British police officers are to be given ‘banter training’ – in order to teach them about the ‘fine line’ between being funny and offensive.
But this is a complete waste of taxpayers’ money because the people leading these courses will be hatchet-faced, Common-Purpose-trained zealots with second class sociology degrees from third rate universities who wouldn’t know what banter was if it bit them on the arse.
And also, because banter cannot be taught. It’s an instinctive, predominantly male skill which can only be developed with experience and practice, first in the playground, later in the pub, or the barracks or the office or the sporting field.
Banter is essentially sublimated combat. It’s a culturally established way by which males can practise their rapier-work and establish their place in the pecking order without the mess and upset of actually killing one another.
Simultaneously, it is a form of camaraderie. Being verbally obnoxious to another man is often a sign of affection rather than rudeness. Depending on how he reacts — and he’s supposed to take it in good cheer and, ideally, to spar back — it’s a sign of belonging, an invitation to join the gang.
Most women don’t get this. Well, obviously they don’t, because they’re wired differently and they operate differently. For example, they tend to bitch about one another privately rather than insult each other to their face. They’re generally more devious, better at refined cruelty. They’re also more sophisticated, so would rarely stoop to the kind of basic “You’re a mong/ginger/gay/etc” insults which boys find appealing.
But the best banter is not basic. In fact for the better practitioners — and there many of them in the male species — it’s a man’s highest calling. We may or may not get the opportunity to “see the elephant” — to experience what it’s like to kill or risk being killed in combat in a war zone, or in gangland violence.
We are all definitely, however, going to find ourselves in situations, pretty much every day of our lives, when there’s a bumptious colleague who needs putting in his place, or an arrogant boss in need of some snark, or a wag in the pub who is not quite as funny as he thinks he is, or a precocious teenage child who needs squashing, or some tiresome leftist on Twitter who needs putting back in his box.
To many female listeners, this is anathema. They hear the aggression but cannot hear the wit underneath. Nor do they get the underlying social purpose — to instil humility, resilience; to encourage quick-thinking; to hone a man’s gift of the gab and his sense of humour, skills which — even more than looks or physique — are his best way of finding a mate and procreating. Banter, in other words, is key to the survival of our species.
Which is one of the things that is so messed up about our uber-feminised modern culture.
Instead of celebrating the difference between men and women and accepting that this is part of the yin and the yang which together makes us strong, we’re being encouraged (by the media, by gender-obsessed politicians — especially female ones, who see it as a route to power, by academe, by Hollywood, by the BBC, etc) to pathologise male behaviour as something discreditable, abhorrent, in need of eradication.
We talk about this a bit on my podcast this week with TalkRadio host Julia Hartley-Brewer.
Taking my balls in my hand — for really, you don’t want to mess with Julia — I dare to suggest that when it comes down to it, women can’t do banter. (I know there are exceptions: Dorothy Parker, Tallulah Bankhead; etc – but the reason they’re notable is because they are so rare.)
But Julia agrees with me. She’s as worried as I am about the liberal-left’s war on freedom of speech, masquerading as a war on ‘hate” speech or as some kind of benign scheme to protect supposedly vulnerable minorities, such as feminazis who want to troll everyone with their vile, cry-bullying lunacies on social media but then expect no comeback.
Part of the danger here is that the humourless zealots who’ve taken on the role of policing our verbal culture are the very people least capable of distinguishing between banter and genuine threat. They are leftists — and leftists have no sense of wit, style, or sense of humour. (Which is also why the left can’t meme.)
This is the hill that Julia (who does do banter, by the way, which is one of the reasons why so many men are smitten by her) and I are prepared to die on. Only from our cold, dead lips will you ever take away our right to banter. After all, if we’re going ultimately to defeat the snowflakes and the leftist loons, it is less likely to be by force of arms than by ridicule.