Frankie Boyle has become boringly predictable, hasn't he? It was as inevitable as night following day that he would take to Twitter and post a series of controversial updates last night during the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games. The man just can't seem to help himself. And, just as inevitably, those who have responded to his comments (as well as those who haven't) are divided into two camps: those who find him offensive and those who think he's the funniest comedian on the circuit.
I fall into the former category. As far as I'm concerned, the one entertaining thing he's ever said is "Did you know that Sunny Delight counts towards your five-a-day, as minus two?" I just don't see any humour in his particular brand of unkindness. Being deliberately cruel about people with disabilities isn't funny. Adam Hills describing how he sometimes drinks beer out of his prosthetic foot? That's funny.
But you can't tell other people what they should and shouldn't find amusing. Even if something seems blatantly and unarguably offensive, there'll be someone somewhere who thinks it's hysterical, and no amount of retweeting or explaining or countering will make the slightest bit of difference. And hopefully those Paralympians who Frankie Boyle has recently insulted in the name of "comedy" have - like Rebecca Adlington - dismissed his comments as so much rubbish and disregarded them entirely. Because the more coverage he gets and the more outrage he manages to spark, the more attention he gets. And there's nothing a comedian likes less than being ignored.
I briefly considered emailing Channel 4 today and pointing out, as many others have done on Twitter, the incongruity of their decision to keep Frankie Boyle on the payroll whilst simultaneously televising the Paralympics, but decided that doing so would have no effect whatsoever. No one is going to rein him in any time soon. But those of us who consider his "jokes" to be offensive can have a go at diluting his impact, can't we? Let him have his free speech. And each time he says something you consider to be vile and unkind, why not send a positive tweet or email or Facebook post in the direction of the person he most recently targeted? It doesn't need to say Frankie B is a colossal ass-hat. But congratulations on doing such a fantastic job in the Paralympics - you're an inspiration: who wouldn't want to hear that, hot on the heels of some crassly unfunny tweet from Mr Boyle?
And now, in honour of the fact that I've just given him a bit of free publicity by writing this blog post, I'm off to see if I can compliment and encourage five people he might recently have offended. Join me, won't you? As Margaret Mead once said, never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing
that ever has. Let's shift the balance and lessen his influence. Fight unkind with kind. Make a difference.