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Ben Miller defends trans character in Moving Wallpaper

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  1. Brian Burton 7 Apr 2009, 11:43am

    Ben Miller, you are just an apologist I should’nt wonder? Get me out of here!

  2. Pumpkin Pie 7 Apr 2009, 12:20pm

    Let’s bring back black-faced minstrels! Oh wait, let’s not.

    Typical comedian’s response: all they’re looking for is the cheapest laugh you can get. There’s a difference between being edgy and just plain hateful. And the cheek of saying it’s our problem!

    Hardi-har-har! I is a big black fella, an’ I likes da watermelon an’ da fried chickins! Ooooh! And now I’m a mincing little fairy! Ooh! Look at me prance around and be cheeky! Excuse you, missus! Hee-hee!

    Hilarious. Truly the height of comedy. What a buffoon this man is.

    And one more thing! One which is pertinent not only to this effrontery, but to every half-hearted “apology” the trans community gets from jerks like this. Why do they always assume that it’s only trans people who are offended? Transsexuals have friends and families, and well-wishers and supporters – hell, some of us have never even met a trans person in real life (that we know of)! So long as those of us who care about them exist, the trans community will NEVER be alone, no matter how much their detractors want to portray them as a whingy little minority not worth thinking about.

  3. I’m in two minds about this one… Ben Miller’s character Jonathon Pope in “Moving wallpaper” is deliberately portrayed as an insenstitive boorish yuppie prat. Given that that’s the character he’s playing, you’ll naturally find him delivering lines that sail close to the wind in terms of PC.
    It’s a similar device that divides opinion on Alf Garnet… if you’re playing a boorish bigot, is the joke on the bigot or the person on the receiving end of the bigotry? Most would argue that the joke was on Alf Garnet, but as Warren Mitchell who played him discovered, the problem comes when certain sections of the public miss the intended joke and champion the bigot rather than the victim. And that’s one reason “Till death us do part” and it’s ilk aren’t shown any more.
    The hub of the problem is “are you laughing with the bigot or at the bigot?” I couldn’t say which was the case here as I didn’t see the show, but I think it would be more acceptable to me if Jonathon Pope got his comeuppance at the end of the episode and didn’t hog all the best lines. It would also be better if the transexual gave as good as she got.

  4. I watched it and didn’t think it was offensive to trans people at all. If people watched the whole series they would understand the plot. In this case the transexual character was very manly, with visible stubble and of larger than average body and that seemed to be the joke. The character didn’t make a lot of effort to look or act in a feminine way, think Babs the cab driver from The League of Gentlemen.
    I’m not saying it’s right to joke about people, just to be carefull that we don’t end up in a completely funless world.

  5. Perhaps this episode of Moving Wallpaper confronted trans people with some uncomfortable thoughts?

    No-one deserves cruelty, but it happens all the time between bitchy male/female characters or whatever. What makes trans people untouchable? To someone non-trans, it’s a very very confusing phenomenon, as each trans person has a different take on how they choose to present themselves. Yes, a trans person can look hideous!! Shock horror.

    When something isn’t understood, intimidating or confusing people insult or carry prejudice to personally deal with it. It’s just the way it is.

    Don’t like it, then don’t watch it. Like Chris Moyles :)

  6. Abi Chrisopher 7 Apr 2009, 6:16pm

    I would call this episode an instruction manual of how to discriminate and humiliate trans people in the workplace and a clear breach of the OFCOM code.

    If you you change the trans person to a person of colour, faith gay, lesbian, bisexual or even disabled it would not of been considered but somehow a much smaller minority in society is exceptable how is that right.

  7. Abi Chrisopher 7 Apr 2009, 6:28pm

    “In this case the transsexual character was very manly, with visible stubble and of larger than average body and that seemed to be the joke.”

    @alex s

    Do you not see that why should the trans person be the one who is a “joke”. Why not have a lesbian with short hair and dungarees or a gay man who says “oh my god” and likes shopping and cottaging who works as a hairdresser. Then we could have a stupid black man who says “what do you want boss” who never gets the joke but likes basketball.

    Presenting minority groups as one dimensional and stupid is discrimination.

  8. Seems to be a lot of fuss about nothing. I’ve heard more about this programme than either Harry Hills tv burps in which he was offensive to Transfolk or to that idiot Gervaisse being offensive to Transwomen while on stage at the Apollo.
    About the only thing I can think of that was anywhere near offensive was the departing shot of the Transwoman as she climbed onto a big bike, in a dress. Not likely at all, I would have thought.
    The Transwoman was treated as many are at work, and the programme showed that to great effect, I think. I mean, if your boss went around sniffing the seat of his female boss, just what credence would you put on anything he says or does.
    Could have been written better, could have had a Trans actor in it but like Coronation street, tv companies have a long way to go before they employ real Transfolk to play these parts.

  9. Liz Church 7 Apr 2009, 7:41pm

    “I watched it and didn’t think it was offensive to trans people at all…”

    “Seems to be a lot of fuss about nothing…”

    “Don’t like it, then don’t watch it…”

    Finished reading The Sun? Shouldn’t you lot be watching the footy?

  10. Liz Church 8 Apr 2009, 7:31am

    “Seems to be a lot of fuss about nothing.”

    Of course. Sure… Same with homophobia. Not my problem…

    Abi, there are always those who let the side down. Don’t worry about them. They don’t carry any influence. Most people will see them for what they are. Simple rank-and-file. Save your powder for the broadcasters and politicians.

  11. Actually, Liz Church, it is my problem and I deal with Homophobia and Transphobia when it happens to me or my Trans Partner and I won’t take that s–t from no-one and I don’t go and have a meeting about it, it gets dealt with. But you’ll excuse me for having a different view, won’t you? Oh no, you won’t. You’re just keen as mustard to label me as a wrong’un because I take a different view, and I did notice that you ignored the rest of my post. That figures.

  12. tranzgrrl 8 Apr 2009, 1:08pm

    “Miller, who plays TV producer Jonathan Pope in the series, told PA: ” While on the one hand I would hate to feel that people were offended by comedy, I also think we have to realise when we are offended by something that other people are not necessarily offended in the same way, or that that doesn’t necessarily mean that that material shouldn’t be shown.

    “It simply means that we have found it offensive and quite often that is simply a necessary function of comedy.”

    Ah…so now he changes the subject. What on earth has Ben Miller or the series Moving Wallpaper got to do with comedy?!

  13. I wonder how many people here have actually watched the series in question…

  14. dammit im tempted to take the entire script and re-write it so that its about the victimisation of a minority its not okay to abuse in that way.

    see if people change their tune a little.

    the trans community does not want to be ‘untouchable’ we want to be treated the same as other minorities, joke about us. fine. but do not drag in a one dimensional character into a show and then spend an entire episode abusing them.

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