‘Bernard the Barbarian’

There is only one way we can possibly make sense, of every single aspect of Bernard Grech’s entire ‘barbaric’ speech in Parliament last Wednesday. And that is to recognise it for the crude, crass, and disgustingly misogynistic joke it all along was… and LAUGH

Opposition leader Bernard Grech
Opposition leader Bernard Grech

You’ve got to hand it to him, though: Bernard Grech may yet go down as the single most retrograde and (to quote Moviment Graffiti’s epic takedown this week) ‘barbaric’ leader the Neanderthal Party has ever had, in its entire 175,000-year history…

But, by Kromm! He is also, without a doubt, the single FUNNIEST one of the lot, by far!

Take his speech in parliament last Wednesday, for instance. Why did everyone have to take it so seriously, damn it? Why all the outrage? Why so many irate calls for ‘apologies’, or for his instant resignation as Opposition leader (or even, for that matter, from the entire human race)?

Come on, guys! Lighten up, will you? It was just a bit of (mostly) harmless fun, that’s all. Yeah, so the Opposition leader cracked a couple of utterly tasteless jokes, at the expense of a pregnant woman whose unborn child had literally just DIED, as a result of a spontaneous miscarriage. And yeah: so he did that deliberately to whip up a storm of public hatred, all aimed only at one single, solitary woman (But of course: there’s nothing even remotely ‘misogynistic’ about any of that. Oh, no; not in the slightest…)

But then again… what the heck? Isn’t that what classic comedy has always been about, to begin with? Hasn’t it always been a case of: ‘laughing hysterically, from a safe distance, at all the tragic misfortunes experienced by others’?

Just look at Fantozzi, for crying out loud: what do we find so very ‘funny’ about those classic Italian comedies… if not the fact that they appeal to precisely the same sense of ‘schadenfreude’, that made ‘public torture and humiliation’ so very popular back in the Ancient World?

No, indeed. It would, after all, be totally hypocritical of us, to laugh so heartily at the (let’s face it: utterly horrible) misfortunes suffered by fictious characters such as ‘Il ragionier Fantozzi’… but then, not to laugh out equally loud, at the ghastly ordeal suffered by a very real mother, who so recently lost a very real child, in such tragic circumstances…

And besides: if Bernard Grech himself has consciously chosen – without any external prodding, that I can see - to project the image of a ‘clown’; then why not simply roll along with it, and… well, laugh at him (like the clown he truly is)?

Because let’s be honest, folks: Bernard Grech has so far proven himself to be infinitely more talented as a clown, than as a ‘serious Opposition leader’. Not only does he possess the innate ability to instantly ‘see the funny side’, in even the most depressing instances of human misery imaginable – an indispensable talent, as I’m sure you’ll agree, for any budding ‘stand-up comic’ - but he also possesses what is generally known, in show-biz, as the ‘gift of the gab’.

In fact, his constant play-on-words regarding the name ‘Andrea Prudente’ (who, he chuckled, “turned out to be a whole less ‘prudent’, than the doctors who treated her”. Geddit?) are not only ‘brilliantly witty’, in and of themselves… but they’re right up there with all the most demeaning insults we have ever associated with ‘political clownery’, right at its most ‘classic’.

Some, for instance, were reminded of Donald Trump: and the way he once famously ‘mocked a disabled journalist at a press conference’. I, however, found Bernard Grech’s puns to be altogether more reminiscent of the ones Norman Lowell used to come up with: back in the good old days, of course… i.e., before the leader of Imperium Europa was recently overtaken, as the single most ‘far-right’ political leader this country has ever seen.

Remember, for instance, that time when Norman Lowell had famously dismissed the late Fr Pierre Grech Marguerat – former director of the Jesuit Refugee Centre – as… ‘Fr Pizza Margherita’?

There, admit it. You found that ‘funny’, too, didn’t you? (Even if – like me – you would probably find it a whole lot less amusing, if Norman Lowell was actually Malta’s Opposition leader when said that). So, um… why do we treat Bernard Grech so very differently, from the political role-model he has now clearly chosen to emulate?

Reason I ask is that – unlike the case with Norman Lowell – with Bernard Grech, there is actually a heck of a lot more to laugh at, than just the groan-inducing nature of his puns. Never mind, for a moment, that a politician who separately prides himself on being ‘Pro-Life’ – and who claims that his party ‘believes in always putting the individual at the heart of all its policies’– also showed not a hint of compassion whatsoever, towards a mother who had only just lost her unborn child  (because let’s face it: it would be naïve to expect otherwise, from someone who is proposing to actively deny medical treatment: not just to Andrea Prudente herself… but to ALL pregnant women whose health is ever in ‘grave jeopardy’.)

