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Only Joking! The quest for the next Bogeyman


Have you noticed that Bogeyman status has suffered disproportionate inflation?

Once, the ultimate insult was to label someone Middle Class. When I was at college, that accusation was enough to have many innocent people dispatched to social Siberia.

That label lost its value over the years – possibly because most Left-wing comedians are either called Marcus or they got their jobs in comedy through family connections. They call that the Brigstocke-Baddiel Effect.

So a new currency was launched: The Racist.

There were regional variations. Some communities traded in The Uncle Tom, which itself was ultimately replaced by The Oreo.

The Racist kept its value for a short time. Emotional Economists attributed its eventual crash to massive over-spending. One day the head of the Commission for Racial Equality was using The Racist to condemn some idiotic politician, which might be reasonable enough. But within weeks Ken Livingstone was returning fire, accusing the head of the CRE himself of being Racist. The term was being devalued by over-use.

Meanwhile, as new generations of kids went to school, played and eventually worked alongside each other, social attitudes changed.

This had a disastrous effect on the Emotional Currency markets. The supply of actual Racists could never keep up with soaring demand for subjects of condemnation. As a result, False Racism entered the markets. Soon the currency was being downgraded by the credit agencies, who had begun to lose trust in it.

Some of the biggest traders in Emotional Currency, TV comedians, were forced to construct entire moral grandstands out of confected posturing about fake accounts of Racist incidents they saw on the train. Another group, known as the Remainiac School, used the Brexit Referendum as a platform to desperately talk up Racism. Soon, they were aggressively promoting the idea that the majority of people hate immigrants, with postings that said ‘I’m voting Remain, because I’m not a Racist’ (the subtext being that everyone else is. A statement they had no right to make, other than the fact that they so desperately wished it to be true).

This actually did create a small amount of fear and uncertainty in immigrant communities, a sort of dead cat bounce that insiders dubbed The Russell Howard Dividend. Luckily, the divisive effects didn’t last.

As an emotional currency, The Racist had crashed. In response to this disaster, a new unit of hysterical tender has been coined – The White Supremacist. This is ideal for electronic debating, where skin colour is not immediately apparent, so it’s possible for a rich Anglo-Saxon Radio 4 ‘satirist’ to call a black American Trump voter a White Supremacist, without irony jamming up the processes of instant justice or the currency being devalued.

But it cannot last forever. The big question remains.

What are we going to replace The White Supremacist with?

There is a plethora of competing proposals, including The Mansplainer, The Chromophobe (flat earth types who believe that chromosomes control our destiny) and The Russian Trolls. But no clear pattern has emerged and the market is uncertain.

Of course, you know who’s behind that, don’t you? That’s right, the Bogeymen. I’m not sure who they are, but I’m sure Owen Jones does.

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Edited by Kathy Gyngell

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