By Ben Pensant
One of my many new year’s resolutions was to stop despising people I disagree with and start educating them instead. Needless to say this hasn’t been easy. In fact I’ve failed miserably, primarily because people I disagree with tend to be the dumbest fucks on the face of Twitter.
Still, as the saying goes, Jezza loves a trier, so I refuse to quit, no matter how many morons ignore me when I politely explain to them that yes, men can have babies and no, there’s nothing weird about wearing three facemasks and four pairs of surgical gloves to hang the washing out.
Because if we can’t reach these loons by filling their heads full of socially acceptable garbage then we may as well fuck off and join the Tories. But it’s not just the political arena in which our enemies are sorely lacking in smarts – they know sod all about other important stuff too, such as science, history, and furries. And what they do know often falls into the toxic category known as ‘inconvenient facts’, those depraved, dangerous, demonstrably true certainties that must be resisted at all costs.
Which brings us to chrome-domed wrestler turned alt-right shit-caster Joe Rogen, left red-faced last week after one of his guests cut him down to size by politely pointing out he was wrong about something. Gotcha! But as if this wasn’t glorious enough, Rogen went on to inadvertently rubbish the ridiculous notion that he’s some sort of liberal by taking to Twitter and admitting that he’d been wrong about something, a pitiful act of cowardice no true progressive would ever dream of doing.
See, one of the many superpowers granted to modern leftists is the ability to speak with authority about stuff we know sod all about. Indeed, as the fallout from his recent roasting proved, the best preparation for commenting on Joe Rogen podcasts is to never watch a Joe Rogen podcast.
This beautiful dichotomy was summed up in a brief, innocuous Twitter exchange between the well-read guitarist from a successful Scotch rock band and some right-wing shithead. As often happens, the guitarist – let’s call him Scotchy – had scolded a music journalist for pointing out that Rogen isn’t remotely ‘far right’ and actually leans left on most issues. Scotchy was having none of it, confidently arguing that Rogen ‘regularly’ chats to far-right people, and left-wing guests such as Bernie Saunders – who Rogen once backed for President – were ‘outliers’. All of which was as blandly predictable as you’d expect, a textbook example of a blue-tick leftist saying exactly what a blue-tick leftist is supposed to say.
But it got even better when the right-wing shithead – let’s call him Shithead – entered the fray, pathetically countering Scotchy’s argument by listing numerous other left-wing people who’ve been on Rogen’s show and smugly asking if they were outliers too, before suggesting that Scotchy clearly knew very little about Rogen or his podcast. Which Scotchy brilliantly countered by flatly ignoring the list of examples and agreeing that yes, he knew very little about Rogan other than the fact that he regularly platforms far-right figures, such as Vox founder Gavin McIncel who hasn’t been on the show for years. Get out of that one, Shithead!
As tediously commonplace as online chats like this are, with those six words – ‘I know very little about Joe Rogen’ – Scotchy spoke for every one of us. Because we don’t need to know anything about Joe Rogen or watch his problematic podcast. If someone from The New Statesmxn say he’s an anti-vax alt-right adjacent transphobe who believes in aliens and lives on moose-meat smoothies then he bloody well is. The fact that none of these things are true is irrelevant, as is the fact that the vast majority of people who appear on his show are left-wing. Liberal celebs like Scotchy have spent their careers surrounded by other liberal celebs telling them they’re right about everything. Who else is better qualified to comment on stuff they haven’t the foggiest about? Shitheads like Shithead? Jog on. Next thing you’ll be telling us we have zero credibility to attack a load of comics we haven’t heard of for appearing on a news channel we’ve never watched.
Thankfully, my first selfless attempt to teach right-wing dunces what’s what will studiously avoid anything likely to upset The Narrative. In fact, it won’t be remotely connected to politics or the culture war at all. Because before we start moulding gullible proles into compliant progressives we first need to teach them the basics, the simple stuff they would’ve learnt in school had they not been too busy scribbling ‘SEND ‘EM BACK!’ on their pencil cases. We can’t expect them to be as terrified of Climate Change as us if they don’t even know what climate, or indeed change, is. No, in order to successfully wash their brains we must first stimulate and finesse all that useless grey matter with exciting nuggets of knowledge about the world we inhabit, the air we breathe, the very cycle of life that fuels this bruised but beautiful corner of the cosmos…
So in honour of recently deceased Radio 2 DJ Janet Long, are Twenty Things You Never Knew About Janets.
20. No Janet has ever married anyone who isn’t called John.
19. Opinionated Loose Ladies anchor Janet Street-Preacher was both the first Janet to receive an OBE and one of only two who’ve seen Normzki’s penis.
18. US Attorney General Janet Ringo was the other one.
17. The name Janet is derived from the Bulgarian proper noun Zsanett, meaning ‘goddess of cottage cheese’.
16. In 1978, hard-partying Tiswas presenter Keith ‘Chegwin’ Cheggars forced teenaged sibling Janet Long to change her surname after being repeatedly mistaken for her by short-sighted sex-pest Jimmy Saville.
15. During the 1980s the receptionist population of the United Kingdom was made up entirely of Janets.
14. 56% of them were sleeping with their bosses, 37% of whom were called John.
13. When Janet ‘Wacko’ Jackson accidentally flashed her titty at the 2004 world Series she became the fifteenth Janet to receive the sex-eye from Justin Timbaland.
12. Number 11 was pint-sized funnyman Janet Krankie.
11. Janet spelt backwards is Tenaj, the birth place of Tarzam’s wife Jane, whose name is a diminutive of – you guessed it – Janine. Which sounds a bit like Janet.
10. 50’s screen siren Janet Lee stormed off the set of The Birds after director Alfred Hitchcook christened the actress ‘Gannit Lee’ due to her habit of scouring the catering truck looking for half-eaten sausage rolls.
9. Of the 15,000 Janets currently residing in the UK, estimates suggest at this very moment two-thirds of them are re-watching Pride & Sensibility and eating Maltesers.
8. Impressionist Janet Brown was so convincing as Margaret Thatcher that her terrified husband John secretly stockpiled cartons of milk in the airing cupboard just in case.
7. Unlike their distant cousins Karens, Janets have no issue with black men using public parks, believe people should be free to walk their dogs wherever they like, and only ever demand to speak to the manager if he has dreamy eyes like that Richard Gear.
6. Magpie presenter Janet Ellis became a hero among the UK Janet community in 1981 when she defied her mother-in-law’s wishes by refusing to name her daughter Ruth.
5. Former Pop Idol winner Janet Devlen was the youngest ever alcoholic Janet, and remains the only one whose crippling dependency is a result of self-hatred as opposed to having a useless lunk of a husband with a severely broken dick.
4. It is forbidden by UK law to organise a book club, coffee morning, or Anne Summers party without the involvement of at least 2.5 Janets.
3. December 2003 was a terrible month for performing Janets, with panto star Janet Krankie falling off a beanstalk and fracturing his brain during a matinee of Cinderella, and the tragic onstage murder of Pantera bassist Diamond Darren, affectionately known to friends as ‘Janet’ on account of his addiction to Babysham and girly hair.
2. At a birthday party I never went to a teenage friend of mine who wasn’t me almost topped a 45-year-old estate agent called Janet but was thwarted when she woke up.
1. There are nowhere near as many famous Janets as I thought.