No, the truly funny thing about Bernard Grech’s speech last Wednesday is that: he showed no trace of human compassion whatsoever, even towards the unborn child itself! On the contrary: he held up the death of that poor, aborted, 16-week-old foetus – whose parents actually WANTED the child; and who only had to be aborted, because of an unforeseen pregnancy-complication (more of which later) – as… well, a ‘gimmick’, with which to elicit a few random chuckles from his audience.

In other words: ‘pro-life’ Bernard Grech managed to turn an unborn child, no less, (and remember, folks: we’re not just talking about a ‘bunch of cells’ here, you know)... into nothing more than a ‘punchline’, to one of his own ‘dad-jokes’...

I mean, honestly: how much more hilarious can it possibly get? (Just think, for instance, how we’d all react… if a well-known, respected animal-rights activist - such as, say, Moira Delia – were to do the equivalent: by ‘laughing out loud’, at the sight of cute, fluffy little kitten being slowly tortured to death…?)

Funny, huh? But wait, it gets even better. For the leader of the Neanderthal Party did not stop at merely ‘mocking’ both Andrea Prudente, and the foetus that was unfortunate enough to die within her uterus… but he even suggested (taking his cue from that other comic genius, Jason Azzopardi) that Prudente had somehow ‘engineered the entire miscarriage herself’, to begin with!

In other words: that the whole affair was, from beginning to end, some kind ‘stunt’; and that, as such, it must have been somehow been ‘contrived’, ‘orchestrated’, or… well, ‘staged’.

Erm: sorry to have to ask, but… HOW, exactly? How does Bernard Grech propose that someone like Andrea Prudente could possibly have managed to induce a (potentially life-threatening) miscarriage… with the result that her waters broke, while she just happened to be ‘riding a bus, in the middle of a holiday in Malta’?

The mind boggles, doesn’t it? Because as far as I can see, there are only two possible explanations, to account such ‘extraordinary’ biological circumstances. Either Bernard Grech is openly accusing Andrea Prudente of having - to quote Article 241(2) of Malta’s Criminal Code – “by any food, drink, medicine, or by violence, or by any other means whatsoever, […] procured her own miscarriage”…

… in which case, it is tantamount to the Opposition leader accusing Andrea Prudente – in Parliament, no less - of having committed a serious crime, that is “liable to imprisonment for a term from eighteen months to three years.” (Sort of makes you wonder why Bernard Grech isn’t also insisting on an extradition order: so that she can be brought here from the United States, and put on trial for ‘witch-cra’… I mean, ‘wilful infanticide’…)

Or else, if we abandon that hypothesis altogether: we are left to conclude that women like Andrea Prudente must somehow possess the innate ability – as several (non-human) members of Animal Kingdom do: cats being the most notable examples - to simply ‘terminate their own pregnancies, at will’.

In which case… erm… do I even need to go on? Sorry, but if Andrea Prudente – or any other woman, for matter – was all along capable of ‘procuring her own miscarriage’, at any time she liked, then: a) why the heck would she have chosen for it to happen ON A BUS, of all unearthly places? (I mean: wouldn’t it have been so much more convenient – not to mention a heck of a lot safer – to arrange for her waters to break, while in the comfort of her own hotel-room bed?)

Much more importantly, however: if all women do indeed have this ability – as cats, and other mammals, apparently do – to simply ‘absorb’ their own unborn offspring, internally - just like that: by pure volition alone - then… erm… why the bleeding hell are we even discussing the issue of abortion in this country, in the first place?

Face it, folks: there would be no such thing as ‘abortion’, to even discuss. No law to even amend.  The entire concept of ‘abortion’, as we understand it – that is to say; a medical procedure to terminate pregnancies, under any circumstances whatsoever – would simply not even exist, anywhere on the face of this planet… if women could simply spare themselves the bother of ever using a coat-hanger; by just ‘spontaneously aborting their own offspring, like cats’.

But, well, there you have it, I suppose. There is only one way we can possibly make sense, of every single aspect of Bernard Grech’s entire ‘barbaric’ speech in Parliament last Wednesday. And that is to recognise it for the crude, crass, and disgustingly misogynistic joke it all along was… and LAUGH.