People who still get infuriated by ‘your mum’ jokes are the heroes of our time

‘Are you dissing my mum?’

Inspiring scenes in Croydon are few and far between, so it was a relief to see a genuinely uplifting moment recorded on camera there yesterday. 

Outside a KFC, four casually dressed teenagers brawled in a frothy and skittish way, exchanging barely-there slaps and kicks, angrily dragging each other across the pavement, playfully tugging at each other’s hair.

But what made the spectacle so edifying and so wholesome was the spark that lit the fire: a your mum cuss.

As the fight reaches its hilariously small time crescendo, and most of the participants writhe around on the floor, a voice asks “Are you dissing my Mum?”

That’s the moment where I felt like punching the air, cracking open the champers and putting it on the whatsapp group. An awesome realisation washed over me: people can still get angry enough to physically attack each other because someone else insulted their mother.

At the posh, Catholic, suburban secondary school I attended, the early years were cratered with electrifyingly puerile insults. It’s embarrassing to think back on the “rap battles” that went on behind bike sheds. I think we all craved every visit to the common room and every coach trip to resemble the final scene of 8 Mile.

“Your Mum” jokes were a reliable, trusty, comfortable way of letting someone else know they were a cunt.

But in 2015 skilled trash talking has lost something by becoming too serious and too elaborate. It has its sights set far higher than simply referring to someone else’s mother as a slag.

All the while, the (minor) art of the juvenile insult, the insult which doesn’t have standards, or an intelligible motive, which is straightforwardly, uncompromisingly stupid, seems to have lost its way.

Shakespeare loved a "yer ma" joke

Shakespeare wasn’t immune to a ‘yer ma’ joke

Rough exchanges that ought to take place on street corners happen on Twitter and instead of calling each other out on the squad chat we live out beefs between non-entities like Drake and Meek Mill.

Aubrey and Meek’s feud was boring. It was a baroque social intrigue, like something Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer might have orchestrated, impossible to follow for all but the most dedicated WorldStar watchers. The whole world would’ve been delighted if Drake had cut the bullshit and just labelling Mill’s mother as obese or unemployed or poor or promiscuous  or ugly.

If only they’d come to Croydon and slapped each other about a bit in front of a KFC.