I would wholeheartedly agree that some of the scripting on the Paddy Kool strips could be construed as not politically correct if not downright sexist by current standards. Looking through the eyes of someone from that older , less-informed era , no one could have conceived for example, that there would be a blanket ban on smoking cigarettes in public or that it would be possible to buy alcohol cheaper than bottled water. Come to that , it was barely conceivable that people would actually buy something that was easily available free on tap.It can be taken as read that the content does n’t necessarily chime with my own personal beliefs or mindset, or possibly not even John Dakin’s , my co- creator at times but we were thankful to be allowed to express other ideas unexpurgated. The later Paddy Kool strips were aimed at a market that was perceived to have those qualities..i.e. the popular red top press and it’s projected audience.The characters were then written and drawn to appeal to that mindset. It was not really our field but we saw it as an avenue to explore and perhaps even make a little money . Of course there was an underlying satirical slant too in that in the content filmic and popular newspaper comic strip cliches were being willfully bent to carry the continuities and punchlines had to be reached. A lot of the newspaper strips of the time such as “George and Lynne” also featured attractive partially clothed women in the wake of the liberating 1960’s and 1970’s as a way to attract greater audiences, so that was the competition we had to explore..The same kind of thing went into the scripting of series such as”The Sopranos”where thirty years later expectations of violence,sexuality, profanity and black humour were doubly amplified to comic effect for the times.Humour is a complicated thing to analyse and dissect. As the Paddy Kool character was being developed from a one page underground strip format, we knew that he could not stand alone . He needed other characters to react against. In the underground strips he began as a sort of idiot savant, something akin to the Peter Sellers’ character in the film “Being There”, but for “overground” consumption he had to have a comic foil in the form of his sidekick Herman.In the manner of all double acts from Laurel and Hardy down, Herman had to be even sillier than Paddy.The female characters were to be even ditzier. Obviously they would have to be made attractive in a Goldie Hawn /Lucille Ball way. We also had to remember that in terms of a “funny animal ” strip, they were the only human characters on board in this surreal world of talking animals This small conceit was to be used for satiric and comic effect. The villianous characters were to be deranged cartoon animals too….anything from belligerent bulldogs to sneaky snakes. The point is these characters existed in a world other than the known human universe where human rules and laws could be stood on their proverbial heads. Nowadays , with political correctness rife , the Nanny State protecting all of us from our darker selves, humour itself is under attack.Everyone cries foulplay when the unwitting dupe slips on the many banana skins, so it is quite possible that the anarchic theatrics of the Marx Brothers or Laurel and Hardy could some day be banned from public consumption or edited and gelded into some easily consumed pablum that neither offends anyone or makes them raise a laugh.There are so many sacred cows that it might be made an offence to think ungodly and unholy thoughts never mind have a laugh at someone else’s expense. Look what happened to the cartoonist who poked a little fun at some god – worrier.[As if a god’s inferiority complex was under threat!]Have a word with David Attenborough or Richard Dawkins with those questions and see how far you get.It might become a very dry ‘ unfunny world in the future,so feel free to raise a chuckle while you still can……Even if it is politically incorrect.
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