasn't such a bad thing, he apologised, and he - me - and everyone watching knew he's made a mistake, but that didn't stop the internet and the media making him into a very bad person, and despite the fact that we were spoilt for choice in the villain stakes last night - only Barton is in the papers. He's a football player, not a brain surgeon. He was clearly the only bit of colour on the show. I watched a recording of him talking to the Oxford Students Union about homophobia in football and I thought he was remarkable. I have no interest in football whatsoever - but after that - I can forgive him letting his stupid side slip occasionally. No other member of the panel had anything to say whatsoever - and as crude as his metaphor was - it was very accurate. The main 3 political parties have only themselves to blame for the inexplicable rise of UKIP.
It's worth noting that all this outrage over a bad joke comes in the week that a woman in the Sudan is in prison and may be flogged and executed for marrying a Christian, two girls in India committed suicide because they had been raped, and a woman in India was stoned to death by her family for marrying against their wishes, to a man who has confessed that he strangled his first wife in order to take a new bride, and was forgiven by the rather strange legal system out there. But pulling up Barton over a bad joke, or 'sexism-lite' was much easier and kept you away from any international political sensitivities, or actually having to think about anything properly.
My head cold has now travelled to all my joints, knees and hips in particular. It's wretched.