I’m a couple of days late to the gammon party. Sorry, the horse-drawn carriage was late. It’s always the way.
You arrive at the annual UKIP banquet and all of the gammon has already been offloaded onto china plates. You approach the caterer and ask if they have anymore tucked away in a portable pork storage unit. To which they say, “I’m sorry sir, you’re too late. I’m afraid that everyone is already enjoying all of the pink, meaty slabs we had available.” Then, you look around the room to see over a hundred sickeningly middle-class people guzzling gammon like it’s going out of style.
And given how late I am to the discussion of this memetic insult, the me from about a sentence ago might just be accurate.
At the start of the week the internet did experimental backflips over the word “gammon”. Particularly in the UK, where the term has been used sporadically over the last couple of years to describe ageing conservatives who back Brexit and go all red-in-the-face when they get outraged. I also have a feeling that this might all link back to the story that broke a few years ago, in which it was revealed that David Cameron had plopped his penis into a pig at university.
At first it seemed to just be the “snowflake cuck millennials” hurling the word as an insult at “Brexit-backing wankers” and all was normal on social media. But then an ACTUAL MP WHO WAS VOTED FOR BY REAL HUMANS decided to chime in on the subject.
This isn’t some parody account, this is an actual Tweet (and therefore opinion) of a member of the DUP of Northern Ireland. Emma Little-Pengelly, whose surname sounds like a terrible village in the Cotswolds, expressed these views unironically. She, along with her right-leaning supporters, are under the misinformed impression that white, middle-class people can experience racial slurs on the same level as pretty much everyone else. They believe that the insult “gammon” is just as bad as whichever words come to mind when you hear the phrase “racial slur”.
If we lived in the kind of utopia where everyone has always been equal for all of human history, then yes, slurs against white people would exist. But as that is not our current reality, and almost every other race on the planet has a history of systematic oppression, then we can’t possibly begin to compare calling someone a slice of ham with certain words historically used to oppress.
I wasn’t going to write about this subject, until I saw that in the days following the gammon outrage, certain right-wing opinion holes were talking about “reclaiming” the word gammon. I saw some accounts proudly labelling themselves as pieces of gammon. Calling themselves the “gammon generation” and the such and the like. Brilliant.
Now, let’s ignore the fact that we shouldn’t be calling typical Brexitiers pork-faced pieces of pre-pie, no matter how accurate it might be. They’re xenophobic, backwards thinking children who’re terrified of the prospect of a globalised and united species. They’re hateful cowards who want to destroy public services, disconnect Britain from the world and then die in a hate-filled ball of spite. All before their stupidity and intolerance leads us to a third world war.
Calling them pink-faced premium offal offcuts doesn’t serve any purpose beyond hilarious rhetoric. I could easily spend all day branding them as ham-bellied bastards, in the same way that they incessantly throw around insults like “snowflake” or “cuck”, but that won’t get us anywhere. The best response is to either educate or ignore. Or one and then the other.
So yeah, if we can put aside all of that level-headed thinking for a moment and presume that we live in the horrible cesspit of social media hive-mind thinking that we, in fact, do inhabit.
Now that we’ve done that, let’s talk about the idea of them “reclaiming” the word.
Now, on one level this is extremely problematic. If we let them reclaim the word, then it’s accepting the fact that it’s a word that can be reclaimed in the first place. It’s saying that gammon is a word akin to actual horrible names or insults that have been used to oppress people over time.
What I’m going to suggest is that we’re okay with this for a brief moment. It’s going to make us angry, but by the end of it all, these racists and xenophobes will unironically be calling themselves “gammon”. Think about it.
We could live in a world where racists would be easily recognisable in the streets. Red-faced men and women would walk up to each other and say things like “Hello my fellow Gammon! What a glorious day in Europe-free England. Sure is good to be a Gammon in 2019.” Or perhaps, “I’m a proud, pink piece of Gammon who will have his voice heard in this honey-cured ham of a country.” Maybe even, “Gammon 2020?”
For the first few months they’ll think that they’re using the name ironically, but if we all collectively agree to not view it that way, then we’ll be left with a bunch of red-faced men and women calling each other slabs of meat for the next several years. It’ll make for hilarious TV interviews, where Tory MPs proudly where “Gammon lives matter” t-shirts, exposing them for the despicable human beings that they are.
You know, the word gammon has lost all meaning to me after writing this post. It just sounds like someone mispronouncing “Game On” at this point. I’m saying it over and over in my head and I’ve decided that I don’t ever want to type or hear the word again.
Yeah, so we should maybe let level-headedness prevail, and go back to calling these oink-boys exactly what they are; Racist, xenophobic baby-boomers who were too young to live through actual trying times, and will be dead by the time the next wave crashes on the rest of us.
Today is Thursday, May 17th and I’m now thinking of becoming a pig-only-vegetarian.