The police have been summoned in response to the actually-and-not-ironically-vile comments made by UKIP European candidate Carl Benjamin of MP Jess Phillips, who he said he “might rape.” It’s a preposterous move, since it was a joke and not an actual threat, albeit a joke in poor taste by a man we ought to disavow.
There is a social utility in the troll, who acts as the modern day court jester, poking and prodding our collective assumptions, and more importantly tests to see if we still have a sense of humor. It is for this reason I kind of enjoyed Milo Yiannopoulos, with whom I agree with only partially but deliciously challenged the unquestioned dogma of modern liberalism. Maybe Milo’s role, after his social media banning, that Carl Benjamin, aka Sargon of Akkad, can fill.
The troll’s job is to piss people off. Yet if they’re trying to be relevant, they should piss people off for the right reasons. Sometimes, surprising as it may seem, people get pissed off because something has been said that is disgusting. Carl Benjamin’s recent comments fit in the latter category.
To give it its proper context: Carl Benjamin made a jibe about Labour MP Jess Phillips that he “wouldn’t even rape her,” and inevitably faced a backlash. In an attempted ironic backtrack, Benjamin retorted:
“I’ve been in a lot of trouble for my hardline stance of not even raping her. I suppose with enough pressure I might cave. But let’s be honest, nobody’s got that much beer.”
And before you start typing, yes, I am aware that he is joking here. He is a troll and that’s what he does. I don’t believe he would actually consider raping her. It’s still an unacceptable thing to say.
Jokes are about subverting expectations. I’m struggling to see what the expectations are that are being subverted in this joke – that we think rape is terrible? Great, very funny. At least I might have thought so if I were 12-years-old and had not been raised properly. This comes down to good manners – jokes are good, but jokes like these are grubby.
On a political level I think Jess Phillips is dangerous; who’s someone who once said that she would nationalise every inch of another MP’s constituency if she could. On a personal level, I feel for her, since for all her faults, she does not need to be degraded in such a manner.
The cops getting involved might be the worst possible thing to happen in this situation. First, because it is not an actual coercive threat and therefore not a crime. He also then becomes a martyr for the idea of free speech, which I support wholeheartedly. The problem is is that this guy is hardly worth a sack of beans.
Being anti-politically correct is a given, and should be in your foundation for future right thinking. But it is not sufficient to make a great thinker or leader. One of the biggest problems he has is that he thinks politics is fixable. He thinks they might be something that can be changed through running for election. He thinks that there is a positive role for the state in society. In summary, I have no idea why this guy is taken seriously amongst liberty loving folks.
The right response to people of this type is thorough denunciation and shame, and not police action. I also fully support banning him on social media platforms. This is perfectly within their rights as private companies to do so. It is not necessary to get the police involved.
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