You've helped create a rapist's almanac
Lee Kern writes an open letter to those who brought Dapper Laughs to TV
Anyone who has seen the online videos of Dapper Laughs – real name Daniel O’Reilly - will be au fait with the misplaced pride in idiocy and the triumphant doltishness of this arch dunce. His act is a woeful, misogynistic celebration of banter-based cretinism that is sadly having a renaissance among the unenlightened, the confused, the intellectually frightened and the simpleton.
In short – the entire oeuvre of Dapper Laughs represents an avalanche of brainlessness bilging over 21st Century culture like a soft wave of WKD infused phlegm. His belligerent sexism and veneration of anti-intellectualism is the clarion call of a people shovelling themselves into the excrement of history.
But this is all by the by. It is self-evident to anyone who watches his output and who isn’t an idiot.
I want to talk about the production team, the commissioners and the management behind the new ITV2 series Dapper Laughs: On The Pull. The runners are the only people I'll turn a blind eye to. The truth is, the rest of you are old enough to know better. You have basically helped create a rapists’ almanac. Sure you haven't told people how to come equipped with rope or chloroform - but you have contributed to a prevalent predatory culture that reduces women to nothing more than a piece of cunt. That's an ugly turn of phrase but that's exactly what you've done.
You've made a show that contributes to a society that already doesn't treat women by default as human beings with brains and imaginations and thoughts and ideas and humour and anger and beliefs and flaws as is the birthright of men - but you have reduced them to pussy. In doing so you despise your mums. You despise your daughters. You despise your sisters. You despise your wives. You despise women everywhere if you have helped play a part in allowing this rat-tousled, fuck-spiv to have a platform to pump shit into British society. I understand you have to pay the rent but for fuck's sake.
As for Dapper Laughs, he is devoid of aspiration. No imagination. No dreams. No vision. No passion. The timeline of his life is a dog dragging its anus on the floor and then looking to camera with its tongue ogling out. That is Dapper Laughs crawling towards death. Dragging his bum along the floor like a dog with worms, and all he will leave after him is a smear of shit.
Now that I have guaranteed I won’t be making anything for ITV any time soon, I want to pre-empt a couple of arguments I have seen made in defence of Dapper Laughs’ new misogynistic show – commissioned by ITV and made by Big Minded TV because they saw from Dapper Laughs' Vines that there is a big audience of sexists and that they can make money from their shirted monkey.
Some have tried to argue that those attacking Dapper Laughs are snobs – that they represent the sneering contempt of the middle-classes bitter at seeing this successful expression of working-class culture as evinced by Dapper Laughs. This is nonsense.
I’m loathe to talk about myself but - because in this case it’s relevant - I should say I come from a family of working-class cab drivers who pretty much work stupid hours until the day they die. I had to take a year out to work on a till, gather trolleys and stack bread in order to help finance myself through university. I’m not a working-class hero but my point is my disdain for Dapper Laughs is not an act of class snobbery. It is an act of ideology. It is a simple ideology: one that is bored in 2014 of hateful, sexist arseholes and those who empower their narratives. And would you believe lots of working class people subscribe to this ideology too.
Those attempting to dismiss the critics of Dapper Laughs as being 'snooty' seem to me the true snobs and advocates of class contempt – for they seek to equate misogyny as being a characteristically working-class phenomenon that somehow needs to be protected - as if it were part of their working-class 'indigenous' culture.
This patronising contempt aside, it also ignores the fact that woman-hatred, sexism, domestic violence, rape, bullying, belittling and other types of gender abuse exist across all social, economic and cultural backgrounds. It is not a class issue. It is a human being issue and should be challenged wherever it exists.
Another line of argument has been to position Dapper Laughs as some kind of Herculean character comedian whose utter brilliance has transcended all historic records of undercover performance heretofore known – so immersive that even he doesn’t know he’s not really a sexist. No one believes that. But I would love to see someone from ITV genuinely try to argue this in front of their peers. Firstly, because it would be interesting to see how they square two irreconcilable arguments - that Dapper Laughs is both a spoof character and satirist as well as being a sincere and earnest representation of unreconstructed, working–class banter. Secondly, seeing someone trying to compare On The Pull with the work of Andy Kaufmann or Sacha Baron Cohen would be nothing short of hilarious and give us our first ever Dapper Laughs related chuckle.
Here’s the final thing: I know everyone who worked on this show is normal and decent. I know they aren’t evil people. I know I have been vehement and forceful in making my point. Harsh even.
But undress the deliberate provocation and confrontational style and the same sincere points are still there. I can’t pretend I don’t see the retrograde aspects of this show for harmony’s sake. It’s certainly not going to do my career any good publicly cussing an entire TV station or upsetting hard-working producers trying to make a living. But I wouldn’t publish this unless I felt sufficiently tired of the tacit acceptability of Dapper Laughs’ brand of hateful nonsense or felt that the need to speak up outweighed any fear of career damage.
If I could sum everything up in one go it would be this: We don’t work in an industry that is somehow separate from reality. What we do is not 'just telly'. We are helping to shape the reality we live in. What we put on the screen has a real world effect. And this show contributes to a culture of abuse that degrades us all – men and women – boys and girls.
It is bad for girls evidently as they have to put up with numbskulls like Dapper Laughs, but it is damaging to boys as well by filling their heads with such nasty, disabling nonsense, warping their sense of what real engagement with 50 per cent of Planet Earth’s population could be like.
I know this is an industry run on fear on so many levels – from fear of failure to fear of where the next job’s coming from - but I’m 36 now. In four years time I’ll have been bald for half my life. Personally, I want to leave more good in the world than crap. Sometimes that means dusting your hands and saying, 'This is bullshit – I’m out.'
The chase for ratings and the next buck is a compelling one. But we have to start taking some responsibility for what we put on TV and ask ourselves whether we’ve made the world a better or a worse place when the credits roll.
• Lee Kern's website is at www.twinklebum.co.uk.
Posted: 8 Oct 2014