Blogs are like Tequila. They should be taken with a pinch of salt.



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Inoffensive.

It’s officially been a year since I have been a-bloggin’. I never considered writing as a future profession, I don’t do much research or fancy myself as a hard-hitting journalist, I just try to have a laugh. If I can make one person giggle while reading an article of mine, then mission accomplished. And yet, over this past year, I’ve noticed that the more experience I gain trying to be funny on a little piece of internet, the more scared I am of writing. Why?
 
It’s almost impossible to be inoffensive.

I wrote a piece defending Adelaide, and suffered the scariest week of my life in which I got angry responses from some of the 100,000+ people that read it (my head is still spinning from that number). One guy even went as far as to abuse me on several forms of social media, purchase a ticket to my Adelaide Fringe show four months later, and leave a creepy t-shirt for me with a mildly threatening message on it*. BECAUSE I SAID I LIKE ADELAIDE. I got in trouble for being a ‘skinny-basher’ and a ‘chubby-chaser’ when I had a whinge about the small sizing scheme at Kookai – one chick threatened to punch me in my “fat face” (cheers, babe!). I wrote an article against shark-culling and got criticised for swearing too much (fair call… so fuckin’ sorry about that one, ma’am), and showed my support for gay marriage and was called a bigot (which didn’t offend me because I’m pretty sure that guy was missing the point like a blunt pencil). Someone complained about my Tinder article, because they think Tinder is gross (so don’t bloody read an article about Tinder, der-brain). And perhaps most rudely of all, someone once commented that my opinion doesn’t count, because I am ‘just an actor and therefore uninformed’.

 
This guy likes me SO much, he paid me $23 and gave me a free t-shirt.

 
No one tell this girl that I'm a fat-faced certified kickboxing instructor.
 

Although I was having 99% positive responses (and 100% from the VIP’s in my life), it was the 1% that was keeping me awake at night. I wanted a break from worrying about offending people, so I tried to think of a completely neutral, inoffensive topic. It took me a month to think of something, but finally I had a harmless topic in mind; I wrote a love letter to Prince Harry… and offended hundreds of women by pointing out that Princess Diana’s life didn’t end well. Tasteless joke? Maybe. Grounds for readers being outraged? Not really. But instead of cowering under my blankets like I normally do when I accidentally upset a bunch of strangers, the outrage kinda pissed me off. Sadly, Princess Di died. It’s a horrible fact. However, I didn’t realise that audiences are so sensitive these days, that mentioning a death that happened 17 years ago is ‘too soon’ (and may I point out that I also mentioned Grace Kelly in the same sentence, but I guess 32 years ago is not too soon).

I was raised to arm myself with humour. There is not a single aspect of myself that I won’t joke about, because it makes me feel fearless. Even the topics I feel passionate about – feminism, domestic violence, equal marriage, environmentalism – anyone can joke about them without me blinking an eye, because I know the difference between someone taking the piss, and someone pissing me off. Granted, “I was just joking” is a cowardly and bullshit defense when speaking to an offended party. It’s a defense evoked by bullies, and it doesn’t excuse the behaviour. But we need to separate the bullies and the bigots from the larrikins, because there is liberation in comedy. While I was in first year of university, we tragically lost a dear friend in our class. We were absolutely devastated. The first joke about her absence in class was made within 24 hours. Not because we weren’t racked with grief – because it was our human nature to use comedy to help us cope. Comedians make jokes about cancer, about racism, about wars, about crimes, about every sensitive issue under the sun. Why? Not because they aren’t sympathetic to the issue, not because they are the devil incarnate – because they are fighting fire with funny.



A wonderfully sarcastic ninety-nine percenter.

It has become apparent to me that some people like to sit at their computer, with their fingers quivering over their keyboards, just waiting for something to be outraged over.** In these days of social media, we’re less likely to feel feelings, and more likely to post them. The perpetually pissed-off post-ers are ready to jump down anyone’s throat. Kochie says something dumb on morning television, and thousands of people (half of whom probably didn’t even watch it) make a status, ‘feeling furious’. Surely it must be exhausting to be so easily infuriated? Some women who identify themselves by their ‘feminism’ are so constantly outraged, they must have the deepest forehead wrinkles on the planet (not that they’d care, as they will point out emphatically). I believe in equality for both genders so that makes me a feminist. But I have trouble identifying with the raging 'feminists' on social media when I hardly hear about the most vital gender-biased issues – unequal pay, glass ceilings, sexism, sexual harassment, violence, and so on – and only about body image, who said what on the internet, and whether wearing make-up makes me liberated or conformed.  

Corinne Grant wrote an abso-fucking-lutely brilliant article on Hoopla, begging Australians to go back to the good ol’ us and start taking the piss. Laughing it off. Poking fun. “Take the piss, Australia. Enough with the hand-wringing and sniping, it isn’t getting us anywhere.” We are so busy pointing our fingers and tattle-telling at the slightest annoyance that we have forgotten how to let things run off our back, like water to the proverbial duck. Thanks to social media, everyone has a platform to instantly express their irritations, rather than deal with it or let it go.  Let’s try using our status updates to celebrate the things we love, or make each other laugh – not whinge about every frigging teeny-tiny thing that pissed us off today (unless you make a joke out of it). Focus on the ointment, not the fly.

