Before I went on holiday, I wrote an angry piece with an acutely Google friendly title (deliberately so) about Rich Herring, with regard to a piece written in The Guardian about the "New Offenders" that featured him and several other comedians.
I had read it earlier that day after my friend Nick referenced it on Twitter, and mailed Rich a sort of "Jeez, that's a bit strong, isn't it? What sort of people are going to come along off the back of that?" email, after which I thought "Doh!". Making people feel uneasy by saying the first thing that's on your mind is the worst kind of anti-diplomacy, pre-Edinburgh. Part of anyone's (except the actual gag artist) role around Ed is maintaining a sort of positive buoyancy of the "Fuck it, he's an idiot, ignore it" type. Standing on your own in front of hundreds of folk every day is intensely nerve shredding, hence the need for more than several bars at most venues.
But it struck a nerve. One of the reasons it did is because I wrote a piece once about the comedian Mark thomas, who I admire greatly, under some pressure by a pushy editor to make it controversial and dynamic. I had a perfectly amicable chat with Mark, then wrote a bullshitty thing (in part) because I felt undermined and nervous. (I was never blessed with supportive Editors. That's one of the reasons I gave it all up. that, and being continually skint.). Anyway. I felt awful about it, re-read it several hours after emailing it over (using the wacky system of Compuserve mail over a brand new 14.4 modem) and was nearly sick with horror at it. So I phoned up, left a message, did a quick re-write and was told that it had already gone to the printers. Whether that was rubbish or not I would not know. Needless to say, Mark never spoke to me again, and I don't blame him. I did pluck up the courage to email him a sincere apology for being a young, impressionable twat, but it was a long time afterwards. I explained the situation and was immensely grateful that he accepted my apology. It has stayed with me as a bump in my conscience, but at least after that the bump receded slightly. So reading this badly written piece made me wonder if Brian Logan had been put in a similar situation. Apparently not, which makes me sad because it's so obviously cock-eyed. He does though, suggest something which is wholly erroneous, and given that he's writing an apology for cocking up the first time, I'm surprised he didn't think more clearly about it:
"I wrote an article which I (and many others) think says one thing, and which Herring and Burns (and many others) think says another. When the subject is racism or sexism, sensitivities run high. Words can be misinterpreted; good intentions may not be enough. "I'm still not sure about everything I am saying," Herring writes today, "I find out by debating it onstage." And I find out by debating it on the page."
But he didn't, though. The original article was not accompanied by a Comments section. It was not a debate, it was a one way polemic. There was a fairly fundamental point in what Rich was saying: being a stand up, one enters a discussion with the audience (whether you want one or not). In placing the deliberately provocative in front of them, in a real-time setting, you are deliberately provoking a reaction. If that's what Brian Logan thinks he was doing, then he shouldn't be surprised that he did provoke a one (I'm not too keen on his description of why he used the work "puported" either).
I'm not sure whether writing a big post with such an incendiary title was a good idea, but given that people still seem to be using search terms that revolve around the subject my guess is that having something that rebukes the article clearly is no bad thing. Whether I was the person to write it is another question.