If anything is actually offensive, by all means, we should put a stop to it. Anything that is racist, sexist, anti-gay, ageist, or insulting/discriminatory in any way should not be tolerated. But rather than trawling light-hearted blogs or trying to read between the tweets of a public personality, we should be focussing our indignation on offensive people with destructive intentions, people of great power and influence, and not attacking well-meaning people trying to fight the same fight. Tasteless jokes are not going to run the world, nor are they going to ruin it. Choose happiness, choose indifference, save your fists for the real fights. Be like Elsa. Let it go.

I’ve been called a lot of names this year (‘Humourless, glass-eyed, slack-jawed, wine-pickled yokel’ is my favourite) because some people seem to think that just because I have posted something on the internet, I either don’t have feelings, or I have permissibly opened myself up to being attacked. In a way, I guess I have (the latter, not the former… I do have feelings). I am posting my opinions on the internet for anyone to read, share, or criticise. That gives me some power, and I honestly try my best to be as careful as possible with it, to the point of paranoia. The readers who disagree with me coherently, politely and with their full name are fine – everyone is entitled to an opinion, and they have done so in a humanised manner. The readers who call me names and threaten me with violence/defamation/pokemon (well, maybe not pokemon) are almost always anonymous, making it very hard for me to track them down and argue with them in person. I would never joke about a minority, or defend myself to someone I have offended by saying ‘it was just a joke’. I feel terrible when I upset someone. My first grade teacher frowned at me for speaking out of turn, and I cried for a week. When a reader finds my blog insulting, I feel awful, ashamed, apologetic, awkward – all the ‘a’ feelings. Sometimes I can even see their point, and I’ll make a change to the offending word or phrase to appease them. However, it’s hard for me to not be annoyed that they are annoyed. Mine is a small, insignificant blog, with no racist, sexist, bigoted undertones, with no insults to humankind or animals, with no agenda except to raise the corners of the mouth, and I still manage to outrage readers on a regular basis. I’m so grateful for the 99% of people who are willing to have a laugh with me. I’ve finally realised what I need to do about the 1%. I don’t need to tread more carefully, or stop telling knock-knock jokes for fear of upsetting a door-enthusiast.

I need to throw a lamp at them. So they can lighten. The fuck. Up.

Thank you 99% for a wonderful year.

Love Lucy / Uninformed actor / Fat-face / Humourless, glass-eyed, slack-jawed, wine-pickled yokel / Proverbial water-shedding duck.

 
Lucy Gransbury. Serial offender.
*FYI, Mum called the cops for advice on this guy who passionately dislikes me, but they couldn't do much. If anyone sees a dude giving out creepy t-shirts at my show... give him my number so we can talk this out.
 
**I'm aware of the irony; although my blog is comedy-based, it is still just me having a public whinge, and now I'm whinging about people whinging about my whinging. But thanks for reading anyway.
 
By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on Twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. She is probably blogging in her pyjamas, with a book of knock-knock jokes in one hand, and a baked potato in the other.
 
 
 

12 comments:

  1. Love your work Luce, don't change a thing!

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    1. Thank you Sare bear! Love YOUR work! xx

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  2. I may be biased, because I'm an Adelaidian, and because you seem like a younger, prettier, funnier, more popular and successful version of me (but I'm fatter faced, ner ner), but I fucking love this. Don't ever stop.

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    1. You are quickly becoming my favourite person Cate. If you're the future me, bring on the future!

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  3. Extraordinary stuff!
    Keep on writing!
    Exciting and eloquent as fuck (the good kind of fuck, not the whinging kind).

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    1. Thank you Irene! I like you particularly for using 'fuck' twice in one comment. Fucking good work!

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  4. Love your ability to find the funny in everything - life is too short to live any differently! I think you'll like this talk by Brene Brown (my soul sister and spirit animal): http://youtu.be/GqgAA2WJ2is

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    1. Holy bloody moly Ash. That little YouTube clip has changed my life! Have made that Roosevelt quote my screensaver. That was incredible, thank you so much... I think I have a crush on Brene now too! Thanks legend xxx

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  5. I take umbrage at this article. How dare you call your blog "a small, insignificant blog". Truly offensive. Your blog is nothing but brilliant, charismatic and soulful journalism.

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    1. Anonymous, you may be my favourite person. Let's have a parmy sometime...!!!

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  6. Hello Lucy, I too, believe in equality for both genders but that does not make me a feminist.

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    1. Thanks for reading Marc! It's an interesting term - feminism, at it's core, is a belief in equal rights for genders. It's lost its' meaning and become a bit of a negative term over time. There are some really interesting articles arguing that the term is referring only to equal rights - such as this one http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2012/12/reasons-people-believe-feminism-hates-men/

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